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12/11/2011 4:55 PM
 

Hi there Hill People,

really like the Highlander pack/pouch concept. Is there any chance of getting a preview ?

Will it fit the G1 LH hauler..?  

Possible to have the zipper with two sliders ?

Tons of questions to come if you bite.......

Thanks,

m

 

 
New Post
12/12/2011 12:37 PM
 

OK, I'll bite. I was going to try to fast track this and send it in for production sampling this month. Instead, let's have a discussion about it. Don't have time to answer any questions right now, but let me get it started with some pictures (all mounted on a Dana Designs external):

The Highlander consists of the compression panel / pocket and a 10 - strap compression kit. Each strap of the Compression Kit has an ITW G-Hook sewn into one end so it is non-adjustable, and an ITW G-Hook laced into the other end (with the exception of the top straps which have SR buckles on the adjustable end):

These G-Hooks are awesome. They are made out of metal, can be hooked anywhere, and the adjustment holds really well. Also, they are half the length of an SR buckle, so you can really snug something down to a frame because you don't have the length of an SR buckle getting in the way. They function as an SR buckle anyway, because all you have to do is release the tension and unhook them from the adjustment end.

Just realized - all of the pics above were taken before I switched out for G-hooks. Just picture G-hooks on the sides instead of the standard ITW ladder locks.

So, as far as compatibility, any frame that you can either hook into with a G-hook, or loop around a frame member and thread through a G-hook will work. You would probably want the frame to be the same size or bigger than the Highlander's 11"x22" footprint.

The packbag that goes underneath is a whole separate discussion. We can get into that as well, just don't have time to elaborate now.

 


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/12/2011 3:17 PM
 

Great thread to get the ball rolling...I am new to HPG and I was under the impression that this was the Highlander (below photo)? Whatever this is looks amazing. Top loader day pack with bottle pockets and a beavertail compartment- brilliant.

So the Highlander is a big brother to the Tara? Could a shoulder harness be attached to it or is it strickly a compression panel/bag?

The HPG harness is the most comfortable ride I've ever had when wearing a pack, I'd love to see a HPG designed waistbelt if these packs ever go into production

 
New Post
12/12/2011 5:07 PM
 

This discussion is like Pandora's Box -- I've been working on various aspects of this whole problem space since the early 90s. Maybe best to discuss the pack in Jsonn's post first.

Conceptually, it is like every other pack that I'm making and using these days. Good frame for the load, "slick" top loading sack with bottle / wand pockets on the lower sides, and full size compression panel / pocket that ties into the frame with a compression kit. The lumbar packs I make are made this same way, and a certain guy who you just want to help convinced me to make a compression panel for his Kifaru Scout that follows this same concept. In the case of the pack in Jsonn's post, the slick sack and frame are integrated since it's an internal frame pack. Even so, you could use this just like an external if you wanted to by emptying the packbag and compressing an odd load to the frame with the compression panel / pocket. This pack was pre-Tarahumara. If I was making this pack today, I'd pull a Tara out of the bin and use it as the compression panel instead of the one-off you see on this pack.

And that's a decent intro to expanding on the whole system that I've evolved. Not that any of this is really new or a major departure from what other folks are trying to accomplish. My execution of it is unique though. I'm attaching each element separately for the most part. Here are the elements:

Frame - This can be an internal, an internal / external, or an external. Here are some options that I've either personally worked with or am aware of:

  • Lowe Holubar External - reminds you of a Coleman Peak 1. a true external, but made of plastic.
  • Alice - I've got one of these sitting here in the workshop to do some stuff with. Hard to beat for the price.
  • Kifaru EMR / MMR / G1 / G2 - neither an internal nor external. I've got access to a G1 MMR and G2 EMR to work with.
  • Mystery Ranch NICE - haven't carried or worked with.
  • Dana Designs External - the finest external ever made. no longer available
  • HPG External - still in my head. won't give the specs, but it is a true external that is heavily influenced by the DD external with some significant improvements.

The frame is the structural heart of the whole system, and what you're ultimately relying on to get the job done. Each of the frames above has pluses and minuses, and you have to choose which one to go with based on which attributes are most important to you.

Compression Panel - This can either be a panel or a pocket that functions as a panel. Here's some I've worked with or am aware of:

  • Dana Designs Beavertail - pretty doggone nice load control, no storage capacity
  • Mystery Ranch Panel - slicked down, structural foam
  • Kifaru Panel - a boat load of PALS
  • HPG Tarahumara - an integrated pocket and compression panel with some structural foam. Can be used as a daypack as well.
  • HPG Highlander - same as the Tarahumara, except with a larger footprint.

It didn't take me too long to figure out that you absolutely need to have a pocket as part of your compression panel. There is a certain amount of stuff that you need ready access to, and it has to either be on the back, top, or sides. I don't use the top or sides, for reasons that I'll hopefully remember to go into later. Very early versions (10 years ago and earlier) had the pocket being a detachable possibles sized pocket that got moved from bag to bag. The Kit Bag did away with that need altogether, thankfully. Dockable pockets and a bunch of PALS to rearrange your stuff on is fun in the living room, or if you're stuck in a city somewhere wanting to get out but can only take the time to play with your gear. Other than that, it is a waste of weight, space, money, and structural integrity. You want sewn on pockets in places and sizes that will be useful to you, and that's it. So, with the Tarahumara and Highlander, we have a really useful amount of storage as part of the compression panel with an access method that allows you to get to whatever you need to.

With the Highlander I've been using for most of this summer and fall, I've finally got an external pocket big enough to haul *everything* I like to have handy, all readily accessible and properly compressed, without sticking out so far on back it unbalances the pack. As a bonus, the slot pocket on both of them is useful for carrying a rifle, chainsaw, or some other flat-ish item in.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/12/2011 5:25 PM
 

Packbag - The obvious omission in the above post is the packbag. Right now, the only option I know of is the Sea-to-summit or similar drybag. I've made quite a few packbags that adhere to the systems approach, and they were all lacking in some way. The packbag pictured above is finally one that I like. Part of the whole concept is that if you have a bomproof frame and reasonably sturdy compression panel, the packbag can essentially be a throw away. I'd never make a serious pack out of silnylon, but when the integrity of the whole system doesn't rely at all on the strength of the packbag, you can use silnylon for that portion of it and save a lot of weight. The system shown in the first post - Dana external frame, custom packbag, HPG Highlander - weighs 5lbs empty and can haul more weight and larger loads in more comfort than any pack made today with the possible exception of a Barney's external. That system has some problems, but they're all based on the need for an evolution of the frame. The packbag and compression panel are good, with maybe a few tweaks that would be helpful.

We plan to work on a generic packbag that fits a wide variety of frames. It might be silnylon, but it might be 500d depending on the weight trade off. So far, silnylon isn't performing up to our expectations on the test packbag shown above.

For now though, the whole system is BYOB - bring your own bag.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/12/2011 5:42 PM
 

So, circling back around to the compression panel part of the system and the subject of this thread -- one question I was asked via email was "what is it for"? This wasn't meant flippantly - it was a request to step back and formally define the problem as a way of thinking through whether or not the version pictured fits the bill. Here's what I was trying to accomplish with the Highlander:

  • Good compression for frame heights of 21"-40", with plenty of control of the base load in the packbag, or a load compressed directly to the frame
  • Plenty of tabs to allow placement of compression straps that work well with the base frame (more are needed)
  • A useful amount of onboard storage on the compression panel itself
  • Good load control of the items stored on the compression panel itself (still toying with the idea of providing for a third compression strap across the zipper - I went from 17" on the Tara to 22" on the Highlander without adding another strap)
  • Provisions for stowing commonly carried but awkward backcountry items (snowshoes, ice axe, hatchet, trekking poles, carbine)

I thought about doing away with the water bottle pockets when I upsized the Tarahumara to the Highlander. Then I decided they might as well be left there given the minimal weight. Plus, the Highlander will still take a shoulder harness, so you might want water bottle pockets in that mode. I've since discovered that they're handy for stowing trekking pole handles in, even in compression panel mode.

Right now, it has a single slider. Dual sliders make sense given the taller size.

I think that's it for now from me. I'll try to get some pictures of the Highlander used as a stand alone backpack this week. Other than that, have at it.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/12/2011 7:12 PM
 

Evan

What is that pack in in the last picture posted(the one with woodland MARPAT pants)?

Also, since this is open for discussion. This is what I would like to see.

  • A pack that is 2000-3000 cu in's.
  • could be used as a stand alone pack or compression panel on frame
  • useful slot pockets on sides and maybe front
  • pack could also use Tara as compression panel or D&L
  • NO PALS or miles of useless straps and buckles
  • top loader, storm collar and no zipper

What else???

 

 

 

 
New Post
12/12/2011 7:19 PM
 

What is that pack in in the last picture posted(the one with woodland MARPAT pants)?

My day and a half pack. I've been using it for almost a year now. It is nice because it's the right size for a heavy day load, I can throw a bedroll on top to go for a quick overnight, and it is plenty comfortable when I throw in an extra 30lbs of plates for training. If I made another one though, it would have a Tarahumara compression panel, and it would be 24" tall instead of the 21" that it is. You're just throwing away too much capability with that extra 3".


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/12/2011 7:26 PM
 

When is it going into production???

 
New Post
12/13/2011 11:53 AM
 

The biggest dilemma for me was always trying to find one pack to do everything, but if you make the Tara or the Highlander the compression panel/beavertail on a larger pack it is ideal. I really like the idea of detaching the Tara/Highlander and leaving the larger pack at camp.

the day and half pack would be a great additon if it went into production- but what options other then using the duplex waist belt are there to carry heavier loads?

 
New Post
12/13/2011 1:10 PM
 

Any packs we put into production that benefit from a waist belt will come with a waist belt of our own design and manufacture.

Here's a picture of the Highlander carried as a stand alone pack. You can see how it is taller and wider than the Tarahumara (9"x17" vs 11"x22").

With a light load, very comfortable. With a heavier load, you would want a hipbelt. The problem is that with no frame a hipbelt isn't of much use. When you are carrying a carbine like in the picture, the carbine actually becomes the frame element and a hipbelt would be helpful.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/13/2011 1:23 PM
 

That is simply awesome looking- I dig the larger pack for carrying more gear during the colder months, and it looks like a .22 would fit far better in the H-Lander than it's little brother Tara.

thumbs up - would love to see these go live soon

 
New Post
12/20/2011 2:14 PM
 

Evan,

What is the time frame for the Highlander? If you need a Beta tester, I'm ready to test it and provide a comprehensive evaluation..

 
New Post
12/20/2011 6:01 PM
 

At this point we don't have a timeframe. We have a few modications that need to be made to the prototype and then we need to do some more field testing on it. I am carrying the prototype above right now, and frankly might prefer the tara as a stand alone pack.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
12/21/2011 2:47 PM
 

 Evan,

I like the clean design and philosophy. You have answered all the questions I might have had in advance. I have only a couple of suggestions if I may...

1) two zipper sliders with the metal tabs - easier to get in and out + lockable for travel (they can be always cut off)

2) inside tabs - indispensable for organization (I have added these even to the HKB when used in the travel mode)

Thanx for biting !  Merry Xmas !

M

 
New Post
1/8/2012 3:29 PM
 

 Hi,

three more quick questions.

1) when available ?

2) can you choose with or without shoulder harness?

3) price?

m

 
New Post
1/8/2012 4:15 PM
 

 Brilliant highlander design! I currently rely on a 20 year old Karrimor toploading sac that is exactly this type of flat slim simplicity. about 2000-2100 ci.  Don't need no stinkin' hipbelt for 2-3 days

The flat steel G-Hooks design is something I recognise from my SADF military pack. They were very light and effective when used right. They stay put under tension, but can be a pain in the ass when something goes slack and they slip out of a loosly sewn web tunnel.

Paying paticular attention to load tension, direction and spacing during design/manufacture, they are fast and very light and so so flat. Far better than clicky Delrin always.

The manufacturing secret is making the "tunnel" of web-loop that the open part slips into just big enough to be wiggled in. Not tight- just right. 

 
New Post
2/14/2012 8:45 PM
 

Adriaan, thanks for the feedback on teh G-Hooks. I did narrow the web tunnels some, but want them to still accept a repair ITW plastic buckle in a pinch, so I probably didn't go quite as tight as you advise.

As an update, a production sample of the Highlander is being sewn right now and I expect to have it in hand next week. If it meets our approval, it will be in stock in the not too distant future.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
2/15/2012 9:59 PM
 
Hey Evan, can't wait for the Highlander as I think it will be a lot better suited to winter use. The Tara is just a bit to small for what I want to carry. It all fits, bit I really have to squeeze things together to get the zipper shut. Any chance you plan to make a Highlander size pack that is a top loader? Best of luck, Ozark
 
New Post
2/15/2012 10:42 PM
 

thanks Ozark. I don't think you'd want a pack with this kind of thin profile as a top loader. Too hard to get to all of your stuff. We've got 3 other packs that we foresee putting into our lineup over time. One of them will have about the same capacity as a Highlander but be a top loader. Not going to say much more about it than that though. I trust the Tara is working out for you in the summer?


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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Edward Curtis Canyon De Chelly
When humans first set foot in a new continent, they came in small groups under their own power, bringing only the gear they needed. Most simply called themselves The People. Over time, those who chose the rougher freer life of the up country came to think of themselves as the Hill People.
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