Review: Liam Friary
Image: Cam Baker
Distributor: Mission Workshop

As an 80s child, I was brought up with bum bags. My olds used to rock ‘em back in the day; this era was the birth of the bum bag. The bum bag concept was thought up because people wanted to protect themselves from bandits, so having the bag positioned on the front of the body made sense. The bags fell into decline during the early 2000s, but in recent times there’s been a resurgence of the trend. In our sport, there’s a raft of options – from massive sacks with drink hoses, smaller packs with water bottle carriers and simple pouches that hold just enough gear for one jaunt. The Axis Hip Pack keeps things on the simpler side; it’s minimal, functional and has a subtle style about it.

Mission Workshop might be a little unknown to readers, so here’s a brief intro: the brand hails from San Francisco and is ‘Made in the USA’. It’s roots go back to messenger bags, built tough for their environment, but always with a sense of style. Since 2009, they’ve come a long way and now the brand makes a raft of bags and clothing.

Back to the hip pack. I’ve found hip packs really useful in recent years as they help you carry the essentials for a ride, without having to strap ‘em to your frame. You know – things like tools, tubes, snacks, keys, phone, CO2 and the rest. As, I’ve ‘tried’ to develop my camera skills, I’ve been keen on taking a mirrorless camera on my rides too. So, I was stoked to learn the Axis Hip Pack could fit it, along with my other ride essentials. Being based in NZ – where it tends to rain a lot – the weather-resistant liner with minimal seams was welcomed.

On the gravel roads, the pack strapped up well. With it loaded up with my camera and ride essentials it sat really well as I was riding, and I didn’t even need to cinch up the belt once. I’ve tried other bags and have needed to tighten them a few times during a ride, and let me tell you – its bloody annoying. The belt is adjustable on either side and it is made well, with minimal stitching and a laser cut back panel – so it shouldn’t cut into your skin. The inside is kept simple and features just one zippered pocket, two pouches on the back side of the pocket and a robust keyring. I found the interior easy to navigate and it had enough pockets for my things.

The downside of the Axis Hip Pack is that it doesn’t feature a water bottle holder or a water reservoir. These are more common currently on hip packs. Although, it’s not common to see these being used on gravel rides, I think they make a ton of sense, as you always need more gear when roaming further afield. The only downside is having something on your body, but after you get used the pack, it’s not so bad. And, the pack offers quick access. The Mission Workshop Hip Pack is great whilst shredding across the backcountry trails or gravel roads, good for just chilling and for walks with dog (it holds all your dog paraphernalia). The compartments are functional, and it can fit a small camera. It’s weatherproof and robust and is made with a high level of craftsmanship. It was comfortable, stayed in place and was a great place to stash my goods on smaller jaunts.