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11/28/2016 1:40 PM

I'm interested in a building an entire modular system, i'm open to any thoughts, critiques, suggestions on my rough list. I typically have to run several different load-outs based on what i'm doing at the time, and the shear amount of gear that KIND OF works together but doesn't quite fit every goal gets old. Before I make a major investment I want some opinions from the pros. I want a system that can be easily modded to fit the need for everything from a day at the range to multi-day backpacking to everyones favorite fantasy SHTF scenario, with some special cases i'll mention after. 

I would like everything to be based around the shoulder harness or prairie belt and being able to attach and detach a harness/belt or kitbag/pack/plate carrier as needed. I've tried to organize my desired setups based on the *Equipage Taxonomy : Common purpose - Owned gear + Needed Gear, each level builds upon the previous. For argument sake, this is a solo build, as you never know if or when you might get separated from your group. Additionally I would like to note that my dog wears a Ruffwear Palisades pack, which is a little too big for his size. He carries his own food/water, first aid, extra treats, leash, and any other loose ends i may have. Any suggestions for him would be appreciated.

*0.5 : EDC

-Clothes worn, folding knife, cell phone, wallet, keys, Pistol IWB @ 6 o'clock.

+No extra gear needed

*1.0 : Dayhikes/Trailrunning (This should be base for modular system)

- Small first aid kit, 1 liter water bladder, emergency blanket, compass, local map, coldgear gloves, coldgear beanie, protein bar, pistol in pack or not at all. Currently have a small hydration pack that bounces around on runs and cant fit more than a jacket or book.

+Need pack suggestions-considering prairie belt or kitbag on shoulder harness, mid layer jacket/shirt, 

*1.5 : Long dayhikes/range day/potential minimalist overnight (currently substituting 2.0 multiday pack for this setup)

- Fixed blade knife, Pistol, rifle on range days, multitool, fire starting kit, sunscreen, bugspray, multitool, 50 ft cordage, additional magazines and ammunition as needed.

+Cinched down UTE, softshell outer layer, 

*2.0 : Gobag/ 1-2 nights hiking and camping/range weekend

- 70L hiking bag. lightweight tent, sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping pad, 2 days food, 1 liter water filter bottle, extra clothes (socks, puff mid layer, wool base layer), headlamp, extra batteries, TP, GPS, jetboil, leather gloves, pen/pencil, notebook, extra magazines and ammunition as needed.

+Addition of kitbag if not in use already, hardshell outer layer,

*3.0 - Sustainable/SHTF (In a serious incident I plan on bugging in)

-Additional magazines and ammunition as needed, fishing lines, tarp

+Plate carrier, magazine pouches,

Special cases I would like to be able to run in and out of gear loads without substantial modifications.

I work with a Search and Rescue unit from time to time and they require a different set of gear, typically this would fall under 2.0 but be able to dress down into 1.0 with maybe just a harness/chest rig/small bag

-closed cell sleeping pad, 2 additional tarps, extra food/water/fuel, radio

+Kitbag for radio, GPS

*Vehicle GoKit : Had considered an overbelt to don in emergency, products like the stormrider system or HTC lowprofile system come to mind.

+OWB pistol holster, extra magazines, IFAK, flashlight

Any comments on my organization are obviously also welcome.

New Post
11/29/2016 8:40 PM
Hi Keith,

I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for from your post. So if what I say is entirely off-base, my apologies.

0.5 EDC - Have you considered adding a matchbook or a lighter, and possibly a pack of smokes (even if you don't smoke)? Matches/lighters can come in really handy, and being able to share a smoke or trade a smoke can open so many doors (depending on your locale). Smokes might take up some space, but a lighter or matchbook is really easy.

1.0 - Trail/Day. I think more water would be helpful. You might not drink as much water as I do, but a 1.5L bladder only gets me 1--1.5 hours on a hot run. I have not used a kit bag, and although I want to get one, from what you've described I would chose my Tara every time. It runs great, hikes invisibly. If you're trail running, I would say not having the belt is obvious, but if you're doing a day hike, having the prairie belt set up with 2 quarts of water easily extends your Tara's capability. I like to run a pair of pouches I stuff with whatever I need (camera, granola bars, bug dope, etc), but if you want to carry OWB, it'd be easy to set that up, and lash some insulation to the rear. Depending on weather, I think the addition of a lighter tarp on hikes would be good. On runs I don't care if it rains and I get wet (prefer it most of the time... I'm odd), but on hikes it's nice to set up a tarp and stay dry. On most of my day hikes I like to include a way to warm some drink too - tarp + hot cup of tea/coffee is great on a cold rainy hike. As for your hydration pack bouncing around - I don't know what you have or how much it bounces, but I've found running with anything it WILL bounce some, and slapping it on your chest might not be better (I haven't run in a kit bag, so I can't say how they run). I've found the biggest way to minimize bouncing of packs on runs is to change how I run. I think I read it years a go, probably in a Runner's World article, to imagine there's a ceiling a few inches above your head and to try not to hit it. Softening my stride like that helps with bounces, and got rid of knee pain/shin splints I used to have. Shortening my stride and increasing my cadence was part of how I minimized bouncing and reduced injuries.

I'm not sure about separating dayhikes to long day hikes. In general for me I pack the same for them. Unless by short day hike you mean going to the park with the family. So a lot of what you have in the long day hike section I would add to the regular day hike section. So maybe I would divide it into "trail running" and "day hikes." The Umlindi really shines with day hikes, but it'd be easy to overpack (for me). I don't see gloves until you talk about 2.0, and I would definitely always take gloves on a long day hike. (Oh, I also almost always use the Tara when I go to the range. One time I used an Umlindi, but I had stuck my pistol case and 500 rounds of ammo in there with a 3L bladder...)

2.0 - Go-bag/2 nights. I would say a 70L go bag is too big, except maybe in winter. Just my opinion. If I need to "go" quickly, I don't want 45lbs on my back. Maybe I just need to harden the * up, maybe I just need to get in better shape (definitely!), but I'm not going somewhere FAST with a 70L, especially off-trail or hills (which is what I'd be doing in a "go" situation.) I think a belt-less umlindi is pretty great for a quick go situation for me, or a 45-50L pack in general. I also think with this size pack you can pretty easily do a 3 day trip, if lows are going in the 45-55F range. Colder and that sleeping bag takes up a lot of room ... Which is a big boon of HPG Umlindi/Ute - stick that bag in a stuff sack and strap it on top. Now your bag volume is all for the rest of your crap.

How light is your tent? If we're talking GO situation, drop it. A tent is so untactically sound it isn't funny. (There are a lot of former military guys on here, and a lot with way more experience than I, so they might disagree - and if so, I hope they do so I can learn.) The only time I consider bringing a tent is if you had to go with your family and you have youngins. (I have a wife and 2 year old. If I had to go now, I'm bringing a tent - even if I'm not sleeping in it.) I think a poncho/poncho liner was standard for what we slept in on patrol in the infantry, and when we had a camp we used sleeping bags inside a bivy. As is, I think tarps are a pretty great shelter option for camping, although most of my camping has been in a tent and backpacking has been in a hammock. (I'm a fairly recent convert still learning the ropes of tarping.) But I think you could at least save weight and space switching from a tent to a tarp - could be wrong, and could prefer tents. Just my thought. But removing a tent would allow a smaller bag.

(If you want to see how I set up for a 3 day, and a bunch of people's critiques/comments on how I could improve, check out: http://hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/25/threadid/20707/scope/posts/Default.aspx)

If you want something really modular, having 2-3 bags and having everything in some type of pullout would be really easy. I'm an organization guy and like that sort of thing though, so... That would allow you to keep, say, your bug out bag packed and ready to go, and then when you want to down size, you pull out what you want (ideally you put layers 1-2 in ascending order), and put it in your day bag or trail running bag. I do similar - I have my EDC packed in a PALS pocket with a pocket harness, and my Umlindi packed (minus insulation) with whatever else I need for an outing. All it takes is to slap my pocket onto the Umlindi, and stuff my insulation into a sack and lash it on top. I haven't had a chance to get out this winter to see how I can handle a winter overnight in an Umlindi (forest fires are mean right now), but it seems like a decent system. I really only use the Tara for running now, but since just about everything in my EDC is in pouches, I could easily pull out pouch 2 and my FAK and slap 'em in the Tara. (If you want to see that, I gave a brief look at it here - http://hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/22/threadid/21429/scope/posts/Default.aspx. I've made a few tweaks, but its mostly the same.)

Anyways, hope I wasn't terribly off-base with what you were asking. And if I was ... Hopefully I still said something that was helpful.
- J
New Post
11/30/2016 9:06 AM
Are you looking to build a system that is only additive? As in, a certain level stays packed in a certain bag, which gets attached to another always packed bag that has another level in it, etc? Or are you looking for a small number of bags that can be packed in different ways for all of the different contingencies you're looking at?

I would suggest that a completely additive system is extremely difficult to build without ending up with unreasonable weights. And also less than efficient bags for some purposes. Our gear is probably the best for *trying* to make this happen, but I wouldn't expect complete success.

On the other hand, I think GoKartz is right on the money -- a small group of easily configurable bags with different pullouts and inserts is a good plan. Some items (both the bags themselves and the contents of those bags) will be common to many scenarios. Other items are only relevant for certain scenarios. That's why the additive plan is very difficult. As a foil for your thinking, put together a venn diagram of which items get carried when. That will quickly show you what makes sense from a bag and items standpoint.

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
11/30/2016 11:37 AM

Hey thanks, I appreciate the input, I realize it comes out as kind of a ramble. I'm just looking for peoples experience if they've tried to build a system anything similar to what i've described.

Onto some notes about your reply, 0.5: No need for a lighter or matches, so i'm not going to put more things in my pocket if i don't typically need them.

1.0: Tara does look like a good bag for the purpose but as EH mentioned, im trying to build and additive system. I don't want to buy every single bag for different purposes, working on the idea that i can add or subtract different bags and attachments depending on the purpose. I would like to carry more water but adding a bottle to my current setup isnt really possible. I really think this is the setup that is going to suffer the most, thinking a kitbag on a harness would be good for runs and if i needed much more than that and my current bag id have to step up. I don't find it necessary to carry a tarp or warm drink on runs, i'm typically only out for a few hours and within a short distance to a major road.

1.5: Gloves is something i should inlclude in this setup, and i see your point in separating trail running and day hike categories. I tend to always shoot for a minimalist or ultralight carry if its possible. I used to carry a ton of extra equipment; fire starters, pocket knives, emergency water packets, a couple hats, extra socks, different shoes, backups to backups to contingencies to contingencies and then i slowly just eliminated things i ended up never using.

2.0: I understand your go back and i dont argue with it. I use a 70L because its currently the only bag i have that i can use for SAR or multiday trips, its easier to pack less in a bigger bag than more in a smaller bag. Hence why id like a system i could don or doff per circumstance so im not carrying a 50lb bag when i take the dog for a walk. Im thinking this would be a larger setup, considering the ute, kitbag, and extras on the belt, in the situation i just want to take off the pack so I can take a small walk to a view point or down to a stream to fill up a water bottle. This would also be largely useful for SAR, its a pack i can tie a sleeping pad and tarps to (tarptent shelter only), fit a sleeping bag, food, cookware, clothes etc inside, i can keep medical supplies on the belt, and radio/gps on the chest pack with maps inside. Again its fairly easy to remove and still have my radio and notes on me if we were taking a break or examining a subject. Personally, I don't carry the same sleeping pad or tarps, i can fit mine inside the bag and save weight, but i may also be carrying a firearm. I live in the PNW and hammocks are nice in the peak of summer but its bulky to carry enough quilts for the rest of the year, i also like the feeling of security my tent gives me.


I realize an additive system is difficult to perfect, but thats why i'm here. I do believe I am still going to have to make some pullout packs for different setups.

New Post
11/30/2016 11:42 AM

Primarily i'm TRYING to build something additive, knowing it won't be easy. I've accepted my fate in having to configure bags with pullouts, I just want to minimize the amount i have to do so. See my reply to GoKartz for more info.

New Post
11/30/2016 12:35 PM
I'll go straight to it from a bag standpoint --

Kit Bag - Probably the Heavy Recon with some low profile HSGI Taco pouches mounted on the front. This gives you the ability to use it as a micro chest rig if necessary but otherwise keep GPS or something in those Tacos. The Heavy is also a little better for running than the original.

Tarahumara or Connor - Add to Kit Bag for longer runs or hikes, mount on the back of your larger pack to bump it's volume and capabilities. Also, it might work out that the stuff in your Tara can be completely additive to the larger pack.

Ute - With Tara or Connor mounted on back can be a multiday pack. At the same time, it makes a heck of a day pack with no back pocket and the framesheet removed. Get the belt set up as you like and you can use it stand alone, or wear it with the Tara or Connor (no point in joining the two). Don't try to swap harness between Ute and Tara or Connor. Too much of a PITA.

M2016 Butt Pack - This part of it I haven't tested much myself to tell you how it integrates from an additive loadout standpoint. But it gives you something you can put on the back of the Prairie Belt or on top of the Ute. This one I'm iffy on only because I haven't really used it much myself.

With the first 3 bags and perhaps the 4th, you'll have have a very versatile system that lets you mix and match components to get the size and configuration you need for each situation you list.

ETA: Always have a lighter in your pocket. I prefer the clear ones. The number one way we as hairless primates have to keep ourselves warm if we haven't carried enough insulation is to start a fire. For the size and weight of it, carrying a lighter always is a no brainer.

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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