SIX OF THE BEST
A great alternative to a rucksack for carrying your trail essentials
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