Today Durand joins us to talk some Hill People Gear. If you haven’t read his previous pieces Tank Porn with Heat and the Browning High Power: A Love Story, then we suggest you get on that first. Readup. -Mad Duo
Review: Hill People Gear Runner’s Kit Bag
What do runners think about when they run? The distance? How their bodies are aching? The XL King Arthur Supreme pizza and 18 pack of Coors Light they’re going to destroy post-run? Those are all likely scenarios, but someone must have also thought of how to conceal carry their pistol while running. Enter the Runner’s Kit Bag by Hill People Gear, designed from the ground up to give the wearer the ability to discreetly carry a pistol while running in urban areas. As a disclaimer, I didn’t buy one for that reason because as I told my wife, I have zero interest in reliving the PT runs back in my active duty days in the 82nd Airborne. I simply wanted an efficient way to carry items I used frequently, in a readily accessible manner. The fact that I could put a pistol in it was an afterthought.
No PALs loops, no Velcro panels for patches, nothing overtly military on the Runner’s Kit bag. Low profile is the name of the game here.
At first, it went with me on camping trips to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. I used it sparingly, primarily relying on my pockets as I have always done. It wasn’t until I ran out of pockets that the Runner’s Kit Bag really demonstrated its worth to me, not only as a place to store my junk but as a viable carry option.
One lonely strip of Velcro.
The Runner’s Kit Bag is thin and lightweight at 1” thick and 0.81 pounds. But just like with competitive eater Takeru Kobayshi, appearances can be deceiving. At 11.5″ x 7.5”, this bag can hold a shit ton of hotdogs.
Spare mags, a flashlight, beanie and loose .45 Long Colt ammo. Just an example of what can be stored in the outer pocket.
My go-to pistol to carry under all circumstances is my full size HK USP .45, which fits in the concealed carry pocket snugly in the vertical position. It held the pistol tight, yet was loose and roomy enough horizontally for an easy and smooth draw. Inside the carry compartment is a strip of inch-wide loop tape running up the center of the bag’s rear panel. The Velcro is there to secure a secondary holster inside the bag. This makes about as much sense as putting two condoms on, because the Runner’s Kit Bag is the holster itself.
The bag’s overall 11.5” width allows it to wrap around the wearer’s rib cage, holding the pistol snug to the body and at a natural draw angle. To draw, you either yank on the 550 cord pulls for the front pocket or, as I prefer, leave the top right corner of the carry pocket unzipped as a handhold. To draw, grab the corner of the front panel and pull down. Easy. I use this method because it provides a more positive grip, instead of grasping at literal threads that are small and mobile and could easily slip out of your grip. The corner of the bag is always right there.
The front and back panels are secured with a double zipper that allows the front panel to flop open. Dead center on the bottom of the carry pocket is a loop for a lanyard/dummy cord. A second pocket on the front of the bag is secured with another double-headed zipper, this one opening across the face of the bag. Inside is a fairly roomy compartment split down the middle with a fabric panel double sewn down the middle to form two pockets that are large enough to hold two ten-round magazines for my HK. The other pocket was for my phone until I decided to use it to hold .45 Colt ammo for my Winchester rifle. Trust me, it works out better than you’d think. It’ll hold damn near a box of ammo and, once zipped, the combined pressure of the front panel and the pistol behind prevents the rounds from rattling around. Even with all that there’s still enough room for my phone and various sundries.
A surprising amount of gear can be stored here.
At the four corners of the bag are webbing loops. The bottom two are for mounting any additional bags and for the Stabilizer kit. This consists of a Fastex clip joined by shock cord to a Duraflex Siamese on the other. It’s meant to keep the bag from bouncing around while running. It looks like it would work but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never used it. Nevertheless, it’s a handy bit of kit all on its own. The top loops are for adding straps that will lift the bag or attach it to another. These come from the manufacturer with Grimloc D rings already mounted, which is a nice feature.
While I can see how this works, its not for me.
All of this wonderfulness is lovingly secured to your bosom by a very comfortable H harness. The harnesses’ back panel is made of a sturdy mesh that allows air in and heat out. The webbing straps that make up the harness are easily adjusted and the free running ends secured by elastic bands.
There is some cushioning where the kit back rests against the chest. It’s not much but it gets the job done.
If I had to identify one flaw of the bag, it would be the heat retention on the chest. It’s not the same as wearing body armor or plates because the bag is significantly smaller than either of those, but it does become noticeable after wearing it for long periods of time, especially in the heat of the Black Rock Desert or, I’d imagine, during a long run. The pros of this bag certainly outweigh this minor con, though.
Plenty of room for my HK USP .45, yet snug enough to keep the pistol where it’s supposed to be.
The Runner’s Kit Bag is available from hillpeoplegear.com for $85.00. It’s a reasonable price for a great piece of gear whose handiness only increases with usage. My bag is ranger green but it also comes in black, coyote brown, foliage green, or grey ripstop.
The Carry pocket opens wide enough for a smooth draw while the pocket presents the pistol in a natural angle for good grip.
You can find them online right here.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: Mike Durand is a US Army infantry combat veteran of Iraq who was probably wearing a smoking jacket and fuzzy slippers while writing this. He has been featured before on other blogs and publications, including Military.com, Under the Radar, Tactical Fanboy and of course Breach-Bang-Clear. An avid outdoorsman and history aficianado, Mike recently underwent laser hair removal so he could stop shaving his knuckles. We’re glad his muse is back and proud to feature him here.