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Teton Tested: Dakine’s Low Rider 5L (Fanny) Pack

Watch any mountain bike race - cross-country, enduro, downhill, etc. - and you'll notice that almost no one, at least at the higher levels of the sport, is wearing a backpack. While they're often convenient for chucking all your stuff in and great for long, long days, they're usually overkill for shorter rides. And pros avoid them because they restrict  movement and get your back all hot and sweaty and your shoulders naturally tighten up to support the weight. 

While ingenious types will start taping extra tubes and tools to their frames, fanny packs are also making their re-entry into the sport, as the ability to keep the weight of your gear sitting down by your hips, instead of up on your shoulders, keeps your torso free to move and whatever weight you do need to carry is less likely to get thrown around on descents. 

Enter Dakine's Low Rider 5L pack, with enough storage and water for daily rides and even small cameras.

Dakine's 5L Low Rider (Fanny) Pack

Dakine's 5-liter hip pack has enough space for the majority of your rides. Jon Grinney photo.

The Low Rider features a rather ingenious design that maximizes utility while cutting down as much as possible on acreage. The Low Rider has two zippered compartments - one for a 2-liter Hydrapak water bladder and one in the front for tools and snacks - along with a strap-down outside zone that can be used to hold a tube or an extra layer, hold your kneepads during a long climb, or even (uncomfortably) secure a full-face helmet for the same occasion. 

The front compartment, if packed intelligently, can sport all the tools you'd need to make trailside adjustments or get out of the woods in the event of most mechanical emergencies, along with a small first aid kit for physical ones. It's also wide enough to hold a shock pump, while a hand pump for your tires can be stuffed into the slightly wider water bladder compartment. And, for you professional amateur Instagram photographers, a Sony Alpha camera with a small attached lens fit just fine into this same compartment.

The Hydrapak reservoir keeps water surprisingly cool, but you won't want to fill it to the brim. Jon Grinney photo.

A hydration tube juts out of the right side of the pack and is secured by a clip across the other side of your waist. While filling the reservoir to the maximum two liter capacity made the pack uncomfortably heavy (you don't have shoulder straps, after all), filling it about halfway, and keeping a full bottle on the frame, was enough water for a hot, four-hour ride. 

Strapped down, you'll barely even notice the Lowrider is there, and Dakine's done a lot of work the past few seasons to improve the airflow of their back panels, cutting down seriously on the sweat factor.

The Bottom Line

Free up your back and still bring along the essentials - welcome to the world of the fanny (pack). Jon Grinney photo.

If you're tired of wearing a hot, heavy, sweaty pack on every ride, give the Low Rider a whirl. With enough storage capacity for the essentials and plenty of water-holding capacity, you really don't need to go much bigger than this unless you're carrying lunches and multiple extra layers.

If you want to go more low-pro yet, you can check out Dakine's Hot Laps pack, much smaller at 1.5 liters, and which will carry just the bare essentials, along with a water bottle holster.

From The Column: TGR Tested

About The Author

stash member Ryan Dunfee

Former Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research, current Senior Contributor, current professional hippy at the Sierra Club, and avid weekend recreationalist.

On this website, I can better prepare myself for my excursions where my all-terrain bike accompanies me. The reviews can buy the fanny pack and take what I need for my ride.