Much to the joy of my early 90’s self, fanny packs are cool again. Likely a reaction to the often cumbersome hydration packs that have grown to the point of overkill for shorter rides, the availability of mountain-bike-oriented waist packs and bags has exploded in recent years. A great one to consider is the Dakine Hot Laps 2L Waist Bag. After spending a month cruising Southern California’s trails with this ditty wrapped around my midsection, I came to appreciate its lightweight minimalism and functionality as well as its relatively low cost.
Dakine Hot Laps for Hydration
Unlike other waist packs I’ve tried, this one isn’t trying to sneak in a hydration bladder anywhere. Instead, it offers internal space for your basic trail-oriented tools and some snacks, a key clip, a fleece-lined cell phone holder, and an external water bottle holder that folds away when not in use.
This makes it an ideal choice for shorter rides and rides in cooler weather when you don’t need a camel’s worth of water to keep you alive.
The pack straps to you using a wide belt with thicker sections at your hip contact points and the back of the pack itself is lined with mesh to keep things cooler. Unlike larger, bladder-carrying waist packs, there are no other straps or adjustability but given the minimalist carrying capacity of this pack, you really don’t need them.
There aren’t external lash straps either, so it’ll be harder to pack an extra layer if it doesn’t fit in the pack itself.
I was able to pack everything I traditionally throw into a jersey or shorts pocket on short-ish mountain rides: energy bar or other snacks, iPhone, Dynaplug Micro Pro, pair of tire levels, Park Tools multitool, chain tool, car keys, ID, and a pair of CO2 cartridges. You could also get an extra tube in there if you really needed to.
I also used the “deployable” water bottle holder for most rides to supplement the single bottle my mountain bike holds. When carrying a full, full-size bottle, the pack sits a little unevenly on your waist but it does stay secure on you during even aggressive riding (I can’t speak to its ability to hold that bottle when landing huge jumps since I’m a weenie but maybe hydration isn’t your biggest concern then). Drinking a bike-mounted bottle first and then putting that empty in this holder was the way to minimize the uneven bottle feeling but it wasn’t distracting while riding whatsoever.
Overall, the Dakine Hot Laps 2L ($45.00) proved itself an excellent companion on rides. It keeps everything secured tightly to you without swaying around, it’s lightweight and comfortable and lacks any pinch points and best of all, it gets the bulky backpack-style pack off your back for much better comfort, cooling, and freedom of movement on the bike. It’s a great addition to your hydration quiver and a complimentary choice to a bigger backpack for those longer adventures.