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Hip packs might be replacing hydration packs altogether. They offer enough storage for essential items, offer a slot for a Hydro bladder, and they don't leave your back all sweaty. What more could you ask for? John went through quite a few hip packs before he settled on the EVOC Hip Pack Pro. Let's see what his thoughts were!
I’ll start this review by saying I am a pretty small guy. Barely 5’7” and only 135 lbs. So, as you can imagine, finding bike gear that really fits perfectly is difficult, to say the least. Most gloves are too long if they aren’t too tight. Most jerseys are baggy. You get the idea. I had accepted this reality with camelbacks as well and, mostly, just rode with a bottle on the frame. But that changed when I got a new bike in size small (of course) and couldn’t carry enough water for those longer pedals. With no bottle on the frame, I was now required to strap the camelback on, even for a lunch ride, which got annoying real quick.
Enter the hip pack. Now to find the right one...
1) It needed to fit me - be comfortable and unobtrusive
2) It needed to have the ability to carry a bottle or a bladder or both
3) It needed enough extra room for a jacket and ample snacks
4) It needed to be as small as possible and still accomplish all of the above.
I tried maybe 3-4 packs, including the Dakine and Osprey. The hard part about trying them on is that an empty pack is always comfy whereas a 2l-full-of-water pack is not. Due to my small waist and hips, I had to pull the bags as tight as it would go but this would result in the infamous “bladder lump” one feels when their camelback is packed to the brim.
When I saw the Evoc Hip Pack Pro I was so excited that I preordered it on the spot. I’ve had Evoc before and always been thrilled with their quality. This pack seemed to check all my boxes. It was 3.5l instead of 4 so that meant it was a little smaller than most. It had a bottle holes and a bladder. Room for a jacket and a nice thick Velcro waistband. It also has a foam insert that rests against your back - meaning the pack will always have the same form independent of how stuffed it is. This is huge!
"So did it live up to the hype? The short answer is yes, absolutely. The quality is outstanding, and it is sturdy and well built. The fat Velcro waistband needs to be implemented on every hip pack. As does the foam back pad! It ventilates superbly and, even on my tiny waist, has ample support for a full bladder (which is also of very high quality). I am still aware of a “something” strapped to me when I’m climbing, but unlike a camelback, the Evoc hip pack actually disappears when defending. I have seen the light and will never go back! No problems, really. I guess the hose is a little long for my small waist but that’s no problem. Just loop the excess through one of the bottle straps and viola! Stoked." - John
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