Hunting gear review: Outdoor pack serves many purposes

Hunters think about gear throughout the year, not just when the weather starts to turn cooler.

“We’ll see a lot more coming in late summer into early fall,” said Kevin McDowell, the operations manager for Hill People Gear, which has a store at 525 Main Street in Grand Junction to complement its online business. “Some of these guys who are local are thinking about it all year. After their hunt they’re thinking, ‘What could I have that’s better, what will better serve me on my next hunt?’ They start looking for gear right after (hunting season ends).”

Hill People doesn’t cater specifically to hunters or to any specific outdoor activity, but has versatile products that serve a variety of outdoor enthusiasts including hunters.

“We do have a pack that is more geared (with) the hunter in mind, but it’s really an outdoor pack that will serve many purposes, including hunting,” McDowell said.

Owners Evan and Scot Hill design the packs and equipment Hill People sells, and the employees are product testers. Casey Gorsett checks out gear with hunters in mind — a photo of him on the company website ( shows him using the Decker Pack system to not only carry his gear, but meat and antlers from a hunt, leaving his hands free to carry his rifle.

“It has all these compression straps and you can really cinch it down and carry whatever kind of load you want,” McDowell said of the system, which starts with a frame that can carry 300 pounds.

The accessory that launched the company, a kit bag, gives hunters quick access to their binoculars and allows them to conceal carry a pistol on their chest.

“You take your pack off, say you’re hunting up in Wyoming or Montana and you’re in grizzly country,” McDowell said. “You don’t ever want to be away from your handgun. You’re processing the game and a grizzly comes up on you, you have it right there on your chest all the time.”

Having the right outerwear is crucial, and Hill People has the Wind Cheater, which cuts the wind, but doesn’t rustle and spook game. A ruff made of coyote fur can be attached to the hood, which McDowell said is so warm, he usually doesn’t wear a watch cap under it.

The mountain serape can be worn as an insulated poncho, a half-zip sleeping bag or a full-body cover.

“The good thing about that garment for hunting is it covers your whole body,” McDowell said. “If you’re just sitting there glassing (scouting for game), it drapes over everything and it breaks up your outline as a human being, so you’re pretty much camouflaged at that point.”

Multi-functional equipment comes in handy during hunting seasons. “A lot of stuff works really well for the hunter, even our garments,” McDowell said. “Again, it’s not designed specifically for hunting, we don’t market it specifically for hunting, but hunting is one of the applications you can use.”