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Highlander Forces 44 in HMTC

It could be said that Highlander are a house hold name when it comes to outdoor kit and the 44 Litre rucksack has been one of their firm favourites for a few years now. Now that it is clear that MTP is the way of the future, and a lot of firms have been bringing out their “own version” of MTP to keep up with the latest trends and Highlander is no different in bringing out their Highlander Multi Terrain Camouflage (HMTC).
Of course the million dollar question is going to be “how does HMTC compare to MTP?” and it’s fair to say that actually it’s not far off of the money. The actual colours are a little darker across the board with the “khaki” on the HMTC being more aligned with the brown in the MTP, but the actual disruptive camouflage design is very similar, so it’s not actually that noticeable when you are wearing it, but you can bet your bottom dollar that your badge will notice it. To compound this, oddly enough MTP on the issue daysack is actually lighter than that on the uniform, but out in the field (or indeed for someone like army cadets) I can’t see this being a problem, or many people making a comment.

As the name suggests, this is a rucksack that is 44 litres in capacity that is split between a main compartment, two zipped side pockets and a zipped pocket in the lid that all use 10 gauge self-repair zips. The rucksack is of a conventional design with the two padded shoulder straps, which are suitably well padded using air mesh and which also has a chest strap included to help take the strain. This chest strap also includes a whistle in the buckle and is also adjustable in its height to a small extent, with two stitched loops to adjust it on. There is also waist strap that is actually more padded using air mesh than the shoulder straps and a belt that opens up to a massive 63” (160 cm), so is easily going to go around you and potentially your belt kit. On the rear of the main compartment, there is three air mesh pads arranged to give not only good padding, but to also allow the circulation of air to reduce sweating and it also has a grab handle at the top of the bag to assist in handling.

The bag itself is made from 900 denier PU coated XTP fabric and in the main compartment, also has a water bladder pocket and connections. There is also a standard type “covered hole” on the right hand side of the bag for the drinking tube to exit the bag and also has two drawer cords compressors on the top to pull it all in with a standard lid over the top. The lid is also made of 900 denier XTP fabric and has a pocket in it with the zip facing forward towards the head, which is roughly circular and around 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter. On the outside of the bag there are two smaller side pockets that are not detachable and around 12 inches long (30 cm) by 6 inches across (15cm) and are around two litres in capacity each and are closed using a circular zip that means that it really opens wide. These aren’t the largest of side pockets however can easily take a small vacuum flask or a few other little goodies and you don’t have to worry about things falling out as long as you do the zip up.

On the outside of the bag there is also an ice pick loop and “daisy chain” utility loops for attaching extra little bits and bobs to the outside of the bag and there is also four molle type straps attached to the bottom of the rucksack, which are very useful for strapping either a roll mat or sleeping bag to. Now like all other Highlander 44 rucksacks there is also a small Velcro patch towards the bottom of the rucksack to add TRF or some other personalisation, but a mate of mine that has an OG version also got a waterproof shell with his, other the HMTC didn’t come with one, which I assume is to do with the pattern.

The rucksack is comfortable on the back and I managed to adjust it up slightly so that it can sit on top of my webbing, or alternatively you can have it sat down in a more conventional position lower down the back. What I did notice though was like so many rucksacks, even in the conventional position the height of the bag restricts how high you can tilt your head back so you are going to have a few issues firing from the prone position, however lets be fair and say that I have found very few rucksacks that get around this issue.

All in all this is a very good rucksack and considering the price, you are getting a lot of kit for your money. This rucksack has been out for a few years now and I suspect it will be for a few more years yet and the HMTC on a product like this works well in conjunction with MTP.