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HipBelt Pockets
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Curtis Davies
HipBelt Pockets on 10/07/2013 02:47:17 MDT Print View

Im planning on ordering a Zpacks Arc Blast in the next day or two but im wondering if the hip belt pockets I already have from MLD will be a good fit or if I should get the Zpacks ones


pockets on 10/07/2013 18:38:57 MDT Print View

This is only my personal opinion, and it will conflict with many no doubt:

"By the time you need a 17oz pack, you should be viewing hip belt pockets as useless weight."

I say this because I finally realized that there is nothing I need to access while hiking with the pack on my back.

What I once put in several oz of hipbelt pockets, now goes in a single 0.2 oz ziplock in the main mesh pocket on my pack.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Nice thought! on 10/07/2013 20:04:33 MDT Print View

Have to actually agree with MB on this one.

I find myself filling hipbelts with stuff just because I "should" and then never opening them on-trail. If I'm walking long enough for the sun to set, taking my pack off for 1 minute to grab a headlamp is easy. You should be stopping every once in a while to stretch anyways. Now, I look for packs without them (though, I still find use for a single pocket at the top of the pack for "sharps" like my spork).

So, I would just skip 'em.

Edited by mdilthey on 10/07/2013 20:05:29 MDT.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
"HipBelt Pockets" on 10/07/2013 20:23:31 MDT Print View

I have one hip belt pocket on my Elemental Horizons Kalais. I carry my point-and-shoot camera there. If I keep the camera any other place, I tend to pass on photo opportunities.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
HipBelt Pockets on 10/07/2013 20:24:57 MDT Print View

I have less photographic equipment/artistic talent than most, so a small camera goes in my hip belt pocket. A folded up map also. Map? No GPS for this old guy. I rarely stop, so one pocket works for me. My ZPacks has two, I forget I have the second one.

Corbin McFarlane
(raven15) - MLife
HipBelt Pockets on 10/07/2013 20:56:01 MDT Print View

I like as many outside pockets as I can get because I hate rummaging. I carry a nice camera in one hipbelt pocket, and a compass and camera lens filters in the other. Then I have three lenses in the two shoulder pouches, plus a spare battery and a headlamp in the mesh part of the shoulder pouches. I rarely use the headlamp, but when I do I never have to wonder where it is. I have the top side pouches, one for a groundsheet/poncho, and one for a shelter. The bottom side pouches support water bottles and possibly a small tripod. I never have a problem finding things to put in the center mesh pocket (pot, water filter, and garbage are most common).

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
I like hipbelt pockets. on 10/08/2013 13:33:30 MDT Print View

I've tried to do without them, but I've come back to hipbelt pockets despite having a sub-17oz pack. :) But part of my problem is that I hate having anything in clothing pockets- eventually they rub, chafe, or poke you uncomfortably.

So as a practical matter there are a few things that I like to have handy. Camera (because if it isn't handy I tend not to use it). Lip balm (ditto). Sunscreen (ditto). Map & mini compass. Water treatment (so I don't even have to remove my pack to restock, just scoop and move on). You get the idea.

OTOH I know people who don't like ANY exterior pockets on their packs- even side pockets- and who are perfectly happy stopping to take their water bottles out of the main pack compartment every time they want a drink. They are INSANE, but I know them. (Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Roger!)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: I like hipbelt pockets. on 10/08/2013 14:29:15 MDT Print View

I've seen Ryan pictures with no pack pockets

All of the experienced smart people have figured out pack pockets are a negative : )

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: I like hipbelt pockets. on 10/08/2013 14:41:59 MDT Print View

Pack pockets rock. Period.


John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Love Hip and Outside Pockets...Love Them! on 10/08/2013 14:48:33 MDT Print View

I also have the new Zpacks Arc Blast....a orange one. I ordered two additional top outside pockets and two of the hip belt pockets...oh...I also have a shoulder strap pocket. Yes..I'm a pocket man! I keep hiking snacks in my right hip belt pocket and my camera and knife in the left hip belt pocket. I don't have to stop and take off my pack if I want a snickers or to take a them!
I keep my FastFind PLB in my shoulder harness pocket.

I also asked Joe at Zpacks to install an inner pocket with a zipper. It's a small 6" x 6" pocket located at the top back side of my pack. In here I keep my money, ID and car key. I never open it until I'm back at my it!

Edited by HairlessApe on 10/08/2013 14:49:13 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Love Hip and Outside Pockets...Love Them! on 10/08/2013 14:54:38 MDT Print View

"I ordered two additional top outside pockets and two of the hip belt pockets...oh...I also have a shoulder strap pocket."


"I also asked Joe at Zpacks to install an inner pocket with a zipper."

Madness! What is the matter with you people???

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: I like hipbelt pockets. on 10/08/2013 15:26:41 MDT Print View

Hi Dean

> They are INSANE, but I know them. (Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Roger!)
Guilty as charged.

I tried a pack with 2 pockets on the hip belt on our last European 2-month trip. The pockets were pretty useless in practice. Camera goes in pouch up on shoulder strap where it is much safer, compass hangs around my neck, hanky goes in pocket.

> perfectly happy stopping to take their water bottles out of the main pack compartment
> every time they want a drink.
Well, yes, but ... we only drink at breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. We don't drink in between unless it is really hot - over 35 C. So usually we only take our water bottle out when we are getting food out.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: I like hipbelt pockets. on 10/08/2013 15:37:51 MDT Print View

but when it's really hot, it's nice to have water deep in pack to keep it a little cooler

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: HipBelt Pockets on 10/08/2013 15:41:50 MDT Print View

For me, I've found that hipbelt pockets greatly increase my efficiency on the trail. Here is what I put in there:

-Snacks (eat candy/energy bar while walking)
-Steripen or Aqua Mira (water stops take just a few seconds to refill the bottle, then I treat while walking)
-Sunscreen (reapply while walking)
-Hand sanitizer (TP goes in back pocket along with tent stakes)
-Lip balm

The windshirt gets stuffed in a side pocket, and likewise can be taken on/off without breaking stride. Extra snacks go in the side pocket as well.

If I do it right, I only end up taking my pack off for planned breaks just a few times a day. It saves a surprising amount of time. I know from experience that if I am hiking behind someone and I stop to quickly get something out of the main compartment of my bag, I am 50-75 yards behind them by the time I start walking again.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: HipBelt Pockets on 10/08/2013 17:15:27 MDT Print View

I wouldn't put anything fragile in a hip belt pocket. Every time you set your pack down you will be banging the contents of the hip belt pocket against the ground. I broke a headlamp that way.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: HipBelt Pockets on 10/08/2013 17:44:32 MDT Print View

That's unlucky about the headlamp.

Take away: don't drop your pack.

Curtis Davies
Wow! on 10/09/2013 15:44:34 MDT Print View

BPL never ceases to amaze me! 15 responses all from an elitist side-lined original response

My two cents..
I am by no means an elite super-light hiker but my pack range does generally fall into the 20-24lb range fully loaded which is a little too heavy to be comfortable for a frameless pack and not to the level where I need something heavy duty by a mainstream manufacturer which would still cost $200-250, and I plan to use this pack A LOT, so even if it is "above my skill level" This time it wasnt above my price range so I plan to enjoy it!

So after years of choosing gear based on sales I decided to spend a little extra and get something thats exactly what I want!

That includes the use of hip belt pockets because I dont want to be opening my main water-proof compartment to grab my sweat rag or bag of trail mix everytime(Of course I recycled hip belt pockets rather than by new because I was feeling lavish and not foolish!)

In response to my own question: Joe has included 4x tie-out loops to ensure the MLD hip belts will work on the new arc blast

Thanks for all the responses, they've been a treat to read

elitist? on 10/09/2013 18:45:32 MDT Print View

I dont think it was elitist at all.

By the time most want a 17 oz pack, they are spending about $30-50 /oz saved to reduce pack weight.

Adding several oz of un-needed weight back to a $300 UL pack purchased because it was light, simply makes no sense in the quest to be lighter.

I have several packs with hip belt pockets. The only reason I dont cut them off today is resale value. I dont have anything I need to get out of a pocket, while hiking. I never did really, just thought I might at one time. I got over my "type
A" personality as it applies to backpacking.

Everyones different, and it someone is happy with what works for them, thats all that matters. However, it is enticingly sweet to gravitate toward simplicity, and embrace it. elegant.

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/09/2013 19:09:51 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: elitist? on 10/09/2013 19:45:37 MDT Print View

I disagree with who buys an arc blast. The zpacks arc blast is really comparabe with the ULA ohm/ohm2 or the mariposa or other lightly framed packs. People who buy these packs generally are looking for full functionality at a light weight. (At least that is what I am looking for). An OHM weighs 29 ozfor 200. A zpacks with pocktes weighs 18 oz for 320 or so. So really you buy an arc to save 11oz for 120 bucks so just under $10 per ounce. Right around what the 10-12 lb backpacker is paying for weight reductions.

As for pockets I perfer a shoulder pouch for my camera and hip belt pockets for snacks, lip balm, sunscreen, bug juice.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Pocket location on 10/09/2013 20:54:54 MDT Print View

I didn't give it a thought to get a shoulder strap pocket on my Arc B, now not sure I would like it, more me than anything else.