San Util Design has a Fresh Take on Hip Packs with the Covert [Review]

San Util packs are hand made in Winter Park, Colorado.
Photo: Chris Schieffer

There is no shortage of hip pack options out there, but how many brands do you actually see on the trail? Chances are only a handful. And there’s nothing wrong with that — I understand why many people only buy from a few select brands in any given category: research and development and the means to do so equals a good product. And the product of a good product is a good reputation so eventually your product starts to sell itself.

That said, it’s nice to be different. It’s nice to wear something different than the masses and that is exactly what San Util Designs offers with their custom, durable, and thoughtful packs. Started in 2021, San Util is based out of Winter Park, Colorado and makes a handful of products for mountain bikers and adventurers including tool rolls and pouches, beer and gear totes, saddle and frame bags, and the Covert hip pack we’re checking out in this review.

The Covert looks like a lot of other hip packs on the market, but it does things a little differently. First, the color. San Util has a slew of custom colors available for the Covert, including anything from purple, to teal, coral, and this blend of white and coyote on the bag here. Mixing and matching doesn’t affect the $115 price tag, so have at it.

Photo: Matt Miller

There are wide, perforated and cushioned hip straps that wrap the pack around the rider’s hips, some straps underneath the bag, and a large open main pouch secured by a draw string. Magnetic Fidlock buckles secure the hip pack and the hip belt.

After the high quality material and appearance, the next thing I noticed was the fit of the pack on my lower back. The wide straps help keep the pack from flapping around and the Covert has a really comfortable fit. While there is a foam, perforated underside, the material in front isn’t all that breathable, so you may find some sweat around your hips.

Unbuckle the front of the pack and pull the draw string open and there’s room for a small hand pump, a tool, tube, snacks, and a rain jacket; or whatever your daily carry may be. There’s enough room for essential items around this size although there is no dedicated water bottle pouch. With the above items stuffed in the pouch there is room for a bottle inside the pack if you don’t a cage for it on your bike.

There also is not any organization inside the main pouch. Cargo is pretty secure so it’s not flying or flopping, but a pocket or envelop for tools and tire levers would be nice.

The only other issue I’ve had with the pack is with the magnetic hip buckle. When I’ve taken the pack off and set it on the ground during breaks, sand and soil have stuck to the buckle and interfered with the closure. Not a big deal, but it’s something that sticks out compared to a common plastic buckle.

San Util also sent a handlebar bag, the Lil Stash Daddy, made from the same material. It sits nicely on the bars and is a convenient way to open up more space on the bike.

Closing thoughts

Photo: Chris Schieffer

The San Util Designs Covert hip pack is a unique hip pack for mountain bikers who want something different. The custom colors and durable fabric are stand-out features and riders will appreciate the amount of space and secure feel.

  • Price: $115
  • Available from San Util.

Party laps

  • Unique pack and custom colors
  • Plenty of room
  • Secure fit and feel

Pros and cons of the San Util Designs Covert hip pack.

Dirt naps

  • No dedicated water bottle holster
  • No organization inside pouch
  • Pricey compared to other hip packs

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