BikeRumor Enduro Fanny Pack Comparison

Fanny packs. If enduro wasn’t already the lamest marketing trend since 27.5″ wheels, the ass backwards 80’s fanny pack has suddenly reared its ugly head in some misguided sort of pseudo euro fashion statement. Damn it.

I absolutely adore my hydration pack in the way that one can only love an inanimate object they’ve carried for innumerable hours. That trusty bag has served as a makeshift pillow, hangover companion, beer tote, and trail buddy for years, yet now some reformed downhillers with moto envy have decided they’re uncool, so it’s suddenly time to trade that relationship in for a water bottle, some electrical tape, and a nylon murse.

Yet it’s our duty to report on the latest and greatest coming and goings of the industry, so since Tyler is a roadie, and Zach only rides fat bikes, I was somehow conned (I suspect alcohol may have been involved) into running an enduro bro fanny pack battle off. Yay me.

So, do you even enduro, bro?

RequirementsBikeRumor Enduro Bro Contents

For our test, I compiled several common items which your typical enduro rider probably carries:

  • A fancy smartphone for ‘grammin/Strava
  • Crap can of beer (or a flask of whiskey for the glutards)
  • Keys (w/bottle opener)
  • Wallet for that  post ride trip to the local brew pub
  • Multitool
  • Minipump
  • Snacks

I would have included an inner tube/tire levers, but most enduro riders prefer to electrical tape (or velcro if they’re classy) those items to their frames.

Camelbak Flash Flo LR

Camelbak FlashFlo (2)

First up is the FlashFlo LR from Camelbak, which retails for $57. This pack is designed for hiking and is the only one in our test that integrates a hydration bladder. There is one main cinch for the waist, while a secondary set of straps allow you to further compress the bag for improved stabilization.

Camelbak FlashFlo RL

The hose routes up from the bag and clips onto your shirt.

Camelbak FlashFlo (1)

On their website, Camelbak states the FlashFlo was designed to carry a trail map, some snacks, a phone, wallet, and keys. I shoved a whole lot more than that into the two small compartments. The main compartment is shared with a 1.5 L hydration reservoir, while the smaller outer pocket has two internal mesh dividers, and a key ring.

Camelback FlashFlo Riding

This was the bag I was easily the most excited about because of the hydration bladder integration. Many of the enduro bikes we review here at Bikerumor do not have a convenient spot for a water bottle cage, so this fanny pack seemed to offer the holy grail of usability and enduro trail cred.

Unfortunately when overstuffed, the fanny pack had a tendency to fold over on itself. The only way to resolve the issue was by simply packing less. This is understandable, considering it was designed for carrying a few small items while hiking.

If your frame doesn’t have water bottle mounts or you simply need to carry more water on your trail riders, you might as well just strap those tools onto your frame (via something like the Specialized SWAT system), and get your enduro on with the FlashFlo.

Dakine

Dakine Enduro Hip Pack 9L (2)

The Dakine Enduro Hip Pack bears a strong resemblance to the heavily compartmentalized units favored by moto trail riders.

Dakine Enduro Hip Pack 9L (4)

The interior has three mesh internal organizers, a velcro strap for keys (or to hold your pump), and a small zippered stash pocket on the exterior.

Dakine Enduro Hip Pack 9L (3)

There are two additional pockets on the waist strap, which can easily accommodate most trail snacks, a cellphone, etc…

Dakine Enduro Hip Pack 9L (1)

The Dakine bag easily offered the most usable storage of any of the fanny packs in our review. It was also the best compartmentalized. There is spot for everything, although I often struggled to find things to fill it with. In addition to the items listed above as “required” riding goods, it could accommodate a compact jacket, another beer, or even a 12 oz water bottle. Possible bonus points for being camo.

The one downside is that it’s nearly as large as some of the smaller hydration pack offerings on the market. Despite it’s size, when cinched just right, the bag stayed in place with minimal bouncing. Overall, I’d say this $50 Dakine bag is best suited for pack rats, or those on  backcountry adventures who need to carry a wide assortment of kit.

Hunter

Hunter Fanny Pack (2)

The Hunter pack was designed by renown custom frame builder Rick Hunter, and handmade in Canada by Scott Felter – the man behind custom bike pack manufacturer Porcelain Rocket. As you’d expect from that introduction, it’s made from premium materials, with premium attention to detail, and has a premium price.

Hunter Fanny Pack (3)

The pouch has a central compartment, a smaller sleeve that’s slim enough for your phone or wallet, and a key ring. While it is the smallest bag of the group, the pack is capable of holding four 12oz cans. More practically, it was capable of holding all the essentials, plus a compact jacket. Because of the lack of internal dividers, the added benefit of stuffing a jacket in the bag was that it prevented items from jostling around.

Hunter Fanny Pack (1)
Wheelie approved.

At $75, the Hunter bag is not cheap. It also lacks the dizzying array of internal mesh pockets and fancy ventilated back panels of the other competitors, but it’s easily the highest quality. It’s also the perfect size. Unlike the other packs, some of which were designed with hiking or running in mind, the Hunter didn’t feel like a mini backpack. It was a no-nonsense bag with just the right amount of room. Plus it looks classy.

Osprey Talon 6

Osprey Talon 6  (2)
Like the Camelback FlashFlor LR, the Talon 6 from Osprey was designed with hikers in mind, although the company claims it’s also ideal for trail running, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Osprey Talon 6  (4)
Inside there are two major compartments. The outer is smaller, but still large enough to fit a cellphone, wallet, etc… and has a key ring.
Osprey Talon 6  (5)
The inner most pocket is voluminous and can easily hold a small jacket, and a couple of beers. Once fully loaded, two compression straps on the exterior of the bag allow you to cinch everything down.
Osprey Talon 6  (3)
On each side of the bag is a water bottle. Each is held in place by an elastic tab. During climbs, I left the elastic undone for easier access to the water bottles, but locked them in place after earning my turns.

Osprey Talon 6  (6)
Both BPA free water bottles are carefully sculpted to fit just right and hold 600ml (~20oz).
Osprey Talon 6

There are two small pockets made of fine mesh. They’re not ideal for anything you’re afraid might poke through, but are very light weight. The entire pack is backed by a well ventilated mesh and foam liner.

Osprey Talon 6  (1)

The Talon 6 (which is also available in a female specific version called the Tempest) was the most versatile pack in our roundup. With it’s highly breathable back and side panels, huge storage capacity, and water integration, the Osprey bag was the best suited for carrying all the essentials needed for a 4-5 stage enduro race.

The bag was on the larger side, but its breathability and excellent fit made it one of the most comfortable. All of these features comes at a price. The Osprey retails for $69.99, which is the second highest in our test.

VerdictBikeRumor Enduro Fanny Pack Review

So before I crown a victor, let me put this out there – I am not entirely sold on the fanny pack. Maybe I’ll be completely alone on this, but hydration bags are just so damn convenient. Why spend time awkwardly fumbling around for a water bottle when you can run a spigot straight to your face? Hell, I stay better hydrated when I wear a bag because it’s so much easier and I’m not worried about running out of water. Not to mention that I don’t have to worry about salmonella because maybe my carbon wonder bike only has one water cage, and it’s located in the most inaccessible place imaginable.

But back on point, fanny packs can be cool, I guess. For all around versatility, the Osprey Talon is the obvious winner. Despite its questionable looks, it did the best job meshing hydration, storage, beer portage, and breathability.

At the end of the day though, the one fanny pack I actually want to wear is the Hunter. While all of the other bags were so big they left me wondering why the hell I left my backpack at home, the little Hunter bag felt just right. With just enough room for beers, a compact riding jacket, my phone, a wallet, and a miscellaneous item or two, I actually found myself (to my eternal shame) wearing it all the time on short rides or around town. No, it hasn’t replaced my Camelbak on enduro rides, but now I certainly understand what enduro bros keep raving about in those online forums.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. category…worthless trends for $500, Alex. uses stupid nasty fannypacks for “enduro”. who are reformed downhillers. correct.

  2. What’s wrong with the back pockets on a typical cycling shirt?
    Wearing any of those bags looks like you have a diaper strapped around your waist.
    I totally understand the need to carry things around when on long rides, especially off-road, but in these cases a backpack makes much more sense than a limited volume diaper.
    As for the question of wearing a high quality vs low quality diaper… guess that depends on what s**t you prefer to carry. LOL. 🙂

  3. Bummmer!!! I just gave to Goodwill a giant Mountainsmith Fanny pack that was the size of a daypack. It was 1990’s vintage and was all the rage back then.

  4. Well done! Found it funny. Used to run a fannypack years ago when I’d shuttle DH. Worked for about a minute, then switched back to a camelbak.

  5. It seems the “enduro” mtbing category has pretty much ripped off the Enduro dirtbikers completely. First, the helmets, then the racing format (Time trial style), then the fannypacks for tools, now even Schwalbe’s “new” tire chambered system copies the motos! What’s next? The engine? Oh wait…

  6. @Frippolini – Endurobros don’t wear typical cycling jerseys, skin-tight lycra is clearly for roadies on wagon wheels. The freshest kits from Troy Lee Designs is where it’s at. And those don’t have pockets.

  7. @Frippolini — I hate giant hydration packs for anything but the longest of rides. most full suspension bikes only have provisions for one bottle cage, that means on hot days or longer rides I’ll want a second bottle.

    the pump can go on the frame but along with a spare tube, phone, tools, food, etc that gets to be too much stuff to get in jersey pockets alone. no underseat bags with a dropper post.

  8. Every time Bike Rumor uses the word “enduro” 101 dalmatians are brutal sacrificed. Adam & Eve has great deals on those dildo bottles… just saying

  9. @Frippolini

    Lower C-of-G. It’s the same reason backpackers place heavier items at the bottom of their packs.

    Physics: It’s why you’re last on all your Strava segments.

  10. Bike Rumor! DAKINE Sweeper Waist Hydration Pack is the one. It’s for paddling, and it’s what I’ve been using for a while for mtb. My bike, a Tracer 275 has no water bottle cages. I hate having a heavy, hot, sweaty nasty backpack style hydration pack sucking the life out of me! I have been using this for a while. It’s not perfect, but the imperfections outweigh the benefits of not being weighted down by a backpack. Unless you are going out for a 2+ hour trek, why would you need a giant 72oz hydration pack? The Dakine Sweeper also has a water bottle holder pouch. It’s the one!

  11. @Tim Spencer

    But it doesn’t have ENDURO in it’s name! I kid. That bag does look rad. For this year, Dakine has also introduced a smaller version of the bag in this review….and the RaceFace Rip Strip also seems interesting.

    • I bought the RipStrip and sent it straight back. Couldnt fit a Galaxy S7 in it and felt like it was backed by Cardboard. Replaced it with a HighAbove Das Bum Bag (Fanny pack) or for the enduro bro’s waist bag.

      Good quality, and just the right size to fit all my other crap that doesnt go under the seat.

      Sure might look like an 80 reject, but im 32, married and going bald. Who am I trying to impress.

  12. So, wear clothes for riding that make it look like you’re not riding so you don’t look like a dork cyclist, and then wear a fanny pack so that you…look like a dork? Jesus Darcy, I’m so confused…

  13. “fanny packs can be cool, I guess”
    no, they really can’t.

    1: there are 2 types of people in the world: those that use the term “enduro” seriously, and those that use it to mock the first. 99.9% of us are in the latter
    2: when you wear a fanny pack, you instantly and permanently become the kind of guy that wears a fanny pack. Think about it.

  14. @ pernicious,

    Lower c-of-g… with all respect look at the guy (no offense) sitting on top of the bike. I guess his c-of-g issue is not primarily coming from at what height he puts his beer can at? See what I mean? 🙂
    Seriously, referring to c-of-g as the answer to the issue of wearing a diaper around your waiste or not, doesn’t come across as a very convincing argument. Lol.

  15. wow what a thread of comments.
    here in the uk a fanny pack is something a lady would use every month. What you call a fanny pack we would call a bum bag. But again, bum means something different to us both again.

  16. To all that sit back and bash fanny packs, have you actually worn any of the products tested? Have you ever felt how nice it is to have nothing on your back and shoulders? A relatively small load – what, 3-4 pounds max? – carried by a well-designed waist strap is not going to constrict your waist or hamper breathing. Since you’re probably shuttling up, instead of earning your descent, there’s not going to be much huffing and puffing anyway if your body protests. Also, those of you with a waist size larger than your hips are inherently exempt, since the pack will constantly be sliding off your [trendy and expensive beer] gut…

  17. Hell to the yeah. I’m waiting for the resurgence of the fanny pack so that it becomes more, though not entirely, acceptable to be worn on the bike. They’re so nifty.

  18. Beer? Pack the other well known rec substance. Better for you and safer for others.
    Its much lighter too – think of how much money one spends to drop that much weight in a set of wheels…

  19. All these comments about what looks cool while riding is proof that MTB’ng has turned into nothing more than dudes trying to impress dudes …….

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