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There are two camps when it comes to carrying some form of water and other things like tools or an energy bar. The traditional route would be a hydration backpack or a water bottle on the bike itself. Now there's another option, the hip pack. Sean a friend of the shop tells us about the RaceFace Stash Quick Rip Bag. Check it out!
So my wife and I just had our first child, and while that has been the absolute most amazing thing of ALL TIME, the days of long, epic rides have become for now a thing of the past and the majority of my rides consist of an hour or two tops. Lucky for me, I happen to call Bentonville, AR home where world-class singletrack is right out my front door just a minutes pedal away. With more and more shorter rides, I needed to find a new way of hauling gear. I also had shoulder surgery two years ago, so hydration packs were something I wasn't that interested in unless it was going to be a very big day on the bike. I've tried a handful of hip packs over the last couple of years, and while each of them had their pros and cons, I hadn't yet found what I would consider the perfect pack for my riding. I wanted something that gave me the option of carrying a bottle, but also something that sat tight to my body and could be worn under a jersey if needed. This is where the Race Face Stash Quick Rip bag comes in.
To date the Race Face Stash has been the best hip pack I've ever used. Let's start with the fit. I'm a generally lean guy (5'11, 170 lbs), so I sometimes have a hard time getting hip packs to cinch up tight enough on my waist to keep from bouncing around. The Race Face Stash has an elastic like waistband that once tightened stays in place. The only downside to this is that once you get it tightened up, you're left with a rather long leftover strap from the waistband. I just doubled it on itself which helped keep the length down and kept the strap from flopping all around while you ride. The back of the pack has a mesh panel which helps with sweat management as well, and I barely notice the pack while riding.
Another positive of the Race Face Stash is the water bottle placement. I've had packs before which put the water bottle on the left or right side of the pack. I've never liked this, and the bottle seems to bounce around more when on the side. The Race Face Stash has the water bottle holder right in the middle of the pack which keeps it super secure when riding. There's also a compression sleeve for your bottle for an additional level of security. As far as pockets go, this isn't the bag to take on longer rides where you need to bring quite a bit of gear. There are 3 pockets, one that runs the length of the bag and can be used for a phone, and two on either side of the water bottle holder. You're not going to be able to fit a ton of gear in these pockets, but for me they're just right. I carry a tube and CO2 cartridge in one of the pockets and snacks in the other. I use the OneUp Components 100cc EDC pump, so that's on my bike with the tool. There's also gear straps at the bottom of the pack if you want to strap knee pads or a jacket when not in use.
Overall, I LOVE this pack, and I use it on nearly every ride I go on these days. The fit is right on and it stays in place on even the rowdiest of trails. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a pack for 1-3 hour rides.