PNW Rover Hip Pack Review
Bum bags, fanny packs, hip packs…. They have many names. You might even call them the death of the ‘hydration pack’…..
Collectively, we have been riding bikes for a very long time. Back in the day, any decent ride meant a ‘camel pack’ loaded to the brim with every conceivable item that you just might need- and at least 3L of water, because you know, it’s hot carrying all that gear.
Bike frames with water bottle holders are now a must-have for most riders, in-frame storage is becoming more common & you can jam tools in just about every nook and cranny of your bike. But you generally still need a little bit more. Enter the new age of the bum bag, sorry hip pack! We have been using them for a few years now and are converted.
There is a large range of hip packs on the market and we’ve tested a few of them over the years. They tend to range from the very minimalist to the cavernous. What we like about the PNW Rover hip pack is that it sits right in the middle of the pack. Excuse the pun.
First impressions of the pack were great, as we have come to expect with PNW’s gear. The construction and fabrics used are top quality, featuring the burly and dependable YKK zippers, plus a water-resistant seam for foul-weather days.
The pack is lightweight due to the super-light abrasion-resistant Tri-Layer Sailcloth material, striking a perfect balance between weight and durability. It also looks rather unique. There were certainly a few at Tyres and Soles HQ pitching their case to be the one to review it.
The overall design is centred around the main compartment which features neat internal and external storage solutions. Coming off each end of the main compartment are the side sections (wings) that wrap around the waist. These wings have adjustment straps to fine-tune the fit, and also feature zippered pockets.
In terms of storage, well, PNW describes it best as it having a ‘Sh#tload of pockets’, and we tend to agree with that statement. It even comes with a detachable drink bottle holder that clips onto the pack for those longer days in the saddle.
The back panel offers an ample supply of padding for comfort and uses a mesh fabric for ventilation and breathability.
Foul weather taped seams and abrasion resistant Tri-Layer Sailcloth material, striking a perfect balance between weight and durability.
On The Trails
Being used to a smaller pack, we were a little nervous that it might feel too big and bulky, so we loaded up with the usual basics- tools, CO2 cartridge, snacks, and phone, and headed out to try it on some trails. Adjusting it couldn’t have been more simple, with the use of the adjustable ‘wings’.
Comfort & Support
The first thing we noticed was how well it sat on the hips. The padding around the back of the pack supports the lumbar and a smart adjustment system that feels like a good hug (not a creepily tight one).
The pack holds everything you could really need for the majority of rides. The pack felt stable, regardless of the terrain being ridden. The wing pockets are great for GoPro batteries, single car keys, Thredbo RFID cards, etc. There are 2 large elastic-mesh pockets inside the pack. One takes the phone and the other is used to organise tubeless repair kits and assorted loose items.
The main pockets can easily accommodate a granite tools mini ratchet, leatherman, and tyre pressure gauge. This leaves ample room for a light rain jacket, spare gloves, or whatever you might want to jam in there.
The addition of smaller adjustable pull tabs on the sides of the pack allows you to adjust the overall volume of the pack. When we had less gear we would pull the tabs tight to minimise the size of the pack. Conversely with the unpredictable weather we have been having lately- thanks to La Niña- when bringing a rain jacket we could expand the pack to make a little extra room.
The detachable water bottle holder is a good feature. We found ourselves removing it off for shorter rides or shuttle days but clipping it back on when we knew we’d need extra water, such as dragging the kids along for a ride. Having this modular system, we feel, is a good feature. The system works well and mounts securely with the bottle sitting tightly against the pack, which helps it to remain stable on the janky stuff.
In summary, we can’t say a bad thing about the PNW Rover Hip Pack. It’s versatile, well made, light and really well priced given the quality and features. If you’re looking for a comfortable hip pack that features a modular design, great lumbar support, and foul weather protection with large amounts of storage and pockets, then we highly recommend you check it out.
Price/Where To Buy
PNW Components Rover Hip Pack: $69.00USD
Available in two colours: Star Dust or Black Matter.
Ask for one at your local bike shop or shop online atthe PNW Website.