Pinch Flat Designs is a small company from Oregon with heavy roots in mountain biking. They have been using their experiences and needs on the trails to make the Dropper Pack when riding, as well as a tote for more general use. Wonderfully enough, Pinch Flat also shares our community’s love for Dimension Polyant XPAC material as it’s used in their bags’ designs — most notably, the Dropper.
The Dropper Pack is actually lumbar pack, designed to be worn on the lower back while riding on a bike. As it’s a mountain bike bag, it’s made to carry some supplemental gear like tools, snacks, and a water bottle or a light, compressible layer. However, I decided to see how this little bag functioned for everyday life, especially for a quick run out with just some essentials. While I am not a biker, I did take it out to a couple breweries, and nights out with friends as well on a couple gym trips and runs.
|Length||27.94 cm||11 in|
|Width||8.89 cm||3.5 in|
|Height||13.97 cm||5.5 in|
|Volume||3.47 L||211.75 cu in|
|Primary Materials||VX21 XPAC, YKK hardware and zipper|
Quality & Comfort
The quality behind this bag is great and apparent from the start. Since the bags were originally made to be used in the outdoors while biking, XPAC was a great choice to keep the elements out and having abrasion resistance while maintaining a weight similar to the usual Cordura; due to the nature of XPAC, the bag feels lighter than it appears to be.
All the stitching is well done, and feels solid, ready to take on tumbles or falls. Additionally, the stitching is done with a high contrast thread color that gives it a nice look. This one was orange stitching on classic MultiCam but other color combinations like MultiCam Black with pink or purple stitching are available.
The Dropper also features several reflective bits such as the strip on the front, as well as the zipper pulls, shock cord loops, hardware on the strap, and on the key lanyard on the inside.
I’ve found the Dropper to be very comfortable. As the Dropper is a lumber pack, it carries very comfortably in the lumbar as it was designed, especially during strenuous activity. The Dropper also works comfortably as a fanny pack when worn up front. When worn in either methods, the Dropper is great and doesn’t shift, can be easily adjustable, and the airmesh on the back of the bag keeps the bag from causing a hot, sweaty spot for the user. However, the Dropper, at times, does not carry too well as a crossbody sling. When worn crossbody, the strap rides up to the neck rather than staying on the shoulder and the bag tends to fall towards the hip. The neck digging can be mitigated by wearing a jacket or something with a higher collar, but apparent when wearing a t-shirt or something with a lower collar. While it does seems to be a con, you can’t really fault something for not functioning they way it wasn’t designed to work. It is worth noting since it is not uncommon to wear a fanny pack as a crossbody bag.
The organization of the bag is pretty great. The bag features one main compartment with a high visibility interior that provides great contrast. The inside of the bag features two small rectangular slots along the back of the bag, great for tools, or a wallet, but can be a bit snug for thicker items like my Surefire E1B. Above the slots, there is a key hook attached by a small length of reflective cord, along with some elastic loops.
The outside of the bag has several useful points of organization. The most notable piece is the shock cord on the top of the bag. The shock cord can be completely flat when not in use, or can compress a layer or hold a larger water bottle like the 1L Nalgene. The front face of the bag has one row of three columns of PALS webbing that can mount carabiners, pouches, panels, or whatever is needed. The two winglet like pieces on either side side of the bag also have some webbing that could possibly be used to add some pouches, although the pouches will come out slightly angled.
- The material choice and stitching makes for an incredibly durable bag that can withstand abuse and keep itself light.
- High visibility interior provides great contrast and a second layer of protection to the elements.
- The bag has several bits with reflective material to increase safety of the user when worn at night.
- Shock cord on top is low profile, but can accommodate larger items like water bottles or an extra layer.
- Front row of webbing can accommodate supplemental equipment.
- Thick zipper pulls are easy to grab and pull.
- The bag carries itself somewhat poorly when worn crossbody due to the angle in which the straps are. If a version with a straight line strap were released, it would make an awesome cross body sling.
- Zipper pulls are also mentioned as a con as they may be too big for some. Thankfully, zipper pulls can be replaced (or not) to the end user’s preferences.
The Pinch Flat Dropper pack is an awesome lumbar pack that is great for an active day to carry the essentials and a bit more. The bag is very well made, and features great materials and construction. Since the Dropper is a lumbar pack, wearing it as a sling can be slightly uncomfortable for those who choose to wear it cross body and not wearing a higher collar. Each bag is numbered for a more individualized feel, along with having the option for a custom bag being made through the website. The normal version is available through the website or select Oregon retailers at $99, while the custom versions are at $105.
The Dropper Pack was provided by Pinch Flat Designs as a sample for review purposes, the content of this review was not shared with Pinch Flat before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.