Hip Packs are fanny packs done better… at least that’s what I think. Those old fanny packs weren’t optimized or anything other than speed walking in the mall. EVOC has come up with a better solution with their second-generation hip pack, the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L.
EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L Features:
- 3L cargo capacity
- Airflow Contact System for improved back ventilation
- Entiflap for uphill and downhill mode adjustment
- Two water bottle sleeves
- Available with 1.5L hydration bladder (as tested)
- Airo Flex medical-grade elastic waistbelt
- Key clip in right pocket
- Colors: Carbon Grey, Chili Red, Moss Green
- MSRP: $120 ($85 without bladder)
Hot laps without overheating
I’ve got issues with hydration packs for mountain biking. Well, I’m gonna be honest… I won’t wear one unless I’m on an all-day epic. I’ll take two water bottle cages and jersey pockets stuffed to the gills before grabbing a hydration pack for a mountain bike ride. But, what about a hip pack? Can I ride with one of those? As it turns out, the answer to that is it depends (but I’ll definitely grab the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L every time over a hydration pack).
EVOC has roots in protective gear for DH and enduro disciplines, but has taken much of that knowledge and applied it to other products, like saddle bags, protective bike bags and hydration packs. One of the best features of the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L is it utilizes EVOC’s awesome Airflow Contact System for maximum ventilation. In practice, it works quite well and allows you to wear the hip pack all day riding or hiking without overheating.
Honestly, I’ve spent about half of my time using the Hip Pack Pro 3L for hiking — including a fair bit of time in Zion National Park and around the Wasatch. I will say that unlike many backpacks and hydration packs, I never experienced “swamp back” or noticeable sweating under the Hip Pack Pro.
The Hip Pack Pro is available with or without a hydration bladder. The included 1.5 liter unit functions awesome and slides right in when needed. The hose is a bit of an enigma though. It wraps almost all the way around your waist and connects on the opposite side. This worked reasonably well for mountain biking, but while hiking, the bite valve tended to get bumped with almost every stride and I even bumped it off the holder, on occasion. Additionally, the hose is not quite long enough to make drinking In the saddle comfortable. I have to hunch down to drink, thus making it less ideal for singletrack sips.
With the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L, you get a medical-grade elastic waist belt instead of just a strap and buckle system. Going this route gives this hip pack a high level of comfort by spreading out the load. I appreciated the zippered waist belt pockets for my phone and some energy bars.
As far as hauling capabilities, there’s not a ton of space in the main compartment with a full bladder. You can strap a light jacket or a vest onto the pack and the two exterior water bottle holders either expand or serve as the primary water carrying method. Going the water bottle route would allow you to utilize the 3L storage capacity for sundry items.
Inside the pack you’ll find three mesh pockets and a single water-resistant zippered sleeve for a wallet, ID or cash. It’s all easily-accessed with the huge zipper loop pull that opens up the back panel in a jiffy.
Core to the Hip Pack Pro is the array of compression straps to cinch the pack closer to your back. This works well for hiking, but it doesn’t quite eliminate load bouncing while mountain biking. It turns out that it’s pretty much impossible to eliminate some of this movement, but as built it does reduce it as you cinch it down.
- A nice alternative to a hydration pack
- Airflow Contact system works as advertised
- Wide, stretchy waist belt carries loads well
- Can be used with or without a bladder
- Two water bottle sleeves for extra capacity
- Bladder is easily-filled
- Large zipper pull loop allows easy opening
- Key clip is a nice touch
- Drinking requires hunching over in the saddle or on the trail
- Not much capacity with a full bladder
The Bottom Line: EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L
If hydration packs aren’t your thing and you are looking for a comfortable, breathable option for carrying water and essentials into the backcountry, the EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L is a great option for both mountain biking and hiking. The flexible, wide waistband makes for ultra-comfortable all-day carrying and you can easily carry enough water for a day in the backcountry.
Buy Now: Available on Amazon.com