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Reviews > Packs > Pack Accessories > Hillsound PackStack > Test Report by Christie Kimber


Initial Report

Initial Report

July 25, 2021

Background Information:ps1

Name: Christie Kimber

Age: 30
Gender: Female
Height: 6’0" (183 cm)
Weight: 138 lb (63 kg)
Email address: christiekimber AT yahoo DOT com
City, Province, Country: Campbell River, British Columbia (BC), Canada
Backpacking Background:
    I started hiking in 2015 when I moved from Saskatchewan to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I started with day hikes and have eventually pushed myself to weekend and even week-long excursions. I am a three-season hiker. That being said, as I gather new gear and develop skills I am pushing my limits to try out 4-season backpacking and mountaineering. Vancouver Island gets a lot of rain and has a moderate climate. I also spend time in interior British Columbia in the Rocky Mountains.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Hillsound Equipment
Year of manufacture: 2021

Designed in Canada
Made in Vietnam

MSRP: $31.00 USD ($38.00 CAD)
Style: PackStack PRO (Waterproof)
Other available styles: PackStack (Weatherproof)ps6
Size: 40L + Tall
Other available sizes:
  • 40L + Short
  • 60L + Tall
  • 60L + Short
Color: black
Other available colors:
  • none in PRO style
  • Weatherproof PackStack is gray in color
Listed weight: 118 g (4.2 oz)
Actual weight: 119 g (4.2 oz)

Listed packing capacity: 9.8 L (598 cu in.)
Listed measurements (specific to 40+ L Tall version):
  • Height: 17 cm (7 inches)
  • Depth: 18 cm (7 inches)
  • Width: 30 cm (12 inches)
Sizes and packing capacity of the other models available on the website

Actual measurements:
  • Height: 17 cm (7 inches)
  • Depth: 19 cm (7 inches)
  • Width: 31 cm (12 inches)

Product Description:

    The Hillsound PackStack Pro 40L+ Tall (referred to here on out as PackStack) is a completely enclosed, zippered bag that is designed to be part of a modular packing system to help organize items in a backpack. The PackStack Pro is specifically shaped with a crescent curvature to take on the form of a backpack. It is meant to slide easily into a backpack and minimize wasted space. It has a flat back edge and a rounded crescent front. As the name implies, many of these bags can be used together to "stack" on top of each other in a backpack (see picture above from Hillsound's website).  The picture shown shows multiple tall versions of the PackStack Pro. A combination of tall, short, or both tall and short bags can be used to maximize efficiency and categorize products as desired. The stated purpose of the PackStack Pro bag is to both help organize a backpack as well as protect gear. It can help to separate dirty or wet gear from the rest of the pack or could be used to protect fragile items. Examples that the label gives regarding how to use the PackStack Pro includes storage of food, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, footwear, and cooking supplies.

    The PackStack Pro comes in two designs, waterproof and weatherproof. I received a waterproof PackStack Pro, which is referred to as the PRO model. It is made out of Cordura ripstop fabric (100% nylon). It also has a water resistant YKK zipper and the seams are fully sealed. The PackStack Pro also comes in various sizes. I received a 40L+ Tall version. The tall version is 17 cm (7 inches) in height compared to the short version which is 10 cm (4 inches) in height. The website advises that an average overnight pack can hold 3 tall units or 5 short units.

ps2             ps4

    The bag has a carry handle located on the top.  The packaging description also describes multiple lash points on the bag. There are some very small black loops of fabric on the posterior, superior aspect of the bag, but they do not appear large enough for a clip, however I wonder if these might be the described lash points.

    The bag is black. The zipper, seams, and stitching are also black. There is an orange pull tab on the zipper which adds a punch of color. The weatherproof version of the PackStack Pro appears grey from the website, no other color options are available.

    The PackStack Pro also comes with a separate mesh pocket. This is 20 cm (8 inches) wide x 13 cm (5 inches) tall in size. it has a zipper on one side. It also has an orange loop.

    The environmental impact of every product I purchase has become a bigger factor to me as a consumer. I was happy to see this item arrive in minimal packaging; just a thin cardboard sleeve. There is messaging on the packaging that states, "this packaging is recyclable and compostable."

    The packaging is quite information-heavy. It has the name of picture of the product. It also has a list of features. In addition, it also has a picture of how the PackStack Pro works in a backpack.

    I am also excited to be testinps3g a product by a great Canadian company.

Initial Impression:

    The Hillsound PackStack Pro arrived in excellent condition. The construction of the item appears to be of high quality. As promised, all of the seams are taped. The ripstop material is lightweight but feels strong and robust.

    Initially, I thought the separate mesh pocket was to store the PackStack Pro in while not in use. I thought this seemed a bit redundant to put a bag inside of a bag. However, the website also states that an external storage pocket is included, so I believe that is the intended use. The website also shows the pouch being used to store smaller items inside the PackStack Pro, which is how I intend to use it.
     After removing the packaging, I filled the PackStack Pro with some clothes and zipped it shut just to see how it worked. The zipper is easily to pull and glides smoothly. I then put the PackStack Pro in my Osprey Ariel overnight bag and was impressed to see how it fit. I look forward to taking this product with me on my next back country adventure.

Field Reportps8

October 11, 2021

Field Testing:
  • Peak 5040, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elevation change: 890 m (2920 ft)
    • Duration: one night overnight, 7 km (4.35 miles)
    • Temperature: 10 C (50 F), overnight 1 C (34 F) 
    • Weather: overcast, foggy
    • Trail Conditions: steep trail, scrambling required at some points. Old growth to sub-alpine.
  • Juan De Fuca Trail, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elevation change: 525 m (1722 ft)
    • Duration:  12 km (7.45 miles)
    • Temperature: 13 C (55 F)
    • Weather: cloudy
    • Trail Conditions: wet, boggy, some beach trail.
  • Nimpkish Forest Loop, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elevation change: minimal
    • Duration: 5km (3.11 miles)
    • Temperature: 12 C (54 F),
    • Weather: sunny
    • Trail Conditions: old growth forest trail.
The Hillsound PackStack Pro is an item I didn't know I needed! I am surprised how much I have enjoyed using it. I have used this product on the hikes above. I have also used it to help organize my bag while climbing and biking. It is very versatile.

For overnight backpacking trips I used my PackStack Pro 40L+ Tall bag in my 55L (3356 cu in) hiking backpack. I always use stuff sacks or zip bags to organize my backpack, so using the bag itself was not a new concept to me. However, I was surprised at how the rounded shape really maximized and utilized the space in my backpack. I usually put clothes in one stuff sack and then stuff other items around the sack to "use up" the free airspace around it. This time when I packed my backpack I placed the filled PackStack Pro into the bottom of my bag and then packed other items on top of it, as there was no free space around it. I did try to take a picture of the PackStack Pro while in my backpack but it does not photograph very well.

I used the PackStack Pro for my clothing. It is currently fall and the temperatures have been quite cool. The first time I used it I was able to pack a fleece jacket, down pants, a toque, gloves, base layer, and a dry shirt and sports bra for the next day (pictured). The PackStack Pro was full but not stuffed. I decided to place my clothing in the bag because I have the PackStack Pro version which is waterproof. I used the small pouch that was included to put my car key and phone charger in.

I also used the PackStack Pro during other activities when I bring a backpack to help keep items organized. Initially it was simply to get some more time testing it, but I will continue to use it in the future, particularly for climbing. Climbing is an activity that requires a lot of gear, and I love being organized. It was useful having the robust PackStack Pro to store gear in. I have never used a stuff sack for my gear as the typical material is quite thin and doesn't seem robust enough, but I had no hesitation using the PackStack Pro. My climbing bag is 35L (2136 cu in), but the PackStack Pro still fits into the bottom of it in the orientation pictured above.

While biking I placed my repair kit and first aid bag in the PackStack Pro. My biking backpack is only 22L (1343 cu in), so I used the PackStack Pro as more of a general stuff sack. It did not fit in the bag horizontally as in the pictured orientation above - I had to place it vertically. However, it was nice to know those important items had an extra layer of protection in that the bag was waterproof.

All told, I have used the bag about ten times so far. The PackStack Pro still looks to be in new condition. There are no signs of wear, staining or water damage. I have not had any trouble with the zipper or any breakdown in stitching or construction of the bag. I have found the handle useful to pull the bag out because I pack it at the bottom of my backpack. When unpacking, I have placed the PackStack Pro on the ground and no damage has come to it. The ground has also been moist and my clothing has remained dry.

I did use the bag while in rainy conditions on one of my hikes. I am happy to report all of my clothing was dry, although I did have a rain cover on my backpack while hiking. I didn't want to fully expose the bag and fully risk the items getting wet! For my next report I will have to leave it out in the rain when I am not planning to actually use the items or do a submersion test to put it through the paces. Stay tuned!

Long-Term Report

December 6, 2021
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elevation change: 1100 m (3608 ft)
    • Duration:  4 days, 3 nights
    • Temperature: -5 to 7 C (23 - 45 F)
    • Weather: mix of sun, cloud, and rain 
  • Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
    • Elevation change: 450 m (1476 ft)
    • Duration:  2 days, 1 night
    • Temperature: -2 C (28 F)
    • Weather: overcast, early winter conditions
  • Canyon View Trail, Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elevation change: 110 m (361 ft)
    • Duration:  4.8 km  (7.7 miles)
    • Temperature:  5 C (41 F)
    • Weather: sunny and clear
    Since my last report, I have continued to use the PackStack Pro frequently. I was fortunate to have some time off in October when I was able to do some great late fall hiking. I continued to use the PackStack Pro for my clothes, particularly those items I really wanted to keep dry. This made the most sense to me since I had the Pro waterproof version of the bag. I have not packed food or a stove in it. Doing so is a described potential use of the bag, however I did not want any food smell on it, so I can keep it with me overnight. A surprising use I found, having had it with me one night was actually for a pillow! I forgot my camp pillow. The PackStack Pro had my down jacket in it and it was actually pretty comfortable.

    In terms of longevity, I have no concerns. It is definitely overbuilt in comparison to what I would think of as a standard stuff sack. There is no wear to the stitching or zippers. I did leave it out in the rain on a day off and all of my items were bone dry. Despite being out in the elements it does not show any staining, fading, or catching on the zipper. Also, I find I always put the PackStack Pro at the bottom of my bag. I really like the handle on top for this reason. It make it very easy to get out. I have pulled on the handle a lot, and again no concerns. The durable material of both the handle and the body of the bag make it easy to push and pull in and out of my backpack as well as set directly on the ground.

    Having now tested the bag for several months I am also very happy with the size I received. I am testing a Tall version of the PackStack Pro and it fits the usual amount of clothing I bring for a 2-3-night trip in the fall. For summer I could likely fit all of my clothing for a slightly longer trip. I personally would not want the smaller size unless I was using it for different items or in combination with another one. As shown in the pictograph above, I think three tall PackStack Pro bags could fit in my 55L bag, although two Tall and one Short may be an ideal combination. I could not specifically test this, but I tried to estimate this.

In summary, The Hillsound PackStack Pro is a unique innovation in the otherwise crowded space of gear storage. The slight change of matching the PackStack Pro shape to my backpack was quite impressive and made a noticeable practical difference in terms of ease of packing and utilization of space. The Pro version performed extremely well in the elements.  I will not hesitate to recommend or purchase this product in the future.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. Thanks to Hillsound and for the opportunity to test this product.

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