Hip packs, bumbags, fanny packs… whatever you call them, they’re now one of the most popular ways of staying hydrated and storing kit on rides.
Here are our favourites in terms of price, practicality and comfort.
Best hydration hip packs for mountain biking in 2020
- EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3l: £85 / $115 / AU$160
- Bontrager Rapid Pack: £45 / $60 / AU$100
- CamelBak Podium Flow Belt: £45 / $45 / AU$50
- Lowe Alpine Lightflite Hydro: £28
- Dakine Hotlaps 2l: £30 ( water bottle) / $40
- Mavic Crossride Belt: £62 / $55 / AU$NA
- Source Hipster: £69 / $99
- Osprey Seral 7: £70 / $86 / AU$113
- Deuter Pulse 3: £50 / $80
EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3l
- Price: £85 / $115 / AU$160
- Weight: 618g
The breathability and versatility of this EVOC pack are its true strengths. You can use it with a bottle instead of the included 1.5l bladder if you need more space for gear.
A clever adjustment system lets you sit the pack further from your back for more airflow or closer for more stability. When tight against your body, it’s the most secure bladder-equipped pack here. The waistband is elasticated, the magnetic hose clip is easy to access and the mouthpiece delivers plenty of water.
It’s heavy and expensive though, and when you open the front pocket items can fall out if they’re not properly secured.
Bontrager Rapid Pack
- Price: £45 / $60 / AU$100
- Weight: 220g
There is a lot to like about the slim, minimal design of the Rapid Pack. Two zipped pockets with internal mesh compartments offer plenty of easily accessible storage, with a space between them for a standard bottle.
The large foam back panel holds the bag in place securely and the waist strap doesn’t have any flappy loose ends.
With just 1.4 litres of storage, you can only pack the bare essentials. No bottle is supplied and the tight fit of the bottle holder makes it difficult to slide your drink back into place while riding. The back panel can also get quite sweaty.
CamelBak Podium Flow Belt
- Price: £45 / $45 / AU$50
- Weight: 232g
This is a pack that you hardly notice when riding. Despite its small size and light weight, it boasts a respectable 2-litre volume. Both the pack and bottle hold firm when descending, and you can replace your drink on the go.
Mesh compartments in the main pocket help keep things organised. CamelBak’s Podium bottle is particularly good too, with a self-sealing mouthpiece and mud cap.
There are no pockets on the waist strap and reaching the bottle isn’t as easy as on the Mavic pack, for example. The padded side ‘wings’ are the shortest here, so it doesn’t have the same ‘wraparound’ feel of others.
Lowe Alpine Lightflite Hydro
This bag gives you 4 litres of storage, which is enough for racing and even longer days in the saddle if you pack light.
There are two exterior mesh pockets where you can stash smaller items, such as energy gels and multi-tools, within easy reach. The bag comes with a 500ml bottle, and the slightly angled bottle-holder makes it easy to grab on the go.
It’s by far the cheapest bag here and for the price it’s hard to find much to fault.
It’s not a bike-specific pack and its less figure-hugging shape means it tends to move around a little when fully loaded, though.
Dakine Hotlaps 2l
- Price: £30 (+ water bottle) / $40
- Weight: 199g (no bottle)
Dakine’s offering is simple and lightweight, and sits comfortably against your back. The waist strap holds it securely in place, but it doesn’t quite match the stability of Mavic’s Crossride (below).
With a 2-litre volume, there’s space for spares and snacks. The main compartment features a fleece-lined pocket and a couple of extra compartments to organise your gear. There’s a foldaway bottle holder on the side. It’s well-priced as well.
This is the only pack here that doesn’t include a water bottle or bladder, and we found it hard to reinsert a bottle when riding. It’s the least breathable of all the options on test too.
Mavic Crossride Belt
- Price: £62 / $55 / AU$NA
- Weight: 310g
With its triangular shape, the Crossride Belt is the most stable on test. The 600ml bottle is easy to access (if you’re right-handed) and stays securely in its pouch.
There’s enough space for a tube, multi-tool and tyre levers, or a few snacks. The dedicated pump pocket is handy too. We like the elasticated waist strap, and the tabs can be tucked away neatly.
Breathability is okay, but not great. For the limited capacity it offers (don’t expect to take anything more than the bare necessities) it seems a little over-engineered.
The Hipster’s removable harness (not pictured) does an excellent job of reducing movement, making it the most secure pack here.
The single-sided strap adjustment keeps the loose end tucked away, and there are bungee cords for a jacket, and the hose for the 1.5-litre reservoir is insulated.
Without the harness, the pack slumps a little. There’s no support from the back panel and no side straps to pull the weight in, so it bulges away from your back when loaded, which makes it move around more. Also, the three front pockets are very small.
Osprey Seral 7
- Price: £70 / $86 / AU$113
- Weight: 532g
This is one of the comfiest and most secure packs here, despite its 7-litre capacity. The 1.5-litre bladder is big enough for longer rides, with a mouthpiece that provides plenty of water with each gulp, and its magnetic connector is easy to find when riding.
There’s ample space for tools, plus two decent-sized pockets on the waist strap. Four compression straps let you tighten things down to keep the contents secure.
The waist straps can’t be tucked away, so they hang loose. It’s not the most breathable pack because it sits so close to your back.
Deuter Pulse 3
- Price: £50 / $80
- Weight: 540g
The Pulse 3 is adequately comfy and breathable, and secure on rough ground. It’s easy to tighten the straps and the clip-in hose is simple to use.
The 5-litre of storage is enough for tools, spares and snacks, and the 1.5-litre bladder holds enough water for most rides. Compartments in the front pocket keep things organised, and the waist-strap pockets give quick access to small items.
However, you can’t draw much water through the mouthpiece with each suck and the mud cap is awkward to refit. The pack’s weight is concentrated too heavily on the centre of the back, too.