HSGI Denali Multicam
I have longed liked the look of HSGI’s chest rigs. They seemed like a great way to carry a pile of magazines while still having a ton of admin capabilities. Last year I managed to pick up a Multicam Denali for a price I could not pass up. Having spent the last few years playing around with various molle setups it was nice for a change.
-Holds more than enough magazines to keep you in the fight
-Wide and comfortable shoulder straps help spread out the load
-Well thought out admin pouch
-Larger admin area adds extra weight that in my opinion is not needed.
-Larger admin area is difficult to open when the vest is worn
The HSGI Denali is a chest rig designed for a soldier in need of carrying a bountiful amount of ordinance. The main three magazine pouches are able to hold four ar15 magazines each for a total of twelve. I prefer to run magpul’s on my magazines so each will only hold three in that case. Not only that but if you are running a different weapon system that uses larger magazines each pouch can hold three m14 or ak47 magazines. Each of these pouches can be closed using Velcro or the color matched National Molding side release buckles. If you are using the buckles the male Velcro silencer can be used to cover the female side so that you don’t have the flap sticking to the main body. If you choose to use Velcro over the buckles the male end is folded over and inserted into the pouches main body. This is a good system as it allows the user to pick there preferred method of closure. The webbing on the buckle expands enough so that items of 9″ in height can be accommodated. The bottom of each pouch has a drainage grommet so you don’t fill up with swamp water as you crawl to your destination. The side of the two end magazine pouches each have a pouch to hold a double stack pistol magazine. This is two of the four pistol magazine pouches the vest has on it.
The other various pouches attached to the outside of the chest rig are dual canteen/m249 pouches on the under arm sections. Much like the front pouches the side pouches can be fastened with Velcro or dual side release buckles. The major difference of the side pouches is the shock cord tension system. At the rear section of the chest rig is Duraflex cord lock which holds the contents of the pouch in place. The bottom of the pouch has a drainage grommet in it.
If you look to the rear of the pouch where it attaches to the body you will see either two grommets one on the vest and one on the pouch. If you don’t see that the other side of the vest will have a piece of shock cord with a webbing pull stitched on. This is designed to hold a pistol in place. It can be swapped to either side depending on what hand you draw with. The pouch is 7″ deep and the shock cord is adjustable to accommodate the larger length pistols. The pocket is around 4.5″ across flat so you should be able to holster your pistol with a compact light attached. I prefer to draw a pistol from a leg rig or from a sideways mounted holster at the top of the chest. I found the draw to be slightly awkward and usually use this pouch to hold my field message pad.
The front section of the pouch has two opened bottom grenade pouches. Since I currently do not run a belt kit I use two of these pouches to run the plastic clips of my dump pouch through. Between the utility pouches on each of the pouches you fill find another pistol magazine pouch. At the rear side of the pouch you fill find a smoke/cs/flashbang grenade pouch that can adjust to suit the three. This pouch uses a side release buckle or Velcro to hold the contents in it. With the vest worn the smoke/cs/flashbang pouch can easily be accessed by your fire team partner if you are in a stack. So now that we have all those pouches out of the way lets count the ordinance you can carry at one time. So far we have up to twelve ar15 magazines or nine ak/m14 ones, four double stack pistol magazines, four grenades, two crowd control/distraction devices and a pistol. Obviously this rig was designed to carry a full battle load out.
The last pouch on the outside of the vest is the radio pouch. This pouch can also be used to store another magazine or two. Personally I would use it to carry two magazines full of tracers to be used to direct fire. It could also be used to carry magazines with green tip penetrator rounds especially useful if you have a rebar cutter flash hider. Storing your magazines here would ensure that you don’t grab one of those magazines by accident. The radio pouch is designed to fit a Sabre radio or one of similar size. The pouch has a flap and side release buckle at each end to allow for both right and left hand opening. At the bottom of the pouch is a female side release buckle that attaches this pouches bottom to the area just above the main magazine pouches. This buckle is used to hastily secure the magazine pouches in the upright position if you are using the admin area and come under contact. At the top of the radio pouch are ranger beads you can use for pacing out your distance when your are navigating.
With the radio pouch unclipped and flipped up you can unzip the smaller of the two admin pouches. The zipper is a double zipper with nice big robust teeth made by Lenzip. You can either keep the two zippers at the top or at either side depending on your preference. Once unzipped the admin area will drop down and be supported at a right angle by two pieces of para-cord. This allows for a stable platform to use as a table to scribble orders on, mark area on a map etc. There is even a picture floating around the net of an airsofter using it as a table at a McDonalds. The base of the admin area has a durable transparent rubber section to store notes, maps and such under allowing you to see them while keeping them out of the elements. You can also scribble on the item underneath using a grease pen or marker. I have used permanent marker and alcohol allows you to easily wipe it off. The clear section measures 10″ across and 7″ high. To add to this nice writing area you get six pen/marker/grease pencil pockets mounted to the chest section of the admin area. If your staring at the pouch while wearing it to right of the writing tool area are two elastic loops. This can be used to attach anything from a chem light, to hearing protection, to a tube of cam paint or sunscreen. To the right of the other pouches and pockets is a shock cord topped pouch. You can use this to store a multi tool or other similar sized items. Behind all of these pockets is a wide stuff pocket where you can store other maps, radio codes or what have you. I typically stuff some alcohol and Fogtech wipes in there. Speaking of which if you have fogging issues with your ballistic lenses pick up a sample pack of Fogtech wipes they work better than any of the other type of anti fog options I have tried.
Now if for whatever reason you decide you want none of the internals of the admin area you can just tear it out. All you have to do is untie the para-cord at the top and bottom and pull the organizer off of the Velcro. This means you can insert any variety of customized organizers to meet your daily needs. For instance if you want a holster could easily be designed to attach inside. To zip up this section its best to grab onto the zipper tails which have been shrink tubed and use it to steady the teeth as you pull up.
Behind all of the various pouches is another similar admin area. The main difference is this one is larger and has several more stuff pockets to hold your gloves or what have you. There are also four elastics at the center which can hold even more chem sticks and other such items.
This area too can be removed the same way as the first admin area. I rarely use this area for anything other than cramming the odd thing in through the top. I find it hard to zip up when fully open and on the body and it doesn’t fold down comfortably. I would have preferred it to not be there as its just added weight. In this day and age any weight savings is a good thing as the soldiers weight load they are expected to carry rises.
The rear section of the vest closest to the body has four mesh covered areas with a small square of Velcro at the top to hold them closed. I would not store anything here unless you are wearing plates as it would jam you in the chest. If they were a bit wider you could fit a ration in there to keep it warm if you don’t have a way to heat things up or the time.
The straps for the Denali are large but very comfortable. The wide straps help distribute the weight across your shoulders keeping your load from being too cumbersome. I was not a fan of using the straps in an x configuration and preferred it when I had the strap run through the additional hydration carrier you can purchase. To attach the hydration carrier you clip it into the buckle on the shoulders. To ensure the straps stayed in place I put two 1.5″ fabric elastics over the shoulder straps to run the hydration straps under.
This keeps both my hydration hose and the straps in place and stops them from slipping off. I would like to see future versions of the chest rig to encompass this as it’s a really cheap option that enhances the vest that much more.
If you require a rig that will hold a full battle load out and have the ability to easily perform various admin activities then this is the rig for you. The magazine pouches are designed for multiple weapon systems to encompass the various main weapons a soldier may find themselves using. This vest may not be a fancy molle vest where all the pouches can be placed where you want but the pouches are organized in the most convenient method for me. Some people may not like the quad stacked magazine pouches in the front as they make it a bit uncomfortable in the prone. You may notice at this point that I have not wrote anything about the sniper waste pack that zips to the bottom. I found it uncomfortable to use therefore I don’t have much experience with it. So to not put my foot in my mouth I have left it out. I plan to run a belt kit of some sort with this rig in the future and will let you know how it works with this set up.