If Sea Otter was any indication, lumbar packs will be making a huge comeback this year. Way cooler and more functional than their 80s fanny pack counterparts, lumbar packs are growing in popularity amongst the mountain biking set.
I jumped on the lumbar pack bandwagon early when CamelBak came out with theirs a few years back. I wore it to race the Breck Epic and loved it. The key benefit of a waist or lumbar pack is that they keep the weight centered around your hips instead of on your shoulders and back, and they keep your back — where you sweat the most — completely open to ventilation.
At Sea Otter last week, I had a chance to check out some new packs from both Osprey and Evoc. While Evoc has had the Hip Pack 3L in their lineup for awhile now, the German brand is coming out with an updated Hip Pack Pro 3L and a Hip Pouch 1L version in September. Perfect for those afternoon shred sessions, the Hip Pouch IL offers enough storage between the main compartment and the two hipbelt pockets for your tools, snacks, and maybe an extra layer. There’s even a cellphone pocket.
The new Hip Pack Pro 3L includes two collapsible water bottle pockets for those that might not like reservoirs or want to carry even more liquid. The updated version also includes an adjustable hipbelt that allows for more ventilation when riding uphill but can be cinched down tight for bombing downhill.
For Osprey’s first line of lumbar packs, the brand started by flipping their popular backpack hipbelt upside down for the new four-liter Seral and seven-liter Savu. For the Seral, they then created a short and wide 1.5 liter reservoir that spreads the weight across the length of the lumbar pack with a hose that wraps around the front and secures to a magnetic clip.
In place of a reservoir, the Savu incorporates dual tuckaway water bottle sleeves for your hydration needs. Both feature zippered hipbelt pockets, a front bungee for extra layer storage, and internal tool organization in the main compartment.