Landscape evolution is modeled widely using a simple creep law for complex processes of sediment transport. Here, field data show how a new transport model, combined with an exponential soil production law, better captures spatial variations of soil thickness on hillslopes. We combine parameterizations of simple and depth-dependent creep with overland flow to predict soil thickness and suggest how soil distribution evolves in response to climatic and tectonic forcing. We present an empirical expression for the response time of the system to external forcing that shows strong dependence on relief and is independent of soil production rate. We suggest that this parameterization may be used to quantify upland carbon storage and removal and predict impacts of deforestation or rapid climatic changes.