More room is almost impossible – the High Above Cascadia has one of the largest usable volumes in the entire test and is also completely waterproof. But you’ll have to make some compromises.
As all bags handmade in the US, the High Above Cascadia features the highest quality workmanship and materials. The compartment is made entirely of waterproof material and has a waterproof zipper. High Above deliver their waist pack with a removable bottle holder and two detachable straps, which can be used to carry spare clothing items. Customers can customise their bum bag by choosing a different colour for each panel of the pack which puts the price of $ 100 into perspective.
In purely mathematical terms, the High Above Cascadia only has a capacity of just under 3.4 litres. In practice, together with the Bedrock Bags and the Leatt, it actually offers the largest usable storage space of all bags in this test. The wide design, long front zipper and the absence of partitions in the main pocket – except for the two pockets on the rear – are mainly responsible for this. Apart from the lack of smaller compartments, the Cascadia has another disadvantage: unlike most of its competitors, it can’t be compressed against the body. If you don’t fill the pack completely or don’t carry a soft bulky item in it – a jacket for example – all contents will fly around inside the pack. Unfortunately, neither are the rear high enough nor the two dividers wide enough to fit a mobile phone, which is a shame considering the size of the bag. Due to its wider rear, the Cascadia also builds up slightly more heat than other packs and also absorbs sweat. Having said that, it also dries rather quickly.
The removable bottle holder works very well and is never in the way despite being positioned relatively far out. With the help of two removable straps you can latch a jacket or spare jersey to the lid. Thanks to the forward-facing zipper, the item attached to the lid won’t get in the way when you try to access the main pocket. But then we’re wondering: how much stuff are you carrying around with you if you managed to use up the entire storage space and still need to attach something to the outside?
In terms of comfort, the lack of internal compartmentalisation is the only real drawback. Since the contents can’t be secured inside the main compartment, they’ll fly around inside the pack if this isn’t fully loaded. Thanks to the thin padding, the wide construction and the well-formed, thin hip fins, the bag always sits very comfortably. Considering the size of the pack, it is also astonishingly stable. The big loading capacity and water resistant material make it a great option for unpredictable, cold wet weather and thus the ideal choice for riders who want to carry a spare jersey or rain jacket but don’t want to compromise on comfort and stability.
Note: depending on the colour, the outer surface of the X-Pac fabric is either made of light and smooth nylon (VX21) or stiffer, heavier Cordura fabric (VX51). Head over to the High Above website and look for the pictures of the different fabric samples. If you’re still in the dark after looking at the samples or if you have special requests you can always contact customer support. The test model in our pictures is made of the lighter fabric.
The High Above Cascadia is basically a dry pack without the roll top closure. It’s waterproof, super light, and has tons of storage space and a snug fit. Unfortunately, the Cascadia is also a minimalist on the inside, where it renounces any sort of useful partition – and there aren’t any compression straps either. However, if you manage to make full use of the huge storage space, you’ll get a very comfortable, high-quality and customisable fanny pack – true to the motto: simple but good.
- Highly water resistant
- Huge usable storage space
- Stable fit
- Light and comfortable
- Highest quality
- No compression straps
- Very few compartments
- Only direct orders from the U.S.
- Rear padding absorbs sweat
- Not suitable for mobile phones despite its big size
For more information head to highabove.net
The test field
Click here for an overview of the best MTB hip pack in test
All hip packs in review: Bedrock Bags Greysill Hip Pack (Click for review) | Bontrager Rapid Pack (Click for review) | CamelBak Podium Flow (Click for review) | CamelBak Repack LR 4 (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 5L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 2L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps Stealth (Click for review) | Deuter Pulse 3 (Click for review) | Deuter Pulse 2 (Click for review) | EVOC HIP PACK PRO 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP PACK RACE 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP POUCH 1l (Click for review) | EVOC RACE BELT (Click for review) | High Above Cascadia | High Above Lookout (Click for review) | High Above Das Radpack (Click for review) | ION Hipbag Traze 3 (Click for review) | Leatt Hydration Core 2.0 (Click for review) | Mavic XA 3L Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Crossride Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Deemax Belt (Click for review) | Race Face Rip Strip (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster 1.5L (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster Ultra 5L (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: Andreas Maschke, Christoph Bayer