When mountain biking was born your only option were backpacks. Not very comfortable, without straps that would keep them in place while going down. With the development of the mountain bike industry and the number of people riding their bikes the backpacks started to change and become more and more comfortable and suited for certain needs. But what to do when you really do not want to use a backpack for some reasons? Kidney belts became fashionable. And here is a quick review ow one of the most know bike brand’s – Evoc – kidney belt Hip Pack Race.
The pack has 4 compartments: the first one is the biggest and is used to accommodate a 1,5 liter water sack plus some stuff. I managed to squeeze in a rain jacket along the full water bag. The water bag hose can be fitted through the right belt part and then suspended on a magnet clip. The second compartment has small divisions within that help to keep things in their place. And it has a zipper closed pocket for documents etc. 2 more compartments are sewn along the belt: both are zip locked, but only 1 is a full material one. The other is made of a net. Additionally, outside the pack there is a place for 1 water bottle. Moreover on the opposite side from the water bottle mount there’s a helmet mount. At least I used it in that fashion. The helmet did not dangle to much but I only used it on more or less civilized forest roads. When the ups started being rough I put my helmet on.
To a person that never before used a hip pack the first view of it gives a thought something like “And this is supposed to be more comfortable than a backpack? Nooooo waaaaay”. The kidney belt seems big, bulky and cumbersome. But after putting in on oneself and setting the belt it felt like it wasn’t there, “Yeah right, it will be worse when I’ll put stuff inside”. And well, after stuffing in at the max, the belt was heave but the feeling disappeared during the ride. I do not know if my physique is so compatible with this pack, but after fastening the belt the pack was just as it was a part of me. I never had that feeling with a backpack before.
During the ride the side pockets were extra use full for holding some snacks or energy gels. After a few rides I learned how to operate all the compartments singlehandedly with the backpack firmly placed behind me without he need of rotating it (which is pretty easy by the way).
– you can pack all you need for a 3-4 hour ride
– pretty nice ventilation
– I remember buying backpacks that were less expensive
– the document compartment could be waterproof (but then why would Evoc need a more expensive hip pack in its offer…)
The Hip Pack Race is a great addition to a mountain bikers gear. If you do know how long is the stretch before neighboring waterholes and you usually do not pack every wrench you own the pack is a great option. No matter how much you put in it, it still manages to feel light enough during a ride.