When looking for a chest-mounted kit bag for hunting, hiking, or other outdoor adventures, there are many good choices out on the market. Today we will look at two of the top picks based on our review and use of the product.
We will look at the original kit bag that many companies have modeled their own kit bag off of the Hill People Gear Kit Bag.
Review and Description of the Hill People Gear Kit Bag
If I had to describe the Hill People Gear Kit bag in one word, I would say “simplicity.” The bag is perfect for those who want a simple bag without tons of pockets and organization. If you have that minimalist mindset, it may be the ideal chest kit bag for you.
Hill People Gear has several kit bags that slightly modify or enhance the Original Hill People Kit Bag. All of the varieties have either more features such as molle webbing and/or extra organization. They take the original design and make it smaller or lighter weight, targeting those who like to use the kit bag for running or are just seeking a lower profile bag.
Hill People Kit Bag Colors
The Hill People Kit Bag comes in various colors, including ranger green, blaze orange, coyote, and brown. These are standard colors amongst all of Hill People Gear’s packs, so you can have a kit bag that blends with the rest of your pack system, or if you would like something that stands out more, you can go with the blaze orange kit bag.
The Hill People Kit Bag has a #10 zipper on the main compartment. The rear-most section of the cargo compartment has velcro, allowing you to mount various attachments including pouches, and or a holster to hold a pistol.
The kit bag is made out of 500d Cordura, a good blend of durability but not creating an end product that is too heavy or bulky.
The kit bag also includes several tabs, loops, and toggles to attach other items as you see fit.
Lastly, Hill People Gear includes several attachment points so you can dock the kit bag to another pack.
Having a comfortable pack is essential to ensure that you can wear it for long periods and it doesn’t create discomfort, for example, in areas where the straps rest against your side or shoulders.
This is a great area where Hill People Gear’s products shine. Overall, they are relatively simple in design. They are comfortable for those who have to use them for long periods.
Another area where Hill People Gear shines is the adjustability. The Kit Bag comes with several straps and adjustable points to allow you to modify the kit bag suspension so it fits you perfectly for your size and shape. This again goes a long way to ensure the pack is comfortable and fits a wide range of individuals, large or small.
Review and Description of the Helikon Tex Numbat
The Helikon Tex Numbat is part of Helikon’s Bushcraft line of gear. Overall it is very comparable to the Hill People Kit Bag. Comparing the two, the Helikon Tex has more organization built into the pack, while the Hill People Kit Bag is more spartan and has a minimalist approach.
The Helikon Tex Numbat has outside pockets with stretchy material to expand slightly. This is a great design feature that allows the pocket to expand to fit somewhat larger items while also being flexible to keep those items secure.
One concern maybe if the material will lose its stretchy capability over time with use. Overall it seems like quality material that will last for years to come.
One complaint I’ve had and heard from others is some kit bags can get hot when moving around hiking or hunting. Helikon has tried to address this with padded air mesh on the back of the bag that helps keep you cool. This is a great feature and is similar to airmesh on backpacks to help keep your back cool. Kelty is a big proponent of using this on some of the packs.
Quick release for the harness
The quick-release harness is excellent if you need to remove the kit bag quickly, for example, if you become stuck on something. This is both functional as well as a safety feature.
Organizer panels, with lots of different size pockets
Organization is where the Helikon Tex Numbat shines. While the Hill People Gear Kit bag is for those who like simplicity, the Numbat is for those that carry many small kit items and require supreme organization options.
One of the organizer panels is removable, and this panel has a clear pocket where you can put a map. This allows you to store your plan within easy reach and remove it from the kit bag when you need to reference the map. The clear pocket will help keep the map clean and protect it from light rain or other moisture.
The Velcro paneling on the back of the kit bag is ideal to allow you to put various attachments that allow you to store a pistol within that part of the bag. Being velcro, you can remove the pistol attachment and use that bag for additional storage if you have no requirement to carry a firearm.
Adjustable Opening Of The Main Compartment
The Helikon Tex Numbat has an adjustable opening of the main compartment. The main benefit of this is it allows you to open the compartment a little bit or open it a lot depending on the size of the item you’re trying to remove or place within the bag. It will also keep the bag from opening too much and dumping the kit bag’s contents on the ground. This is a very thoughtful feature.
Lastly, the Helikon Tex Numbat has molle attachment points on the outside (HPG requires a more expensive recon bag to include this feature). The molle attachment points allow you to attach various pouches and other items to the outside of the kit bag.
3 Benefits of a Chest Kit Bag
Kit bags provide easy access to the contents. If you stored the same gear in a backpack you would have to take on and off the pack to retrieve the pack contents. This is great for individuals who are moving a lot, such as hikers, search and rescue and/or hunters.
Having a kit bag is beneficial for those who want a place to store frequently used small items.
Freedom of Movement
The kit bag allows you to drop your main pack and have a small pack that has many of your essential items within easy reach.
3 Negatives of a Chest Kit Bag
Can be uncomfortable if overloaded
Having the kit bag packed correctly is important. If you put too many items or too heavy of items into the kit bag, it can become overloaded and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Can take a while to get adjusted correctly
Kit bags are great but they take a little getting used to. They offer ample adjustment opportunities to get the perfect fit but can take a while to dial in.
Comfort Level When Hot
In warmer temperatures kit bags strapped onto the front of you can get warm since you have a pack on your back and the kit bag in front of you limits airflow.
My Recommended Choice
I feel you can’t go wrong with either kit bag. If you prefer simplicity and adjustability, I would go with the Hill People Gear Kit Bag. If you favor affordability and organization, I would lean more towards the Helikon Tex Kit Numbat.