In the world of mountain biking we quickly become accustom to buying MTB specific products. We have our own shoes, our own shirts, our own sunglasses etc. So can a hip pack not specifically designed for mountain biking compete with purpose designed products such as the Dakine Hotlaps? We put this question to the test when Waterfly sent us their two bottle fanny pack.
As listed on Amazon the “Waterfly Fanny Pack with Water Bottle Holder Unisex Hiking Waist Packs for Walking Running Lumbar Pack fit for iPhone iPod Samsung Phones” is $20.99 as apposed to the usual $50 – $100 that you expect to spend with a better known brand. We just be calling it “The Waterfly Hip-Pack” from now on. As a side note, you will also have an actual product name to tell people about when they ask you what you are carrying.
The Waterfly Hip-Pack features two waterbottle holders on either end of the pack. These have elastic and the top for retention and mesh contruction for the bottle pocket. The bottles are also held in by cinch straps that come down accross the bottles or cinch the pocket closed if there is no bottle present. These cinch straps work very well to give the pack and bottles and “glued to your body” feel when riding.
The center pack feature 3 different compartments constructed from water resistant nylon. Each have a zipper closure. The zippers have proven robust. The compartments also have internal mesh organization pockets and a key clip. The sheer volume of this hip pack is enormous. It is wide enough to fit long items like a shock pump and deep enough to fit bulky items like a handheld GPS.
The back and strap of any hip-pack are critical to creating a comfortable load bearing system. The Waterfly Hip-Pack uses a corrugated venting material that provides padding and venting on the back and sides The straps themselves are nice and wide and the buckle system tightens by pulling out on each side and retention clips help to take up the extra strap length.
Other small details include a reflective patch with a loop for attaching a rear light, a carrying handle and a hidden opening between the back padding and the pack that can be used to tuck in the straps or stow a larger piece of clothing in an emergency.
I have to say, coming from a brand that I had never heard of, my expectations were low. Out of the box though, I was pleasantly surprised by the initial fit and finish of the product. The fabric while lightweight seemed tough and in most places the stitching looked pretty good. The only area where visually I wasn’t 100% happy with the pack was the top of the water bottle holders the edges in my opinion could use a little bit more of a finished edge. But, that being said there haven’t been any durability issues in that area. The buckles function the same as something like an Osprey Savu, but don’t have the same heavy duty feel.
Riding with the Waterfly Hippack has been surprisingly comfortable. The cinch straps around the water bottles hold the pack even when heavily loaded close to the body. They also double to secure the water bottles and I have yet to lose a bottle while carrying this pack.
As mentioned before the space in this hip pack is cavernous. I can fit the kitchen sink in the pack and is doesn’t have that tight around my stomach feel. The suspension is the honestly the best of any hip pack I have tried. The zippered pockets have functioned well and I haven’t broken any of them which is a good sign.
The only significant wear that I have inflicted in my testing period is a small hole from my “butt buzzing” the pack on my rear tire. This is just kind of a by product of carrying hip packs on a 29er in general and not anything specific to this pack.
To answer the question posed in the title, Yes, a budget hip-pack can work. Now the question is, is it a good investment? I’m unsure. Looking at packs such as Osprey you’ll have lifetime warranty and a proven brand standing behind the product. That has some value to most people, the question is if it’s something you need for something like a hip-pack solution. The answer will vary for different users.
As far as functionality of hip-packs go, I don’t think anyone has a corner on the market. The Waterfly Hip-Pack performs on the trail well. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the name brand is worth the extra cost.
Waterfly Provided This Pack For Review
- Great storage volume
- Low price
- Holds tight to your body
- Not from a known, name brand.
- Buckles don’t have quite the same quality.
- Some durability concerns