When I opened the box with the Rapid Pack in it, my first reaction was, “Oh my God, it’s a bum bag”. I knew deep down wearing it would pose major problems for my self-esteem.
I think my aversion to bum bags, or fanny packs as our American friends like to call them, comes from having been a keen skier in the early nineties when garish-coloured bum bags were all the rage, plaguing the world’s glitzy ski resorts. That said, my secret confession is that I do actually own a fluro pink one, though it lives safely in our dress-up box, saved for ski field closing day costumes.
However, after a week or so my curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to investigate the Rapid Pack further. Safely locked in my office with the curtains drawn, I tried the pack on and quickly began to discover the subtleties of Bontrager’s design. The Rapid Pack’s slimline build allows it to be worn under your outer layer of clothing, and it sits nicely in the small of your back, more akin to a kidney belt than a hip-hugging bum bag. It had all the hallmarks of an invisible stealth pack, something my ego could handle. So fighting off the last few pangs of anxiety, I headed out for my first ride and have to say I was very impressed—so much so I wore it again the next day, and the day after.
What I really liked about the Rapid Pack was that I could easily carry those extra bits and pieces I normally struggle to shove into bulging pockets or to strap to my bike. Being a slave to industry trends and a lover of Kool-Aid means I shed my backpack a long time ago in an effort to be more “enduro”, putting pocket space at a premium. Now with my stealth belt and its two ample zip-pockets, I could discretely stash, tubes, tools, CO2s and snacks away in the small of my back.
The Rapid Pack is well-padded and does a solid job of wicking sweat away. The closure system is well-thought-out and works a treat; the strap is easily adjusted around your belly while on. One feature I wasn’t convinced of was the water bottle pouch in the middle of the pack. I can see its uses for some, but it didn’t really fit in with my needs, mainly subtlety of use.
Bontrager’s Rapid Pack has become a staple for me on those slightly longer rides, the ones where you’re torn on whether to take a backpack or not. It’s comfortable and discrete to wear, and holds enough essentials for peace of mind when travelling a bit further from home. If you’re like me and have come to love the feeling of riding without a backpack, but struggle to find enough space to carry all your go-to bits, then maybe it’s time embrace a new dogma and become a closet-case bum bagger. - Neil Kerr