In this post, I’m going to give a brief review of the Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag, as well as a holster that I’ve recently acquired for it. I don’t remember exactly how I found out about Kit Bags, but I’m glad I did, as the product solved a dilemma for me. Specifically, I was trying to figure out a way to conceal an easily accessible handgun while wearing a backpack with a waist belt. Obviously, a holster worn on the pack waist belt would be blatantly obvious, and also wouldn’t allow me to ditch the pack without also ditching the gun. Similarly, in most trails that I frequent, a thigh holster that would clear the pack waist belt would raise more than a few eyebrows. Fortunately, the Hill People Gear Kit Bag is an ideal solution. Now, to be fair, this solution is probably not appropriate for any sort of NPE, but it excels in the back country and other outdoor environments. Furthermore, I only carry my pistol this way in areas where my concealed carry permit is valid. Still, I can very easily deflect scrutiny and explain the many other purposes of the Kit Bag if I am queried by inquisitive folks (wallet, keys, flashlight, first aid kit, etc.).
Hill People Gear Kit Bags are small rectangular bags that are worn on the chest utilizing a removable H-harness similar to a chest rig.
They are offered in a few different configurations and different colors. Since I am of small stature, I decided on their Snubby Kit Bag, which has a smaller footprint than the traditional Kit Bag, yet will still hold a Glock 19.
The Snubby Kit Bag comes with two Grimloc carabiners to replace the harness and hang it off a chest rig or backpack, and Hill People Gear also makes a specific Runner’s Harness that allows a Kit Bag to be combined with one of their packs to make a dedicated trail running vest. In addition, the Snubby Kit Bag comes with a Stabilizer Strap, which is basically a bungee cord that clips to the bottom corners of the bag and is run around your torso to keep the bag from bouncing during vigorous activity. In addition to the main pouch, the Snubby Kit Bag also has a small zippered admin pouch on the front. Other versions have more storage options such as additional compartments and even MOLLE webbing. Inside the main pouch of the bag is a strip of Velcro and a small attachment loop for dummy cording items to the bag (such as this minimalist holster). The main compartment of the Snubby Kit Bag is accessed with a double pull zipper, so that you can stage the zippers for quick access to your gun. The small front pocket features internal dividers and also has a loop for dummy cording. The front pocket has a double zipper.
Since I acquired my Kit Bag a few years ago, I’ve used it for everything from hiking to biking to kayaking. I’ve worn it as a possibles bag when hunting with my muzzleloader, and it also works great when hunting in a tree stand. It doesn’t interfere with shooting a rifle, and I can use it when hunting with my bow. I’ve been pleased with the workmanship and design of the bag. It is a unique solution for a unique problem, and excels at the task for which it was designed. Mine is a solid foliage green color, and therefore doesn’t really attract any undue attention in the environments where I wear it.
To be fair, my draw is obviously faster from my AIWB holster, but coming out of the Kit bag from high on the chest is still pretty fast. My draw involves using the zipper pulls to access the main compartment, allowing for a firing grip on the gun.
Then, imagine pulling up toward your right shoulder and punching out toward the target. Some may like to leave the zippers slightly opened in order to force the hand in and push the zippers open, but I think that pulling the zippers is more reliable. Others prefer pulling the compartment open from the upper right corner with the support hand, but I find that I prefer using the zipper pulls. In practice, I stage the zippers of the front compartment on the opposite side of the bag from the main compartment to avoid confusion when drawing the gun.
Recently, I’ve augmented my Kit Bag with a specifically designed holster offered by Contact! Concealment. As its name ostensibly suggests, the HPG holster is perfect for use inside a Kit Bag, as one side of the holster features a wide swath of Velcro to allow secure attachment to the corresponding Velcro strip in the bag. As there is only Velcro on one side of the holster, it is not ambidextrous. I’ve also found that the holster works well with my Maxpedition sling pack, which also has interior Velcro to allow for secure internal organization of gear. Contact! Concealment offers the HPG holster for a variety of guns with or without provision for a weapon mounted light. With the holster in place, my G19 is a tight fit inside the Snubby Kit bag, but is secure and doesn’t move. My G26 obviously fits in the same holster and is a little easier to fit in the bag.
You don’t absolutely need a holster when carrying a gun in a Kit Bag, but you should also treat this practice similar as you would pocket carry. That is, nothing else should be carried in the gun compartment other than the gun. With a double action trigger, I might consider carrying without a minimalist holster inside the Kit Bag, but with a Glock, I am more comfortable with an actual holster covering the trigger guard.
The Hill People Gear Kit Bag and HPG holster are ideal for niche needs, and they fulfill those niche needs better than any other option I’ve yet found. I can highly recommend both products. Be aware, Contact! Concealment can have significant lead times. Finally, Hill People Gear is not cheap, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. I have been quite impressed with their product lineup.