These days, unless there is variable weather involved, or a huge ride is planned, most riders are trying to manage to avoid carrying a bag at all costs. Sitting nicely in between a sweaty back and a bike dangling with way too many strapped on accouterments is the option of a waist pack. I’ve tried a couple of different offerings from Dakine and Bontrager in the past, but recently I found myself spending some time with Mission Workshop’ minimalist “The Axis: VX” pack. Aside from a simple tag on the outside it boasts nothing flashy. Rather, it earns its points from subtle, but nifty features…
- Weight: 8 ounces
- 3 colors
- Made in USA
- Lifetime warranty
- $185 USD
- VX-21 fabric from Dimension Polyant®, TPU coated nylon liner, YKK urethane coated zipper
- Fidlock® buckle
- Laser cut back panel
- Height: 5” / Width: 10.25” / Depth: 3.4”
- Internal volume: 2.5L
Starting with the front closure, the clasp is made by Fidlock. You may be familiar with their genius helmet strap closures, and this is no less brilliant. It’s freakishly easy and intuitive to use. To connect, simply get the two ends in the loose vicinity of one another and the magnets do the rest. To disconnect, pull on the small tab.
At the main opening, the Axis: VX features a single two-way main zipper with pull tabs and weather resistant seal.
The slashes seen above allow The Axis: VX to be used along with MW’s modular Arkiv bags.
There is a stretchy, mesh zippered storage area that’s ideal for stowing metal bits such as tools, spare parts and your keys. Speaking of keys, there is a single cord, which they can attach to, for security’s sake.
It’s a bit difficult to see, but behind the mesh area, there are two partitions which are ideal for stashing things like a wallet, a folded up map or a Clif bar…
On the trail
Initially, I wondered how well this pack would stay in place without any elastic, and to my surprise, I actually think it move around less due to that fact. In contrast, most of the waist packs that I’ve used in the past had more of a tendency to ride up a bit. Anyhow, as mentioned before, regarding the strap, it’s quite speedy to take on and off. Additionally, it’s nicely contoured and joins a laser cut panel that widens as it gets toward the actual pack, which is quite comfortable. There is a thin, curved plastic panel hidden in the pack to give it some shape and structure as well, but it doesn’t inhibit range of motion.
I was able to easily fit all of the items pictured below, without too much fussing and easy access. That said, The Axis: VX isn’t really meant for carrying water. In the absence of wind breaker however, I suppose you could carry a soft flask, although I wouldn’t really recommend it. As far as functionality goes, the mesh pouch and partitions behind it did a fine job of keeping things quiet, and in place, while still allowing for quick access.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a bag for someone who likes built to last products that aim in the direction of aesthetic minimalism while still tipping a hat to functionality. One of many perfect examples is its easily overlooked, but genius Fidlock closure. In terms of storage, it’s right in the middle of the road, giving you enough room for some essentials on a long ride, provided you’re set on the hydration side. While at $185, the Axis:VX is a definitely on the pricey side (like most Mission Workshop items), it is made in the USA with excellent attention to detail and materials that are tough as nails. If that’s not enough, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty and doesn’t look nearly as dorky as most waist packs.
*This article has been updated for clarity*