4 Waist Packs Tested & Reviewed

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Not everyone wants to ride with a big ‘n’ heavy backpack, so we’ve been testing a variety of different options for the minimalist mountain bikers out there, including waist packs, frame bags and mini-packs. Here Antony takes us through four different waist packs (aka: bum bags/fanny packs). Over to Antony!


My very first riding bag was a bum bag – in hot pink, natch. Perhaps inevitably, once they were christened as such, bum bags quickly became a comedy punchline, and for a while I thought they’d been banished to the less fashion-conscious reaches of the running world. But it was inevitable that they would return – the lure of riding sans sweaty shoulder blades was just too much.

The new generation of enduro-bustles are much cleverer beasts than the fashion carbuncles of yore. The bags we tested all had improved retention systems, to make them less likely to end up round your ankles, more organisational potential, and at least a bottle’s worth of water carrying capacity.

camelbak palos bumbag waist pack hydration fanny
A bum bag gives you the option to carry the bare essentials in a more compact pack that wraps around your waist.

Waist packs are generally quite sensitive to body shape, and as a more, ahem, ‘apple-shaped’ individual, I found it harder to get them all to stay up. Careful packing and adjustment matters more with these bags, and any attempt to overstuff them can make them want to head south.

If your abdomen is more like an hourglass than a space hopper, you will probably get along with them much better, but be aware that trying before you buy (perhaps via a spot of vigorous jumping up and down) may save some disappointment.

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This article was originally featured in Singletrack Magazine. Keen to read more? Then make sure you check out all the stories and reviews in Issue #118 right here!

Review Info

Brand:Bontrager, Camelbak, EVOC, Deuter
Product:Rapid, Repack LR, Hip Pack Race, Pulse
From:See article
Price:£40 - £69
Tested:by Antony for 2 months

Antony de Heveningham

Singletrack Contributor

Antony was a latecomer to the joys of riding off-road, and he’s continued to be a late adopter of many of his favourite things, including full suspension, dropper posts, 29ers, and adult responsibility. At some point he decided to compensate for his lack of natural riding talent by organising maintenance days on his local trails. This led, inadvertently, to writing for Singletrack, after one of his online rants about lazy, spoilt mountain bikers who never fix trails was spotted and reprinted on this website during a particularly slow news week.

Now based just up the road from the magazine in West Yorkshire, he’s expanded his remit to include reviews and features as well as rants. He’s also moved on from filling holes in the woods to campaigning for changes to the UK’s antiquated land access laws, and probing the relationship between mountain biking and the places we ride.

He’s a firm believer in bringing mountain biking to the people, whether that’s through affordable bikes, accessible trails, enabling technology, or supportive networks. He’s also studied sustainable transport, and will happily explain to anyone who’ll listen why the UK is a terrible place for everyday utility cycling, even though it shouldn’t be.

If that all sounds a bit worthy, he’s also happy to share tales of rides gone awry, or delicate bike parts burst asunder by ham-fisted maintenance. Because ultimately, there are enough talented professionals in mountain bike journalism, and it needs more rank amateurs.

Comments (3)

    Anyone know whether the non-slipping waist strap is the only change between the older Palos and the Repack? If so, are the new buckles available to retro-fit to the Palos? Cheers!

    are those Kona pants ? as in from the early 2000s ?

    Evoc have updated their pack with what looks like a better waist belt (and a price rise), any chance on a review on that one as it looks like it won’t be quite so downwardly mobile 😀

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