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Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L

photo: Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L lumbar/hip pack

$29 for a basic 1-liter fanny pack? Do I really need this? Yes, I do.

My Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack lives in my car's glovebox and is extremely useful for unexpected walks and hikes. Sometimes I find myself with a half hour or hour between appointments or waiting to pick up a kid. If possible, I like to spend those snippets of time outdoors—walking a trail, visiting nearby woods or arboretum, looking for birds and wildlife, and so on. This little hip pack from Patagonia allows me to stow my iPhone, car key, and other items on my person for an unplanned short hike, walk, birdwatching, or photography session.

Essentially, I paid $29 for a pocket (with its own tiny pocket), and I'm glad I did.

Pros

  • Well-made
  • Lightweight
  • Packable
  • Simple
  • Adjustable
  • Water-resistant
  • Extremely useful

Cons

  • Cost
  • Too simple or small for most uses

This basic hip pack/bum bag is simple, straightforward, and designed to hold the bare essentials whether hiking, traveling, walking, biking, or whatever your interest.

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front

Construction

Patagonia's Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is well constructed from lightweight 100% recycled body fabric, lining, and webbing. Patagonia says it weighs 100 grams (3.52 oz), though mine comes in at just 77 grams. It's Fair Trade Certified sewn and is weather-resistant with a DWR finish. While it won't keep out a deluge, it is plenty durable and resistant enough for most uses.

  • Body: 2.4-oz 70-denier 100% post-consumer recycled nylon ripstop with a silicone face coating and a PU back coating; body fabric is certified as bluesign approved
  • Lining: 3-oz 200-denier 100% recycled polyester with a PU coating

Patagonia currently offers the hip pack in six colors, which get updated year to year. I went with a muted green.

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slightly padded back

 

Features

The hip pack features two zippered pockets. The smaller outer security pocket has a key clip, which I think every pack should have. The main pocket is roomy enough for one liter of bare essentials (see Capacity below) and there is a padded back panel for comfort and a little structure.

The webbing straps are adjustable so you can wear this as a traditional fanny/lumbar/hip pack or bandolier style across your chest. Each strap is about 17 inches long, and the total length/circumference of the pack and webbing fully extended, buckle to buckle, is 42 inches.

I wear this hip pack comfortably around my waist, though I'd try bandolier style under a layer if I was concerned about keeping items from being stolen. It doesn't move around, loosen up, or chafe, though I don't tend to use it for long periods or for running (though I would in a pinch).

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worn as a hip pack, though bandolier is also an option

It also can be packed down into itself to stow away in a pack, glove compartment, or elsewhere. The key clip works as the stuff sack clip, once inside out, so you can secure it. I don't bother to stuff mine when not in use, but it's an option for greater packability.

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stuffed—I can't decide if it's brilliant of Patagonia to add the product name to promote it (and so you remember what you have and can review it) or if it's awkward

Capacity

This is a small 1-liter (61 cubic inches) fanny pack. It won't hold a water bottle or most extra layers, though I can stuff a Patagonia Houdini Jacket inside the main compartment with a little room to spare.

If you need more space for gear while hiking, mountain biking, fishing, etc., there are many other options from Patagonia or others to consider. For example, the next size up is the Black Hole Waist Pack 5L, or if you want something more sport-specific for mountain biking the Dirt Roamer Waist Pack 3L or for fly fishing the Stealth Hip Pack 11L or Guidewater Hip Pack 9L.

This little hip pack may seem unnecessary at first, but it shines precisely because it is so small and simple. It's basically two pockets...two pockets that let me pack the minimum, or even a few extras. I stow it in my car, forget it's there until I need it, and then am grateful each time I use it so I can go out for a short walk or hike. No more bogging down a pocket with my all my junk, or realizing I'm not wearing anything with pockets.

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all of this fits inside the Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L—no shoving required

Use

Here's what typically goes in mine, though not necessarily all of it every time. All of this fits without having to shove or force anything.

Outer pocket:

  • car key, which can be attached to the clip
  • maybe another small flat item, such as a camera cleaning cloth/wipe

Main compartment:

  • iPhone 13 Pro with case
  • EpiPen (when stinging insects are in season)
  • camera lens cap and an extra camera battery
  • can also fit a waffle and/or bar for a snack
  • and still have room for a travel nylon wallet

If I remove the food from the list above, I can fit my Patagonia Houdini Jacket, iPhone, and EpiPen together in the main compartment; so you could carry a spare layer with this hip pack

I can imagine people using this versatile hip pack for dog walks (poop bags and treats), as a ready-to-go medical kit for personal needs (EpiPen, inhaler, medications, whatever you need on your person) so you don't need to transfer items, to secure important travel documents and a phone when traveling or heading off the trail, as a hands-free toiletry bag at summer camp or in public bathrooms (one of my kids had to bring a hip pack for washing up at camp). And so on. It's useful.

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outer fabric with silicone face coating and a PU back coating

Recommendation

My Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is simple, versatile, and comfortable. It costs more than some others, but it's well designed, durable and well made, lightweight enough, packable, and doesn't chafe. It's also ethically made from 100% recycled materials and should last for many years. I've had mine for a year so far. Plus, Patagonia has its Ironclad Guarantee to repair products as needed.

The Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is one of those little things that makes life easier. I'm always glad when I remember I have mine on hand, so I can comfortably carry a few essentials and spend more time outdoors.

Experience

I've had this Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack for one year and primarily use it for impromptu nature hikes and walks. I've used other lumbar/fanny/hip packs and many many backpacks of various sizes, designs, and activities year-round.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: retail

About the Author

Alicia MacLeay is the co-founder and editor of Trailspace. A native New Englander, she can usually be found outside running, skiing, hiking, and taking photographs in the woods, on trails and mountains. You can also find her photography and outdoor musings at Outdoor Calling and on Instagram.

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Specs

Price MSRP: $29.00
Current Retail: $29.00-$35.00
Historic Range: $21.75-$35.00
Weight 100 g / 3.52 oz
Volume 1L / 61 cu în
Dimensions 4.75 x 8 x 2 in
Body 2.4-oz 70-denier 100% post-consumer recycled nylon ripstop with a silicone face coating and a PU back coating / Body fabric is certified as bluesign approved / Fair Trade Certified sewn
Lining 3-oz 200-denier 100% recycled polyester with a PU coating
Product Details from Patagonia »

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