Why A Waist Pack?
One thing that I repeatedly experienced while out hiking was that I was constantly battling with my pack. It didn’t matter which backpack I was using, the problem kept occurring. Whenever I fancied a snack, a few sweets, a bit of chocolate or an energy bar I would have to stop my hike, take my pack off, find what I was searching for and eventually heave the pack back up onto my weary back. Worse still was when the ground was wet and muddy, I would have to place my bag in the dirt or spend extra time and energy seeking a suitable place to drop my pack and rummage around. Time to find a solution. This is what I came up with.
Finding A Solution
It was time to think of something to help overcome this issue. I didn’t want to have to stop when on the trail and I certainly did not want to have to exert the extra energy every time I wanted something from my pack, especially when I am wild-camping. My overnight pack is substantially heavier than a normal day pack, carrying my tent, sleeping bag and camping items. This means that it can be quite difficult to get the pack on and off when fully loaded.
It was clear to me that the solution was to store things where I would not need to take the backpack off to access them. The solution had to be on the front. I considered purchasing a different pack with larger hip pockets. This seemed like an excessive and expensive solution that would only work for one pack. Not ideal and not what I wanted. At some point I decided that a waist pack was the only way to go.
I made the leap and purchased this one from Amazon. Over the next few months it revolutionised my hiking and camping.
How It Performs
Let’s talk about the waist pack itself. It is divided into 5 separate pockets. That’s a lot of space for people like me who love to organise their equipment. The main pocket spans the full length of the pack, providing a lot of space for snacks, gloves or hat and my phone. The pocket is zipped from the top so when I am on the move I can see down into it from above which is really nice. The rear of the pack contains another zipped pocket in the back. This pocket, although large, is only suitable for flatter items such as your phone or documents if you are travelling (like I was on my motorcycle trip in northern Spain).
The front of the pack contains two identical side pockets that are quite small and are a little difficult to get into. I usually leave these empty or carry a bit of para-cord in them, something I properly wont need. Finally, the center front pocket (secured by a zip and a clip) is suitable for a medium sized first-aid/medical pack. This is where I tend to keep mine, In the worse case scenario and I were to fall and become injured alone, It may be impossible to access my medical pack if it were in my backpack. If you do a lot of solo hiking, this may be a good idea for you to consider.
The overall construction of the pack is well made, after a lot of use, falls and scrapes, the waist pack remains in superb condition. The buckles and straps are of equally exceptional quality. Not only is the construction of the pack well made, there are a few nice bonus features. Firstly, the top of the pack has an elastic netting integrated onto the lid of the pocket. This is excellent for stuffing gloves somewhere secure while taking a picture for example. Secondly, the outside pockets are lined with extra buckles, straps and clips making it ridiculously easy to customise your setup. For instance, I chose to attach a small 500/750ml bottle container onto mine. You can find that here by the way. Not only do I have my snacks easily accessible, I also have a drink close to hand.
My waist pack usually accompanies me whenever I am out on a substantial hike and nearly always when I am out wild-camping. Having simple, easy access to the items that I frequently need is amazing. I really wonder how I managed before I had instant access to my snacks and energy boosting sweets. Another interesting thought is that it is actually balancing the weight better. You have removed some weight (and space!) from your main pack and put it close to your body on your front, perhaps this has some added bonus when hiking the trails.
I’ve had some feedback explaining that they required a smaller waist pack for when they are just out on a small day hike or walk. If this is you, check out this smaller waist pack that I also use on small hikes.
I hope you decide to make the smart decision to purchase one of these. If you have done, let me know what you think after taking it out and seeing for yourself how much it improves your hiking experience. Trust me when I say that you will never go back to not including it in most hikes.
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