In the market for an everything bag?!
Well, maybe not everything, but this pack will definitely fit a lot of stuff.
So, I tend to be pretty dedicated to one brand over others, but as any self-respecting, self-proclaimed bag lady would do, when offered the opportunity to check out the Topo Designs Light Hip Pack, I decided to try it out!
Two intriguing marketing points got me pretty excited about this pack. First, its “simple and straightforward design that’s ideal for day hikes in the mountains, along the coast, or through desert canyons” and second, the fact that it features a padded bottom to “protect your camera from bumps”.
For the “specs nerds”, here are the down-and-dirty-details:
- 1000D Cordura base
- 420D pack cloth with water-resistant coating
- Removable should strap
- Adjustable waist belt
- Top carry handle
- Padded base
- Made in USA (Colorado to be precise)
- Lifetime warranty
Size/Weight: When the pack arrived, it was actually bigger than I expected. But, it was also lighter than expected. Nicely done, Topo.
Usability: So far, I have used this pack on day hikes, random overnight trips, fishing excursions, and around town and so far, it has definitely proven itself.
My first trip was an overnighter to Tomichi Lodge, and while I carried my primary DSLR, the pack held a couple fly boxes (we were fishing Tomichi Creek), a zoom lens, wide-angle lens, a spare mirrorless, and a few odds and ends.
The nice part about the hip belt is that it’s thick enough to carry a little extra weight around your waist, but even better as an over-the-shoulder sling it’s very similar to a sturdy seatbelt).
My next setup was for a daily go-to fly fishing bag. In this setup, I can carry 3 fly boxes (including the original and big bug Tack Fly boxes), nippers and forceps off the side, floatant, my cell phone, bandana, and several other accessories. We even hiked into a great creek with our 3wts in hand and the Tenkara Rod Co Sawtooth in the side holster (which fit beautifully!).
- Simple and straightforward design: Check and sorta Check. Topo has the simple design down for the bag itself, but the multiple contact points are a little cumbersome.
- The upside – The outer zipper is perfect for the quick go-to items. For around town, that’s my cell phone and keys (and if we’re being realistic, probably a burp cloth). In the mountains or on the river, that would be a snack (some kind of food bar or bag of trail mix) and my phone to get quick photos. The inside of the bag has another zipper pocket, a back pouch area, and the main compartment. It’s the perfect setup, in my opinion.
- The downside – The carry options (sling, waist, double handle/regular hand carry) aren’t too cumbersome, but honestly, I didn’t use the thin belt at all. In fact, in the image above, that is the strap that is hanging below the bag. Topo could do away with that and I don’t think it would hurt the design at all – it might be a good thing.
- Water-resistent fabric & padded base: Double Check!
- Upside – Mid-day summer storms are almost guaranteed in Colorado, so this bag got wet and handled it like a champ.
- Middle-ground – As for my camera gear, I wouldn’t trust it if this thing took a fall or drop, but it’s definitely buff enough to handle normal tosses around camp or in and out of a vehicle.
- Made in the USA & LIFETIME warranty: Check-BOOM!
- Can’t beat that with a stick. ‘Nuff said.
The Light Hip Pack is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a small go-to bag. The colors are fun, the bag is comfortable, and it definitely gets the job done. Plus, it’s made in Colorado and we all know my favorite bags tend to be made in this great state, after all!
You can get yours at retailers like Backcountry.com, or shoot for the revamped version, the Topo Designs Minimal Hip Pack, and be the schnazziest kid on the block.