Top 10 Best Lumbar Packs in 2018

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.

Having checked hundreds of lumbar pack reviews, we can say that the Arcteryx Maka 2 is the best choice for most people.

Arcteryx Maka 2

Arcteryx Maka 2

The best reviewed lumbar pack
Rated 4.83 out of 5

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PS: We have checked 1,869 reviews to make this top 10 list!
1Arcteryx Maka 2Arcteryx Maka 24.83Check Price
2Mountainsmith Vibe IIMountainsmith Vibe II4.67Check Price
3Lowe Alpine Mesa 2Lowe Alpine Mesa 24.66Check Price
4Osprey Tempest 30Osprey Tempest 304.64Check Price
5Jansport Fifth AvenueJansport Fifth Avenue4.57Check Price
6Mountainsmith Knockabout 4LMountainsmith Knockabout 4L4.53Check Price
7Mountainsmith TourMountainsmith Tour4.46Check Price
8Camelbak FlashFlo LRCamelbak FlashFlo LR3.72Check Price

How we rate the bags

We have checked 1,869 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 packs to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

1 – Arcteryx Maka 2

5 review stars Rating 4.83 based on 23 reviews

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Arcteryx Maka 2

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Arcteryx Maka 2:

Reviewers like these things about the Arcteryx Maka 2

  • Reviewers thought that the Arcteryx Maka waist pack is versatile and durable due to its nylon material.
  • Other reviewers noted that it could be used around the waist.
  • Many users indicated that its strap could be lengthened for an over-the-shoulder carry.
  • A lot of users felt the ventilation and the comfort it offers through its spacer mesh padded back panel.
  • Other users commend its lightweight design brought about by its use of fabrics.
  • Many of those who have tried the bag noticed that the bag is comfortable to wear.
  • Others who have used the pack liked its discreet slip pocket which could be used to place smartphones quickly.
  • Many reviewers found it easy to organize things properly through its internal pockets.
  • Users pointed out that its zippers are secure enough to keep the necessities safe inside the pockets.
  • Other users noted that they could quickly stash essentials on its external front pocket with a key clip.
  • Many reviewers lauded the sleek yet fashionable design of the bag.
  • Users noted that it could be used for running or commuting.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user thought that it is not as comfortable to wear as an over-the-shoulder bag.
  • Another user felt that the bag may not fit everybody structure there is.

2 – Mountainsmith Vibe II

4.5 review stars Rating 4.67 based on 27 reviews

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Mountainsmith Vibe II

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Mountainsmith Vibe II:

Reviewers like these things about the Mountainsmith Vibe II

  • Several reviewers of the Mountainsmith Vibe said that the meshed padding on the back of it makes for a comfortable wear.
  • Most reviewers who have used the product are very impressed with the built quality.
  • Several reviewers commented that it is a fanny pack that comes with several slots and compartments.
  • Many users said that there’s even a key holder in the front pocket of the fanny pack.
  • Other users agreed that It’s comfortable and adjusts to a pretty extreme range of waist sizes.
  • Reviewers said that it is easy to remove the pack one-handed if necessary.
  • Many other users said that is also easier to access due to zippers on top.
  • Its compact style with padding and sleeve organization is praised by most users.
  • Testers said that it has a zipper cover for more security.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that the zipper is too hard to open.
  • Some other reviewers complained that there is a tight flap over the main compartment zipper, with that it requires 2 hand and lots of force to open.

3 – Lowe Alpine Mesa 2

4.5 review stars Rating 4.66 based on 17 reviews

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Lowe Alpine Mesa 2

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Lowe Alpine Mesa 2:

Reviewers like these things about the Lowe Alpine Mesa 2

  • Users have noted that Lowe Alpine Mesa waist bag has an extra bit of spaces gives excellent flexibility to either carry more kit or space out kit for extra balance and comfort.
  • Many of the reviewers indicated that the bag’s straps on the outside give the option to thread through a t-shirt and adds additional support for kit carried inside.
  • Several users felt that it is a brilliant bum bag for dog walking.
  • Reviewers thought that it is well-made and large enough to carry a camera, light waterproof and other small items.
  • Other reviewers said that the bag is big enough to carry essentials.
  • Users noted that it is comfortable to wear.
  • Other users praised key attachment.
  • Users said that it is indeed spacious and a useful alternative to a rucksack for summer day walks.
  • They also noted that the pack has well-designed pockets and zips.
  • Testers also noted that it is lightweight.
  • Other users pointed out that it is easily wearable all day.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the bag’s front pocket zip is a little close to the main pocket zips.
  • Another reviewer does not recommend the bag for it is not obvious where to stow a water bottle.

4 – Osprey Tempest 30

4.5 review stars Rating 4.64 based on 351 reviews

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Osprey Tempest 30

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Tempest 30:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Tempest 30

  • Osprey Tempest is fully comfortable and well made for women to carry along and designed cleverly to have all the features you might need.
  • Though it is listed as ideal for hiking instead of biking on official Osprey’s website, it comes with all the features that can help you in cycling, such as bike light loop, Lidlock helmet carrier, and hydration reservoir. It is a multipurpose pack for your commute.
  • Tempest is lightweight with several buckles and straps dangling over it. The pack has got great attention to detail as it has got so many features.
  • When it comes to design, you can easily access several features and pockets. It is also very comfortable to wear.
  • Both hip belt and harness are suitable for women. It seems Osprey has done a lot of research before making it. Shoulder straps are shaped well for cozy fit. The feel spaced widely and pulls back on shoulders.
  • The straps and belt are padded well with foam in soft mesh and straps have two loops on either side.
  • It gives added stability thanks to its height adjustable sternum strap as well as stretch mesh pocket to pop in a snack bar.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Though it can adjust according to height, but its chest strap positioning may not be suitable to all.
  • It is also not so simple to adjust according to height.

5 – Jansport Fifth Avenue

4.5 review stars Rating 4.57 based on 778 reviews

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Jansport Fifth Avenue

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Jansport Fifth Avenue:

Reviewers like these things about the Jansport Fifth Avenue

  • Reviewers thought that the Jansport Fifth Avenue is both stylish and functional.
  • Other reviewers noted that both of its primary and front-facing compartments have more than enough space.
  • Testers also said that it is well constructed and is durable.
  • Several users pointed out that the bag is of perfect size for theme parks.
  • Other users noted that it has a good quality.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that the bag is excellent for travel, or taking dogs on long walks without taking a purse.
  • Some users are pleased with the color of the pack.
  • Other reviewers thought that the pack is lightweight but still good quality, including the zipper.
  • Some users felt that it is a nice way to be able to go hands-free.
  • Many commended the presence of pockets.
  • Users were delighted that the bag has an adjustable strap for a good fit.
  • They also mentioned that the pack is cool, sporty, and durable.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that it is not lined.
  • Another reviewer noted that the clips are hard to fasten and cheap.

6 – Mountainsmith Knockabout 4L

4.5 review stars Rating 4.53 based on 84 reviews

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Mountainsmith Knockabout 4L

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Mountainsmith Knockabout 4L:

Reviewers like these things about the Mountainsmith Knockabout 4L

  • Many reviewers noted that the Mountainsmith Knockabout waist pack could be swung around the shoulder for easy access to belongings.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that it can be placed around the torso as a waist pack for added security and stability.
  • Many users also thought that it could be a good alternative for a purse.
  • Several reviewers found out that the pack offers an efficient organization.
  • Many of the users thought that its Cordura nylon fabric makes the bag durable and robust.
  • Users noted that it could be utilized for everyday use.
  • Several testers also felt that it could be used for hikes.
  • Other users pointed out that the bag its webbing sling can be adjusted to convert the bag from a waist pack to a shoulder carry pack.
  • Several reviewers found the bag to be highly functional.
  • Reviewers said that it was comfortable to use the backpack.
  • Testers thought that its bright yellow lining makes the bag visible especially when finding items.
  • Other reviewers praised the pack for its headphone port.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that the bag does not have a designated place to stash water bottles.
  • A reviewer said that it might not be recommended for high-intensity activities.

7 – Mountainsmith Tour

4.5 review stars Rating 4.46 based on 426 reviews

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Mountainsmith Tour

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Mountainsmith Tour:

Reviewers like these things about the Mountainsmith Tour

  • One user said he was very satisfied with the size and quality of the pack.
  • Most hikers found this bag perfect for day hikes.
  • Some praise the well-made large water bottle pockets.
  • One reviewer thought this is a good backpack in the sense that the weight is lower on your body thus making you more agile, and prevents your back from your back from sweating.
  • One owner like it for lots of useful spaces and features.
  • Overall, many users thought it is a well-made and thoughtfully designed bag.
  • One daddy find this bag perfect for a trip to the grocery store with a little one.
  • One owner described it as an excellent all-around bag.
  • A reviewer thought this bag is perfect for family hikes, taking the dog for a walk, hunting, whatever the day calls for.
  • One husband who bought this bag for his wife was happy that it did not cause any pain on her body.
  • Most hikers liked how they could have easy access to water without having to stop.
  • Most users agree that it a decent pack for gear and supplies for a day hike.
  • Some users find this bag very versatile and functional particularly the optional shoulder straps and water holders.
  • One reviewer thought this bag would be excellent at protecting contents from breakage like tablet computer.
  • Some users enjoy its enormous space and cords for carrying extra items on the outside of the pack.
  • One reviewer described the bag as superbly made and intelligently laid out.
  • Users liked its nice padding covered with a breathable mesh on the inside, and has a lumbar pad with channels for some airflow.
  • Others are pleased with the amazing versatility and weight distribution option of the pack.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One customer complained about the location of the shoulder strap as it tends to either flop around or tap you in the back.
  • One reviewer said that while this is an excellent quality product, the design isn’t very effective.

8 – Camelbak FlashFlo LR

4 review stars Rating 3.72 based on 163 reviews

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Camelbak FlashFlo LR

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak FlashFlo LR:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak FlashFlo LR

  • Reviewers said that it is comfortable, stays in place pretty good, extra pouch to store phone, key, bar, etc.
  • Other users said that the hose clip on belt works excellent, as does the garment clip.
  • Many users said that it is a great pack to use this for outdoor activities such as wood cutting and splitting, yard work and strength training such as sled pushes and pulls.
  • Reviewers also said that it is the right choice when you don’t need a backpack-style hydration pack.
  • Users said that it is small, light easy to travel with.
  • Some reviewers said that the bladder is best filled out of the pack and easily comes out and goes back in. The quarter turn to lock cover is easy and does not leak.
  • Reviewers agreed that the pack is durable.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers complained that the waist straps do not hold during a run.They had to readjust them constantly to keep the pack from falling off.
  • Some other users complained that it bounces as the water is consumed.
  • Reviewers complained that this pack has only one clip, and has no space to add another on the other side.

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Buyer’s guide to lumbar packs

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.

Notes about this top 10 list

The list was last updated 19/09/2018.

The list shows the best reviewed lumbar packs from a much bigger list of selected products. The list should not be considered a complete list of all available, excellent lumbar packs

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

About MightyGoods

Here at our site MightyGoods, we have checked thousands of reviews in order to build the biggest directory of backpacks, luggage, handbags and lots of other bags.

So far we have checked more than 2,1 million reviews!

Using our bag review summaries, we aim to help you find the perfect bag without having to spend a lot of time reading an endless list of reviews.

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