The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Hill People Gear Aston House – Pack Mentality

We Put Hill People Gear's Aston House Park Through the Ringer to See If It Holds Up As a Low-Pro Bug-Out Bag

Loading 55 pounds of bolt gun, ammo, food, water, medical supplies, and miscellaneous kit in an organized manner isn't doable for every pack on the market. Carrying that load over 25 miles in high desert mountainous terrain, comfortably, is feasible for even fewer.

Using the same pack to carry everyday gear without setting off tactical detectors, thins out the field a bit more. Being sizable enough to fit in an overhead bin cuts the list again. Changing organizational layout options from urban bug-out to backcountry survival and anything in between, all in a matter of minutes, narrows the field to one.

Simply put, the Hill People Gear Aston House is a pack for quiet professionals.

The Specs

At its core the Aston House is built for ruggedness and adaptability. The pack is drawn together by the seams of FirstSpear LLC and finds its proprietary 6/12 technology strategically in between. Heavy-duty YKK zippers provide internal access and a solid lockup when closed. Packed to a bulge and drug through the worst of Mother Nature, the Aston House maintains its integrity with 500-denier Cordura construction.

Quick-change-out organizational options for the Aston House. Left is an HPG Tool Roll, middle and right are Aston Inserts.

Quick-change-out organizational options for the Aston House. Left is an HPG Tool Roll, middle and right are Aston Inserts.

The weight-saving, laser-cut 6/12 grid from FirstSpear is a Velcro attachment system that allows for MOLLE, PALS, and Velcro accessories to be secured to it in an unlimited fashion. 6/12 is located inside of the middle load cell, along the edges of the pack, on the Recon Belt, and underneath the compression panel forming a slotted pouch. The Aston Insert from Hill People Gear (HPG) is an interchangeable panel system utilizing the 6/12 technology designed to be hung by attachment points made of a domestically produced Hypalon equivalent.

Attached Aston Inserts work like an organized drawer and can be pulled out while still being linked to the pack. Multiple Aston Inserts can be preloaded with different gear and swapped out in seconds depending on situational requirements. If detailed organization of gear is not required, the two main load cells, slotted outer pocket, and compression panel can be packed in a traditional manner.

Zipper access to the base of the Aston House.

Zipper access to the base of the Aston House.

On the surface, the Aston House is a perfect blend of covert aesthetics and functional features.

The long, zippered compression panel houses small slot pockets for segregation of quick access gear. Attached by six compression straps, the panel is designed to squeeze the Aston down to a more slim profile when loaded. When additional pack volume is needed, the compression straps are long enough to strap additional items to the pack or under the compression panel. Unsnapping a few buckles allows the compression panel to be peeled back exposing the 6/12 slot pouch. Magazine pouches or other kits can be discretely carried, but accessed quickly, when mounted to the 6/12 and covered by the fully attached compression panel.

Carry On

Beneath the compression panel and slotted outer pocket are two 4-inch-deep main load cells. The first features a full panel of FirstSpear 6/12 and is able to be unzipped exposing two-thirds of the pocket allowing for easy access to the bottom. Just below the zipper, the Hypalon equivalent attachment system can be used for hanging anything from Aston Inserts to water bladders. Hill people gear offers multiple accessory pouches to aid in organization from general to more specific applications such as the Tool Roll.

 

Like an organized drawer, the Aston Insert pulled out of the Aston House.

Like an organized drawer, the Aston Insert pulled out of the Aston House.

The second 4-inch deep load cell is extremely adaptable, especially for carrying items longer than the pack itself such as a rifle, skis, or snowshoes. Two extremely heavy-duty YKK zippers are found, one at the top of the pocket and one at the base. Unzipping both creates an open compartment, allowing anything longer than the pack, such as a long-gun, to be slid in and secured.

Carried vertically, G hooks and compression straps at the base are used to secure varying-width items with multiple attachment points. At the top, standard quick-release buckles allow for quick access below the compression panel. The unique double-zippered design, when not used for long items, allows for access into the bottom of the pack without disturbing the rest of the load out above.

An uncomfortable pack, no matter what features it has, can find itself sitting in the gear locker, covered in dust in no time. Temporary comfort can be found by incorporating layers and layers of foam padding, but this is hot, heavy, and usually short-lived. If a pack doesn't agree with the body mechanics of human movement, especially under weight in uneven terrain, it's just a matter of time before the body takes the beating. The Aston House uses a heavy-duty aluminum stay down the center of the pack.

 

The Aston House pulls usable features from many different and more specified designs and blends them to maximize usability across broad possibilities of application.

The Aston House pulls usable features from many different and more specified designs and blends them to maximize usability across broad possibilities of application.

When fit properly to the lumbar curve of the spine, the stay retains a cast-like contour of the user's back. A sheet of HDPE is used to help maintain pack shape and follow the mold of the aluminum stay for a perfect fit. Heavy foam padding is not found on the back of the Aston House to maintain this perfect match contour and the resulting proper weight distribution to the lumbar and hips. Comfort is achieved by proper design and fit not by unnecessary padding and bulk.

The shoulder harness assembly once again is devoid of massive amounts of foam padding, but instead utilizes a wider contact area design that prevents digging and pressure spots while retaining a low profile. Attached to the pack body by a centrally located strap, articulation between the shoulder straps and pack can be achieved when at high angles. This prevents the pack from trying to shift or drag your center of gravity when climbing. Quick adjust shock cord loops are mounted to each shoulder strap for securing lighter weight immediate access items such as water bottles, tourniquets, or headwear.

 

Low-profile shoulder straps don't obstruct gear when wearing a plate carrier. The Recon belt can be used as a standalone battle belt.

Low-profile shoulder straps don't obstruct gear when wearing a plate carrier. The Recon belt can be used as a standalone battle belt.

 

Adaptability

For moderate weight loads the Aston House is comfortably carried without a Recon Belt (HPG's cummerbund or waist belt). With loads above 30 pounds, or loads carried for long periods of time, the Recon Belt can be quickly attached to the Aston House via a Velcro and Hypalon equivalent overlap anchor system. Attaching or removing the belt takes mere seconds when the pack is not being worn. The rubbery gripping surface of the Hypalon equivalent on the outside of the attachment point helps to maintain the pack's position in the lumbar area for proper weight distribution to the body. Due to the quick donning or removal of the Recon Belt and its lines of 6/12, it can easily be used as a stand-alone battle belt or gun belt in a matter of seconds.

 

FirstSpear's 6/12 allows for infinite organization inside the pack.

FirstSpear's 6/12 allows for infinite organization inside the pack.

We all need packs for different reasons and situations, with the most important requirement being survival. Some can be adapted to cover varying circumstances, but compromises on some level are usually the result. Traditionally remedied by having multiple packs for multiple missions, this can be a major issue if you only have time or room to grab one.

The Aston House pulls usable features from many different and more specified designs and blends them to maximize usability across broad possibilities of application. The quiet professional requires gear that is rugged, efficient, adaptable, organized, comfortable, and dependable, all without drawing unnecessary attention. The Aston House is capable of carrying everyday gear when the room is “all clear,” but in an instant can be transformed or adapted to meet the most demanding of situations when it isn't.

hill-people-gear-aston-house-interior
hill-people-gear-aston-house-interior-compartments
Make:
Hill People Gear

Model:
Aston House

WEIGHT:
3.8 pounds

Length:
8 inches

WIDTH:
11 inches

HEIGHT:
21 inches

VOLUME:
1,848 cubic inches

MSRP:
$365

URL:
www.hillpeoplegear.com

About the Author

Jayden Quinlan is an avid outdoorsman, competitive shooter, hunter, athlete, and veteran currently working in the firearms and ammunition industry. He competes yearly in military or survival style endurance competitions in which equipment is pushed beyond everyday use.

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