Top 10 Best Lumbar packs in 2018

We have read and checked 1,523 reviews to make this top 10 list!

First, here's the best reviewed lumbar pack of all the many bags we have checked:

Arcteryx Maka

Most lumbar packs are much better than people expect, but unfortunately there are also some bags that aren't worth buying.

The quality varies a lot from brand to brand, so you need to spend some time considering the different options before you buy anything.

To help you choose, we have read and checked 1,523 reviews to find the best reviewed lumbar packs.

Now, let's take a look at the 10 best rated lumbar packs here in 2018:

Ranklumbar packRating
1Arcteryx MakaArcteryx Maka4.9
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2The North Face Sport HikerThe North Face Sport Hiker4.8
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3Mountainsmith VibeMountainsmith Vibe4.7
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4Lowe Alpine MesaLowe Alpine Mesa4.7
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5Osprey TempestOsprey Tempest4.6
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6Jansport Fifth AvenueJansport Fifth Avenue4.6
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7Mountainsmith KnockaboutMountainsmith Knockabout4.5
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8The North Face RooThe North Face Roo4.5
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9Mountainsmith TourMountainsmith Tour4.4
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10Camelbak FlashFloCamelbak FlashFlo3.7
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List based on 1,523 checked reviews.

How we rate the bags

We have checked 1,523 lumbar pack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Not sure what lumbar pack to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

The lumbar pack buyers guide

Lumbar packs may often get a bad rap but that doesn’t stop them from being one of the most useful and versatile bags on the markets. Since people don’t pay too much attention to these type of bags, it can be difficult to know how to choose one. If you want to figure out how to choose one that is actually suitable for you, you have come to the right place.

In this guide, we have looked at all of the types and features of lumbar packs. Armed with this information, we are able to help you make a decision regarding which one you should decide on. Here are all of the facts that you need to know:

Lumbar Packs: An Examination of Which One is Right for You

Lumbar packs are slowly gaining popularity in both the outdoorsy world as well as the fashion industry. Due to this, people are beginning to look at lumbar packs for a variety of purposes. The smaller sizes of these bags make them easy to carry as well as less obtrusive. If you want to know what lumbar packs have to offer you and which one might be right for you, here is what you should be aware of:

What Are Lumbar Packs?

First things first, let’s address the issue of what lumbar packs actually are. Now, these bags are actually known as fanny packs, waist packs, bum bags, and even belt bags. While there are seemingly numerous synonyms to this bag, they aren’t actually referring to the same thing. They may be all worn around your waist but lumbar packs often refer to the waist packs that are usually worn outdoors for physical activities such as hiking or cycling.

If you are specifically looking for a bag for these purposes, it is important to emphasize that you require a lumbar pack. These bags are based for functional purposes, tend to be more durable, and have activity-specific features. In fact, these type of bag is more like a cross between a backpack and a fanny pack.

Types of Lumbar Packs

Since lumbar packs are often confused with fanny packs, many people are surprised to realize that there is actually a considerable amount of variety within this category. The types are as follows:

  • Hiking Lumbar Pack: as the name suggests, these packs are meant for hiking. The actual size can vary, depending on how long your hike is. The main feature of this type of pack is that it contains either bottle holders or a hydration bladder feature. This pack is often used by cyclists as well.

  • Running Belt/Hydration Pack: more often than not, these belts are strictly meant for hydration and nothing else. So, they will either have water bottle holders or a place to store a hydration bladder along with a drinking tube and sip valve. They do sometimes have main compartment pockets for larger items.

  • Photography: if you want to venture out into the wild and don’t want to have to carry a large load, you can then rely on these pouches that have just enough room for your camera and a few other accessories.

  • Fishing/Paddling Pack: these packs can be used for water-based activities such as for fishing or paddling. They are made from water-resistant materials and help to protect your belongings from the elements.

  • Touring Lumbar Pack: these are the packs that can are most commonly worn by tourists. These two can vary in size, depending on what you wish to carry in them. These packs may or may not have hydration features.

  • Day Lumbar Pack: these are the largest type of packs and are great for long journeys. If you are used to camping light, these packs can be used for an overnight camping trip.

Lumbar Pack Capacity

Lumbar packs come in all shapes and sizes. The storage capacity that you decide will be determined by your activity as well as what you want to take with you:

  • 0 – 4 liters: waist packs that are this small are usually used to only carry water bottles. They do, however, have pockets of varying sizes. Depending on the capacity, you can fit keys, ID card, phone, and similar sized items.

  • 5 – 7 liters: these packs are able to carry snacks, a phone, keys, and maybe a thin outer layer of clothing. This is not including the reservoir capacity of the bag.

  • 8 – 14 liters: most daypacks can be found with this capacity. You should be able to carry food, something clothes, and maybe even a few supplies with you.

Size vs. Weight

One of the main purposes of lumbar packs is to cut down on the amount of weight that you will carry. This is why it is not always a good idea to buy the biggest pack possible, just to be on the safe side. The bigger a pack is, the more it will weigh due to the sheer weight of the material and other features.


Most lumbar packs are made from either nylon or polyester, although it is more common to find the higher end packs made from nylon. The advantage of polyester, however, is that it tends to be lighter so is suitable for short journeys where you don’t need to carry all that many items.

Not all nylon is created the same so if you are planning on exposing your pack to rough terrain, you will probably require one made from rip-stop nylon. This type of nylon is highly abrasion resistant and also works well to prevent tears in the fabric from worsening.

Lumbar packs that are meant for either fishing or paddling will need to be water resistant. Due to this, either nylon or polyester is coated with polyethylene or a similar coating to prevent the material from letting water in.

The back of the lumbar packs will often be touching your skin which can cause you to heat up and sweat more. This is why you should look for packs that contain breathable, moisture-wicking material. It can also help to have parts of the pack that touch you to be made from mesh for better air circulation.

Hydration Features

Hydration features are a part of many of the lumbar packs on the market. There are two main ways for you to carry water with this kind of packs – with water bottles or hydration bladders and drinking tubes.

Water Bottle Holders

These are actually one of the more common options for lumbar packs. They contain loops or holders where you can fit the bottles. The lightest of these packs will allow for about ten fluid ounces while there are packs that will let you carry over a liter of water.

Some packs already come with water bottles attached. Others don’t so you will need to make sure that the water bottles that you do have fit snugly into the holders that come with the pack. If you are a runner, you should look for holders that are placed in a sloping position. This helps to eliminate bounce while you are running by keeping the bottle closer to your body.

If you want to run or hike for a greater distance, you are going to need more water. If you are planning on carrying a greater volume, look for packs that offer two or four loops to keep your water. This way, even though you are carrying additional weight, it is more evenly balanced.

Hydration Bladders

Some lumbar packs contain compartments where you can store hydration bladders. These bladders can then be linked up to a drinking tube and then a sip valve. The benefit of these is that you don’t have to stop walking or running to take a sip of water. Depending on how long you want to be on the move for, you will need to find both a bladder and a compartment that is capable of carrying that volume of water.

Straps and Suspensions

With most lumbar packs, there is just one strap that circles your waist. You should always take measurements of your waist just above your hip bones, where your pack will rest. You will then need to compare these measurements to the range which the belt on the lumbar pack can be adjusted between.

Size is not the only thing that you have to be concerned with – comfort is also an issue. If you are wearing your lumbar pack over clothing, then you don’t have to be too worried about chafing. Nonetheless, it is important that the strap is wide enough to support the weight that you are carrying. Essentially, the more weight you are carrying, the thicker and more well-padded the belt should be.

For runners or others who may be wearing the belt against bare skin, padding is incredibly important. You will need to make certain that most of the belt is padded, particularly the area where the strap may rub against bone.

Lumbar Pack Harness

With the larger lumbar packs, you can carry a greater load. The more weight that you carry, the greater the support that you will require. While just a hip strap will work well for most waist packs, you are going to need something more reliable for larger packs.

In this instance, you should look for lumbar packs that have loops to which you can attach an external harness. This harness can be attached to the front and the back of the lumbar pack so that you can wear it like a backpack and even out the weight that you have to carry.

As you can see from all of the information provided here, there is a lot more to lumbar packs than you initially thought. The best way to discover which pack is right for you is to narrow down the purpose that you want this type of bag to serve. This includes activity, carrying capacity, load capacity, and more. It is only then that you will be able to find the lumbar pack that is a perfect match for you.

The 3 best reviewed lumbar packs in 2018

Ranklumbar packRating
1Arcteryx MakaArcteryx Maka4.9
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2The North Face Sport HikerThe North Face Sport Hiker4.8
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3Mountainsmith VibeMountainsmith Vibe4.7
Check price »

Missing a great lumbar pack? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated 17/06/2018. Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API.

Last updated on June 17, 2018

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