If you’ve been considering switching from a traditional hydration pack, to a fanny pack, take a look at the Dakine Hot Laps 5L.
It carries enough water that you won’t be sorry you made the switch, plus it shifts the weight from your shoulders and back and onto your hips. We found that the Dakine Hot Laps 5L is one of the most comfortable, best-constructed mountain bike fanny packs around.
Review In A Nutshell
- Large 2L Hydrapak® reservoir
- External straps to affix a jacket or pads
- Plenty of internal pockets to organize tools/gear
- Comfortable off-centered waistband
- No off-switch on the bite valve
- Magnetic bite valve clip isn’t strong enough
Price & Where To Buy:
Dakine Hot Laps 5L Video Review
2L Reservoir Carries PLENTY of Water
One of the biggest issues most people have when switching to a fanny pack from a traditional hydration pack is the inability to carry as much water as you’re used to. Luckily, this isn’t a problem with the Hot Laps 5L.
The Dakine pack comes with a whopping 2L Hydrack reservoir making it rival all but the largest hydration packs. I found this was plenty of water to last for me on all but the hottest and longest rides.
The reservoir itself is easy to fill, and the zip-lock style closure is solid–no leaks!
It fastens into the larger pocket via a clip and then zips closed.
The Bite Valve Leaves A Bit To Be Desired
While I like the reservoir itself, the bite valve isn’t my favorite. First off, it doesn’t have a lock-out switch. While this seemed okay at first, over time, the bite valve started leaking a bit. I would have liked a way to turn off the water flow completely.
Secondly, the magnetic clip, while nice in theory, doesn’t do a great job of keeping the bit valve securely in place. This is the same complaint I had about the Osprey Seral fanny pack.
In order to keep the hose from coming loose and danging precariously close to the rear wheel, I took to tucking the hose through the strap that the magnet sits on.
External Clips Create Additional Storage Space
My favorite thing about the Dakine Hot Laps 5L is the handy-dandy external straps. I found these helpful for storing either a jacket or protective pads. The two straps cinch up nicely and keep soft-goods securely in place.
There is also webbing on the front of the pack that you could potentially use to secure more gear. Clip-on a blinky light or use some lash straps to strap on another layer.
Internal Storage Space Is Minimal, But There’s Plenty of Pockets For Organization
Thank goodness for all the external storage space, because the internal storage space on the Hot Laps pack is minimal. If you fill the 2L reservoir all the way, there’s not that much space left inside for gear.
The front zippered pocket includes several smaller pockets that are helpful for keeping everything organized. I used the internal zippered pockets for stashing my keys and some cash. (My phone was too large).
With the reservoir filled on the way, I’m able to fit my phone, keys, cash, mini-pump, tire levers, multi-tool, and an energy bar. I did not have space for a plus-sized tube.
Waistband Is Comfortable (Most of The Time)
The waistband is off-centered and buckles on the left side. I prefer this to the center-buckle on the Osprey fanny pack, as there is only one strap to secure rather than two. There’s also an elastic band to secure the extra strap so you don’t have to use a hairband like I’m doing on my Osprey Seral.
I found that the waistband was comfortable….most of the time. When the pack is filled to max capacity, I could feel the pack pulling away from my lower back and tugging on the strap at my waist. This was mildly uncomfortable.
When filled only half-way, which is how I ride for most of my shorter 2-hourish rides, the pack was comfortable and I didn’t notice any chafing our digging into my mid-section.
The Back Provides Decent Breathability
The back of the pack (the part that sits against your lower back) has a breathable “AirFlow” panel. Essentially, foam grooves hold the pack away from your back a bit to help create breathability.
While it did a pretty good of job of keeping my lower back dry, I found on hot days, my back got quite a bit sweatier with the Hot Laps than with my Osprey pack. In particular, the side strap areas laid pretty close to my body with limited ventilation, and I noticed my hips were where my jersey gets wet.
The Pack Stays in Place While You Ride
When you are navigating a techy section of trail, the last thing you want is a pack slip-sliding around, causing you to lose focus. Fortunately, the Dakine Hot Laps does just what it’s supposed to–it stays in place.
In addition to the adjustable waist strap, there are also side straps that let you cinch up the pack. I haven’t had any problems with the Dakine slipping or flopping around, even in rocky terrain.
It Looks Cool!
Let’s be honest, we don’t want a pack that’s just functional, we want one that looks cool as well. And the Dakine Hot Laps has got to be the “hippest” pack around. (Pun totally intended).
In addition to the plan ol’ black pack I have, the Hot Laps comes in several colors and designs, so you’re sure to find one that you like.
Comparison Chart: Dakine Hot Laps vs The Competition
You’ll note that the Dakine is reasonably priced compared to the other hip pack options on the market. It also has the biggest water reservoir around, which makes it a top pick if you want to maximize hydration capacity.
The only pack I personally prefer to the Dakine is the Osprey Seral. While it shares the same crappy magnetic hose clip design, the overall construction of the pack is a little nicer.
|Dakine Hot Laps 5L*
|Osprey Seral 7L *
|Patagonia Nine Trail 8L
|Evoc Hip Pack Race with Bladder*
Bottom-Line: A “Hip” Choice For Female Mountain Bikers
No matter your color preferences, you’ll find a Dakine Hot Laps 5L style that you like.
Fortunately, the pack not only looks good it’s also highly functional, thanks to the extra-large hydration reservoir and external lash straps. It’s comfortable and stays in place no matter how hard you ride.
The only bummer is the bite valve that doesn’t close and the lack of strength of the magnetic clip, but neither of those were deal breakers for us.
Do More Research Before Buying a Pack
About The Reviewer
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.