Wizard Works Hobgob Hip Pack: One Pack To Rule Them All
Most cyclists like to say that the perfect number of bikes is n+1—meaning there’s always room for one more bike in the shed. I feel the same way about hip packs. Despite having five of them tucked away, I couldn’t help but get excited about the prospect of trying out another one, particularly one made by the legends over at Wizard Works.
One of the main reasons I like using a hip pack is because they keep gear off the bike. Despite regularly heading out bikepacking, I actually much prefer the way my bikes look without bags hanging off them, so the hip pack is the perfect solution. As a keen photographer, I also value the use of a hip pack to store my camera. I’ve been known to use a camera strap on occasion, but I prefer storing my camera in the hip pack for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it keeps the camera out of the elements, away from dust and rain, and keeps it off my sweaty back. And secondly, keeping the camera in a hip pack helps to slow me down. I know some people like going fast and shooting on the move, but I love to take my time with photography (and riding) so stopping to dig out the camera from a bag works perfectly for me.
Other than carrying camera gear, you’d be amazed what you can fit in a hip pack. I’ve been known to use it to carry my coffee outside gear, pastries and milk included. Swimming gear and towel are also hip pack regulars, and there’s also usually a paperback tucked in there—not ideal next to wet swimming shorts I guess. I have aspirations of going camping only using a hip pack to carry camp gear, but I haven’t lived this dream just yet. Anyway, on to Wizard Works.
Wizard Works Magical Makers
Wizard Works make cool bags. There’s no doubt about it. Colourful fabrics and quirky branding might be the first things you notice about Wizard Works products, but behind the colourful exterior there’s plenty of thought, product testing and development in every bag they produce. You might be familiar with Wizard Works through their ever popular Shazam saddle bag, Alakazam basket bag, or Teeny Houdini. If you haven’t come across Wizard Works before, they’re a London based brand spearheaded by Harry and Vee. Like many independent makers, they started life sewing out of a spare room, but have since moved through several studios to their current Greenwich location. Stand by for more on the Wizard Works story as we caught up with them for a workshop tour on a recent trip to London.
The newly released Hobgob hip pack is no exception. With two years and countless prototypes during development, this fresh addition to the Wizard Works lineup is oozing with useful features and considered design. In fact, the Hobgob has more individual parts than any other Wizard Works bag to date and each part has been agonised over to ensure the best end result. It’s also spent the longest time in the development phase.
Our Top Five Features
We’ve been testing out the Hobgob for the past month on bikepacking trips, mtb trails and gravel rides in the UK and Western Australia. There’s a lot to love about the Hobgob but let’s take a look at our favourite features...
1. Side-Buckle Placement
One of the most innovative and original features of the Hobgob hip pack is the positioning of the buckle. Unlike most other hip packs on the market, the team at Wizard Works have managed to find a way to move the buckle from the middle of the waist, to a spot on one of the wings.
This subtle movement of the buckle has several benefits, the first and most major being the increased comfort for the user. Rather than a buckle that can dig into the user’s waist, the buckle attaches on the wing, where there’s a supported and padded fabric between the buckle and your body. With the buckle moved to the side, you’re left with a comfy 38mm wide webbing strap keeping the Hobgob held snug to your hips.
While we’re chatting about the buckle, I’d also like to highlight the actual buckle design. The Hobgob utilises a magnetic Fidlock clasp that snaps into place—making for a smooth and easy user experience when taking the hip pack on and off.
2. Comfort Wings
The wings of the Hobgob hip pack might go quietly unnoticed and this is often the case with smart design. Beginning either side of the main compartment, the wings are the same size as the pack with the bottom edge then tapering up to a narrower point near the buckle. This shape gives extra room for support and padding, delivering a comfortable feel for the user.
As mentioned above, the left hand wing houses the unique buckle design. With a little padding, the wing completely supports the buckle meaning zero buckle rub on the body. The right hand wing, however, has a clever bonus feature that I’ll talk about next.
3. Bottle Pocket
I have to admit, this is one of my favourite features of the Hobgob (sorry side buckle). The right wing of the pack features a molle attachment point, which with the use of a 'speedclip' allows you to attach a bottle pocket to the hip pack. Wizard Works have managed to design this feature to blend seamlessly with the Hobgob, and the bag looks smart with or without it. The speedclip holds the bottle pocket snugly to the wing, with minimal to zero waggle.
Wizard Works’ bottle pocket is the perfect size for a regular bidon and the fabric holds the bidon in place. No one likes losing a water bottle on the trails, so additional security and peace of mind comes in the form of an integrated elastic cord. I found it easy to use the bottle pocket with one hand while riding, reaching back, undoing the cord and then reattaching without fuss. I also found the empty bottle pocket useful as an additional and easily accessible storage hole and have been using it for stashing winter gloves once the morning frosts have melted. The Bottle Pocket is a £30.00 upgrade and well worth it. Check out the installation video to see it in action.
Underneath the main storage compartment of the Wizard Works Hobgob you’ll find additional storage in the form of an elastic cord. This cord can be adjusted with the toggle to accommodate different size items. I’ve used this cord mostly for storing a rain jacket or warmer layer, but it was also a great spot to keep a salad roll.
The bungee cord has a QR buckle for even easier access to your gear, but I found that it was easy enough to pull out my jacket without worrying about this feature.
5. The Main Event
It would be remiss of me not to mention the large main compartment of the Wizard Works Hobgob, although it is probably the least exciting feature. Nonetheless, the team have included some thoughtful features to this area including their usual bright interior fabric to help find your gear instead of gazing into a black hole.
Alongside a large opening space with a full zipper, the main compartment features two internal mesh pockets which are super helpful for organising gear in the main space. There’s also a key leash and clip to be found here. I mostly use hip packs for carrying my camera, and the Hobgob was spacious enough to just about fit my large full-frame DSLR and lens, alongside a few extra items. While my big camera fits inside, this bag is definitely better suited to a smaller, mirrorless camera.
While the features above are my picks of the bunch, there’s a few more cool features you’ll discover when you get your hands on the Wizard Works Hobgob hip pack. Mentioning them briefly, you’ll notice a large zip pocket on the front of the pack, tensioning straps on the sides to compress the bag when carrying smaller loads and reflective details to help keep you seen. You might also be interested in some of the technical specs of the Hobgob:
- 4.8L Main body Volume
- 425g Bag Weight
- 60g Bottle pocket weight with clip
- 30cm Wide, 17cm Tall, 9cm Deep
My camera is probably the heaviest item I carry on the bike and it’s testament to the design of the Hobgob that it managed this load with aplomb. The combined efforts of the side buckle, wide webbing and foam padding kept the bag comfortably snug to my back, minimising movement and keeping the weight on my hips, rather than sagging down over my butt.
As an avid hip packw user I’ve got a few bags in my locker, but this one may well have jumped its way right to the top of the pile and I look forward to using it for many more rides to come. The Wizard Works Hobgob is available online for £195 or €225 for a custom design including Vat. and the Bottle Pocket is £30 / €35.
|Side buckle keeps waistline comfy|
|Bottle Pocket upgrade for extra versatility|
|Comfy wings and padding keeps it snug|
|Like all stitched bags, not 100% waterproof|