SIX OF THE BEST

A great al­ter­na­tive to a ruck­sack for car­ry­ing your trail es­sen­tials

Mountain Biking UK - - CONTENTS -

We never thought we’d see the day, but bum­bags are cool(ish) again. Which is best for car­ry­ing your ride es­sen­tials?

Source Hip­ster £69

SO GOOD The Hip­ster’s re­mov­able harness (not pic­tured) does an ex­cel­lent job of re­duc­ing move­ment and makes it the most se­cure pack on test. We like the sin­gle-sided strap ad­just­ment, which keeps the loose end tucked away. There are bungee cords for a jacket, and the hose for the 1.5l reser­voir is in­su­lated.

NO GOOD 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. The three front pock­ets are very small. www.ison-dis­tri­bu­tion.com

Lowe Alpine Light lite Hy­dro £28

SO GOOD This bag gives you 4l 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 mul­ti­tools within easy reach. It comes with a 500ml bot­tle, and the slightly-an­gled bot­tle holder makes it easy to grab on the go. At £28 it’s by far the cheap­est bag on test and for the price it’s hard to find much to fault.

NO GOOD It’s not a bike-spe­cific pack and its less fig­ure-hug­ging shape means it tends to move around a lit­tle more than the oth­ers here when fully loaded. www.lowealpine.com

CamelBak Pa­los LR 4 £74.99

SO GOOD With a 2.5l ca­pac­ity, front tool roll and side cargo pock­ets, the Pa­los has space for as much stuff as we’d want to carry around our waists. Hid­den com­pres­sion straps do a good job of pulling the 1.5l reser­voir tight into your back so it stays in place while rid­ing. CamelBak’s ‘Big Bite’ valve is easy to use while ped­alling and we like the slid­ing mag­netic clip on the hose.

NO GOOD Al­though the com­pres­sion straps help keep things in place, the back panel could do with be­ing a bit more rigid, to stop the pack sag­ging a lit­tle when fully laden. www.zy­rofisher.co.uk

Bon­trager Rapid Pack £44.99

SO GOOD We like the slim, min­i­mal de­sign of the Rapid Pack. Two am­ply­sized zip pock­ets with in­ter­nal mesh com­part­ments of­fer plenty of eas­ily­ac­ces­si­ble stor­age for races or shorter rides and there’s 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 loose ends to flap around.

NO GOOD With just 1.4l of stor­age, you can only pack the bare es­sen­tials. The back panel gets quite sweaty. No bot­tle is sup­plied and the tight fit of the bot­tle holder makes it dif­fi­cult to slide your drink back into place while rid­ing. www.trek­bikes.com

EVOC Hip Pack Race £56.95

SO GOOD There are plenty of places to stash stuff in this 3l pack – a big rear pocket, two zipped hip pock­ets and a tool pocket with mesh com­part­ments. The back panel is quite rigid, so the contents stay put even when you’re fully loaded. Widely-spaced pads mean it’s fairly well ven­ti­lated too. The best fea­ture is the side straps, which you can cinch down to pull the pack into your lower back and stop it bounc­ing around.

NO GOOD The valve for the 1.5l Hy­dra­pack reser­voir is tricky to close while rid­ing, and the mag­netic hose tab isn’t as se­cure as CamelBak’s clip. www.sil­ver­fish-uk.com

Mavic Cross­ride Belt £52.50

SO GOOD Mavic’s bum­bag is su­per­comfy, thanks to its er­gonomic shape and un­usual tri­an­gu­lar bot­tle. This is en­hanced fur­ther by the elas­ti­cated waist strap and the large gaps in the foam back pad­ding, which al­low some air­flow. A rigid cuff on the an­gled bot­tle holder makes it easy to re­lo­cate the 600ml bot­tle while rid­ing. The long zip pocket is per­fect for a pump.

NO GOOD Its ca­pac­ity isn’t huge and the an­gled bot­tle holder re­duces the amount of us­able space. Should you lose the tri­an­gu­lar bot­tle, Mavic don’t sell re­place­ments. The Cross­ride Belt is a fair bit pricier than its (non-reser­voir) rivals. www.mavic.com

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