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Hill People Gear Aston Pocket Review

As many of you know, I’m a huge Hill People Gear fan.  I’m always discovered new ways to make use of the various parts of my Hill People Gear kit and for me that’s part of the fun.  Recently, I was poking around on their forum and came across a note that HPG may release the pocket that’s included with the Aston House pack as an accessory. I’ve used the Aston Pocket to add more capacity to my Connor backpack (reviewed here and here) since the beginning of the Summer.  So, I thought I would share my thoughts in case HPG does make it available.

 

The Hill People Gear Aston Pocket mounted to the Connor Backpack

The Hill People Gear Aston Pocket mounted to the Connor Backpack

 

The Aston Pocket normally just clips into the Aston House compression straps but the buckles don’t line up as well with the Connor’s mount points.  

 

The Aston Pocket mounted to the Aston House in it's typical configuration.

The Aston Pocket mounted to the Aston House in its typical configuration.

 

Since most of the hardware is removable on Hill People Gear packs, I was able to remove the repair buckles from the Aston Pocket leaving nothing behind but the Hypalon wings.  To attach the pocket, I used G-hooks to mount it to the Connor’s top and bottom loops.  That’s it.  It was a pretty simple mod without any sewing or permanent alteration to either product.

 

 

The Aston Pocket provides a set of pockets for items that I need to get to quickly.  In it I store things like snacks, bug repellent, sunscreen, first aid supplies, headlamp, and extra batteries.

 

The Aston Pocket loaded with supplies.

The Aston Pocket loaded with supplies.

 

The Connor provides more zippered storage than any other pack in the HPG line, which is why I love it. The Aston Pocket allows me to use most of that organization for gear I don’t need to pull out as often, but still want to have with me on a hike.  Like my shell, shemagh for extra sun protection, gloves, hat, water filter, firestarter kit, emergency shelter, etc.  Overall, the combo is just a great setup in a nice compact package that’s perfect for day hikes.

 

The Connor/Aston Pocket combo along side a friend's Mystery Ranch 3DAP.

The Connor/Aston Pocket combo along side a friend’s Mystery Ranch 3DAP.

      

If I had to change one thing about the Aston pocket, it would be that all the pockets are open. That’s great for ease of access but sometimes smaller times fall out due to the lack of retention (like the battery in the picture below).

 

 

If Hill People ever does a redesign of the Aston Pocket, I’d actually like to see them add a zipper to the mesh pocket and extend the length of the bottom slip pocket to run the same length as the one above it; adding a zipper to it as well.  That would provide two quick access slip pockets and two zippered retention pockets, which would work great for a variety of larger and smaller items.

A drop date or pricing has not been announced for the Aston Pocket.  If you’re wanting to run this combo and not willing to wait for them to release it separately, you can always buy the Connor and Aston packs and run them in various combinations. The Connor, stripped of its harness, can also be used as a large compression pocket on the Aston House.  

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8 Responses so far.

  1. If there’s one head-scratcher about HPG, it’s their refusal to secure their open pockets (see also: the near-useless top pocket of the Umlindi). One of the most common mods I see with those packs is adding something, even if it’s just a strip of Velcro. For me, I used a spare G-Hook.

    • rpommer says:

      …I totally agree with you. After so many reviews pointing out the same “problem”, I just can’t understand why they don’t update the Umlindi and the Aston-Pocket with some zippers.
      (Can’t be because of cost…also, the UTE has a lid pocket with Zipper)

      I would love to see a combination of the Umlindi+Connor Pack…would be the best pack ever!

  2. rpommer says:

    Hi, how does the ASTON-Pocket compares to the PALS-Pocket? …they have the same Clam-Shell opening but, with the PALS-Pocket, you can attach your own pouches/organizers (with zippers)

    Thanks

    • Blaine B. says:

      Roberto, I think the differences are pretty obvious. The PALS-POCKET has the 6/12 panel that allows you to add your own organization via PALS or Hook and Loop backed pouches. The Aston Pocket on the other hand has sewn nylon and mesh pockets built-in for organization.

      • Roberto says:

        Hi Blaine, thanks for your response and yes, you are right…it is obvious they are quite different in the layout.
        What I actually meant to ask was, after using the Aston Pocket, which one of those pockets do you think is a “better” choice to increase your organization/ load capability of the Umlindi/ Connor system?
        BTW, I agree with you 100% on the suggested modifications of the Aston Pocket!
        I really don’t understand why HPG don’t use more zippers. I am sure one or two small zippers wouldn’t add any weight at all. Just my opinion.

        Thanks again

  3. Adding zippers or velcro increases the chance of failure in the field and goes against the well thought out design philosophy.

    • Okay, wait a second. Right now, the pocket on the Umlindi has nothing. If you added a zipper or some velcro, and then either one of those failed, you’d still have nothing. The current design already looks like what a field-failure would be.

    • Blaine B. says:

      David, I’m not worried about zipper failure of an internal pocket in a pouch that already has an external zipper. I’d rather have the function of my stuff being secure and deal with the rare instance of a YKK zipper failure if need be.

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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