5 Best Mountain Bike Fanny Packs & Hip Packs

I’m sure you’ve noticed it out on the trail: more and more riders are rocking a hip pack (i.e. a fanny pack) rather than a traditional back-pack style hydration pack. And now you are curious too.

I was right there with you. After resisting the fanny pack trend for a while, but seeing all my friends use them, I finally caved….and discovered I LOVE mountain bike fanny packs, primarily for the comfort level.

best mountain bike fanny packs

So, the good news is that mountain bike fanny packs (also called hip packs or enduro packs) are awesome. The bad news is that there’s an explosion of options on the market, and that can be confusing. We’ve cut through all the noise for you and narrowed it down to the five best packs around.

In addition to our top five list, you’ll find a comparison chart and tips on what to think about before buying.

dakine hot laps rear view

Osprey Seral 7L

Osprey Seral 7L

Osprey makes fantastic hydration packs, and the Osprey Seral hip pack is no exception. The best thing about the pack is Osprey’s amazing customer service and warranty. If something happens to the pack, they’ll fix it for you.

Luckily, the Seral also works well, so you’ll actually want to wear it for a long time. The pack stays in place with no twisting or bouncing, and includes several interior pockets to stash your keys, phone, snacks, and even a pump and a few simple tools.

Con: The only bummer about the Seral is the magnetic bite valve clip that isn’t as strong as it needs to be.

Read Review: Osprey Seral 7L

Price & Where To Buy:

Dakine Hot Laps 5L

Dakine Hot Laps 5L

The Dakine Hot Laps 5L is probably the hippest bag around. (Pun totally intended). It looks cool and comes in a couple of different fabrics.

One thing we really like about the bag are the external straps that can hold a lightweight jacket or protective pads. The bite valves is also top-notch: it doesn’t leak or drip, and provides a nice flow.

Con: If you fill up the reservoir all the way, there’s not much interior room left for anything else. Also, for ladies with larger waists, the hose is a bit short.

Read Review: Dakine Hot Laps 5L

Price & Where To Buy:

Evoc Hip Pack 3 With Bladder

evoc hip pack

The Evoc Hip Pack 3 probably has the most attractive, female-friendly colors of all the packs on the list. Each of the ladies we surveyed, really like the way this pack LOOKS.

It also has smart storage compartments. The pack has a double-zip, roll-out tool compartment like those you find on larger hydration packs. We also appreciate the small side pockets that work well for accessing a gel mid-race.

Con: The hose is really short. Also, like the Osprey pack, the magnetic bite valve clip has a tendency of coming undone.

Price & Where To Buy:

Camelback Repack

Camelbak Repack

What would a hydration pack list be without a Camelbak? The Camelbak Repack is a smaller-sized fanny pack that keeps things simple and lightweight. The ladies we surveyed found the pack comfortable and the organization pockets useful.

We also like the top handle for picking the pack up when off the bike, and for hanging storage.

Con: The pack sits closer to your back than other packs. Don’t pick it if you tend to get sweaty.

Price & Where To Buy:

Sierra Designs Flex Lumbar

sierra designs flex lumbar pack

The Sierra Designs Flex Lumbar isn’t designed specifically for mountain biking (and does NOT include a hydration reservoir), but after testing and reviewing it, I found myself using it so often I felt it should be included here.

I love using it for short rides (1-2 hours) where I’m fine with a water bottle and just need somewhere to stash my phone, keys, jacket, etc.

Read Review: Sierra Designs Flex Lumbar

Price & Where To Buy: 

Comparison Chart: Mountain Bike Hip Packs

Fanny PackWater CapacityTotal Capacity
Dakine Hot Laps 5L*2L 5L
Osprey Seral 7L *1.5L7L
Patagonia Nine Trail 8L1.5L8L
Evoc Hip Pack Race with Bladder*1.5L3L
Camelbak Repack*1.5L2.5L

Why Use a Fanny Pack for Mountain Biking?

Most women choose to switch to a hip pack because they find it more comfortable. Fanny packs work especially well for females because we tend to have narrower, less muscular shoulders and larger hips. As such, it makes a lot of sense to take the weight off your shoulders and put it onto your hips.

If you find that you get back pain while riding, or experience pinching in your shoulders and nerves in your arms, you might want to consider trying a fanny pack rather than a regular hydration pack.

If you also hate having a sweaty back, a fanny pack can be a good solution. If you have a hot body, you might still experience some lower back sweating, but you are unlikely to experience a soaked shirt like you might with a backpack.

The Drawbacks of a Hip Pack

While some of the larger hip packs can carry as much water and gear as a small hydration backpack, most fanny packs simply can’t hold as much as a bigger hydration pack. That makes them work well for shorter rides (2-3 hours), but not for all day epics.

Things to Look For In a Pack

Reservoir size

How long are your rides, and how much water do you usually drink?

Most hip packs come with a 1.5L bladder. For most women, this is enough water for several hours. If you need even more water, consider the Dakine Hot Laps pack that has a 2L bladder.

While all the packs we chose on our Top 5 list come with bladders, other hip packs don’t. Some allow you to use the bladder of your choice, or they may have pockets for water bottles.

dakine hot laps 2L reservoir

Storage Space

The amount of space you have for storage is basically the total capacity of the pack minus the volume of the water bladder. Once you do that math, you’ll realize that most fanny packs really don’t have that much room for gear.

osprey seral front pocket

What do most of your rides look like? Are you doing laps at the bike park where it’s easy to bail to the parking lot for a pump or food? If so a small hip pack might work great for your needs.

On the other hand, if you are doing long trail rides where you need to be self-sufficient, make sure to choose one of the larger packs that have plenty of space for a pump, spare tube, multi-tool, and a bar or gel.

Also consider the design of that storage. Is there a clip for your car keys? A pocket for your cell phone? Or a strap for your rain jacket? Make sure there is space for the stuff that’s important to you.

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