Summer is in full swing here in the PNW, and with temperatures soaring, wearing a pack on my back for riding the mountain bike makes me sweaty just thinking about it. But what to do? You still need tools, food, a place for your keys and phone and above all, water in the Summer. A few of my ride buddies picked up the new Fox Racing “Hip Pack” and that looked like a great solution for shorter rides on hot summer days.
The Fox “Hip Pack” comes in two colors, dark indigo blue that has more of a cloth material, and black which seems to be vinyl like material. I chose black thinking maybe the vinyl will be a bit more durable. The pack is designed to have a slim profile that allows it to be worn both over a riding jersey as well as underneath. The pack is 3 liters in total with a 2-liter main pocket and a single liter outer pocket. The main pocket features a single divider to separate your phone and snacks, with the smaller outer pocket seeing a zipped pocket ideal for keeping keys safe, and multiple dividers to organize tools and other smaller items. Two collapsible water carriers on each side solve the hydration issue out in the hills, with dual straps on each to keep bottles firmly in place through rough terrain. A long nylon belt attaches to a wide section of material providing ample fit for most body types. A three-loop section is sewn to the outer pocket and provides options for strapping pads or other bike accessories. The inner section of the pack uses a wicking fabric to keep your back from getting sweaty on those hot days. At $59.95, the Hip Pack represents a reasonable value solution to your mountain bike storage needs.
This pack has been a great option for these shorter, hotter ride days. As Fox claims, the material used against the back does a good job at preventing things from heating up too much. The two water carriers combined with two 20 oz bottles plus the bottle on the bike has worked out well so far in the sweltering heat. The front pocket works great for my short Lezyne tire pump, tools, mini first aid kit and an extra emergency gel, with the dividers doing a fine job at preventing these items from moving around in the pocket. I really like the clamshell style main pocket: the zipper at the top makes it easy to pull out my phone or glasses on the bike without taking the pack off, and the divider is handy to keep these items apart and free from scratches. With all this loaded in, plus a few trail snacks, there’s limited room to squeeze in anything else, so if you’re in the over-prepared camp or are looking for a solution for longer rides then perhaps look for a more voluminous offering. The three-loop section on the outer pocket adds some effective volume to the storage capabilities though and proved to be perfect for holding the chin bar from my convertible enduro helmet. Once the pack is cinched into place, I didn’t have any issues with it sagging down during riding. I do wish the belt itself was a bit wider as it tends to fold over on itself a bit when putting it on which can lead to it digging in if not rectified, but it’s not a big issue if fastened carefully. Though it’s a simple thing, the $60 price tag seems reasonable for the convenient performance on offer for shorter rides on a mountain bike or eMTB.
Backpack style packs are great for long days or bringing extra layers, but a hip pack can be handy on those shorter hot summer mountain bike rides. Fox has constructed a great pack that lets you carry a fair amount of water, tools and other ride essentials. The Hip Pack stays in place without bouncing loose and is quite comfortable, without building up a huge amount of heat. Fox is often sold out of these due to their high demand, but if you get the chance to grab one, I’d highly recommend it!