Sometimes a day pack is just too much. Maybe it’s a short hike, or a flat hike. Perhaps you don’t need as much water or food or backup clothing. I’ve found myself in that situation before and decided it was time for a “fanny” pack or lumbar pack. The final instigation was when I went to The Masters last month. I knew I wanted to have a rain jacket and sunscreen, and Augusta National has regulations about the size of bags you can bring on the grounds. Cargo shorts are great for carrying small items, but I really needed something for the rain gear.
What I purchased was the Express Lumbar Pack from High Sierra. Coming in at 8″ x 6.5″ x 4″ it met the specifications required by Augusta National, and with a capacity of 215 cubic inches, there is a lot of room in a little bag. The pack is constructed of Duralite®, so it is both sturdy and lightweight. The stitching is rugged duty. The main compartment is certainly large enough for my rain jacket, plus extra socks, first aid, bug repellent, sunscreen… you get the picture. There is even a pocket for a CD/MP3 player with a port for the headphone wire.
There is also a zippered front compartment that I’ve found useful for a sandwich, some granola bars, and other snacks when I’m on the trail. There is a key fob within this compartment that is great for securing my car and house keys. On either side of the pack are mesh water bottle holders, and it comes with one half-liter BPA-free shatter resistant bottle. Don’t know why they only provide one bottle. There are side compression straps that nicely secure the contents in the bottle pockets. The waist belt has very durable stitching, with webbing keepers, and adjusts to fit waist sizes 18 to 55 inches. Since I’m a little guy with a 30″ waist, there is a lot of extra belt, so the webbing keepers enable me to fold the excess neatly.
I don’t do much after dark hiking, but if I do there is some reflective piping on the pack to help cars notice me. There is also a reflective loop for holding a bike LED blinker. The back panel that fits snug against my lumbar spine area is made of padded Vapel™ mesh Airflow™ synthetic that wicks body moisture, keeping my back mostly dry. The synthetic materials are freeze resistant, so this is a good cold-weather bag as well.
As you can probably tell by now, I’m very happy with my purchase of the High Sierra Express Lumbar Pack. I’ve used it on three hikes in addition to the four days at The Masters, and been quite pleased. It wears very comfortably, and even with the weight of a liter of water that I usually take, I hardly notice I’m wearing anything. My only minor complaint is that I have to adjust the belt tightness about once per hour because it slips just a bit, but I find that totally acceptable. Y’know, they could provide that 2nd water bottle too.
I have not received compensation for the endorsement of this product. The product was not given to me by the manufacturer or any of their representatives. I paid for the product myself.