I have really come to like my Hill People Gear Tarahumara. It is an excellent small pack for summer hikes, quick trips into the woods, and more. However, sometimes I wish it had a bit more capacity. It has an excellent harness system that can support far more weight than you could ever stuff into it. In an effort to extend the Tara’s usefulness and capacity, I purchased a Modified 10×12 Center-Zip Pouch from Tuff Possum Gear.
The Modified 10×12 Center-Zip Pouch is aptly named. This pouch is 10×12″ in dimension and has a single central zip that gives accessing to a single pocket (much like the Tarahumara itself). It has two 1″ webbing anchor points on the top corners that allow it to be docked on the Tarahumara with the included ITW GrimLocs and is constructed from 500D Cordura Nylon.
I don’t have exact volume figures but given the dimensions, I would say that it adds around 200-250 cubic inches of capacity to the Tara (maybe more if you really stuff it). Those numbers are based on my measurements of the exterior dimensions when the pouch is packed normally.
Observations from Use
As straight-forward as this pouch seems, there is real thoughtfulness in the design. For instance, the dimensions are such that it perfectly matches the width of host Tarahumara and the length allows it to be compressed with both of the Tarahumara’s compression straps. Additionally, the Tarahumara has a wedge shape that is thicker at the bottom. The Modified Center-Zip sits near the thinner top portion of the Tarahumara so it does not stick out that far from the wearer’s back. The whole package remains relatively sleek.
The included GrimLocs do a fine job of connecting the Modified Center-Zip to the Tarahumara. They are durable, secure, and very easy to operate even with gloves. However, I have also found that you can use Slik-Clips as a lighter weight, more compact attachment solution. They are harder to connect and disconnect but you likely won’t be taking the Modified Center-Zip on and off very often.
The Modified Center-Zip works a bit like a compression panel in that you can secure items behind it. Beware that the items that you are carrying will not fall out from the bottom. I especially like to carry an axe compressed in this manner when I am working on winter trail maintenance. You can also secure soft gear like a rain shell behind the pouch as long as you apply enough tension on the compression straps.
Obviously, the main use for this pouch is to extend the capacity of the Tarahumara but I have found a few other benefits. The Tarahumara lacks much in the way of organization but the Modified Center-Zip gives me a way to keep gear separated. For instance, I can keep my pitch covered folding saw in it instead of letting it wallow around in the main compartment where it can transfer sticky pitch to my other gear.
If you have been looking for a way to extend the capacity of your Hill People Gear Tarahumara, I can highly recommend the Tuff Possum Gear Modified 10×12 Center-Zip Pouch. It is well made, easy to use, and works well with the pack’s existing shape and compression features.
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NOTE: Tuff Possum Gear is a small business that makes these pouches in batches. They are usually available in a variety of colors but there are brief times when they may not be in stock. They also offer a number of pouches that are similar in appearance but that are not designed to dock on the Tarahumara so double check your order.