Photos by Sam McMain
Try as brands may to rebrand “fanny packs” as technical “hip packs,” I’m a fan of calling a spade a spade. I ride a scooter to work, and I call it a scooter, not a moto. A fanny pack sits around the hips, but it’s still a fanny pack, and an injection of “enduro” will never change that. Yes, I realize that “fanny” means something slightly more blush-worthy outside of North America, but I am American and this is a review of a fanny pack.
DAKINE HOT LAPS 1.5L | $35 | DAKINE.COM
I hate wearing a backpack. Not only do I feel more sluggish and less enthusiastic on the bike, but my back tends to tighten up when I wear a hydration pack. Also, the vast majority of my rides are short enough and close enough to civilization that it wouldn’t mean the end of the world if I had to hike out. Unfortunately, though, most bikes these days can’t accommodate two water bottles, and this makes it much more difficult for me to avoid the dreaded backpack when I’m trying to carry a flat fix, enough water for a couple hours, a phone and maybe some food. If I’m alone I can jam all that into my bib pockets, but if my dog is along for the shred I also need to bring his collapsible bowl, leash, treats and additional water.
– Breathable air mesh back panel
– Grippy mesh on waist belt
– Internal fleece lined and mesh pockets
– Deployable side waterbottle pocket
– Reflective logo
– 92 cu. in. [ 1.5L ]
– 8.5 x 6 x 2.5″ [ 22 x 15 x 6cm ]
– 200D Nylon Ripstop
– 600D Poly Filament
This is where wearing a fanny pack becomes worth the pride-swallowing initial moments. Dakine’s Hot Laps has come along with me on most of my rides lately–both with and without my furry consort. It’s got a waterbottle pocket to the side of the main compartment which, along with a cage on whatever bike I happen to be testing, allows me to carry enough water for a three-hour ride in the SoCal summer heat. The main compartment has fleece-lined pockets for a phone or whatever else you want to keep from getting scratched, and they’re opposed by mesh pockets on the other side of the bag, which I use to store my multi tool, snacks and tire lever. I generally then lay a small pump down horizontally in the bottom of the bag and put a folded tube on top of it. Everything stays in place inside, and it’s easy to access whatever I need by either reaching back and grabbing it blind or by turning the pack to my front without unbuckling it.
The waterbottle compartment doesn’t look very secure, but I haven’t had any issues with dropped bottles thanks to the cinch strap that’s meant to go over the top or into the groove of a bottle. The pack stays in place fairly well, although it’s a bit of a balancing act to keep it from bouncing around without making it uncomfortably tight. Extending the grippy mesh on the sides of the wast belt to the back panel would likely help with this, but I found that wearing the pack under my shirt made a huge difference, since it was gripping the relatively static surface of my bib liner rather than my jersey. The hip straps are also quite a lot longer than they need to be, but this could be remedied with some rudimentary tailoring. If you don’t jive with backpacks or would like to try something less bulky, this fanny pack will get the job done: it’s shrugged off more spills lately than I’d like, but it hasn’t shown any signs of wear. My self-respect may have popped a seam, though.