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Pinkbike Poll: Hip Pack, Vest, or Backpack?

May 1, 2024 at 14:04
by Mike Kazimer  
Neon Retro D.A.R.E. Fanny Pack

It's been over a decade since hip packs returned to the mountain bike world as a viable way of carrying the basics for shorter rides. At the time, their reintroduction was met with mixed opinions – the old timers that had been rocking hip packs since the '80s were glad to be fashionable again, and the too-cool-for-school crowd couldn't stop snickering at the word 'fanny.'

Nowadays, there are dozen of hip pack options on the market, and they don't attract a second glance at most riding areas. Recently, though, I've noticed a slight shift, at least here in the Pacific Northwest – more and more riders are wearing vest-style packs. The full size, traditonal looking backpacks still aren't as common as they once were, but smaller packs inspired by what ultra-runners wear seem to be gaining traction. Brands like Evoc, Cambelbak, and USWE, among others, have options designed specifically for mountain biking, with pockets for tools, snacks, and a hydration bladder.

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Vest-style packs seem to be gaining popularity in some areas.

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Unless you're venturing out for a super-extra-mega epic, a full-size pack isn't typically necessary, especially on a bike that has bottle cages and downtube storage.

It makes sense – big, bulky backpacks fell out of fashion because of the way they shifted around in the steeps, and the fact that the carrying capacity was overkill for all but the most epic rides. The vest style packs stay in place much better, and there's no waist strap to dig in when you're leaning over the bars. They also carry water better than a hip pack, and make it easier to carry a spare layer. They are a little warmer on those summer rides, but not nearly as sweaty as a full-size pack.

Personally, I tend to switch between a hip pack or a vest-style pack depending on the weather (literally), or the length of the ride. I still like the low profile of a small hip pack for quicker rips, but for rides when I want more water or room for a rain jacket I'll bring the vest backpack. As for the traditional, full-size hydration pack? Unless I'm using it to carry trail maintenance tools, that pack barely sees any use at all these days.

How are you typically carrying your stuff on shorter rides?



How are you typically carrying your stuff on longer rides?







Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,752 articles

257 Comments
  • 93 12
 The best rides are when you can stop back at the parking lot throughout and restock on fuel and hydration there. If it is a bigger ride, water bottles in the frame and hip pack! Rarely do I bust out the backpack these days.
  • 43 5
 100%. Big rides with gas station snacks part way through are great.
  • 21 2
 @mikekazimer: Just don't fall prey to that Shell's shitbag cookies. They are deceptively terrible.
  • 8 2
 I love trail systems where you take the same climb up every time so I can bring a cooler and hide it at the base of the climb
  • 46 0
 I unfortunately go out full MacGyver, back pack, and enough tools to build my own F1 car should it be needed. I have hiked back from many rides in my past that could have been solved with the right tools.
  • 3 0
 man, that's multiple rides.
  • 7 12
flag deepcovedave (May 3, 2024 at 12:57) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: gas stations also offer a chance to re-lube the chain from discarded oil cans. Been there done that - it'll get you home.
  • 7 0
 I was a BIG backpack believer until I tried a hip pack. Now I only bring the backpack for the rare rides that require more than two bottles and I just don't have that much time very often.
  • 18 0
 Hard to stop at a gas station or car when you're doing a big backcountry loop.
  • 20 3
 @deepcovedave: in what situation would it not be possible to get home because you had an inadequately lubed chain?!
  • 11 0
 There’s about 15minutes difference between my shorter rides and my longer rides
  • 6 0
 @Pamlico: I’m not doing big back country loops but I’m trying to imagine how short people’s local trails are to make this even possible.
  • 4 0
 @gulogulointhearctic: I’ve lubed a chain with a banana peel. 75 miles away from home. It sounded and felt that bad.
  • 1 1
 @birdsandtrees: He's never seen a Deepcove winter.
  • 2 0
 @Yaan: I mean it says he’s from Antarctica….
  • 4 3
 @deepcovedave: who downvotes this? The oil recycling bins can be a lifesaver.
  • 2 1
 @gulogulointhearctic: the noise and friction are irritating.
  • 2 2
 Also backpacks do not go well with back+chest protectors. Hip packs are great for carrying FF helmet, you simply loop the belt though the chin bar and it is surprisingly not that uncomfortable and now you helmet doubles as a bucket for any extra clothes. This way I can get almost full protection on an enduro ride. With well sorted and breathable pads I can do a 4h ride with only a phone, tool and gloves in a very small hip pack. And most of the time you can resupply water in multiple places. Note that having back+chest protector is unachievable with any kind of backpack.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: There won’t be any shops on our longer rides let alone a gas station. You leave the car and won’t pass a shop until your back 4 hours later
  • 4 0
 @woofer2609: Honestly I have no idea Smile I've had a few loops riding from the North Shore over to Roberts Creek and I can tell you we DID stop at a gas station in Gibsons before heading to the ferry and the ride home.

I've had a few laps into the backcountry - no lube there for sure so you have to be prepared.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Try the sushi!
  • 1 0
 @lacykemp: The absolute worst.
  • 54 1
 I got to preach about some of the newer style hydration vests - I have found them to be extremely unobtrusive and not-hot and they do a far better job of spreading the weight across a larger area than you could achieve with a hip pack. I almost always forget i'm even wearing a vest on the descents. My personal take is that there is effective weight limit for hip packs and it's not much before they just flip around. To each their own though.
  • 18 6
 My experience with fanny packs is if you're carrying enough water for an hour ride, they flop around so much it's more uncomfortable than a traditional pack.
I got a tiny Uswe backpack, it's way less noticeable than a hip pack when carrying >1l water.
  • 5 2
 Yup, I've tried a couple hip-packs with ~2L bladders in the them, and it's just so bouncy, or you have the straps cinched so tight it's painfully annoying.

Slim belt-style waist pack for bare essentials with water on bike for short rides straight out of the garage, USWE hydration pack sized to suit your gear prefs (rain shell, pump, tubes for friends, saw, etc) for longer rides.
  • 9 1
 @Weens: I've got a larger USWE pack with back protector built in that is
comfortable and doesn't move around at all. But it's not light...
  • 5 0
 I think you must not have used very good packs. I don't want to trash vests because I suspect they are good, but my hip pack doesn't flop and it is not even close. That was my first fear when I bought it but it ended up being no biggie. Did you buy a pack at Walmart or do some shopping around?
  • 5 1
 I just have the hip pack with me on longer rides for my jacket and a second spare tube. But I guess we don't need so much water in the UK as at any point you can just open your bottle, hold it out and it'll fill with rainwater.
  • 8 5
 @Weens: You need water for an hour long ride?
  • 1 0
 Thinking about a vest as I'm not a big fan of my hydration hippack. What do you guys recommend trying out?
  • 4 1
 USWE is my go to. Occasional fanny pack with bottle holder. I like to have a bunch of stuff with me though and not wear the helmet uphill. The USWE pack just feels the best, hard to wear the old type now.
  • 6 0
 @fluider: I’m with you on this! I wore a backpack with full 3L bladder for many years and guzzled tons of water. Now I ride just about every ride up to 2.5 hours with a single water bottle in my frame. Prehydrate in the parking lot and you’ll be surprised how fine you are on a regular ride with 22oz of water.
  • 2 0
 @gasman5: rocking the same pack, have the go-pro chest mount for it as well for recording my bumbling.
  • 4 0
 I've got way more backpacks, fanny packs, and hydration vests than any one person needs. Vests became my favorite by a large margin. They balance the load a lot better, which means you don't need to tighten them down nearly as much as hip packs or backpacks to prevent movement. They're a lot cooler than backpacks too. As a bonus, the accessibility to stuff on the chest straps keeps me rolling instead of stopping for a snack. I will admit, they're not as stylish. But my days of caring about that are long gone.
  • 1 2
 @Weens: strap it down around your hips nice n snug. I'll carry 2 latge bottles and have no issues once I get moving.
  • 2 0
 @IMeasureStuff: UltraAspire. They make awesome packs. The vests from the trail running community are way ahead of the mountain bike focused vests IMHO.
  • 2 0
 @dirtpedaler: So an USWE is classed as a vest hydration pack? Honest question, id sothey dont swing round under your armpit like a traditional back pack or an Skyline
  • 3 0
 I can't believe it's not mentioned here but you have to try the Lab Austere hip pack. They changed where it sits and how it holds bottles, and you can put two 1L bottles (that is a ton of water) with no bounce and no clue it's even there. I've abandoned bottles on my frame even because it's so easy to reach bottles with this thing. I've tried everything, they have something special going on.
Not sponsored by them, paid retail, and truly have tried everything else.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: and similarly, for those looking for a vest style pack: lab austere.
  • 3 1
 @strangemeadowlark: that Lab Austere ultimate pack is literally a USWE clone. Changed the internal pocket layout slightly, and added a single external pocket, and different access to the keys pocket, but the main "chassis" is quite literally a USWE Patriot, right down to the protector securing method, the bladder securing hook, and most easily noticable, the strap harness. If it's licensed, great, but I see zero mention of that on the site. And considering in Yoann's video for the launch it says "developed from scratch", it all seems highly suspect, since it was obviously _not_ developed from scratch. And truly _not_ the kind of BS I'd expect from Yoann. Disappointed.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: You're not wrong. I didn't buy the pack, but my friends who have USWE say it's basically the same thing. There were opportunities for innovation - that central clasp deserves a GoPro mount - but they basically made it square and called it a day.
  • 4 0
 @IMeasureStuff: I am a huge fan of USWE. HIghly recommend. I have their traditional outlander backpack. They also have a vest style one.
  • 1 0
 @minesatusker: Their popular pack is the outlander which is slim and hugs you nicely, id say its sort of a hybrid backpack/vest design. They also offer a vest pack.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: They do make a gopro attachment for the clip I believe.
  • 35 2
 I have a bladder in my SWAT box with a line routed up and out my headset. Super clean.
  • 2 0
 That's sweet. How large of a bladder can you stuff inside? I never thought to try that and just used the stock Specialized bladder when I had a Stumpy Evo.
  • 4 0
 But then where do your cables go?
  • 14 0
 @justinfoil: thru-bladder cable technology. Means removing and refilling it is a f*cking nightmare, but it looks so much cleaner.
  • 1 0
 That actually sounds like a good application of headset routing. lol
  • 8 0
 Hydration-tourism.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: and running through the water means your brake hoses stay cool for less wandering bite point! Much brain, so think!
  • 1 0
 SWAT box user too. Some snacks always in there in case I bonk but I treat it as a last resort. Tube in the SWAT too. Oneup pump mounted to my waterbottle cage with the EDC tool within it and tire plugs. Otherwise for rides under 3 hours I have everything in my bib shorts rear pockets. I can fit a lightweight goretex jacket if the weather is questionable, bunch of bars/snacks, and an extra waterbottle. Longer rides still using my 2014 Camelback LR14, but that's only a few times a season.
  • 16 0
 Do bibs with rear pockets qualify as "my pockets"? 20oz Soft flask and snacks in the rear pockets, a 26oz water bottle on the bike, maybe a wind breaker strapped on with a backcountry strap, typically is plenty for a 2-3 hour ride.
  • 8 0
 This! I've found cargo bibshorts are gamechanging, extra flexibottle for water, tool, tyre plug tool and some snacks in the rear pockets and no need for a bag.
  • 2 0
 between SWAT bib and pockets I can fit tool roll, food, phone, extra water bottle, and mini med-kit. Tube and primary bottle stay on the bike! If I'm further away from civilization, gotta go for the camelbak with big bladder. Running out of water sucks...
  • 3 0
 Ever since I got my first pair of bibs with three pockets I can never go back - I can fit so much stuff in there;
2x CO2
Tire plugs
Shifter cable
Tire lever
ID, CC, cash
Cell phone
16-20oz flexible water bottle

Combined with frame storage I'm all set to never wear a pack of any kind even on rides that are 4hr or so - if longer than that I need more water somehow…
  • 2 0
 Yep, bibs are where it's at. Anything that you can fit in a hip pack you can fit in the bib pockets and hugs your body tight. Bibs + decent top tube bag and I can go far especially when I throw in a light, stowable h20 filter from hydrapak.
  • 5 0
 @fumetsu: Do you seriously carry a shifter cable with you on rides?
  • 3 0
 @dcaf: Sounded crazy to me, too, but now that I think about it, I carry a chainbreaker and spare link without any chain failures in years, yet I've snapped two cables since my last chain failure.
  • 3 0
 In a world where most frames only accommodate one bottle, a soft flask in a pocket is an awesome way of ditching the pack for 2-3 hour rides. It's probably a bit less cool, but the traditional cycling jersey with three pockets is still as utilitarian as ever for this, too.
  • 2 0
 @dcaf: I have a cable in my tool roll.
  • 1 0
 @dcaf: I personally know two people whose shifters fell off while riding and made them endo but neither needed a new cable. Not sure what kind of crazy riding you’d be getting into to warrant a shifter cable. A century ride through the Tetons?
  • 1 0
 @gnarlysipes: this! I've had a broken shifter and one that's come off (should have done a bolt check), but to date I haven't broken a cable. I do carry zip ties though which came in handy for the time the shifter fell off.
  • 1 0
 @gnarlysipes: a cable just doesn't really weigh anything and if one person carries one it can be a day saver. I've only had one cable snap and decided to just walk my bike back that time though, but it happens. I've also had the streak of never getting a flat while carrying a spare tube, so to a degree its almost a superstition.
  • 1 0
 @dcaf: and no multitool...
  • 1 1
 Agreed, I have a couple of Sombrio with the convenient flap at the front for purging fluid. Their newer ones dont have that feature sadly. What ones are you using?
  • 2 0
 @skiwenric: I have four pairs of Sombrio smuggle bibs with the pockets in the rear. A more cost effective version of the Spec SWAT bibs in my opinion. Game changing for me! I have both the version with the front flap for pee breaks and the standard version. I actually prefer the standard version. I have not liked any Sombrio gear otherwise, but their old chamois bigs with the pockets are some of my favourite pieces of gear.
  • 16 0
 I hire a porter for all of my rides. I just carry 1 water bottle and the porter carries anything else I need. Usually the porter will have a fully stocked cooler, 2 chairs, 3 gallons of water, tools, full size pump, repair stand, and an energy bar.
  • 15 1
 S.W.A.T. and a bottle holder is all i need. Ive dropped all my packs unless its a 20 miler with a few thousand feet of climbling.
  • 2 0
 Agree that a pack is a last resort for especially long rides.

Tools, pads, and a bottle on the bike, with optional extras in a frame bag and/or jersey pockets and shorts pockets - the old-school version of SWAT!

Soft bottles (essentially thick Ziploc bag with a cap) are ideal for the jersey, as they form a conical shape that tends to stay in the pockets and collapse to nothing when empty. Can carry up to 1.5 L of additional water this way. My typical rides are mostly climbing on the way out and mostly descending on the way back, so the soft bottles are empty before the descent and the jersey is stable; any remaining water is in the frame-mounted bottle.
  • 1 0
 Agreed.
  • 1 0
 Same here. I use the large Fidlock bottle, and the SWAT bladder.
  • 3 0
 This is why I just auto-filter out bikes without frame storage from my buying decisions. 4 out of 5 rides I'm riding without a pack, even on hot days and you can pry that from my cold dead hands.
  • 10 0
 A late friend once told me that everyone loved when I attended group rides because they knew I had enough tools with me to take a bike apart and put it back together, and they could leave theirs in their car and ride without the weight. And the fact I was always at the back and never quit meant the tools they needed would eventually arrive.
  • 5 0
 What is a bigger bike ride in most peoples opinion. My bigger rides dont have gas stations or car parks close by. You gou up into the mountains and come back 6-10h later. You need food, water, clothing etc. This doesnt work without a backpack
  • 1 0
 Big ride = a ride longer than what one bottle and whatever is in my saddle bag (scoff) can sustain.

Or, the environmental conditions necessitate the consumption of 3L (or more) of fluid or else you may die.

Mileage may vary.
  • 9 3
 Serious question, what is everyone bringing with them that they need this much storage volume? Can't it just live on the bike? Disclosure, I'm an XC rider
  • 14 0
 Water
  • 5 0
 water, tools (for friends who don't ride tubeless), snacks and first aid. You know, you need to take care of your riding buddies :-)
  • 1 2
 @xciscool: that can't live on your bike. Or is it no bruh enough it.
  • 3 0
 Water, snacks, first aid kit, phone. Frame only holds 1 550ml bottle
  • 1 2
 @disruptiveone: There's so much integrated storage now, why even bother with hip packs
  • 3 0
 Some small frames don't have ample space for water bottles, so I carry 2L in my hip pack. Light jacket (I live in a volatile climate), plugs, multi-tool, snacks, maybe an extra pair of gloves if it's raininng.
  • 6 0
 Water.

In the summer for +3 hours rides, which most Sat./Sun. rides are, 2 liter pack + one 20 oz. bottle and I still run out.

Granted, I sweat like Niagara Falls.
  • 4 0
 Water. Dog bowl. Rain shell. Dog leash. Beer. Dog snacks. Human snacks. Water.
  • 11 0
 First aid kit, trauma bandage, soft flask of water, snack. Mainly I've got the pack as it's got a back protector in it if I'm honest
  • 6 0
 @mountainsofsussex: Yeah, I have a back protector in mine too and that is why I prefer the pack. It has saved be when I hit a tree once. The brand is Deuter.
  • 5 0
 Water, snacks, medkit and some basic tools on a 20+ mile all day kinda thing in the backcountry...foolish not to have those things when youre in the middle of the woods.
  • 8 0
 @disruptiveone: trying to wrap my head around who would ride with tubes, and why you would want to be friends with them?
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: My dog is the ultimate pack mule,
ruffwear.ca/products/front-range-day-pack
bonus, he carries out his own waste...

Hes big/strong enough to pull me up climbs....Hes a beast!
  • 1 3
 I know it's foolish not to have this stuff. But all of this can live on the bike in my mind and my riding style. What tools do you bring? I'm genuinely curious as what people could possibly need that it needs to be packed and can't be stored in a bar, axle, swat, or whatever. Is everyone responding riding trail/enduro rigs that can't carry water bottles? Are any XC/Marathon riders riding with this much stuff?
  • 3 0
 I have an XC race next weekend, it'll be somewhere around 3+ hours of riding. 30 miles 4,500 ft of vert. I'll do two bottles on my Epic full of carb mix, and then a hydration vest with regular water. I'll stuff some gels in there as well just in case, but the carb mix should be close to enough fuel. It's one long loop, so while I run a little saddle roll with a flat kit, I can also carry a pump in the hydration vest. I could technically fit most of this stuff (except the water) on my bike, but I couldn't fit the extra water so the vest needs to come along either way. I was hip pack only for a few years, but the new USWE style vests feel really unobtrusive.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: It is my roadie friends who don't like packs and such. they only bring water and don't want to spend too much on mtb bikes.
  • 2 0
 Looooong ass rides where 2L of water on the bike isnt enough.
  • 1 0
 @petemacmtb: I used to race marathons. I did sweat less than heavy riding in the summer heat for 8h. Cardio generally makes people sweat less. Also thinner clothing and less protection when riding xc.
  • 2 0
 @disruptiveone: are they riding tubes on the road??? freakin' roadies...
  • 2 0
 Heat plus 4 different bikes makes switching easier.
  • 2 0
 Tools, first aid, water, food, extra layers, spare tube for a bigger day out, where I'd sometimes take off kneepads and stuff them into the backpack and I also want something that isn't a cereal bar (or gels) to eat.

Since I don't have a car, I end up using that backpack for after work rides too, but I hide it on the bottom of the (small) hill and come back to it on those rides.

(I'm on a mountain unicycle, so storage options are minimal anyway, but I think the volume of clothes and "proper" food is more than can be easily attached to most bikes).
  • 2 0
 Pineapples
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Looks more like a vest.....
  • 1 0
 @petemacmtb: I reallllly like snacks.
  • 2 0
 I get kind of paranoid when out in the woods. Every year I seem to add something new to handle flat tires (dynaplug, CO2, pump, tubolito, patch boots) and not use it. Plus multi tool, rain jacket, phone, keys, wallet, water. Maybe knee pads. Maybe first aid kit. And when it's a long ride, room for a sandwich.

I'd switch to a fanny pack for shorter rides but get lazy when it comes to moving everything back and forth.

This year I am at the point where I need to slim things down.
  • 1 0
 To expand on the water comment...

If I do a long ride, 3h plus on the trails, or if I'm being stupid and riding heat of summer. I'll have a 600mL bottle with a high ratio of electrolytes. L then have 2.5-3L of water in my pack. And by the time I get home, it's almost always all gone in the warmer months, and I'm a long way off pissing my pants.

A short 1h ride straight from home and back, it's just the bottle, but I chug a bit before leaving, and fair bit when I get home.

Point out this is Aussie, so it's 30° and 80% humidity by 7am in peak summer, and I've been stuck in trails in high 30° range. I don't like to muck about with hydration.
  • 6 2
 Hip pack for every ride (usually just have tools/phone/medkit in there, maybe a snack) + bottle on bike.

If its a huge ride but has water access ill bring a small water filter and more snacks.

If its a ride with no water Ill bring the vest too
  • 4 0
 A USWE small 2l pack is great for only water or an extra layer/bit of food. Vest for when you need a few more things like food or tools. But nothing was said about bibs with back pockets. So good for 2 hour rides or shorter and typically can use a USWE or small vest with the bib pockets
  • 2 0
 Amen! This is my exact approach. Small USWE pack for my phone/extra water, with most of snacks in my bibs for access with a small bottle on my bike. A warm 2 hour ride is usually about how long that lasts.
  • 5 0
 I would love to ride with just my pockets, but the fear of breaking my phone and/or stabling myself in the legs with my keys in a crash means I wear a small hip pack.
  • 4 5
 So those same keys will go through your kidneys?
  • 1 0
 @s100: not sure about you but I've fallen on my hip about a million times over the years, while the small of your back right above your hips is actually pretty rare. As long as they're not carrying some sort of dungeon-master key ring and their keys are probably outside of phone/wallet/tube/whatever you're unlikely to stab yourself. Meanwhile I do have a permanent lump of key-shaped scar tisssue on my thigh...
  • 4 0
 I usually carry a silky big boy trail saw on all rides plus a plastic wedge so I use a small traditional pack. Bottle on the bike. I also like the additional skin protection a pack gives you in a crash.
  • 1 0
 I've got the pocket boy, which is more than enough for anything I can face cutting! They're amazing saws. Only carry it when trees are likely to be down though
  • 4 1
 I hate riding with anything in my pockets so usually use a small hip pack that hides under my shirt to carry my phone. Since nobody had designed in-frame storage large enough to fit modern smart phones- what are you 10 people using to carry your phone on the bike?
  • 3 0
 How 80's can you get, "oh my bike has a phone" what a showoff!
  • 1 0
 I guess they have gravel bibs with sidepockets
  • 5 0
 My phone (and everything else other than water) is in an Apidura frame bag.
  • 2 1
 Unless it's pretty backcountry and I'm by myself, if I know the trails I leave my phone in the car. The poll shouldn't have presumed everyone carries a phone. You can be separated from it from it from time to time. It's actually quite nice.
  • 1 0
 I use a Superwedgie frame bag from Oveja Negra bag, it's got a zipper pocket for the phone.
  • 1 1
 @dancingwithmyself: And when you and your mates have an OTB? I've had to call an ambulance three times so far and the rider's SO to pick them up for lesser injuries too
  • 1 0
 @dancingwithmyself: how can you possibly KoM without your phone, or how do you call 911 if you have an argument with a hiker or someone on a horse? How would you get rescued if your bike battery ran out of juice? What if Trump/Biden/However says something stupid while you're riding and you miss it? What drives the BT speaker that you have hanging off your bars so we can all listen to your taste in music?
  • 2 0
 @korev: I get it, and it does happen, but 1. we somehow survived pre everyone with a phone and universal coverage (which is still spotty in a lot of riding areas) and 2. you probably have to get them out of the back country anyways, phone or no phone.

I usually have my phone because, hey that's the new reality, but he's right - not carrying a phone has a certain degree of... liberation?
  • 4 1
 The evidence is in: Fanny-packers gonna fanny-pack no matter what. On/in-frame storage and pockets are often good enough for short rides, but those folks also join the (correct) backpackers* for long rides.

*(A vest pack is just a backpack with fancy straps. Which reminds me, IF you keep that split, where do Uswe's packs fit? Vest or trad?)
  • 4 0
 Same question, is USWE vest style or traditional?
  • 2 0
 @Murphius: My heart says "vest", but my brain can't come up with a compelling justification
  • 9 2
 I categorize the USWE as a vest style pack - you could also split it into packs with hip straps and packs without.
  • 1 0
 Pockets for all the rides. I have shorts with big side pocket where you can put soft bidon and two normal pockets for fruit bars, multi tool and phone. Works well enough for all day epics, especially if you can restock on water. It looks goofy as fuck but beats having a backpack
  • 2 13
flag justinfoil (May 3, 2024 at 13:08) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: But USWE actually makes actual vests, so their packs can't also be vests. Especially when they use the same chest harness both with and without hip-belts and you're going to use hip-belts as a determiner. They're definitely [trad] backpacks, just way better backpacks for doing active things that aren't just hiking or carrying books.
  • 15 2
 @justinfoil, sometimes (a lot of the time on the internet) it's best not to overthink things. I'm not going to lose any sleep over proper categorization / semantics when it comes to a very specific pack style.
  • 5 23
flag justinfoil (May 3, 2024 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: It's not overthinking (and you shouldn't treat the internet like some special place that's not part of the real world: your entire real world job literally depends on the internet, for example. It's a fully integrated part of the vast majority of human lives, you should do the same thinking everywhere), it's _easy_ thinking: they are backpacks, not vests. Evidence being that USWE also makes vests. They have better straps/harnesses than other backpacks, but that doesn't make them a vest.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I had wondered the same thing about, essentially, "how much front strap storage does it take before a backpack becomes a vest", so thank you for bringing this topic up. I hadn't considered the waist belt factor until Kaz brought it up, and it could be a useful differentiator, except there are definitely backpacks, at least the casual sort, or older hydration packs like my original Camelbak, which had no waist belt.

Thank you for pointing out the USWE vests. I've been interested in their packs for a while as I am always looking to reduce bounce and get a more locked in feel from a pack, but I didn't realize they did vests too. From the cursory inspection of their website, which I just did, it seems that along with surface area of front/side material, they also offer the vests in 4 or 5 sizes, as one might expect from an article of clothing, whereas the packs are 1 size fits most. From a practical standpoint, it would be cool to try representative examples of both their vests and packs side by side to see how much the feel differs.
  • 2 9
flag justinfoil (May 4, 2024 at 6:41) (Below Threshold)
 @thekaiser: careful, you're on the verge of thinking too much to fit in on PB. If they were awake on the West Coast right now, you'd be down voted within minutes.
  • 3 0
 I don't know what kind of emaciated person with a giant badonkadonk hip packs are supposed to fit. Mine either surgically bistects my love handles or falls off my ass, gets sucked between my rear tire and my frame, and kills me. I hate those things, and I hate myself for buying one.
  • 2 0
 I used to keep everything on my bike and in my pockets for shorter rides. Recently I had a crash where my keys got between my leg and the log I fell on top of giving me a nasty deep tissue bruise. Convinced it would have been less severe without the keys there, im back to the vest style for short rides to keep the pockets empty.
  • 2 0
 I took a nasty fall on my keys a long time ago. I take the keys off and only bring the fob on rides. Same goes for a multitool, if it has any sharp parts its not going in a pocket.
  • 2 0
 I use the same hip pack for every ride, the Osprey Savu 5. If I'm riding 40 miles or longer I just throw a water filter in my pack and go. There's plenty of room for nutrition and two bottles will get me roughly 3 hours of riding before I fill them up. I also switched to mostly liquid nutrition (Scratch endurance mix) because it takes up less space and acts faster than solid food. This enables me to ride further with this size pack instead of lugging around a bigger, heavier, and hotter traditional hydration pack.
  • 2 0
 The bigger the pack, the more I pack. I will fill it with layers, water/food, tools, knee pads (when climbing). I am also able to not take a pack and suffer through being too hot/cold, out of water, etc. Both have their + and -.
  • 2 0
 Use my small 1.5L USWE pack on almost every ride for the past 4 years, even the shorter ones. I don't even feel it anymore. I throw my phone, extra bail out snacks and some small tools (small chain link pliers, tire levers) and the extra fuel has saved me from horribly bonking more times than I can count. I feel like sometimes I wear it just to carry my phone, which I otherwise hate having in my pocket and/or risk turning it into a banana with a crash. Only thing I wish it had was the storage on the front like the EVOC, I always have to take mine off to grab a snack!
  • 2 0
 I was just made aware that USWE now makes vests with front storage too, so you can stick with their brand/harness design if you prefer it.
  • 2 0
 In the arid Rocky Mtn climate here in CO I don't see how anyone gets by with just a water bottle for any ride more than an hour. Plus, I got sick and tired of dirt covered mouthpieces ages ago. I haven't had a water bottle on any bike in over a decade. If that's all the water I need, then I really don't need water. Besides, I'd never risk my life trying to reach down and grab the bottle while I'm riding, but I can drink from a hose over my shoulder while riding just fine.
  • 2 0
 What about those of us that wear a backpack for longer rides or guiding but it's not a hydration pack?
Love the Evoc fr trail 20 for big days and carrying the big first aid kit and spares and what not. Hate bladders with hoses.
  • 2 0
 2 x 34 oz (1L) bottles on the bike, a small bag attached to the top tube with snacks and tools, velcro straps if I need a jacket. Abit shorts with side pockets for extra snacks. Phone in my pocket. I rode BCBR this way without carrying anything on my upper body.
  • 3 2
 As much as I love the huge capacity that some camel-baks have especially on hot days, I hate the restrictive feeling of the straps on my shoulders as I'm a pretty active rider and move around a lot on the bike. Hip pack if its a low profile one, like a bontrager one I have that holds a bottle in the middle (forget the name).
  • 1 0
 The heat on the back is one reason why I bought the Camelback Skyline (women version is called the Solstice). It's a hybrid, half hip, half pack. With a 3L H2O capacity, it works pretty good for a long days.
  • 1 0
 Try a USWE, or the CamelBak Skyline LowRider style mentioned above. USWEs strap system is awesome, pretty much unnoticeable once on, really moves with you, especially with the smaller storage or hydro-only options
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: thx for the tips, I’ll check it out
  • 2 0
 Always a pack, as I started riding when mechanicals were frequent. Also you never know if you're going to be hours waiting for help if there's a medical situation. May as well be comfortable.
  • 1 0
 I'm used to the feeling of a backpack and ride in the desert, so go through a lot of water on longer rides. I could get away with a hip pack for shorter rides, but I rarely bother as my backpack has all my tools and things already in it.
  • 1 0
 I don’t like carrying anything but long days I have to. If you don’t like standard hydration backpacks or the vest style trail runner ones check out the black diamond distance 8 it’s a vest style pack but a little bigger and available in small, medium and large. It’s rocks no bounce, forget I’m wearing it. And doesn’t give me the fat guy in a little coat look.
  • 1 0
 I hate using a backpack when I ride, but will whip it out for any really extended trips. Typically I just risk it and take absolutely nothing with me on me or my bike. Just a bottle in the cage, maybe a multi tool in a pocket. Before tire inserts I would stubbornly walk home with a flat rather than carry anything extra on me. I hate clutter. The vest hydration packs are appealing to me, but even so if I can leave ruff at home I will. Bike storage is also a really nice option as it you at least cant see the clutter.
  • 2 1
 Hip pack, to me, implies you are wearing it on the side valley girl style. So these are straight up fanny packs (bum bags if you don't want to offend delicate UKers). I wanted to laugh at the idea that people use them but then I remembered that is what I use. I try to hide it under my shirt but the fact that it is covered in mud implies it is out for the world to see.

But here the thing. It is all reverse psychology against my bike. I bring a tire pump, a shock pump and a multi tool and this causes my bike to function flawlessly because if I forget the bag all my bolts come loose, I get flat tires and my shock loses pressure. It is basic science.
  • 3 0
 It's not that they're offended by fanny-pack, it's that fannies aren't in the back, so "fanny-pack" implies a front-mounted-waist-pack. Calling it a "fanny" pack and then putting over your butt isn't offensive as much as plain wrong in that vernacular.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Doesn't that only hold true for "British English"? Here in the USA a fanny most definitely refers to the protrusion in the back, which a Brit would call a "Bum", hence their use of the term "Bum bag" rather than the American "Fanny pack".
  • 2 0
 @thekaiser: yes that's what I'm saying. It's not that they're "delicate UKers" and easily offended by "fanny pack", it's just that it literally means the opposite to them. It would be kind of like someone calling a backpack a frontpack but still meaning one that sits on your back.
  • 1 0
 I use the Camelbak Skyline and its perfect hybrid between a hip pack and a backpack. Previously used a Dakine Hotlaps hip pack but it wasn't very stable when packed with all my stuff. The camelbak comes with 3L bladder too, has loads of rooms for tools/gopro/jacket etc and is super stable when full.
  • 1 0
 For the past 10 years I've been using the Leatt DBX 3.0 hydro sack. I mainly ride in the wilderness of Northern England and Southern Scotland usually on my own and need to take lots of water and tools as well as survival gear just in case. The Leatt is the best option I've found for epic days in the saddle and it has the added bonus of having an integrated back protector.
  • 1 0
 did a 50 miler with 8k of vertical with just a bottle and a gas station stop. Just so much easier that lugging stuff. Do love that one up headset tool tho. It would have to be a massive middle of nowhere day to get a pack on me these days.
  • 2 0
 Ive broken phones crashing so I just got a camelbak chase (meant for running) and its great. usually roll without hydration. I forget its there. so just a small tool. some gels. keys and wallet.
  • 1 0
 I haven'tn used a traditional backpack in a few years, I find a big bottle on the bike and the Osprey Savu 2 bottle pack for big days is really nice. Lighter weight days the same big bottle on the bike and the Camelbak podium flow belt pack is good.
  • 1 0
 But what about when you need to carry your bike on your back to get to the good riding? A full hydration pack makes it much more comfortable to have a bike on your shoulders. It has to have good compression adjustment though so it can be full regardless of how much stuff is in it
  • 1 0
 On proper rides I need at least 2lts of water and like to carry an extra layer, tube, pump, tools and first aid kit. The latter has been used more times than I originally expected, so keep bringing it with me on the back pack. On short rides I just take a waterbottle on the bike, phone and multitool in my pockets.
  • 1 0
 This may be a dumb question. How do you all manage hydration when riding in bike parks? I only ride park a few times a year, with my Enduro bike, and use a bottle like on any other ride. But that's seeming like a dumb idea as I get faster, and hit bigger stuff. Plus its flatly impossible with a downhill bike.

Do you all just pop into the lodge every couple of runs? Its super dry here in Colorado during the summer and I probably could not manage more than two laps without some water.

Those high-mounted vests look good but do they work with a separate back protector?

I have tried a hip pack but it either bounces too much on big (to me) jumps or has to be tightened an uncomfortable amount.
  • 2 0
 For park I use a small bungee twisted around the water bottle nozzle and cage. Low tech, works great.
  • 2 0
 I've got an enduro bike and I'll just use a normal bottle. Fill it up at the bottom and finish it on the way up the chairlift/shuttle. Never had an empty bottle come out of the frame and it's a good habit as I remember to drink.
  • 1 0
 1-2 hours is a bottle on the bike, my phone and oneup edc tool.

2-4 hours is that plus hip pack with two big bottles and snacks and emergency tool stuff

5+ unsupported is 3 liters of hydration in my back pack, tube and pump, small helmet light and a back up battery bank with cables for the light and phone.

Sold off my Enduro and can say I don’t miss the downtube storage. I do wish my Capra would have room for a full size bottle though, that kinda sucks.
  • 1 0
 I mean small packs feel great. But if you’re deep in the backcountry know how to fend for yourself if it hits the fan. A first aid, a tourniquet (learn how to use it),a rain jacket, some fire starter and a space blanket will go a long way. Bonus points for carrying a silky saw and clearing a tree or two.
  • 1 0
 I've carried everything from a tiny Jandd fanny pack to a Kelty Super-Tioga. Favorite was a Chouinard Klettersack, made of kevlar ballistics cloth, with a heavy neoprene backpad to keep chocks'n'pitons from poking you mid journey. It's not the pack, it's the rider. Razz
  • 2 0
 Back packs are great for carrying pads and a tool kit on gravity rides where you ride a fire road to access. Not a huge pack, but a nice fitting one. Pads are too hot to wear riding up.
  • 1 0
 I’ll never wear a hip pack again after a bad crash I had that broke my collarbone almost 11 weeks ago now. The hip pack had nothing to do with my collarbone obviously , but it really f$/&ed up my back. I flipped over the bars and slammed hard on my back after my collarbone broke my fall (see what I did there). The hip pack jammed into my lower back and messed it up pretty bad. Still dealing with the back pain. And no , I didn’t land on a rock or a root or anything that the hip pack saved me from. It made the crash a lot worse for my back. I also don’t like how they shift and bounce around while riding.
  • 1 0
 I currently run the USWE MTB HYDRO 3L. I love it. It can carry everything I need and I can also remove the outside pouch for a more lightweight and sleek design. I highly recommend it for anyone who isn’t a fan of the large hydration packs that you usually see like osprey or camelbak.
  • 1 0
 Since I'm always losing water bottles, I switched to bibs with a hydrator pocket (thanks endura), the rest (tools, tube, spares) is on the bike. But for the bike park I have a back protector vest also compatable with a hydrator.
  • 1 0
 I bought bibs with pockets. I can add an extra 500ml of water, and extra food in the pockets. That gets me to rides in the 2.5 hours range. Anything longer, that needs more gear I'll bring a pack.
  • 1 1
 If your frame geometry allows it (that is, if you can do it without your rear tire hitting the pack at full compression if it's a full suspension), I most highly recommend the uncoolest option of all, the saddle pack. There are ones that are compatible with dropper posts--I use the Ortlieb Micro Two. The small size (0.5 L) carries my multitool, tube, nitrile gloves (to both stop anything rattling and keep my hands clean if I have to do any wrenching), and a few snack bars. Then the water bottle goes in a cage, which shares its mount with a mini pump. But I HATE HATE HATE wearing cargo when I'm riding. You do you.
  • 1 0
 Great idea- make a mountain bike jersey that has three pockets on the low back so you can carry stuff. Make it cool looking, not like a billboard for whatever brand is selling it.
  • 1 0
 You just reinvented the Primal Jersey. I’ll take the Pink Floyd Darkside size large pls.
  • 3 0
 Been using the Henty enduro pack for 7 years and its just amazing!!! @pinkbike you should do a review on it!!
  • 2 0
 Oh shit, that breaks the poll! Hip pack, but with shoulder-straps, and the straps are mesh... It's a traditional-vest-hip-bum-back-bag-pack.
  • 1 0
 Yup same here, it's a great pack with decent capacity and space for a 3l hydration pack!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: The 2.0 model has come with a hydration pack for a few years now Smile

henty.cc/shop/active/enduro-backpack

There's also a Junior Enduro pack for younger riders!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: hahah time for a refresh feature!! Wink
  • 2 0
 I have chronic neck pain and any pressure on my traps causes discomfort so I can’t wear backpack style bags so it’s hip bags for me.
  • 2 1
 Try a USWE. They sit higher and the straps really spread the load so they don't pull down on your shoulders much at all when in a riding position. Even standing, the straps are so conforming and snug yet not constricting that you don't feel the weight on your shoulders very much.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I’ll look into it thanks but honestly even wearing certain jackets can be too much after a short while!
  • 1 0
 I don't drink anything on rides under an hour or so. On Fromme that goes to 2 hours, and I stop at the fresh water tap at the bottom of the trails for some of the best water in the world.
  • 1 2
 That water isn’t potable, it’s just for washing bikes.
  • 3 0
 @kingbike2: I'm talking about the spigot near first gate, not the bike wash station. It's in a concrete planter and for drinking.
  • 1 0
 Vest packs make the most sense. You can carry a fair bit of stuff if you need to or you can keep them super lightweight and minimal. I enjoy having the extra little bit of back protection too.
  • 1 0
 This time of year I'm carrying a backpack with a Silky saw and some loppers for the spring clean up. There's a lot of satisfaction in clearing downed trees and clipping back brush before the snakes start showing up.
  • 1 0
 The problem with bottles is that I never actually drink from them. When I use my hydration pack, the convenience of the straw helps to make me actually drink while pedaling - I end up having way better rides.
  • 1 0
 Never really understood why there is no ultralight option for a backpack. I built one myself using dyneema and it weights about 2 ounces and it carries one liter of waters and tools ...
  • 3 0
 Still rocking my Bontrager Rapid Pack - best investment of all time IMHO
  • 2 0
 It IS the best, especially if you treat it like better-placed pockets (kind of like a money-belt) instead of a full-on fanny-pack. The Rapid means my pants pockets are empty, which is good for sprinting up to sketchy jumps. And with just wallet, keys, safety break supplies, a collapsible dog-bowl, and sometimes snacks, it's slim enough to tuck under most shirts even if there is a summit beer in the bottle holder, nice and stealthy! (I almost never put water in it: 750ml water on the bike is enough for most short rides.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: pretty much same here, wallet and phone is one side, keys/garage opener snacks in the other and I actually use the bottle holder to stuff a small windbreaker into, it's a tight fit and won't come out. Rest on bike. It's slim enough I can wear it on the lift / sit down even loaded up without taking it off or rotating it.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Jacket in the bottle holder is clutch!
  • 4 1
 Uswe back pack. That is all.
  • 3 0
 This is the way.
  • 2 3
 Hip packs are for boomers, all the cool kids wear vests. I hope, since I wear a USWE vest now and love it. Flat fixing and small parts in the downtube, snacks and water in the vest. Doesn't bounce on downhills, not too hot, easy access to food, water so I don't have to stop. Love it...
  • 2 1
 Maybe is because I'm an XC guy, but everything I ever need is on my bike. I tried a hydration backpack once, but never again. Hate those things.
  • 2 2
 phone and car key in zippered pants pocket. 1 water bottle on bike. That's all you need for a 1-2 hour ride. Leave the multi tool in the car. Check your bike before you ride and you'll be fine.
  • 3 0
 Until you're not. Rather ride with a tool than walk back to get it.
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: Fair enough, honest question, which bolts on your bike are regularly coming loose mid-ride requiring a multi tool? Carbon components requiring low torque? stem?
Just my experience.. but I think in my last 200+ rides, I haven't needed a multi tool mid-ride. I'd rather not justify wearing a hip pack for the 0.5% chance I'll need a multi tool.
  • 1 0
 Option on longer rides should read; "What's a long ride when you have kid in youth sports just show me the answers so I can be jealous of the long ride heros?!"
  • 2 0
 One of the guys I ride with bring so much junk in a pack one of our crew said, “Dude, are you running away from home?”.
  • 2 0
 Bought a MULE in 1997 and can’t kill it.
I’ll look into something different if it ever fails.
  • 3 0
 Where is the “cab of my Tacoma” option.
  • 2 0
 I don't care if the backpack carries water as long as it's a back protector
  • 1 0
 +1 clearly the main reason to bring a backpack.
  • 1 0
 Most of the rides I usually do require 3ltr of water so I usually just ride with my newer Mule all the time so my kit is mostly consistent.
  • 1 0
 I am still stuck on Camelbaks for most rides.
Main reasons are all the tools, 3L of water, emergency kit & some trail maintenance stuff I can lug with…
  • 1 0
 Tools are left in/on the bike , small bottle for short rides or if I know I can refill somewhere + camelbac chase vest with food & more water for longer rides
  • 1 0
 most rides i try to pocket stuff and run a bottle for big days, ill run two bottles for really really big days, I'll hydration pack. tools tube and pump stay on bike
  • 1 0
 Leisurely 100 miles over 3 days and 2 nights, Hammock/Bivi camp, BOB Ibex trailer, bar bag
to grab shit on the fly, snacks drink etc
  • 1 0
 Someone should make a frame where the entire front triangle or at least downtube is a water vessel.
  • 1 0
 Mike Curiak had a custom Moots (the Snoots) that he filled with stove fuel for riding in Antarctica: lacemine29.blogspot.com/2013/08/end-of-era-for-me.html.
  • 1 0
 Martin Maes is going to be so hydrated this weekend.
  • 1 0
 Any guess what that would weigh and what if would feel like when the water shifts?
  • 1 0
 I have one of these for bikepacking and long gravel riding adventurehydration.com
  • 1 0
 Camelback has the new Mule frame bag with a bladder. They also sell the bladder separately which would work in other frame bags for bike packing.

www.jensonusa.com/Camelbak-MULE-Frame-Pack-with-Hydration-70oz
  • 2 0
 I stuff everything in my cutoff jean pockets and bearskin tactical hoodie
  • 2 0
 Hip pack for tools/phone
Waterbottle in…shock,horror - waterbottle cage
  • 2 0
 You put your water in cages?! How cruel! Free-range organic gluten-free non-GMO unpasteurized water for all!
  • 1 0
 No option for backpack on longer rides (or shorter rides FTM)?!?! Well that's kinda dumb.
  • 2 0
 Jersey pockets Bring on the Lycra hate
  • 1 0
 No longer best friends with hip pack, now best friends with hydration vest.
  • 1 0
 10L Evoc pack for most rides. Basically just fits 3L water, flat repair kit, a jacket, and lunch
  • 2 0
 ...and a back protection! In my point of view, priority to the backpack for that reason.
  • 1 0
 I haven't done any long rides where I *have* to eat - usually 2hrs max. So it's just a phone and water.
  • 1 0
 Winter I actually like the back pack some helps keep me warm. Hip pack though for most rides.
  • 1 0
 SWAT Bib shorts and a SWAT box. Does everything other than big back country rides. You're welcome
  • 2 0
 Why do I have to take my cell phone?
  • 1 0
 SWAT bib shorts are the best for shorter rides. Everything stays put and no back sweat issues.
  • 1 0
 2 hours or less-no pack. 2-4 hours, hip pack. Over 4 hours, backpack. It’s all about having enough fluids.
  • 1 0
 Oh those are vests I thought it was just dudes wearing sports bras over top of their shirt
  • 1 0
 Every ride in Tucson, between May and October, is a “traditional hydration pack” or “vest-style pack” ride.
  • 1 0
 The next time I hear "game changer" will be like.. enuff already...
  • 1 0
 How do you feel about "vinyl" instead of "record"?
  • 1 0
 This comment changes the whole game
  • 1 0
 Short rides I use bibs with cargo pockets.
  • 2 0
 pockets baby!!
  • 1 1
 Where's the 'I ride on my own and still bring nothing' option? I'd rather pack my bike out than carry anything I didn't use
  • 1 0
 It always was and always will be a FANNY PACK!
  • 1 0
 Hippack unless I'm chosen as beer-mule.
  • 1 0
 *flop
  • 1 1
 Maybe except during winter, water bottle is stupid
  • 1 1
 your welcome
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