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Hill People Gear Junction Pack


Hill People Gear Junction Pack Review

by , October 17, 2022
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It was a sunny summer day, the 5th of July. I filled my Source 2L hydration bladder and put it into the dedicated back pocket of my pack. Stuffed my rain jacket, IFAK, extra t-shirt, pair of backup socks, camera, fire-starting kit, and some calories into the main compartment. Map, compass, Victorinox Huntsman, and Petzl Bindi headlamp ended up in a small lid pocket. A Grayl filtering bottle went into one side pocket, a compact Matt Helm’s fixed blade into another one. I was ready for another day hike in the wild Bieszczady Mountains – the southeast corner of Poland, right on the Ukrainian border. My pack was the Hill People Gear Junction.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


  • Name: Junction Pack
  • Brand: Hill People Gear
  • Format: Backpack
  • Measurement: Length: 5.00 in; Width: 10.00 in; Height: 17.00 in
  • Capacity: 1350ci / 22L
  • Weight: 1.50 lb
  • Zippers: YKK
  • Material: 500D Cordura
  • PriceUS$175


Who It Suits

Anyone looking for a compact but capable hiking daypack, which is comfortable even with a heavier load and tough as nails. Adventurers and survivalists who would like to experience something different from the generic mainstream pack, both in summer and winter. And especially if they’ll need to haul a bit heavier gear in a pack (like binos, bushcraft gear, hatchet, etc.). Plus all HPG fans, of course!

Who It Doesn’t

For city commuting and general urban or office use, this would not be my recommended pack due to the scarcity of proper EDC organization inside. Due to the specific harness, this pack wouldn’t be a technical climber’s dream either. True ultralight hikers wouldn’t be fans of the Junction, as 500D Cordura is overkill for them. However, there’s also a lighter variant of this pack available (made of thin and light Sil-Nylon material), which combined with a Pocket Harness is almost 40% lighter than a regular Junction. I didn’t try this one but it seems to be a good option if weight is your main concern.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack



I’ve been a die-hard fan of Hill People Gear since the very beginning about a decade ago. I’ve tried many of their packs, including the immense Qui-Ya, small Tarahumara, and also the iconic mid-sized Umlindi (quite possibly my overall favorite pack ever). And recently they created a scaled-down lighter variant of the latter one. A tough backcountry compact daypack with an obvious Umlindi look – the Junction! Technically speaking it’s a relatively short top-loader pack with pronounced side pockets and a flat top. And inherently, the unmistakable horseshoe-shaped harness system, which HPG is famous for. This pack has all Hill People Gear’s DNA in it. And it’s available in multiple color schemes: black, gray, coyote, ranger green, some 2-tone variants, teal, and bordeaux! It’s a variety, which even the biggest pack companies rarely offer these days!

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


As I mentioned earlier it’s a top-loader pack with a flat lid running on a heavy-duty bi-directional zipper – a simple and effective design. It’s produced in the USA by the First Spear company, only with US-sourced materials. In case you didn’t know – First Spear is a top-tier tactical manufacturer of Berry Amendment Compliant gear for US troops. Of course, it’s stitched flawlessly, as expected.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

Materials and Hardware

No surprises here: 500D Cordura, YKK zippers, heavy-duty molded plastic hardware (US-made too). No corners cut by the material department – the Junction is definitely a tough specimen that is made to last. It’s one of those packs that is going to serve you for a long, long time… a rare thing these days, with more and more disposable-like products that fall apart after just three seasons or so.


Usually, HPG gear is really feature-rich, so this one must be as well, right? Wrong! It’s a light and simple pack, with enough features to be useful, but with no frills and unnecessary complications (which always come with a weight penalty).

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

So what do we have here? The bucket-like main chamber, a lid with a flat pocket, two spacious side pockets, and a back hydration zipper sleeve. Plus classic features of the HPG harness like bungee keepers on shoulder straps and gear attachment loops. There are also sewn-in multiple webbing loops (G-hook compatible) on the sides of the back panel, which allow attaching compression straps, paracord, bungee net, top and bottom straps, etc., and even add-on pockets like the Line Pocket. There’s also a super simple paracord X-attachment on the back, but it’s more useful than one would expect. Not only was I able to carry a wet rain jacket there, but I used it also as a keeper to carry dry twigs for my wood stove on a bushcraft outing into the forest, and even to carry my fins and other snorkeling gear when I was on vacation with family in Croatia this year! Now that’s true versatility.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


Space and Access

The main sack is roughly 22L. That’s more than enough for a daypack if your gear list is not too excessive. The top access and clean interior make loading/unloading super easy. There’s only a single webbing loop inside, so you can attach a pull-out pouch there to store your valuables. Also keep in mind there’s no side zipper or any other access to the main compartment so sometimes you need to dig inside a bit to find items in the bottom. It’s not a huge pack, so that shouldn’t be too painful, but it’s still something to consider. Well, as I said HPG stuff is made to last so don’t expect possible weak links like a side zipper – makes sense, right?

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

Pockets and Organizing

The oversized open side pockets are instantly apparent – they are just huge compared to the overall pack size and can easily carry a 1L water bottle and knife or small hatchet together… each! They’re not elastic per se, but HPG designed them in such a way that they don’t eat up too much of the main sack’s space even if filled up with gear. On the contrary, the back hydration/laptop pocket is rather flat and not designed to stuff it too heavily with gear. A tablet or small (thin) laptop would fit there, but I prefer to use it for a 2L Source hydration bladder. There’s no dedicated hose port on the Junction, so you just need to use a corner of the zipper as one.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

The top lid pocket doesn’t have too much volume in it. It’s good for some small accessories, like a Swiss Army knife, headlamp, energy bar, compact folded map – and not much more. But it’s not without reason – thanks to the flat design you can strap a rolled jacket or a sleeping pad to the top of the pack with extra straps, especially if you use the optional Line Pocket attached to the Junction to expand the pack’s load capacity.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

I mentioned the Line Pocket here – an accessory that is tailor-made for the Junction. It fits great, can be installed on G-hooks within a minute or so, and adds about 5L of volume with nice organization inside. But the Line Pocket also adds the possibility to attach a bedroll, dry bag, or other similar items under and over the pack. I truly enjoyed the Line Pocket on my Umlindi when using it last year, but on the Junction it’s just an exceptional accessory! So if you want your Junction to be a really multi-purpose scalable pack – simply buy the Line Pocket in a bundle.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


The broad horseshoe-shaped harness doesn’t need too much of an introduction – or just search Carryology for my previous HPG pack reviews. It distributes the weight not just on the shoulder, but on the whole back and shoulders area. Combined with a removable frame sheet and padded back panel it’s one of the most comfortable carry systems of all daypacks, and it’s optimized for seriously heavy loads. The junction might be small, but it can surely carry big! Much more than any other 22L pack would. There’s no waist belt on a Junction, but you could attach a stabilizing waist strap via a pair of G-hooks if you’d like to.

Okay, back breathability is not as good as on packs with ventilated back panels – but during hot summer days you’d sweat anyway, and in colder seasons you don’t need mesh or bungee net on the back as your clothing should be your real wicking-sweat-out device. Also due to such construction, it stays close to the body for good balance and stability, even in dynamic situations – and that’s what you want in the real backcountry. Plus it’s tougher too.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


The Cordura on the Junction is somewhat weatherproof, but stitchings are not. So if the weather gets really bad and you expect a downpour coming… I’d suggest either a rain cover or a decent dry bag (or simply a plastic trash bag) fitted inside the main compartment. Still, the HPG Junction will handle snow and occasional drizzle with ease.

Alternatives to Consider

Hill People Gear packs are really hard to compare to other carry gear on the market. So below you can find some packs that serve a similar role as the HPG Junction, just in a bit different way. Still, all of them are tough, offer similar volume, and have similar dual functionality as a day-hiking and bushcrafter’s pack.

– Kifaru Echo

– Mystery Ranch 2DAP

– Fjällräven Greenland Top 20

– Eberlestock Switchblade

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

The Good

– Overall tough construction

– Sturdy proven materials, US-made

– Carry system – works even under really heavy load

– Side pockets design

– Modularity, compatible with other HPG add-ons

– Outdoor versatility from mountaineering to bushcrafting

Not So Good

– No back panel ventilation

– Heavier than alpine climbing packs (but there’s a lightweight version of the Junction too, which you could check out)

– No waist belt

– No internal organization

Hill People Gear Junction Pack


The Junction is a hybrid creature, combining some elements of a hiking pack and classic bushcraft and backcountry pack. It’s a very versatile and compact outdoor carry tool, good for summer hikes and winter snowshoeing. It’s light and small, at home up on the hills, deep in the valley, and in the forest too. Tough, impeccably made in the USA… and also not costing you an arm and a leg – an MSRP of $175 is not particularly cheap, but still manageable, and certainly justified in this case. For all HPG junkies, this pack is a must-have! If you’re looking for a lightweight summer daypack, which is strong enough to withstand both tough day hikes and bushcraft outings, and which is scalable, multi-role, and will serve you for many years, the Hill People Gear Junction should be on your shortlist, without any doubt.

Hill People Gear Junction Pack

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

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