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Whether you call them MTB hip packs, bum bags or fanny packs, they all offer a little extra storage for those that want to ride bag-free without sacrificing storage for essential items,
There has been a trend in mountain biking of riders ditching backpacks and the hot sweaty backs that come with them in favour of more streamlined and freer methods. While cargo bibs and shorts offer pockets, and a plethora of straps allow items to be lashed to frames, it can get to a point that you may just need a little extra space.
The Idea Behind Mountain Biking Waist Pack?
The idea of the mountain biking waist pack comes from the old school fanny pack. A simple sack held by a vest with a simple opening. Today’s models are often quite large, have different compartments to carry different sizes of items, including hydration bladders and are also often interchangeable housing different sized cannisters.
While a lot of people think the idea of a bum bag is a little strange, the consensus is that once they try them, they are hooked. There is something liberating about having your hands and bars free and I have found it makes sense to have a few items of clothing with you for diversity and to allow you to work on the trail.
Waist packs are also generally essential if you are riding with kids as you can easily grab and pass food, drink or other tools without getting off your bike. In the event that you do find yourself off your bike, these packs are also generally great from carrying a camera or a snack, etc.
Key Things To Consider
When selecting a good MTB waist pack, there are a few key things to consider. There are two main types of waist packs – frame packs and seat packs. Generally, you connect one to your frame or onto a chest strap that is attached to your bars. These packs are generally good for specific sized items. If you need more space, they have divider compartments for smaller items and also some basic pockets. They are also generally good for larger items such as tools and hydration packs.
However, many riders prefer the seat pack as they lean across the front or behind you. This allows them to be easily accessed. When choosing a seat pack, it is important to consider the size of the rider and how much space they have and what they want to keep in them. A good seat pack should be light, strong and comfortable.
While many ride wearing only underwear, they are not designed for you to ride wet or dirty. That said, if you want to ride with a bottle and have you hand free, they really come into their own.
Some like to keep smaller items in their back pockets and a more hydration pack in their frame or seat pack. Others prefer a water source right to the hand that they are pedalling with so the former is a better option, while others prefer to carry small items in their hands for easy access. Personally, I prefer the latter and have amassed a set of accessories to allow me to stay cool, free of back sweat and still able to access my essentials. Below are some of my best mountain biking waist pack choices for 2019.
What should I pack in my MTB backpack?
Well, the short answer is whatever you need. However, if you are wondering what’s handy, some riders use their packs to carry:
Hydration Packs – You can either carry a smaller bladder in your back pack or a larger bag in a frame mounted pack. Yet another reason to go frame mounted.
– You can either carry a smaller bladder in your back pack or a larger bag in a frame mounted pack. Yet another reason to go frame mounted. Vittana Tube Tool – If you have a tube repair kit, don’t carry it in your pack. If you do go bagless you can stow the tube repair kit in your waist pack.
– If you have a tube repair kit, don’t carry it in your pack. If you do go bagless you can stow the tube repair kit in your waist pack. Small Parts – Some use their packs for small parts such as spokes, mini-pump, CO2 etc but these can be found in your tool kit.
– Some use their packs for small parts such as spokes, mini-pump, CO2 etc but these can be found in your tool kit. Phone – If your phone is in your pack, you’ll always know where it is.
– If your phone is in your pack, you’ll always know where it is. Extra Gears – If your running an e*thirteen or a 2x drivetrain, you can stash a few keys at the back end for that sudden granny gear
– If your running an e*thirteen or a 2x drivetrain, you can stash a few keys at the back end for that sudden granny gear 2x Chain Bracelet – This is by far my most used tool and no I’m not referring to my driver cranks, but a freewheel remover. These things are so cheap yet so good. I have 4 and I always have one in each pocket – you never know when it will come in handy.
Also, it’s worth noting that the pack will probably come with some material that helps you secure items to it.
Is a hip pack enough for mountain biking?
The simple answer is no. A hip pack is generally designed to carry specific items like keys, a small wallet, or items that you want access to but don’t want in your larger pack. They’ll never be big enough for anything more than a few essentials.
Can you ride without a bag?
When it comes to mountain biking, I am sure you’ve heard the term ‘bag-less’ often. It is as popular as it sounds and while there’s nothing wrong with it, keep in mind that you’ll want to have most of the essentials that you carry on you.
For example, I don’t have a bag when I ride. However, I do have shoes, helmet, tools, phone, camera, a lot of food and my breathable jacket which is enough to keep me going for the day.
These are items that I may not have packed but can easily be removed in the event that I need to head off the trail and on a trip to civilization. This is especially helpful if you also have kids in tow. You don’t necessarily want to be lugging food, drink or kids in your panniers. You can pack it into your small frame bags or saddlebag, but who carries around their heavy items watching their child play?
Additionally, riding without a backpack also leaves you more flexible to work the trail. You are less restricted by hard or bulky items. This is especially useful because riding off-road with panniers can be challenging depending on the space between your pedals, your crank and your seat. If your seat is positioned too close to your rear wheel, you will likely be unable to apply your rear brake without brushing your seat with your crank. It is also generally harder to initiate turns and to work with your body position.
This product was recommended by Mikkel Andreassen from Dixa
Dakine is a well-known brand with a wide range of hip packs and a long history of producing premium quality outdoor gear. In the Hot Laps series, the American manufacturer offers a bike-specific line at an affordable with a huge amount of space and a hydration bladder. The build features a mix of high-quality ripstop nylon on the solid colors and polyester for the prints, giving you a total of 305 cubic inches of space to use.
The Hot Laps 5L has two main compartments, the rear one comes with a 70 ounce (2 liters) water reservoir and still has enough space to stow a lot of gear that you’re gonna need on your rides. Then you have the front one with several pockets for phones, tools, food, and whatever else you can think of. The waist pack also includes side compression straps and a magnetic buckle that keeps the hose in place while you ride. It’s generally comfortable with a stable fit and plenty of storage space. Overall, it’s a great choice for mountain bikers who want lots of storage space on a budget.
This product was recommended by Noman Asghar from Fan Jackets
This waist pack is designed to provide comfortable feel while riding. It can hold many things at once, and separately has a water bottle holder to store more water if you need. Adjustable strap and strong material that will last longer than ordinary hip packs.
This product was recommended by Alex Wise from Commuting by Bicycle
The Dakine Hot Laps Waist Bag is a great option for any mountain biker thanks to it coming in 8 different color options, 70 ounce (2 litre) water reservoir while still having room for you to carry your phone, wallet and a multi tool. While the bag has a low centre of gravity which helps with popping manuals.