Hi, my name is Emory and I have a slight addiction to backpacks… I am always on the lookout for well designed backpacks of all shapes, sizes, and purposes. How I got here, I don't know, but I am what I am and I accept it. In fact, I love it.
In recent years, I came across the Hill People Gear Tarahumara and for no other reason than finding it intriguing and simple, purchased it and have loved it ever since. I've used it on day hunts, day hikes, backpack trips, work trips, coffee runs, and a number of other ventures. I've even passed it off to my nephew to use when he went hunting with me for the first time. Hill People Gear has somehow made the Tarahumara a workhorse of a day pack and I'm always finding myself coming up with a reason to field it. If Marry Poppins herself needed a daypack, this would be the one.
Here's what I love about it…
Hill People Gear builds a solid product. I've yet to witness a seam burst or have a zipper stick. I can bust through brush, drag it on the floor, and throw it in the back of the truck without thinking twice about it. It's nice to have something you don't have to baby.
The Tarahumara is freakishly functional. Use it as a daypack or use it as a compression panel on packs with similar buckles and you'll find it's a pretty great little pack. I once used it on a Mystery Ranch pack to stash some extra items in. When on travel, I'll roll it up and store it in my suitcase just in case I need a quick little bag to run around with. The Tarahumara holds a lot of gear for how small it is and I've had everything from a tripod, jacket, water, tarp, and a few other things in it without running out of room. It's small, but it is more than capable of providing you with enough room for a long day hike.
Small but Not Too Small
If you haven’t guessed already, I like the size. The pack isn't too big, but it's not too small either. When it's full, it's still compact and when it's not full, it doesn't look like it's swimming in excess fabric. When full, the lashing straps allow you to tighten everything down for a nice compressed fit and if you're like me and need to duck in and out of tight brush, you won't have to worry about the pack catching on anything.
HPG Shoulder Harness
HPG makes a comfortable harness that you can swap from one pack to another. It's designed to be wide in order to spread the load out across a larger surface area which in turn means it's not super thick because it doesn’t need to be. The only issue I have is that I'm a narrow shouldered dude so sometimes the harness is too wide. If I were HPG, I'd design a few different sizes and shapes to accommodate different body types. This is seriously my only complaint, but again, I’m a smaller sized guy and this is me being picky.
The Tarahumara is simple. It comes with one main compartment featuring a vertical zipper for access, two side pockets for stashing a water bottle or something whatever else, and a padded sleeve on the outside back panel. There is a draw string feature on the bottom for lashing items to and compression straps for the same purpose (I removed the draw string). Seriously, this is a perfect day pack for bringing everything you need and nothing you don't. The Tarahumara forces you to think about what you really want to have with you which for an over packer like me, I appreciate.
I've come to really love this day pack. It's just one of those items that I always find myself using more than any other day pack I have. Hill People Gear is a great home grown company that has functional products and great customer service to boot. I don't know them personally, but I get the feeling they're just a couple of great dudes who want to make great gear for great people. If you're looking to add a functional day pack to your kit, seriously consider the Hill People Gear Tarahumara. You'll be happy you gave it a go.
Stay safe and go have an adventure!