After a decades-long hiatus, hip packs have returned to the mountain bike world over the last few seasons, perhaps due to the growth of enduro racing, or maybe simply because the novelty of having a pack pulling down on your shoulders for hours at a time has worn off. There are now more options than ever, including High Above's Cascadia hip pack, which is handmade in Bellingham, Washington.
Cascadia Hip Pack Details
• Waterproof sail cloth material
• YKK Zippers
• 12.5" x 3" x 5.5'" (LxWxH)
• Made in USA
• MSRP: $75 USD
The pack's design is free of any unnecessary bells and whistles (I suppose if you felt like it, you could fill it up with bell and whistles... but repair supplies and food makes a lot more sense), with one large main compartment and two pockets on the back panel. The body is constructed from waterproof sailcloth, Dimension Polyant's VX41, a light and strong fabric that can handle all sorts of abuse. The waterproof zipper adds another line of defense against the elements, helping to ensure that your snacks aren't waterlogged when it's time to take a break, and the long paracord zipper pulls make accessing those treats as easy as possible.There's also a spot on the exterior of the pack where High Above's Bottle Rocket can be attached, a $11.50 accessory that can holster a water bottle or your favorite canned beverage.
The are several color choices for the main body of the bag, including black, charcoal, or camo, and you can pick from eight different color options for the zipper pulls and the “wings,” the pack's triangular side panels. MSRP: $75 USD.
The Cascadia hip pack has plenty of room for the essentials.
A mesh back panel adds comfort, and the sturdy buckle keeps everything secured.
These days, I'll do pretty much anything I can to avoid wearing a backpack when I'm riding, and for the last year the Cascadia hip pack has been earning its keep by taking the weight off my shoulders. It is a little wider than some of the other options on the market, and at first I was worried that it would bounce around too much on rough descents, but that was never the case, and even during laps in the bike park
it never gave me any trouble. And yes, you read that right - I wore a hip pack in the bike park. Deal with it.
I did give the Rocket Pocket bottle holster a try, but the bottle stuck out just far enough that it would occasionally bump against a tree or bush, and I ended up preferring to ride without it. On longer rides, I was able to fit a 30oz collapsible water pouch into the pack along with a tube, tools, and pump, with just enough room left over to squeeze in a light windbreaker. Even when it was filled to the brim with all that gear the zippers never went off track, and all the stitching is still holding strong. Pinkbike's Take:
|After months of being doused with rain and mud, the Cascadia's fabric doesn't look any worse for wear, and there aren't any indications that it won't keep on ticking for years to come. It's tough, very well constructed, and certainly worth considering if you're searching for something other than a traditional hydration pack. - Mike Kazimer|
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