Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Older than I feel
Joined
·
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently got back into MTBing after several years away from the sport/hobby/obsession. For the first couple of rides, I used my ancient CamelBak M.U.L.E., which was falling apart after years of abuse and neglect. I had never really found the M.U.L.E. comfortable; and when riding it wanted to move around on my back, which I found distracting.

I have two other hydration packs: a CamelBak Peakbagger, a big day pack which I've rarely used, and should probably sell to someone who would use it; and a Wingnut Enduro which has seen many miles on the trail. The Enduro was (and is) great for all day hot day rides when I needed multiple 3L bladders and/or I was carrying supplies for a small platoon, but it's way too big for a 2-hour ride. So I needed a new hydration pack.

The bike department at the local Sports Emporium had a bunch of CamelBaks, a couple of Osprey packs, and the Dakine Hot Laps 5L. I wasn't interested in another backpack like the old M.U.L.E. I briefly considered the Osprey lumbar pack, but the 1.5L bladder was smaller than I wanted, plus it was $10 more than the Dakine. The Dakine has a 2L bladder, which I figured would be perfect for the rides I've been doing lately. So I grabbed it.

The Hot Laps 5L is a good sized fanny pack. The waist band is wide and well padded. It comes with a "big mouth" 2L Hydrapak bladder and hose. There's a pocket specifically for the water reservoir, of course. The hose exits on the right side, and is meant to wrap around the front of the waist to a magnetic clip on the left side waist band.

On the right side of the waist band, there's a zippered "phone" pocket of decent size, but not large enough for Apple's latest top of the line Reality Distortion Device. (I like big phones and I cannot lie.)

Around back there's a main storage compartment. I was a little disappointed that there weren't more externally accessible pockets. Within the main compartment are elastic straps suitable for holding a tire pump and/or CO2 cartridges, a small pocket with a Velcro closure, a larger zippered pocket with a hook inside (presumably for keys), and a cloth divider along the floor of the compartment.

There are external straps for carrying random gear or clothing, and compression straps on either side of the main compartment. There's also a handy carrying strap sewn to the top of the pack.

I took the Hot Laps pack for a shakedown this evening on a local club ride. I packed up my usual riding essentials: a compact tire pump, shock pump, oversized multi-tool, digital tire gauge, spare derailleur hanger, shock adjuster tool/bottle opener, two spare tubes, wallet, phone, and house keys. That loosely filled the main compartment. There was room left for a Clif Bar or two, at least, but I didn't bring any. Putting a full reservoir into place when the main compartment is nearly full is a little bit of a chore, as one might expect. I put the car key in the "phone" pocket, which also could have held a Clif Bar, come to think of it.

First concern: I have a big belly. At first I couldn't get the hose to reach all the way around to the magnetic clip! At one point I was grinding up singletrack in the big cog, and the hose came loose and fell against the spokes of the rear wheel. I wasn't able to get the clip to stick to its magnet until I stopped a short while later. This got better during the ride as I was able to tighten the waist strap, and the hose stretched out a bit.

Second concern: The pack slides down my butt when standing. With only a waist strap, I suppose that is inevitable. So I made a point of keeping it cinched tight.

Other than those issues, it's a pretty decent hydration pack of its size. The waist band was comfy, and when it was cinched tight, the pack didn't interfere with my riding. In fact, unlike the M.U.L.E., I barely knew it was there. The reservoir and hose didn't add much of their own flavor to the water. The bite valve worked well, although I wish it had had a shutoff valve for transport. I had ample water for the 2 hour ride. With no shoulder straps, I found I missed having the bite valve readily accessible while in motion. The hose was plenty long enough to reach my mouth when stopped. Nothing fell out.

Based on one evening of riding, I would highly recommend the Hot Laps 5L - for day hikers. The gripes I described above would be much less of a concern on foot. It's adequate for MTBing, but it's not what I had hoped.

Pros: Comfortable to wear. Reasonably priced. Capacity for water and gear hits the sweet spot for rides or hikes of a couple hours. Won't interfere with your riding. Handy carrying strap.

Cons: Hose at waist level isn't easily accessible while riding. Big folks might have trouble getting the hose to stay put in the magnetic clip. No other provisions for securing the hose. Pack tends to slide down if not cinched tight. Phone pocket could have been larger; more externally accessible pockets would have been nice. Replacement/spare bladders are half the price of the entire pack.

My bottom line: I won't get rid of the Dakine pack. It's perfect for day hikes, and suitable (though less than ideal) for MTB use. But I've ordered a Wingnut Two Point Five specifically for MTB duty, which I should have done in the first place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
thx for the review. I have a dakine hip pack, and I can barely get the straps around my waist. at 6 foot 3, 240 lbs with a 36 waist, i had the buckles at the end of the straps. I'm probably not dakines target athlete size, but 3-4 inches of extra strap would have been appreciated for the bigger fellas.

I know you said you were a bigger dude, did you have any issues with the dakine strap length?
 

·
Older than I feel
Joined
·
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thx for the review. I have a dakine hip pack, and I can barely get the straps around my waist. at 6 foot 3, 240 lbs with a 36 waist, i had the buckles at the end of the straps. I'm probably not dakines target athlete size, but 3-4 inches of extra strap would have been appreciated for the bigger fellas.

I know you said you were a bigger dude, did you have any issues with the dakine strap length?
I'm 5'8", 220 lbs, with a 38 inch waist. The buckle was right at the end of the strap when I started. I gradually cinched it tighter throughout the ride until I had about 4-5" of strap hanging out of the adjuster.

So it's close for me, but as you suggest, this pack is unlikely to fit someone with a waist over 40".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
325 Posts
Just bought the prior gen a month ago. The waist strap is sized for skinny people for sure. I love not having a hot sweaty pack on my back. Could use an on off valve for the bladder though. Has good flow for the bite valve. IF you can get around your hips, it doesn’t slide down at least for me. Great pack.
 

·
Older than I feel
Joined
·
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A second ride reinforced most of the first impressions. I have to really cinch the belt tight and pull it up over my hips to keep the pack from falling down my butt. Didn't have any issues with the hose coming unclipped, at least. I'd maxed out the reservoir and gone for a 1 hr 40 min ride, and finally hit bottom in the car on the way home, confirming that 2L is the right size for a typical 2 hour ride.

The Hot Laps 5L isn't a bad pack by any means, but I don't think it suits me for MTB use.
 

·
Cycologist
Joined
·
16,857 Posts
You carry a shock pump and digital tire gauge on your rides?

I've considered a waist pack but I think I'll stick to my Camelbak (Lobo). I've ridden with a pack for so long, it's normal for me. I've added a bottle with electrolyte mix on the bike for summer riding.
 

·
Older than I feel
Joined
·
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I carry too much stuff. (You should have seen the pile of first aid gear I used to carry when I was doing volunteer trail patrol - that's why I bought the Wingnut Enduro.) The tire gauge is pretty light but it takes up space. As for the shock pump, I'm still looking for the sweet spot on my '08 Fox TALAS forks.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top