I’m guessing it has been a little over a year and a half since I have been exclusively using backpacks without a hipbelt. I’m not going to get too deep as to why, I just prefer no belt and find it more comfortable, even at loads pushing 25lbs. Everyone is going to have their own opinion on this, so go with whatever works for you. And while I am not advocating either way, I do recommend at least trying no hipbelt sometime, you might like it.
I did find I kind of missed my hipbelt pockets. I always kept my small, throughout the day essentials in there like lip balm, snacks, camera, headlamp, etc. I do not like to attach anything to my shoulder straps, so using shoulder strap pockets was not an option for me and I also dislike putting items in my pants pockets. I started to look at the available hip packs on the market and found most of them to be overbuilt (heavy) and larger than necessary. I wanted a small, around 1 liter or less, simple “pocket” with a minimal waist belt. I didn’t want a bunch of zippered compartments, water bottle holsters or bungie attachments.
Since I couldn’t find what I was wanting readily available, I reached out to Zpacks and asked them if they could make me a smaller version of their Multi-Pack but Joe responded that the work required to make a “one off” would not be worth it. I considered ZimmerBuilt, as I know Chris is usually willing to make just about anything custom, but honestly, I wasn’t wanting to spend much money on a hip pack and while I am confident ZimmerBuilt would have made me an awesome, custom piece, worth every penny, I guess I really didn’t want a hip pack badly enough to spend much money on one.
In comes the Gossamer Gear Hipster. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find the Hipster, it’s been around for a while now and I check the Gossamer Gear website every so often just to see what they are up to, but when I saw this thing, it ticked off just about all the boxes for what I was looking for.
The Hipster comes in either black or grey 210d urethane coated, double wall ripstop nylon.
Volume is spec’ed at 0.7 liters (40 cubic inches) and weight is 1.5oz (43 grams).
The webbing belt is ¾” width and a very generous length, fitting up to a 45” waist.
The zipper is a generic (not YKK) and appears to be equivalent to a #3. While not waterproof, it is protected by a small “storm” flap. Included are zipper pulls, made from 2mm reflective cord.
Internal features are simply a sewn in mitten hook, which I assume is for attaching your keys.
I ended up removing the zipper pulls, cutting off the logo tag and cutting out the internal mitten hook. After this, the weight comes in at 41 grams. If I was really concerned with losing every gram possible, I could lighten it up a bit more by shortening the length of the webbing belt.
I’ve used the Hipster quite a bit over the past year. It’s simple, minimalist design really appeals to me. The fit is quite comfortable, it doesn’t get in the way, doesn’t bounce around a lot while walking and has adequate volume for my needs. The Hipster is a perfect example of a piece of gear where the old sayings “less is more” and “simpler is better” really apply.
Beside being simple and functional, I give a big plus for price. The Hipster will set you back $15 (plus shipping). It’s nice to see a piece this useful also be affordable.