Race Face Stash Hip and Gear Bags
I used to carry a back pack. I was always excited to get the latest lightweight, low-profile model from Camelbak. Of course I would stuff it with way too much gear and then hate the feeling of it on my back, smashing into my helmet and sliding sideways across my back. Then I got an idea to carry as much gear on my bike as possible: I'd use a cut-out water bottle and tube straps, hang my glasses in their bag on the bars and put the rest in my pockets. I looked like one of those guys with bags hanging off their shopping cart rolling through the streets.
Then I got my Specialized Enduro and filled the SWAT compartment with a tube, pump, CO2 cartridges, tire levers, first aid, Stan's Dart, multi-tool and riding glasses. With the bike frame loaded down with essentials I don’t usually need a bag, but occasionally I do need to carry extra stuff like jackets, water, phone (I don’t like it in my pocket) and snacks. Hip packs are handy for these occasions, but they're not all created equal, which is why I spent some time with Race Face's two new bags: the Stash Quick Rip 1.5L Bag and Stash 3L Hip Bag.
Stash Quick Rip 1.5 L bag
The Stash Quick Rip 1.5 is the perfect bag for the days I need a little extra gear.
It has two zippered pouches which work well for snacks, tools, keys, whatever small items you need. It has a mesh pouch with a neoprene pouch directly behind it. These are good for tubes, roll up jackets/shirts, hanging glasses from an arm, a water bottle, a beer, etc. In addition it has a padded inside pocket that fits against the back for phone, spare gloves, 7iDP or Race Face Charge elbows, a small shock pump, two turntables and a microphone. OK it’s not that big but other than the mini-pump I was not feeling any of the items against my back. If you put too much in there it pushes the Stash Quick Rip away from the back and the bag moves around too much. My usual is phone and elbow pads (T-bone is either injury prone or has the fattest funny bones ever, because his elbows are always injured, so we decided he should test a collection of elbow pads and those articles are coming soon. - Ed.).
Another excellent feature is the two cinch straps on the bottom of the bag for carrying extra-extra gear. I have only used this for my heavy rain jacket all rolled up and one time for a rolled up merino wool shirt to replace the soaked shirt I used on a huge climb. The cinch straps stow away in a small hole when not in use. Having gear like a jacket or knee pads cinched is really just for the climbs as it hangs off the butt and would smack that on every bump – maybe a positive for some.
The final feature is the most important one for me: the strap. It has padding around both sides for the waist with an elastic extending beyond the padding on one side and full padding including a backing for the buckle on the other. These features make this the most comfortable bag I have used. The strap can be cinched tight for the downhill and this makes the pack stay close to the body with very little movement.
It is $69.99 CAD. https://www.raceface.ca/products/stash-quick-rip-1-5l-bag
Stash 3L Hip Bag
This one is a big hip bag that I can only see myself using on four plus hour rides or hikes and minor trail maintenance days. Otherwise all of the space, as comfortable as the bag is, is just not necessary for most of my rides. I’ll be honest, since getting this in May I have taken it on a build-then-ride day, an easy family ride where I needed storage for the crew, and a hike where I needed room for two beers, water and a jacket. When I need a lot of gear on a ride or build & ride, I usually sacrifice comfort for storage and take a backpack. The Stash 3L bag is comfortable, has excellent storage, many pockets and other features but this one will not be getting a whole lot of use until big long rides start happening this summer. Until then here are the key features (some are directly copied from the Stash 1.5 L Quick Rip review):
- The strap. It has padding around both sides for the waist with an elastic extending beyond the padding on one side and full padding including a backing for the buckle on the other side. These features make this the most comfortable bag I have used. The strap can be cinched tight for the downhill and this makes the pack stay close to the body with very little movement.
- Padded water-resistant zipper cell phone pocket
- Rip Stop nylon
- 3D mesh padded backing for against the back comfort
- 2 zippered side pockets
- A main fold-out pocket for keeping gear from loss during trail side repairs
- A side water battle holder with cinch strap
- A 1.5 L bladder with its own mesh sleeve storage spot and a magnetic clip on the belt for the tube
So far it has been very comfortable, useful for the purposes noted above and it stays snug to my back without cramping my style around the front. I’ll test this on my long rides this summer and report back with more feedback.
It is $99.99 CAD. https://www.raceface.ca/products/stash-3l-hip-bag
Stash Gear Bag
My gear bag inventory over the past 25 years of riding has included hockey bags, duffel bags, a Dakine super deluxe NSMB personalised gear bags and prior to the Stash Gear Bag my favourite was the almighty Ikea bag. I thought the Ikea bag was so convenient because I could throw piles of gear into it and just hoist it over my shoulder. I even added a padded strap to avoid the thin narrow Swedish shoulder digger straps. And then I got the Race Face Stash Gear Bag to test. I am in love with my new bag – the title of my friend Bozs’ sex tape.
Here are the features that contribute to my love for this storage unit:
- Made from super tough PVC tarpaulin that also looks great.
- Double shoulder straps with chest tie that make carrying gear so much easier than any bag I have owned because they always had handles and/or a single shoulder strap.
- Strong well-made zippers that do not have toggles which is my only complaint but one I solved by pulling toggles off old gear I rarely use and putting them on all the zippers.
- Strong handles on both ends.
- Two end pockets: one for shoes, clean before ride then dirty after ride; the other end pocket can be used for post ride beers then post ride dirty gear in this waterproof section. It even has holes for airing out gear. Water leaking from gear out of the holes can be an issue but it is easily solved using the change mat (see next feature).
The Stash Gear Bag's key feature is its waterproof change mat that can be used as a large bag for wet and dirty gear or beer on ice - and as intended as a mat to stand on while changing.
In addition to all these features the bag stores all of my riding gear, post-ride clothes and spare ride gear, and does it easily. I appreciate wearing it by the shoulder straps when heading down to the shop for my bike and loading it on the car. It is also easy to take all my dirty stuff out of its separate bag and dump it in the laundry when I am back home.
Bottom line: this is the best bike gear bag I have owned.
It is $99.99 CAD. https://www.raceface.ca/products/stash-gear-bag