Last year I picked up this High Above Lookout pack at an event in Idaho. It’s a tough and subtle hip pack, without a whole lot of flair to summon eyeballs. It’s all black, with two compartments and a standard looking waist belt, although with a closer look, it offers a unique way to carry water.
The Lookout pack is fitted with two Fidlock Tex Base plates, which allow riders to attach their Fidlock bottles to a pack or waist belt that needs water-carrying capability. I’ve been using Fidlock bottles for a few years now as an alternative to standard bike water bottles.
They’re a little pricier than standard water bottles, but eliminate the cage from your bike for a cleaner look, and with the bottle mounted inside the frame, I have never lost a bottle. I did lose one on a rough and muddy ride with the bottle attached to a mount on the downtube, but that was the only instance in the span of a few years.
I have yet to have a bottle bounce up or out of my hip pack while using the High Above Lookout pack with Fidlock bottles. The Lookout pack is built with durable and waterproof materials. The High Above brand is based in Bellingham, Washington, and they make a handful of items that are built to last.
The Lookout hip pack sells for $100 in its standard form, and the Fidlock version costs $120, for a pack that will carry water securely. The colors can be changed slightly at no extra cost but the pack itself only comes in black. After a year of hugging my sweaty back, being thrown in the back of cars, and on the side of trails, it has yet to show any wear or tear.
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The pack works best for two-ish hour rides as it’s not ginormous. The Lookout can fit all the standard trail essentials and there’s room to either stuff a rain jacket inside or to cinch it down at the top.
Fidlock has also added new bottles this year: the TWIST Bottle 590 and 450, which hold 20oz and 15.2oz respectively. The TWIST 590 fits a quarter inch lower than the previous version, and both new bottles are made from a more flexible material, making them easier to squeeze. Fidlock says that new connection technology also means that the bottle will be more secure.
The updated bottles are certainly easier to drink from. The older versions, pictured above on the left side, were a little too rigid to squeeze hard. The new bottles are much more flexible and easier to drink from and they have a lid that covers the cap from mud.
The TWIST 590 sells for $45 with a base plate (available at evo), or for $17 if you already have the base plate. The TWIST 450, a good option for those with limited frame clearance, sells for $38/$10 with or without a base plate.
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Thanks to Fidlock and High Above for providing these items for testing.