Restrap Utility Hip Pack review – a hip pack or a bar bag? Well both actually

Designed and made in Yorkshire in the UK, bikepacking specialist Restrap has created an excellent multi-use bikepacking bag that’s not afraid to mix it up on the mountain bike trails too

Photo of Hip pack from behind being worn
(Image: © Georgina Hinton)

Bike Perfect Verdict

An excellent combination of great design, functionality and sustainability makes the Restrap Utility Hip pack a great buy. It should excel in wet weather and is built to last.


  • +

    Secure and stable as hip pack or bar bag

  • +

    Fit a lot in it

  • +

    Fully waterproof

  • +

    Robust build and good looks

  • +

    Dual use is awesome


  • -

    Can be tricky to gain access to main compartment in hip pack mode

  • -

    Bottles hard to reseat in mesh side panels

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Restrap make all of its bikepacking products in-house in Yorkshire. The brand's ethos is based around functionality and sustainability with all products being handmade and covered by a lifetime warranty. Its range is truly massive, covering all aspects of adventure and gravel riding. But my interest was piqued when I saw the Utility Hip pack, a multi-use pack that cleverly and easily converts from a hip pack to bar bag. I took to the trails on both my mountain bike and gravel bike to see how it measured up against the best hip packs and best bar bags on offer.  

Side on photo of hip pack being worn

It's easy to dial in a secure fit, and this pack stays in place (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

Design and specifications

The Utility hip pack is available in two colors, black or white. It’s made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and is PFC free – meaning it’s waterproof without having to use nasty chemicals and is finished with a vegan friendly PU logo patch.  As I mentioned, it’s a two-in-one design, meaning you can use it as a hip pack or convert it to a bar bag by stashing away the waist strap in a Velcro back panel. The back panel hides an elasticated headtube retention system – or in simple terms, a long elasticated cord with an adjustable toggle to secure it in place.

Photo showing the headtube retention cord

The headtube retention cord hides cleverly behind the velcro back panel for easy deployment (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

The Utility hip pack gets a roll top closure with a neat Fidlock buckle to cinch it closed and the lining is tape sealed and waterproof. There are no internal pockets, just one big compartment to stash your kit and the capacity is a whopping 6 liters. The bag weighs 361g, so it's pretty lightweight – a necessity for bikepacking. The back panel is covered with a thin layer of airmesh to help with airflow and the straps are fully adjustable to fine tune fit. 

Two mesh side pockets can accommodate water bottles or small items, so carrying a lot of extra water is a bonus.   

Close up photo showing Fidlock buckle

The Fidlock buckle is super easy to use and stays secure, even on the roughest trails (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

Performance – hip pack

I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about wearing this as a hip pack, especially as it’s on the larger size. But what became apparent, within a few miles, was how good a fit it is and how comfortable too. I carried the usual spare layer, tools etc and a 500ml bottle of water in one of the side mesh pouches. 

The fit is easy to dial in, especially if you actually get the nylon straps the right way into the connecting hook at the side! It cinches in nicely around a bottle – if your carrying one – and a small strap tidy at the front helps to stop the excess flapping around. 

Showing the hip pack open

A capacious 6 litre capacity will hold all you'll need and probably your mate's extra layer too. (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

The mesh back panel is very comfy but there are no channels to help with airflow so it can get a little sweaty. I tested it on my gravel bike and trail mountain bike too on more demanding trails and it stayed nicely secure – especially for a bigger pack. I can see myself using this more in the wetter months because of the waterproofing and ease of entry into the main compartment. That said, it does require you to spin it around to your side or front to gain easier access to open and reseal it.  The roll top close means you can keep stuffing in light layers etc to fully maximize the 6 liters capacity. In short, I was surprised how much I liked using it, especially compared to some of my favorite hip packs like the Rapha Trail Hip pack.

shot showing the mesh back panel of the hip pack

Although the mesh covered back panel isn't that thick, it's still comfy to wear and the wide depth ensures a stable and secure fit (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

Performance – bar bag

Converting to the bar bag from the hip pack was quick and easy. A simple process that only required me to unhook the nylon waist straps from the sides, to pry away the Velcro back panel revealing the headtube cord and fold away the waist straps. Then it was a case of threading the two rubber straps through the nylon loops and fixing them in place to my bars, finally securing the headtube retention strap firmly in place. I was actually very surprised how secure the bar bag was, especially when I hit some rough descents - it didn’t shake loose, move about or make any noise. I carried an extra layer, tools, tube snacks and my phone, so quite a bit of weight. 

Photo of pack as bar bag on handlebars

It's easy to convert to the bar bag, and it's super secure on the rough stuff (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

There was ample room between the bottom of the bag and my 700c x 38mm Teravail Rutland tires. I can’t say how good clearance would be with a smaller frame or on 650b wheels.  

Even though we are into warm weather, the amount of surface water is still a constant cause of utter distress. Luckily the waterproof build of the Utility Hip Pack meant that it shrugged off any water ingress from below and invading wet foliage from all other angles, so this bag will be a winner come winter.

showing the retention system for the bar bag

Just two rubber straps and a elasticated cord keep the bar bag in place and it's a secure system and super easy to fit (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

The Fidlock magnetic closure is quick and easy to use, and I could open it whilst riding to grab stuff out and just about close it too. The mesh bottle holders can hold a full 500ml bottle, but there is no way I could rehouse it without stopping due to the tight fit needed to keep the bottle in place. It also made it a bit tricky to unfurl the roll top too as it pushes it all to the side a bit. So maybe the mesh pouches are better left to holding snacks and small stuff when used as a bar bag. 

Photo of bar bag showing the mounts from behind

With the straps and headtube cord in place it really is a secure fit ready to hit the trails (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)


This pack really does both of its duties well. It looks great, and I love the effort Restrap has made to make it as sustainable a product as possible. It’s quite expensive, but given the lifetime warranty and dual use, I think the price is justified.

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The lowdown: Restrap Utility Hip pack
FitExcellent as hip pack and secure as bar bag★★★★★
ComfortReally comfy, but a little sweaty as hip pack ★★★★
PerformanceDoes a sterling job in both guises★★★★★
Value for moneyAs it’s dual-use, very good★★★★★

Tech specs: Restrap Utility Hip pack

Price: $142.99 / £94.99 / €113.99

Colors: Black, White

Materials: TPU

Capacity: 6 Liters

James Blackwell
Freelance writer

James, aka Jimmer, is a two-wheeled fanatic who spent 20 years working on MBUK. Over that time he got to ride some amazing places, ride with the world's top pros and of course, test a lot of bikes and kit. Having ridden and tested everything from XC to DH, he now calls the trail/downcountry stable his happy place. Although a self-confessed race-a-phobe, it hasn’t stopped him racing XC, DH, Enduro, Marathon and the notorious Megavalanche.