It the Italian language, a hip pack is called a marsupio. Makes sense eh? An abdominal pouch for carrying essential stuff, like some animals do with their offspring. I only wear bags when absolutely necessary, so I only keep the most comfortable crap-packing options around. The Rapha Trail Hip Pack leans hard on the cozy side of bags, with enough storage for snacks and spares. You can definitely fit a slingshot in there if that sounds fun. It comes in black, olive or dark blue, and lightens your wallet by €70 or $80.
The pack’s 100% recycled rip-stop nylon is sturdy enough to last through multiple seasons of deep forest exploration. In addition to the 3-liter primary luggage compartment there’s a flat outer pocket to hold your precious mobile phone and a key clip so you can get back into the car or house after a ride. The main storage bay has a water-resistant zipper, and the main fabric is thick enough to keep most of the puddles outside. Both of the zippered pockets are lined with a bright orange material to make it easy to find small bits, and the large pouch has an elastic band to hold your tools and candy bars in place. That orange fabric wipes clean quite easily, making this pack a sweet option for folks who like to collect mushrooms, berries, or other woodland artifacts.
A pair of stretchy mesh pockets cover the rider’s outer lumbar, with space for water bottles or tubes that can be cinched into place. I haven’t managed to launch a water bottle from these yet, as the cinch-straps get fairy tight. The pack can grow too heavy for comfort with a full cargo bay and two water bottles, so I would recommend carrying one of those drinks on the bike if possible.
Above it all, there’s a stretchy serpentine of black cord that can be tightened around a jacket or a slingshot. I once went on a short bike tour carrying only a small hip pack such as this, and that stretchy cord allowed me to carry a spare wool shirt and a pair of sandals. I checked, and this bag fits the same setup. While not everyone is as comfortable as I am with the ripe smell of humanity, it’s good to test the possibilities.
Oh right, it’s also comfortable. I kinda forgot, because it’s comfortable. Three thick hunks of foam sit between the rider and their gear, providing generous padding so you don’t have to feel that camera lens for 80 kilometers. Gaps between the padding provide a little airflow, but there will be a bag-shaped sweat stain above your butt when you remove the pack. To avoid the sweaty spot, strap everything to your frame and skip bags all together.
The wildly adjustable waist belt seems tough enough that you could use it to pull a heavyweight rider or a busted midsize car if need be. It’s also long enough. With the straps fully extended the belt has a maximum circumference of 132cm or 52in, and there are loops on either side to hold any excess strap in place. The pack stays put on the trail, with little bounce or sway to speak of. This ties into the “it’s comfortable” element directly.
It’s patently clear that there are some mountain bikers behind this new gear from Rapha, and the Trail Hip Pack is a sweet option any time you need to carry more than your pockets can manage.
- Fits loads of gear
- Tough material
- Comfortable fit and stability
- Recycled materials
The pros and cons.
- No easy way to mount it to a bike frame