I’ve long wanted, desired, and drooled over the Hill People Gear Kit Bags — alas I cannot really see a practical use for those in my current day to day life (rest assured I shall buy as soon as I have a solid excuse to do so). But, during one drooling session, I came across the Hill People Gear Belt Pack, which is one of their smaller Kit Bags attached to a belt strap instead of the chest rig.
I snagged one right away in Manatee Gray + Black colorway and have been using it non-stop since it was delivered to my house. This is easily my favorite sling of all that I have tested. Allow me to explain why…
What It Is
As I mentioned, this Belt Pack is based on the Snubby Kit Bag, in fact it’s the same as that bag, just with a different method of attaching to your body. It was, however, envisioned as more than just a new breed of waist packs, with Hill People Gear explaining:
This is a great solution to keep all your EDC items organized when you go to the gym, travel to a new city, or on a front country hike.
The bag was designed to either be worn as a belt pack, or across your chest diagonally, and it shows as buckles and hardware are moved away from areas where they might annoy. The thing about this though, is that in many ways it is heavy in gun culture and specifically has an area designed for concealed carry of a firearm. This area to be precise:
Don’t let that stop you though, as this area actually makes the bag even better for carrying your daily goods around with you — gun or not. And on the matter of pockets, the center pocket has a slick 6/12 Velcro loop panel that allows you to attach hook backed pockets, or PALs pockets. All without it being too intrusive over all. All of this is wrapped in 500d cordura for a really nice looking setup.
The size of this bag is a little crazy. It holds way more than anyone would expect the 8.5” x 6” x 2” footprint to hold. I’m not sure about the volume on this, but each of the three compartments have their own dedicated volume. The concealed carry rear compartment is lightly padded as well — though a bit too small for be ideal for anything more than a phone (electronics-wise).
Since each compartment has dedicated volume, no matter how full you stuff any of the three areas, you are not eating up space in any other area (mostly, lumpy stuff calls BS on this statement from me). I would roughly peg this at about 3ish liters in capacity but that won’t tell the full tale of what is at hand. If what you pack is lumpy, this will be problematic, but if you have many flat things, it will hold many many flat things well.
The thing about this bag, is that when you use it, you get it. On the surface, whether from pictures, or just from handling it and playing it with — you walk away with a ‘meh’ impression. But, once you start using it, you get it. And what you get is that this bag is exceptionally well laid out and designed.
There’s three compartments. The front has dual zippers across the face of the bag, and two internal organization pockets. If you have something bulky to carry, this is the pocket to store that in. It has a lot of wiggle room to the depth of the pocket and still is easy to get to even when the bag is stuffed.
In fact, that’s true of each of the pockets: even when all the pockets are stuffed with gear, each pocket is easy to access and bring gear in and out of the sling.
The middle pocket, with the Velcro/PALs panel, has another two pockets in it and further two nylon webbing loops which work well to add an S-Biner for a quick key retention strap. All in all this is the largest of the pockets. In the pictures I am using the Hill People Gear 58 Pouch, which is designed to fit in the area and attaches to the loop panel with hook side Velcro. Overall, while looking bulky, it adds very nice organization. I ran this bag without that organizer for a while and it works well without it. But adding the 58 Pouch gives you the ability to more securely stow small items, and faster access to frequently used items.
The 58 Pouch itself is fantastic. The entire thing is somewhat stretchy and yet easy to use. I don’t need to review it separately, but you should snag one if you have loop panels you want to add organizers to. The ‘58’ name is because it is 5” tall, 8” wide.
All this brings us to the rear compartment — the concealed carry area — which has a single column of velcro loop, and a lashing point in the center. This area is nicely padded, so it can hold all sorts of flat things really well and comfortably. It also has a ton of volume, as it is designed to carry a handgun.
What might not be obvious about any of these pockets, is that they are all designed such that you can fully unzip them, and the bag won’t lay open flat. It does its best accordion file impression and is not a clamshell opening. So when you are wearing it on your body, you don’t need to worry about unzipping the pocket too far and your gear spilling out. Instead you can fully unzip and get easy access to whatever you need. This is a staple of the Kit Bags and works really well for a sling like this.
There’s a discrete row of PALs (single row) across the bottom of the bag. You don’t really see it unless you are looking for it. And while this can be used to secure more things (knives, bear spray, twizzlers) to the outside of the bag, what I love to use it for is a temporary holding spot for something I am using off an on. Like a pen, where instead of setting it down and maybe forgetting it, you can quickly slide it in to the webbing and snag it when you need it. Same too with my pocket knife, especially if I am doing something where I don’t want dirty hands sliding in and out of my pants pockets.
Which brings us to comfort when wearing the bag. It’s very comfortable to wear, both across your chest and back. It’s a bit easier to wear across your chest, but with a little practice it works equally well across your back (my preferred carry). The only downside (as shown in the above picture) is that if you don’t pull the sling tight it will sag when worn across your body. This has to do with the wings design for the straps, and is solved by cinching down the straps. Some will hate this, the other way to solve is be carrying less weight which is objectively less fun.
What’s nice is that there’s an included elastic keeper for the strap, and the large plastic buckle is at one end of the bag, not centrally located on the strap. So you can easily wear this sling across your chest, with a backpack on your back, something I have yet to need, but will be great for traversing airports.
The strap wings are soft, and comfortable, while the padded back panel on the sling means that nothing digs into your body. The surface is all a bit rough but not so rough to cause any clothing issues.
This is a very versatile bag, and one of the few which I think pulls off being worn across your chest, back, or around your waist really well. It is the best sling I have tested to date, and the margin isn’t even close — all because it handles gear so neatly and easily the other slings look on in envy. Solve the strap issue when wearing across body and it will essentially be perfection.
It’s pricey, but it comes in a wide variety of colors (when in stock) and is generally super handy. It makes me both want a Kit Bag more, and also wish that Hill People Gear would release a larger Belt Pack modeled off the Original Kit Bag.
In other words: the Belt Pack is really good.