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Best hip packs: 9 mountain bike bum bags ridden and rated

Carry your trail essentials with these backpack alternatives

Hip packs, bum bags, fanny packs… whatever you call them, they’re now one of the most popular ways of staying hydrated and storing kit on rides.

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Love them or loathe them, hip packs are a way to ditch your backpack on mountain bike rides and provide somewhere safe to store your best mountain bike sunglasses when not wearing them.

If you’re wondering what else to take on your ride, check out our 20 essentials for epic mountain bike rides. Our guide to trailside repairs will show you how to use the tools and spares when a mechanical strikes.

Here are our favourite hip packs for mountain biking in terms of price, practicality and comfort.

Best hydration hip packs for mountain biking in 2022

  • EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L + 1.5L: £110 / €130 
  • Osprey Seral 7: £90 / €100 / $100 / AU$150
  • Patagonia Dirt Roamer Waist Pack 3L: £65 / €60 / $69 
  • Bontrager Rapid Pack: £45 / $60 / AU$100
  • PNW: £52 / $69 
  • Lowe Alpine Lightflite Hydro: £28 / €35
  • Osprey Savu 2: £50 / €60 / $55 / AU$80
  • Osprey Seral 4: £60 / $75
  • Thule Rail 4: £90 / $100 / AU$169

EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L + 1.5L Bladder

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The hip pack doesn’t bump about on the waist even when carrying the 1.5-litre bladder.
Ian Linton / Our Media
  • Price: £110 / €130 as tested
  • Weight: 578g (478g without bladder)

The EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L + 1.5L bladder is comfortable, stable and roomy without excess weight.

The Venti Flap attachment system holds the Hip Pack Pro 3L firmly on rough terrain and the padded belt doesn’t dig in to your back.

In addition to, or in place of, the 1.5-litre bladder, the Hip Pack Pro 3L can carry water bottles.

Numerous external and internal pockets provide loads of places to store things. While not exceptional, the EVOC Hip Pack 3L’s capacity is adequate for big days out.

Osprey Seral 7

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Seral 7 manages to carry a lot yet not feel a burden.
Ian Linton / Our Media
  • Price: £90 / €100 / $100 / AU$150 as tested
  • Weight: 518g (382g without bladder)

The Osprey Seral 7 is capacious enough to replace a cycling backpack on long rides and well-balanced with it.

Although the strap is slightly less comfortable than the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L, the Seral 7 still hugs the body nicely and can hold twice as much.

Some people may find the Seral 7’s zipped side pockets less practical than elasticated, mesh alternatives.

However, the remaining pockets distribute items evenly through the pack to maintain its svelte shape.

Patagonia Dirt Roamer Waist Pack 3L

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Dirt Roamer 3L pack could be the ideal partner on shortish outings.
Ian Linton / Our Media
  • Price: £65 / €60 / $69
  • Weight: 245g

The Patagonia Dirt Roamer Waist Pack 3L weighs a mere 245g, making it an excellent minimalist pack for rides that don’t require a whole toolkit.

The Dirt Roamer still has a three-litre capacity, consisting of a central pouch plus two zipped pockets and a pair of water bottle holders.

When its packed sparsely, wearing the comfortable Dirt Roamer feels almost like riding unencumbered.

However, a lack of padding can make solid objects, such as a bike pump, prod into you when the pack is fuller.

Bontrager Rapid Pack

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Bontrager’s Rapid Pack only really has room for essentials.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • Price: £45 / $60 / AU$100 as tested
  • Weight: 220g

There is a lot to like about the slim, minimal design of the Bontrager Rapid Pack. Two zipped pockets with internal mesh compartments offer plenty of easily accessible storage, with a space between them for a standard bottle.

The large foam back panel holds the bag in place securely and the waist strap doesn’t have any flappy loose ends.

With just 1.4 litres of storage, you can only pack the bare essentials. No bottle is supplied and the tight fit of the bottle holder makes it difficult to slide your drink back into place while riding. The back panel can also get quite sweaty.

PNW Rover

4.0 out of 5 star rating
As you’d expect from PNW Components, the Rover Hip Pack is a well-rounded piece of kit.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media
  • Price: £52 as tested
  • Weight: 372g

PNW Components’ Rover Hip Pack has plenty of storage in its 2.7-litre capacity to stow essentials for day-long mountain bike and gravel riding. Multiple pockets divide items and there’s room for a waterproof jacket.

Although the padded pack is comfy, the removable bottle pouch rocked around on rough terrain and when pedalling standing up.

The Rover Hip Pack’s quality construction withstands the elements to keep the contents dry inside. It also cleans well and dries in good time after a soaking.

Lowe Alpine Lightflite Hydro

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Lowe’s Alpine Lightflite Hydro offers plenty of storage space.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • Price: £28 as tested
  • Weight: 258g

The Lowe Alpine Lightflite Hydro bag offers four litres of storage, which is enough for racing and even longer days in the saddle if you pack light.

There are two exterior mesh pockets, in which you can stash smaller items, such as energy gels and multi-tools, within easy reach. The bag comes with a 500ml bottle, and the slightly angled bottle holder makes it easy to grab on the go.

It’s by far the cheapest bag here and for the price it’s hard to find much to fault.

It’s not a bike-specific pack and its less figure-hugging shape means it tends to move around a little when fully loaded.

Osprey Savu 2

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Savu 2 is a keenly priced, mid-capacity pack.
Ian Linton / Our Media
  • Price: £50 / €60 / $55 / AU$80 as tested
  • Weight: 261g

The Osprey Savu 2 holds firm on all but the most extreme trails, where it tends to bounce about. Otherwise, its performance compares well to hip packs twice as expensive.

There’s sufficient capacity to carry what you need on shorter rides (a pump and multi-tool, for example), where you’ll appreciate the pack’s low weight.

The Savu 2 doesn’t have a hydration bladder, but a 750ml water bottle slots diagonally into the middle of the pack.

Osprey Seral 4

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The pack can hold two large bottles’ worth of water, with extra space for tools and snacks.
Immediate Media
  • Price: £60 as tested
  • Weight: 300g

With its wide wings, the Osprey Seral 4 feels comfortable and secure even when carrying 1.5 litres of water plus kit. The waist clip is easy to use, even with a pair of the best mountain bike gloves on.

Thick back padding prevents anything in the large single pocket from digging in. It’s not too sweaty, either. Capacity is decent, even with a full reservoir.

Build quality meets Osprey’s high standards and a handy magnetic clip holds the hose in place.

The hose doesn’t release from the bladder for easy refilling. It’d also be better if it were held in a separate pocket, rather than an internal sleeve. We missed having exterior stash pockets for trail snacks.

Thule Rail 4

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Thule Rail 4 has a 1.5-litre bladder with a long tube that stows away tidily.
Ian Linton / Our Media
  • Price: £90 / $100 / AU$169
  • Weight: 523g (382g without bladder)

The Thule Rail 4 is well made, padded and incorporates clever features.

The ReTrakt drinking system, which is secured by a pair of magnets when not in use, is one of the best around. There’s also a dedicated mobile phone pocket.

The belt tension can be adjusted on both sides and keeps the Thule Rail 4 immobile, except when it’s packed full or you’re jumping.

Provided the bladder isn’t full, a lightweight waterproof jacket for mountain biking and a few tools fit easily in the main inner section.

Also consider

The following packs scored fewer than four stars, but are still worth considering if they suit your needs and budget.

CamelBak Podium Flow Belt

3.5 out of 5 star rating
This slimmed-down pack fits in the bare essentials.
Immediate Media
  • Price: £45 as tested
  • Weight: 181g

The CamelBak Podium Flow Belt’s 2-litre volume is just big enough for ride essentials, with useful internal organisation plus a slim, zipped external pocket for your phone or keys.

We found the padded back and not-too-wide strap comfortable, and neither bulky nor sweaty. CamelBak’s excellent Dirt Series 620ml bottle with mud cover is included.

Replacing the bottle while riding is tricky. Your pump has to sit diagonally, taking up more space and limiting its length (to around 20cm). The waist clip needs a good squeeze to open, which is fiddly with thicker gloves on.

Dakine Hot Laps 2L

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Dakine’s Hot Laps 2L is well priced.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • Price: £30 (+ water bottle) / $40 as tested
  • Weight: 199g (no bottle)

Dakine’s Hot Laps pack is simple and lightweight, and sits comfortably against your back. The waist strap holds it securely in place, but it doesn’t quite match the stability of Mavic’s Crossride.

With a 2-litre volume, there’s space for spares and snacks. The main compartment features a fleece-lined pocket and a couple of extra compartments to organise your gear. There’s a foldaway bottle holder on the side. It’s well priced too.

This is the only pack here that doesn’t include a water bottle or bladder, and we found it hard to reinsert a bottle when riding. It’s also the least breathable of all the options we tested.

Mavic Crossride Belt

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Crossride Belt is a stable choice.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • Price: £62 / $55 as tested
  • Weight: 310g

With its triangular shape, the Mavic Crossride Belt is very stable. The 600ml bottle is easy to access (if you’re right-handed) and stays securely in its pouch.

There’s enough space for a tube, multi-tool and tyre levers, or a few snacks. The dedicated pump pocket is handy too. We like the elasticated waist strap, and the tabs can be tucked away neatly.

Breathability is okay, but not great. For the limited capacity it offers (don’t expect to take anything more than the bare necessities) it seems a little over-engineered.

Source Hipster

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Source Hipster also has a removable harness.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • Price: £69 as tested
  • Weight: 465g

The Source Hipster’s removable harness (not pictured) does an excellent job of reducing movement, making it the most secure pack here.

The single-sided strap adjustment keeps the loose end tucked away, there are bungee cords for a jacket, and the hose for the 1.5-litre reservoir is insulated.

Without the harness, the pack slumps a little. There’s no support from the back panel and no side straps to pull the weight in, so it bulges away from your back when loaded, which makes it move around more. Also, the three front pockets are very small.

Thule Rail 2

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Clever inner pockets make the pack roomy relative to its capacity.
Immediate Media
  • Price: £60 as tested
  • Weight: 230g

Decent dimensions make the Thule Rail’s two litres of storage more generous than it sounds, so we rarely struggled to carry all we needed for a longer ride, including a larger pump.

It’s comfy to wear, thanks to its stretchy wings and belt. Construction quality feels premium.

We like the mesh stash pockets and soft-lined phone pocket. Bright internal fabric and dividers make it easy to find small items.

While there’s room for two bottles, none are included. Replacing them is difficult when on the bike.

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The narrow waist strap means the pack isn’t as stable on rough tracks when fully loaded as others here. Its storage isn’t that flexible either.