Evan Hill, co-founder of HPG, first carried a jumper pack on the Wyoming Hotshots back when they were still made by smokejumpers. Evan's time working for the Forest Service influenced his design ethos, leading him to appreciate reliability and efficiency in his equipment. Some of the first packs Evan built in the early 2000s were belted lumbars just like the jumper pack. Hill People Gear's Umlindi backpack was the latest in this evolution of belted lumbars, which all started with his wildland pack. Since it's release, the Umlindi has proven itself all over the world from anti-poaching units in South Africa to Search and Rescue teams in North America. It has become a favorite of a wide variety of professional users who prize it for it's comfort, reliability, and capability.
Fast forward a few years after the Umlindi's original introduction and Kevin McDowell, a Marine and wildland fire veteran, is working on the San Juan Hotshots. He has (among many other products) an HPG Umlindi that he really wishes he could use as his fire pack because it is so much better than the pack he has been issued. To Kevin's surprise, HPG recruits him as their operations manager. 5 years later Kevin is Hill People Gear's Director of Marketing. Every single one of those years, Kevin has pushed for HPG to create a version of the Umlindi for wildland fire crews until it finally happened in 2021 with the HPG Type 1 Pack.
Really, it makes perfect sense. The Type 1 Pack is the pack that Evan and Kevin wished that they had been able to carry when they were firefighters. It's a pack that was designed by wildland firefighters and is made in America out of US materials to the highest quality standard. Things have come full circle from that original jumper pack made by someone in Missoula.