SAN UTIL DESIGN COVERT HIP PACK REVIEW
Review by Nic Hall
Adam Nicholson started the San Util Design brand back in 2001 with a focus on building utilitarian bike storage options. He is the lead designer and seamster who creates bags he and his friends like, and it just so happens that we like many of the same things. We have had the Covert custom-made hip pack out on the trails for the past few months, read on to see how it got on.
The team from San Util reached out to get us one of their custom-sewed hip packs straight from their team in Winter Park, CO. We told them what we were into, and the bag showed up a week later – the same treatment as any customer would receive. The Covert is custom-built from the highest quality materials: Xpac, Dyneema, and 1000D cordura, all military grade and up for a beating. When building the bag out on their website, you can choose from several different colors and patterns to make the look unique to you, all included in the base price.
The Covert will hold roughly 2L of gear inside, with an expanding top that can cinch up to 3L if needed. The waist strap is a nice 40mm wide, allowing quick adjustments and a tight fit without cutting into your waist. The main buckle and top flap are secured with magnetic Fidlock buckles. Two cinch straps on the bottom allow for quick storage of a jacket or knee pads. No interior organization is included to allow for maximum versatility and the ability to utilize organizer bags. Total weight comes in at 208g, subject to change depending on what fabrics you select.
After some warm and wet winter riding in the PNW, we have been able to test the Covert thoroughly. We initially thought the minimalistic design was lacking a few features but have come to like the organization bags for tools and snacks and still having loads of room for a jacket and pump. I was able to fit a small bottle in the bottom of the bag, but a dedicated bottle holder would be nice for quick access. The side panels are large enough to add a Fidlock bottle holder if you have one though.
Durability is on par with some of the best bags we have tested, Xpac material is nearly bombproof, and the stitching is top notch. The zipperless, folding top design keeps water and dirt out of the bag and keeps gear at a quick flick of the latch. The extra liter of overstuff storage allowed me to stash my windbreaker and microfleece without any issues.
The Wolf’s Last Word
A custom-made hip pack, sewn in the USA for $115 that will last several seasons seems like a deal to us. If you operate on the “a place for everything, and everything in its place” ethos, you will be disappointed with the Covert. But if you like a utilitarian bag that conforms to every ride, San Util Design has you covered. We just wish there was a more dedicated bottle holder.