Hip Pack or Vest? | Easy Breakdown

        Scrolling the weather app recently, I noticed the long range forecast for Bellingham is the most promising in months! Sunshine, warm temps and just the right amount of rain, are in sight. With perfect dirt right outside my doorstep, my skis are collecting dust and my mountain bike is constantly dirty. Thoughts of the days ahead also bring thoughts of proper preparation for what’s ahead. Since my rides range from a single hour jaunt all the way up to 6+ hour long epics, I have to make a game day decision on what sort of pack I’m going to use.

    In this blog, I’ll break down what specific pack styles I use, why I use them, as well as give you some initial ride impressions on the EVOC Hydro Pro 3 vest that we recently started stocking.

As a disclaimer, these are personal opinions and I acknowledge everyone is different. This blog is intended to cover the general guidelines I follow when choosing which pack to use.

The Hip-Pack:

    Hip-packs are fantastic! They’re super versatile pieces of gear that you can use on/off the bike and carry just the bare minimum. Most hip packs out there will be under 4L in size which make them great for quick ‘n dirty, under two-hour rides. In my hip-pack I typically carry a simple repair kit (tube, tire lever, tire plugs, CO2, and multi-tool), whatever granola bar caught my eye at Grocery Outlet, and my cell phone (with Strava on of course).

    We sell a handful of options from the likes of Fox, Dakine, and EVOC. The EVOC 3L Hip-Pack Pro, in particular, is one of our most popular hip packs. It has 3-liters of storage, a 1.5-liter water bladder and numerous pockets to organize all your riding essentials. Another option that’s new to the shop is Fox’s 2L Hip-Pack. 2-liters of storage and two water bottle holders, this hip-pack is a fairly minimal solution that carries everything you'll need on shorter rides. For those who pack super miniamally, take a look at Dakine's 1L Hot Laps Waist Bag. It's super compact and hardly feels like you're wearing anything at all.

    One noteworthy thing to keep in mind is that these hip-packs focus the weight on your lower back and not everyone will get along with that. However, an alternative exists in our next type of pack, the vest.

The Vest Pack:

      I’m a huge fan of wearing vests. I think they ideal use slots nicely between the quick ‘n dirty rides and all day epics (so rides around 2 - 5hrs). They’re one of the most versatile pieces of gear out there.

    When the EVOC Hydro Pro 3 Vest landed at The Lost Co HQ, I was very keen to pick one up and give it a go. So far I’ve gone on a few long rides with the vest and it has been perfect. It comes with a 1.5-liter (1500mL) reservoir which is significantly more water capacity than my usual water bottle (500 - 750mL).

    On the chest, there are two zippered pockets and two mesh pockets sizable enough to stash a few granola bars, my phone, car keys and quick grab items like gloves, glasses and tire plugs. With the reservoir filled, there’s enough room in the back compartment for an extra layer, my repair kit and more snacks. I carry similar things as with the hip-pack but I'm able to pack more fuel, water, and layers, which means I can stay out for longer.

    I found the vest’s fit to be a nice balance between snug, with very little movement but still roomy enough to wear a shell layer underneath and breathe easily. That’s, in part, due to the extra compression straps on the side which let you dial in the fit. Breathability wise, the vest is definitely warmer than a hip-pack but EVOC’s Airo Flex ventilation material keeps the heat from becoming unbearable.  

Overall, I think the vest is a fantastic piece of kit if you’re looking for something that keeps you out longer and takes the weight off your lower back. It has quickly become my go to pack for everyday riding.

The Backpack:

    Last but not least is the backpack. This bad boy only comes out for the all day epics (5+ hours). Most backpacks have the capacity for a large water reservoir and loads of storage. I’ve been rocking my Osprey pack for many years now and still love it.

    While we don’t carry backpacks currently at the Lost Co, it’s definitely an item we could have in the future as they’re super popular with a variety of riders.


    If you’re trying to decide which route to go, my personal rule-of-thumb is for the quick ‘n dirty rides I’ll bring a hip pack, for mid-length rides I’ll rock my vest, and for all day epics I’ll bring out my backpack.

Whether you're going out for a quick after-work loop or a backcountry adventure, there’s a pack out there for you. Each has its pros, cons, and intended uses but in the end it comes down to what you feel you need to bring with you.

Featured Products

EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L - The Lost Co. - EVOC - 102503120 - Black/Carbon Grey -
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EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L - The Lost Co. - EVOC - 102503120 - Black/Carbon Grey -
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EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L - The Lost Co. - EVOC - 102503120 - Black/Carbon Grey -
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EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3L - The Lost Co. - EVOC - 102503120 - Black/Carbon Grey -
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Harrison Winkel



Bellingham, WA

Current Bike: Transition Sentinel

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Bobs, Galbraith / Hamilton Buttes, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

About Me: I'm currently our only part-timer at The Lost Co. Coming from America's Dairyland, Wisconsin, I help Adam answer phones and respond to emails. I loves the smell of coffee, watching sunsets, and long rides in the woods. When I'm not here at the shop, I'm either working at Kulshan Brewing slinging beers or exploring new places around the PNW.