While they might be the butt of many a sartorial joke, when it comes to riding light without forgoing the essentials, a bum bag/fanny pack — now rebranded as the hip pack — is a pretty good idea.
In recent years they’ve become more popular with riders of all creeds, but especially in the world of enduro racing where being able to carry enough kit for a full day on the bike, without being overly encumbered by a big bag, is the name of the game. An excellent side benefit is the fact you’ll no longer suffer from a sweaty back or get hit in the helmet on steep sections.
This pack offers a non-insubstantial 5L of storage — including a 2L Hydrapak bladder that’ll allow you to slurp down a drink on the move via a hose that’s secured to the waistband. That’s significantly more liquid storage than most other hips packs, which tend to have space for a single 500ml bottle or nothing at all.
In the main compartment, you get a zipped mesh section plus two pockets, one of which is lined with soft and fuzzy material to prevent damage to your techno-gadgets. On the outside there’s also a flap secured by two hook-clips to allow you to store body armour or a jacket. The back of the pack has waffle-shaped foam padding covered with mesh, while it’s all secured with a nylon waist strap.
Sadly, there are a number of issues with the pack. The first is that when the bladder is filled and you’ve popped the basics in the bag — think phone, tube, multitool and pump — then it turns into a very sausage-like shape that is then free to bounce up and down on the back thanks to the relatively narrow and formless straps.
When riding over rougher terrain, the constant jerking of the waistband into my stomach was uncomfortable to say the least. When you start to drink from the bladder the volume of the pack decreases and the straps go loose, meaning you need to be constantly adjusting them as you ride to get them somewhere between secure and uncomfortable. Not filling the bladder to capacity makes this less of an issue, but even then the formless shape is still far too prone to moving about on your hips.
Elsewhere it’s not much better. Even the main storage area is compromised by the fact that the clips that secure the external flap fasten behind the zip to access it, meaning you need to undo that every time you want to access anything. That would be less of an issue if the waistband had zipped storage on it, but it doesn’t, so even grabbing a multitool turns into a rather faffy exercise.