Once a pioneer for slim packs for under the jersey, the Race Face Rip Strip has remained unchanged for over five years. We wanted to find out how well it has aged over the years and whether it’s capable to stand up to the big and, above all, strong competition.
The Race Face Rip Strip has remained unchanged for almost five years. Let’s get straight to our conclusions this time: What was incredibly innovative back then is no longer a competitive option. Because the market for race belts has grown and brought exciting new options. Since Race Face missed the opportunity to further develop their hip pack range, the Rip Strip is unfortunately the tail light in this test.
As the name suggests, the Race Face Rip Strip is a flat, wide strip of fabric, which means you can perfectly wear it under your Jersey – that’s what it’s made for. And while this is still a fairly modern approach, the details give away the old age of the Rip Strip. The main vertical compartment with water-repellent zipper is way too small, even for the more compact modern smartphones – and we struggled to find another use for the flat pocket. Alternatively, you could store your phone in one of the two vertical mesh pockets, but the material of the back wall is so slippery that the phone slides out as soon as you hit a bump – unless you’re using a rubberised non-slip phone case.
All in all, the three zippered compartments are very tight and flat, which strongly limits their functionality and the overall level of comfort. Here the mesh pockets work better. The slippery material of the back wall combined with the large opening at the top can cause larger or heavier objects to slide out – or to slide around inside the mesh compartment. Normally, we should mention the pump and CO2 cartridge holder as a positive feature. Unfortunately, this sits right in the middle above the spine, which doesn’t inspire confidence and could easily lead to nasty consequences …
None of our testers were impressed with the fit and comfort. Whilst the wide, stretchy Velcro belt is still comfortable, the back plate feels uncomfortable due to its high profile and rigid design, making it impossible to find a position in which the Rip Strip sits comfortably. Either it doesn’t fit properly, presses on the edge and/or restricts your freedom of movement. At least the stiff and flat construction allows for a stable fit on the back.
The Race Face Rip Strip is super flat and offers quick access to all contents. Unfortunately this is also where the positive aspects end. None of our testers was impressed with the wearing comfort and fit. The compartment layout is not functional, the contents can’t be secured properly and the position of the pump/CO2 holder directly on the spine is questionable – if not dangerous. We wouldn’t recommend the Rip Strip, especially considering the high price. In the meantime, we’re begging Race Face for a successor.
- Poor fit
- Compartments can't be used efficiently
- Pump / CO2 holder directly on the spine
- Too expensive for what it offers
For more information head to raceface.com
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 (Click for review) | 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 | SOURCE Hipster 1.5L (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster Ultra 5L (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: Andreas Maschke, Christoph Bayer