Best Lumbar Waist Packs for Hiking in 2020


Osprey Tempest 6

Osprey Tempest 6

On shorter hikes with stable weather you might feel a little silly bringing a huge backpack (which has to be packed sufficiently to provide stability) only to carry some water and a snack in it. On the other hand, you will always want to have your hands free rather than carrying water bottles, accessories etc. This is where a lumbar waist pack will serve you superbly. If you have back or shoulder problems, a lumbar waist pack can be recommended as the weight of the pack and its content will be carried by your hips rather than your shoulders. You will thus have a better balance and it will be easier to walk with a healthy straight posture. Carrying a waist pack rather than a backpack will also prevent you from getting a sweaty and sticky back which even the most superbly ventilated backpacks cannot completely avert. On warm summer days especially women will also appreciate the possibility of wearing tank tops with thinner straps as a lumbar waist pack, unlike a backpack, will not rub against the bare skin on the shoulder blades.

A lumbar waist pack of course has its limitations; it is not for every hiking trip – or for everyone. If you prefer to bring nearly everything you own for hiking, climbing or mountaineering trips, a waist pack is not for you (instead have a look at our list of the best daypacks). Carrying a waist pack truly means lightweight hiking, where you bring what you need and nothing else. A precondition for bringing a waist pack rather than a backpack is stable weather – whether it being good or bad. You can of course tie a light rain jacket or sweater around your shoulders or hips if you don’t need it, but otherwise it is not advisable to only bring a waist pack along if you expect to be changing between layers of clothing for varying weather conditions.

Below we have chosen the five best lumbar waist packs available. We have steered clear of “fanny packs” – which are waist/hip packs carried on your front rather than back, as they are too small to carry water bottles etc. without being in the way.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying a Hiking Waist Pack – What is important?

Water capacity:

The most important thing to bring for any longer-lasting outdoor activity is water. If you know that you will be passing by sources of drinkable water on your trip, you don’t have to bring much more than a half-liter bottle, but otherwise it is crucial to bring enough water to stay sufficiently hydrated. This is especially important on warm summer days where you can easily become dizzy or disoriented when dehydrated. How much water you need depends on your speed, body weight and the weather. As a general rule you should drink 33ml of water pr. kg bodyweight pr. day, but more when you are exercising and/or in very warm climate. For this list we have prioritized waist packs which can carry 1 liter of water or more. The majority of them come with water bottles or hydration reservoir included, but you can of course replace with your favorite bottles of aluminum etc. For more information about hydration on hiking trips check out our article How much water to take on a hiking trip. To learn more about benefits and shortcomings of hydration reservoirs read our article Hydration Systems Vs. Water Bottles.

Material:

Lumbar waist packs for hiking should be made out of durable materials and offer some basic weather protection. The backpanel should, like on a backpack, provide some ventilation.

Pockets:

Although waist packs self-evidently can only contain a few accessories and a snack besides water containers, they should have conveniently placed pockets which allow you to arrange your necessary gear.

Gender:

Lumbar waist packs can easily be worn by both genders – no matter the model. A few brands, like for example Osprey, have made slightly diverging models for men and women respectively, but we would dare to suggest that any women’s model can be worn by a male and vice versa. This is not to diminish the efforts of Osprey and others, but simply due to the fact that lumbar waist packs are meant for carrying relatively small loads unlike backpacks where it might be smart to choose a model that serves your body shape best.

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2. The Best Hiking Waist Packs Review

Best Lumbar Waist Packs for Hiking

The Best Lumbar Waist Pack – List

  1. Osprey Tempest/Talon 6
  2. Evoc Hip Pack Race 3 L
  3. MountainSmith Tour
  4. CamelBak Repack LR4
  5. Patagonia Nine Trails Waist Pack 8L

Comparison

Feature/Product Osprey Tempest/Talon 6 Evoc Hip Pack Race 3lMountainSmith
Tour
CamelBak Repack LR4Patagonia Nine Trails Waist Pack 8L
Dimensions8.7 x 12 x 6.3 in. 11 x 7 x 3 in. 11 x 12 x 4.5 in. 7.3 x 11 x 6.1 in11 x 8 x 4 in.
Dimensions (Metric)22 x 31 x 16 cm28 x 18 x 7.5 cm27 x 29 x 11.5 cm18.5 x 28 x 15.5 cm28 x 20 x 10 cm
Weight10 oz.13 oz.1 lb. 9 oz.11 oz.13.4 oz.
Weight (Metric)290 g 363 g730 g310 g 380 g
Capacity6 liters3 liters9 liters2.5 liters + 1.5 liters for reservoir8 liters
Size of included water bottles 2x 600 ml1.5 liter hydration reservoir/1.5 liter hydration reservoir1.5 liter hydration reservoir
Fits waists/hips24 – 50 in.n/a28 – 48 in.26 - 42 in.26 - 34 in.
Fits waists/hips (Metric)61 – 127 cmn/a71 – 122 cm66-106 cm66 – 86 cm
Osprey Tempest 6

Osprey Tempest 6

1. Osprey Tempest 6 and Talon 6

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Cross country skiing
  • Mountain biking

At Best Hiking we have only had positive experiences with both the Talon 44 backpack and Talon 22 daypack, so we were delighted to learn that Osprey has made lumbar waist packs for men and women – the Talon 6 and the Tempest 6 respectively. The two packs are basically identical apart from color options. For holding the two included 600ml water bottles there are padded bottle sleeves with bungee retainers and side stabilizers. The pack has a front zippered sunglass pocket, 2 zippered hipbelt pockets and the Horizontal StraightJacket™ compression system to stabilize and compress loads for less bounce. For comfort, the hipbelt has a slight stretch and the backpanel is equipped with Osprey’s signature Airscape system. Osprey Tempest 6 is available in dark grey, magenta and tourmaline green, while the Osprey Talon 6 comes in black, orange and blue.

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight pack
  • The Talon 6 was deemed as the best bum bag by the British magazine Trail running in 2015.
  • YKK buckles

Cons:

  • Included water bottles do not have flat bottoms.

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Video

Evoc Hip Pack Race 3 L

Evoc Hip Pack Race 3 L

2. Evoc Hip Pack Race 3 L

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Mountain biking
  • Cross country skiing

The Evoc Hip Pack Race 3l is a hydration waist pack where you can use the included hydration bladder for easy hands-free hydration on the go. Unlike the Camelbak FlashFlo below, the Evoc lumbar waist pack also has one mesh side pocket where you can store a big water bottle if you prefer this hydration option. The Evoc Hip Pack Race 3l was designed with mountain bikers in mind but will do equally well for hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities. Upon its launch in 2017 it received the Design & Innovation Award – in no small part due Venti Flap System which regulates the distance to the back and can be individually adjusted to provide ventilation when and where you need it the most. The body of the Evoc Hip Pack Race 3l is made of 210D PU-coated ripstop nylon, while the back padding is made is of EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) and the straps feature 3D Air mesh. As the name indicates, it offers 3 liters of storage space, and comes in three colors.

 

Pros:

  • Great back ventilation due to mesh panel and the Venti Flap System
  • You can choose whether to use the hydration bladder and/or bring a water bottle
  • Well-placed pockets for optimal organization of your accessories

Cons:

  • Very little storage space if you use the included hydration bladder

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MountainSmith Tour

MountainSmith Tour

3. MountainSmith Tour

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Running
  • Tactical use
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Everyday use

Mountainsmith prides itself of having created the Tour waist pack which allegedly “helped start the craze in the 80’s”. The Tour pack has, however, been updated since and is now made of 610d Cordura® HP and 210d Nylon Embossed Liner with YKK zippers for great durability. Unlike the other waist packs on this list, the Tour pack comes in more muted colors (namely Dark Camo, Barley and Hops) which make it suitable for hunting and tactical activities. At the same time it has a casual design as well as a shoulder strap which makes great for everyday use. Besides the main compartment, the waist pack has a backpanel stash pocket, interior zipped pocket, zippered front panel pocket with key clip and a hip belt pocket (big enough for smartphones Iphone 6+ and Galaxy S6). The bottle pockets can hold bottles with a volume up to 1 liter, but none are included. The Mountainsmith Tour waist pack has the biggest capacity (9 liters) on this list and is also among the heaviest. However, Mountainsmith has three even bigger waist packs Day, Drift and Daylight, which all have capacities bordering that of a daypack. All Mountainsmith waistpacks are strapette-compatible.

 

Pros:

  • Delta Compression System load adjustment
  • Pockets
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Comes in 5 colors and 3 camouflages

Cons:

  • Weight

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Video

CamelBak Repack

CamelBak Repack

4. CamelBak Repack LR4

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Climbing
  • Cross country skiing
  • SUPing
  • Running
  • Mountainbiking

The Camelbak Repack is like the Evoc Hip Pack Race a hydration pack and thus features an internal 1.5L CRUX™ lumbar Reservoir (included) and a long tube to drink from when needed. As there are internal compression straps securing the reservoir, it won’t start to slosh around in the bag as you gradually drain it. The CRUX reservoir is furthermore designed to position the weight of the water low on your back for more stability and better balance and is equipped with a magnetic tube trap that lets you stow your drinking tube in place with one click, so you can drink without hassle. While the Camelbak Repack offers the smallest amount of storage space (besides that for the hydration reservoir) among the waist packs on this list, it is nevertheless cleverly designed with lots of pockets so you can arrange your essentials in the most optimal way. The CamelBak Repack is available in olive green and black.

 

Pros:

  • Light-weight
  • Reservoir compression
  • Lots of pockets for easy gear arrangement

Cons:

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Patagonia Nine Trails Waist pack

Patagonia Nine Trails Waist pack

5. Patagonia Nine Trails Waist Pack 8L

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Mountain biking

The Patagonia Nine Trails Waist Pack offers almost as much space (8 liters) as the Mountain Smith Tour pack (9 liters), but only weighs about half. The Patagonia waist pack includes a 1.5-liter HydraPak® reservoir, but it also has external stretch side pockets which can be used to carry traditional water bottles if you prefer this hydration option or simply need to bring a lot of water with you. Similarly, the actual gear capacity can be stretched as you can overstuff the front pocket, for example with a warm and bulky extra layer, and secure the content with the compression straps instead of zipping it close (see how in video below). The front side-zippered pocket otherwise opens workbench-style and is lined with smaller mesh pockets for easy organization of smaller items. The Monomesh backpanel is highly breathable to secure airflow, and the hipbelt is similarly padded with perforated foam for optimal ventilation and comfort. As a curiosity it should be mentioned that the buckle of the hip belt is offset as the Patagonia Nine Trails waist pack has been designed primarily with mountain biking in mind. The durable, yet lightweight materials and excellent design, however, make it more than suitable for hiking and mountaineering too.

 

Pros:

  • Great weight-to-volume ratio
  • Good pockets
  • Possibility to carry both water reservoir and traditional bottles

Cons:

  • Price

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Video

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Post Author

Post Author

Laura P.

I loved to climb trees when I was a child – as an adult I use these skills for climbing and scrambling up mountain sides! I always wear a Merino baselayer, sunscreen and my hair tousled.

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