The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt

Hip Pockets:
An EVOC Race Belt Review

By Travis Engel

Riding without a pack makes me feel like a kid again. Like I’m hopping on my GT Performer to look for plywood in the dumpster behind White Hen. It’s why I love packless solutions like frame bags and other on-bike storage methods. But one packless solution I don’t love is bib pockets. I admit that I’d rather have them than not, but I can never tell if my stuff is properly secured in the shallow side pockets, and I have to dislocate my shoulder to reach the deep middle one. So, if a ride demands more gear than I can fit on my bike, I bring a hip pack. And recently, my definition of “hip pack” got a little more broad.

The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt side zip pocket

The original Evoc Race Belt seemed like a great idea when it dropped in 2019. It was a sleek, subtle way to carry aaallllmost all the little things you’d want easy access to. Inexplicably, that first-gen Race Belt had nowhere to securely hold a phone. Maybe because “racers” don’t have time to stream podcasts or audiobooks. The new Race Belt does have room for a phone, plus a couple other design updates. While the original Race Belt latched its wide elastic chassis with nothing but velcro, the new one added a buckle, mirroring the closure system on Evoc’s other hip packs. It also ditched the external CO2 holster. Otherwise, it’s got mostly the same ingredients: An easy-access mesh pocket on the left hip and a nylon zipped pocket on the right, sandwiching some small mesh pockets at the back with the new felt-lined zippered phone pouch dead-center.

The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt displaying items in pockets
The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt side pocket unzipped showing contents

By design, each of these compartments offers very limited volume. The only one that feels remotely three-dimensional is the zippered hip pocket. That makes for a pretty clear line between what you can’t carry and what you can. Sandwich? No. Snickers? Yes. Windbreaker? No. Vest? Yes. Sunglasses? No. Sunglass lens? Yes.

This was a difficult adjustment on my first few rides with the Race Belt. I had to commit to the minimalism. I know how to stretch a traditional hip pack to last all day, and I was tempted to try a smaller-scale approach with the Race Belt. But that’s a losing battle. It’s not a smaller hip pack. It’s more like a bigger hip pocket.

Including the above loadout, my Race Belt weighed 895 grams. For reference, a burly set of riding shorts with my wallet, keys and cell phone weighs 710 grams. That barely-there feeling is why, at first, my instinct was to maximize its capacity. When that didn’t go so well, I thought my thesis on this review would culminate in a demand for just a little more versatility. But the more time I spent riding within its limitations, the more I embraced them.

The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt being accessed by mountain biker
The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt worn under mountain bike jersey

Because none of its weight was cantilevered away from my waist, the Race Belt stayed completely mute, in and out of the saddle. And it didn’t matter how high or low I wore it. I like to position my hip packs low—ya’ know—at my hips. That’s where they hug bone, not guts. But fully loaded hip packs have a tendency to bounce out of my torso’s natural taper. Not the Race Belt. Its wide, elastic surface makes it behave more like another article of clothing and less like a pack. It distributes that minimal weight across all of its generous surface area, so I never felt any hotspots, even though the new design includes a buckle.

Oh, and I almost forgot the Race Belt’s most underappreciated perk: It fits underneath your shirt! That might seem like just a fringe benefit of its slim shape, but it actually solves an issue faced by hip packs since when they were called fanny packs. Which is, they’re kinda dorky. I feel like I’m racing enduro at Euro Disney whenever I’m seen in public wearing a full-sized hip pack and a half-shell helmet. The Evoc Race Belt is nice and subtle. It bridges the gap between the reality of packs and the fantasy of packlessness.

The Radavist photo: EVOC Race Belt 3/4 view

Race Belt

Regular price$55.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Airo Flex hip belt and Air Pad System for ideal carrying comfort
  • Perfect pocket management—a place for everything
  • Elastic Mesh pockets with velcro fastening in the back & on left hip
  • Zippable pocket on right hip
  • Loop for mini-pump or CO2 cartridge & inflator
  • Material: N 210D Ripstop HD, PU Coated, 3D Air Mesh, Airo Flex
  • Volume: 0.8L
  • Size: 25 x 13 x 2cm (9.8 x 5.1 x 0.8”)
  • Weight: 180g (0.4lbs)
Bladder included Not Compatible
Volume Range 0-5L