Showers Pass Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack Review
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With enough room to carry a full-size DSLR, toolkit, and lots of snacks, the Showers Pass Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack may well be the largest hip pack on the market. As a bonus, its fully seam-welded construction is 100% weatherproof and it has integrated bottle holsters for long days on the bike. Find Miles’ thoughts here, including a side-by-side comparison with its closest competitor, the Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling…
For those unfamiliar with Showers Pass, they’re specialists in waterproof cycling apparel and gear. Although they’re best known for their waterproof jackets for commuting and touring, over the last few years they’ve been expanding and developing their off-road line to include mountain bike specific options that look appealing from a bikepacking perspective. Last year, I got my hands on their new knitted Crosspoint Waterproof Socks and Gloves (see my full review), but their newly announced Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack looks even more appealing for wet weather bikepacking.
The Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack is huge. Seven litres to be exact. The pack is made from a seam-welded PU-coated nylon with waterproof zippers throughout. The main pocket is accessed from the top of the hip pack, opening up to a large compartment and several smaller pockets to keep little items organized. There’s also a small waterproof zippered pocket on the front and bag, which I’ve used primarily for phone and wallet storage. Showers Pass included a front-loading tool roll that is accessed under the front flap via a plastic buckle and strip of velcro—a great spot for a multi-tool, tire levers, tire plugger, and smaller snacks. The hip belt has a locking, adjustable buckle and perforated padding to assist with airflow. There are also two slightly hidden elastic water bottle pouches on either side of the bag for when some extra carrying capacity is needed.
Comfort is Everything
The main reasons bikepackers cite for not wearing hip packs are almost always related to comfort, and for good reason. Unless it’s being used to carry lightweight personal items like a phone, wallet, and a few snacks, a hip pack can add a lot of weight to your midsection. For those looking to haul larger cameras or more water, it takes a well-designed pack to handle the extra weight. I usually get a few questions about my well-used Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling, which at six litres is the second largest hip pack I’ve used to date. Its oversized padded hip straps and large webbing straps allow me to carry a heavy camera all day long without any issues, and I haven’t really found anything better for bikepacking with a camera.
Showers Pass’ Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack also takes comfort into consideration in a big way, which is incredibly important for a hip pack of this size. The hip pads are nice and tall, and do a good job at wrapping around your hips. The back panel features even thicker padding that rests nicely against the small of your back. It uses an adjustable, locking buckle that is positioned on top of the right hip strap, which avoids sending it into your gut when cinched up. There are also a total of four compression straps to help dial in the fit, depending on what you’re carrying, and keep the weight as close to your body as possible. I’ve been quite impressed with the overall comfort offered by the Ranger Hip Pack, and considering its size, it’s definitely one of the most dialled in designs I’ve had the pleasure of using. So, how does it stand up against my all-time personal favourite, the Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling? Let’s find out.
Showers Pass Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack VS Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling
There aren’t that many high-volume waterproof hip packs around, and the Porcelain Rocket Dumpling and Big Dumpling are still the only handmade options that are both made in North America and 100% weatherproof. Truthfully, I think hip packs of this size aren’t in high demand, and there likely aren’t many people using them to begin with. I consider both the Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack and Big Dumpling to be specialized, niche items—likely most applicable to those looking for a way to haul camera gear or for mandatory items like repair and first aid kits on longer day rides. Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of both, including key features, construction, weight, price, and manufacture location.
Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack
- Made in China
- PU Coated Nylon
- Seam-Welded Construction
- Zippered Closure
- Multiple Pockets / Fold-Out Tool Roll
- Weight: 680g
- Capacity: 7L
- Price: $130 USD
- Made in Alberta, Canada
- PU Coated 420D LightBlack Fabric
- Seam-Welded Construction
- Roll-Top Closure
- Large main pocket, small internal sleeve
- Weight: 400g
- Capacity: 6L
- Price: $134 USD
The main difference between the two, besides size and manufacture location, is that the Ranger is loaded with pockets and relies on multiple zippers, while the Big Dumpling stays true to Porcelain Rocket’s focus on simplicity and clean aesthetics with its roll-top closure and large main compartment. Choosing between the two will come down to personal preference and ultimately depends on what you’re using it for. I still prefer the Big Dumpling’s roll-top closure and one-handed access for carrying my camera, as I have yet to find an alternative that’s as easy to use and offers a weatherproof design. Operating the Ranger’s zipper is a two-handed affair and requires a good pull to open and close. This is likely due to its weatherproof design, which has proven to be both durable and trustworthy in a few foul weather rides.
However, for those who want maximum carrying capacity, prefer options to organize their belongings, and aren’t necessarily focused on quick access, the Ranger Hip Pack has a lot going for it.
The design and quality of the Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack are top notch, and I’m confident it will keep its contents dry in the heaviest of downpours. Personally I find it way too big for bikepacking and I think I’d opt for a slender backpack with a bladder sleeve, as I believe it would be more comfortable while riding offroad. It didn’t take much to send the hip pack bouncing on my back when loaded up with my heavy DSLR, and that’s likely due to just how far it sticks out. The smaller exterior pocket and fold out tool roll have been handy, which I’ve often used for a small multi-tool, cell phone, and wallet while riding.
The only other issue I had was the position of the main zipper, which when closed fully tucks behind the upper side compression strap and makes it slightly awkward to dig out. The zippered main pocket also had a tendency to get caught on my camera, since it doesn’t open very wide, which made getting quick shots difficult. It would be interesting to see a slightly smaller version of the Ranger, somewhere in the 5 to 6L range, with a wider opening main compartment—something I’d be much more interested in.
- Weatherproof design makes it great for carrying sensitive electronics.
- Big enough for any camera.
- Nice hip straps, padding, and overall design.
- Additional organization and bottle sleeves.
- Far too big for the majority of cyclists.
- Expensive when compared to a number of handmade options.
- Has a tendency to bounce around when fully loaded.
- Capacity: 7L
- Material: PU-Coated Nylon
- Weight: 680 grams
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Price: $130 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: ShowersPass.com
There’s no question that Showers Pass has put some serious thought into the overall design of the Ranger Waterproof Hip Pack. The oversized hip straps, durable construction, and adjustment options are top notch when it comes to large capacity hip packs. Plus, it’s quite comfortable to wear. It’s a massive hip pack though, and is more of a niche item that will likely only be appealing to seasoned hip-packers who are looking to make a statement. When packed lightly, it’s perhaps the most comfortable hip pack I’ve used to date—even if it does have a few quirks that don’t make it ideal for long days on the bike.