Small bum bag is light and holds a large bladder but it does tend to slip around a little
Jul 24 2018
Small and light
Holds a decent amount of water
Moves around when descending
You are after a small bum bag with a decent sized bladder
Officially sitting in the trail running section on the USWE Sports website, the Zulo 2 is just as ready to be used as a cycling hydration waist pack. This small and minimalist bum bag is light with space for a large bladder compared to the size of the pack, but disappointingly the support just isn’t there to keep it in place.
The Zulo 2 is part of the new line of waist packs from USWE, where the 2 stands for two litres of storage rather than the second iteration of this pack. Alongside the 2L of space for your gear there is also room for a 1.2L bladder (supplied) and some small extra’s in the hip pockets. Added extra’s include bike light attachment and reflective material on the rear, reflecting heat not light to keep the bladder cooler.
The bag is small and light, weighing just 215g (without bladder), its square construction is neat and unfussy. The main storage is accessed via a bag length zip at the front, inside which you will find two mesh pockets for extra storage. The bladder is inserted in the rear with the hose exiting to the right-hand side and crossing over the waist from right to left. This is the only choice here, you can’t reverse the bladder orientation. The magnetic hose clip is pretty strong and I didn’t experience it losing hold on the hose mid trail as I have with other similar packs.
Also in the rear bladder compartment is a useful clip for keys. It’s also worth noting that the bladder tube is insulated, it’s great not to get the first mouthful of warm water in this heat! The hose is easy to drink from, not quite as fast flowing as a Camelbak bite valve but delivers a good quantity none the less. I ditched the bite valve covering cap as it was too hard to remove and replace one handed whilst riding, but it could be useful for mucky winter rides.
Storage wise, the Zulo 2 offers enough room for a phone, a multi-tool and couple of snack and that’s about it. This is a pack best placed for short rides and ones where you have the rest of your toolkit (tube, tyre levers, pump) attached to your bike. Saying that, do away with the snacks and you can fit a small pump and the associated paraphernalia in here instead.
The bag is best placed high on the waist and winched in tightly, let it drop lower and it will try to migrate over to the left or right, especially when full of water and riding downhill, the weight helps its progress. It's best to keep the extra side winch straps nice and tight too, helping to keep the weight of the pack close to your body, Unfortunately keeping the main strap done up tightly is easier said than done as the straps do tend to creep looser throughout the trail. Larger ‘wings’ at the hip would help the bag wrap around the body and keep it more stable, whilst adjustment straps on either side of the main waist buckle would allow easier fine-tuning of fit. If you are slim (waist of 28” or less) you will probably have to do some sewing to shorten the waist belt too. USWE do say that it is multi-size adjustable from M-XL so just beware if you are smaller.
With the bag packed a little lighter and positioned correctly it does stay in place better and you’ll be pleased to know the straps don’t creep open. It’s easy to get into to access your gear and is pretty water resistant too. Although we are having a lovely summer now, we’ve had this pack a little while and used it on winter rides too.
At £79.99 the Zulo 2 is pretty pricey for the size and performance. For comparison's sake, the larger Camelbak Repack LR (with bladder) is £60 and the Dakine Hot Laps 5 L Hydrapak is £57. I have only just received the Camelbak Repack and not tested the Dakine version so can’t account for their performance.
If you are after a small bum bag with a decent sized bladder included in the price, then the USWE Zulo 2 could be right up your street, just make sure it fits and be prepared to winch it in tighter more often than not.
Rachael is happiest on two wheels, she's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories, she also coaches mountain biking and when she's not busy with all the above she's serving coffee from a horse trailer!