Launching today, the Hobgob Hip Pack expands the lineup of London-based bag-makers Wizard Works‘ collection of wearables for both on and off the bike. With multiple clever features – including a side-loaded Fidlock Hook buckle, two zippered pockets, wide hip wings, and an optional bottle pocket in both stock and custom configurations – this pack is sure to be popular. Josh and John participated in the prototyping phase of the Hobgob and, below, offer a detailed look and review of the new pack.
Hobgoblins are elf-like mythical creatures that, according to English folklore, reside in human dwellings and take care of simple chores around the house during the night in exchange for food. Before various literature began characterizing them as mischievous, they were thought of as helpful in taking care of simple tasks while human inhabitants remained largely oblivious. Similarly, a well-designed hip pack takes care of carrying supplies for its wearer and is helpful in providing easy access to its contents while hopefully going mostly unnoticed.
There is certainly no shortage of hip packs on the market these days, many designed specifically for cyclists with varying closure types, belts, buckles, and pockets/lashing mechanisms. I’ve used many of these over the years, as I mostly ride in warmer temperatures and prefer to keep airflow across most of my back rather than wearing a full backpack. Plus, they tend to be very convenient for commuting, hiking, and general gear transport.
When I visited Harry, Ve, and their team of sewers last year in London we chatted about our mutual proclivities for hip packs and I volunteered John and myself to test their first foray into producing a technical wearable bag. We spent last year putting in lots of miles with prototype Hobgobs, carrying everything from our hefty full-frame cameras during photoshoots to every ride essentials on after-work rides. Let’s take a look at the Hobgob in its final form and our thoughts on how it turned out.
Hobgob Hip Pack Details
First off, the Hobgob features two zippered pockets – a large primary cavity and a smaller external compartment. This is, of course, in contrast to other packs that utilize roll-top closures and are special to the Wizard Works design. The main pocket is 4.8 liters, which is just large enough to accommodate my Sony Alpha full-frame mirrorless camera with the Tamron 28-75 lens. There are two elastic drop pockets on the interior with a key clip.
The outer pocket is sized to fit larger phones and has an elastic daisy chain internal organizer for small items like tools and snacks. While the pack isn’t considered “waterproof,” the main pocket is sealed with a water-resistant YKK Aquaguard zipper, and the outer pocket with a nylon flap made from the same construction as the pack itself, which is a dual-layer treated nylon Cordura.
Personally, I don’t enjoy hip pack use being a decision between packing my camera/large items OR water. Wizard Works considered this and provided a molle attachment point on the bag’s right wing panel for an optional water bottle pocket. The Bottle Pocket, which will be available as an add-on soon, has a simple elastic chord lash for one-handed use. Pocket attachment, which is relatively quick to release but quite secure, comes by way of two BlackHawk clips that slide into the molle panels on the pack wing.
The right pack wing also has a ladder lock buckle with an extended tab for quick loosening and tightening of the nylon belt. This is what I use to quickly spin the pack around to access its contents. The Fidlock side stays set and the ladder lock buckle is for quick adjustment.
On the exterior of the pack, there are tensioning straps on each side to keep contents snug if not fully loaded. The underside features a tensionable elastic chord with a quick-release buckle for storing larger lightweight items like an extra layer or rain jacket. Rather than a central waist location, the pack’s buckle is located to the side on the left wing. This is opposite the molle panel to eliminate conflict with the optional bottle pocket and for added comfort while in a riding position. The magnetic Fidlock Hook buckle itself is quick to release and attach. The bag comes standard with a 1.5″ wide and 55″ long webbing strap. Custom Hobgobs will be available with 45″, 55″ or 65″ straps (in addition to custom fabric colors!). Mine came with a super long strap and I cut it down to my desired length. I haven’t had time to mend the cut end with a speedy stitcher yet, but I did melt it back with a small flame. The back panel is made of a thick 9mm Spacer Mesh with an airflow channel and layer of 10mm EVA foam.
Hobgob in Use
As I mentioned above, I’ve used a lot of hip packs over the years and I would consider the Hobgob one of the best yet. Its organizational elements allow me to carry everything I need for short and long rides, hikes, or around-town use. The wide hip wings and thicc back padding add comfort while the Fidlock buckle’s side positioning reduces interference with my pants belt and my belly when in pedaling position.
I think it’s also important to mention this is not what I would consider a “professional” camera pack. While it carries the weight and bulk of my full-frame camera just fine, the opening is hardly large enough to fit it along with any tools or snacks in there as well. So, to say it would fit most models of full-frame cameras with a standard zoom lens would be disingenuous. However, it’s plenty spacious enough to toss in a point-and-shoot or crop sensor camera with other supplies. Though, eventually, I’d like to see Wizard Works apply the form and styling of the Hobgob to a hip pack that is specifically designed for larger cameras. Cmeras aside, the pack is large enough for whatever you’d need to carry on a day’s ride or quick access to tools and gear while on tour. And the combination of EVA foam with die-cut plastic panel prevents oddly shaped objects from poking your lower back while riding, hiking, or walking.
The Hobgob is what I would consider a premium item from a brand passionate about making durable products that function well and look good, too. At £195, or about $237, the cost is commensurate with Wizard Works’ sourcing of quality materials, labor-intensive small batch production, and dedication to paying their staff a quality wage. You can read more about the brand’s philosophy in my shop visit with them from last year.
- Thoughtful design elements throughout
- Spacious capacity; enough room for a medium-sized camera + tools + snacks
- Custom colors and belt lengths are available
- Quick spin access via side ladder lock buckle
- Optional bottle holder is secure and easy to use
- Side buckle is comfortable and out of the way
- Die cut foam and plastic provide comfort and keep poky things away from lumbar
- Not quite large enough for full-frame camera
- Price is on the higher end of cycling and cycling-adjacent hip packs (but not unreasonable for what it is)