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Review: CountDown Hip Pack

CountDown Hip Pack in a nutshell:

Features:

  • Compact hip bag with easy-access main compartment
  • One large side pocket with zipper
  • One flat side pocket for storing smaller accessories
  • Inner storage compartments for storing leader materials or fishing licenses 
  • 3D mesh padded adjustable hip strap with quick draw plier holster and daisy chains
  • Removable hook & loop straps
  • Accommodates 2 3500 tackle boxes (sold separately)

 
Materials:

  • Water and dirt repelling polyester (grey: 600D, blue: 420D, black: 600D)
  • 3D mesh ventilating back support
  • Reinforcements on high-wear areas
  • Strong but lightweight YKK zippers and zipper pullers

 

Size:                  32 x 18 x 12 cm
Weight:            approximately 420 g

 

First Impressions

Very good! This slim and elegant blue-grey-black hip bag weighs only 400 g. Nevertheless, two 3500 boxes fit comfortably in the main compartment. Depending on the area of ​​use, I pack in it two Plano boxes sized 23x18x5 cm (model 2-3705), as they are exactly half of the size of the usual 3700 models and thus fit well and even leave some room for other items.

I save myself from the hassle of sorting bait - I just exchange the boxes. There is a transparent pocket in the lid that can be closed with a zipper. The narrow divider inside provides space for papers and small items. 

The larger side pocket with a zipper turned out to be a real space saver. I store my tape measure, bait and scissors there. In the other pocket I keep either a flat box for spoons, a fly box or a spare spool.

If you want, you can attach additional tools to the daisy chain (the chain with attachment loops) using a carabiner (like RCD Magnetic Release). The bag has an integrated plier holder. I always keep polarized sunglasses, travel ash tray and RCD Mag Spring Split Ring Pliers close to me. Depending on the location, I also pack my Rapala landing net with me. If you are not a fan of the daisy chain, just remove it – it’s removable.

 

Quality

The details look great. All seams are well made; reinforcements have been added to the areas that are under most stress. The pleasant feel of the different fabrics gives a high-quality and robust impression. As with the entire CountDown Bag Series, only small details – such as the subtle Rapala logos on the front, on the zippers or the pliers holder – reveal that the bag was designed for anglers. Otherwise, the hip bag is also suitable for other outdoor activities.

First Conclusion

The CountDown Hip Pack meets my expectations. After using a different, much larger hip bag for a long period of time, I searched for a smaller one in which I would only carry what I really need. Because after a few kilometers in the creek with a lot of weight divided unevenly on the other side of the body, your back hurts.

That is why it was important to me to find a bag that has the most important features and compartments, but nothing unnecessary. The Rapala CountDown Hip Pack is a medium to small sized model. It has all the features to provide enough options for attaching and carrying the essential equipment.

Field Tested

The CountDown Hip Pack has been with me for almost a half a year. I’ve taken it on short trips to inaccessible trout streams and to smaller lakes and ponds for light fishing for perch and pike.

It's hard to believe, but you easily have 2-4 kg tackle with you – that puts the bag to the test. 2,5-3 kg can be comfortably carried for several hours. If you have more than that, the Rapala CountDown Sling Back or even the CountDown Backpack may be a better choice. 

The weight of the carried items did not cause harm for my bag during the test period. The bag remained in good condition. Despite many marches through the undergrowth, the outer material was not damaged. The bag stayed comfortably on its place on my hips and did not slip down. The 3D mesh on the back also contributed to this, providing grip even against smooth materials such as waders.

Speaking of 3D mesh: the padding on the back side is reasonably thin. Nevertheless, wearing the bag was very comfortable thanks to the wide hip belt.

The fabric used on the bag does not absorb too much water. The buckle seemed trustworthy and never opened on its own. This was refreshing – I’ve had trouble with other models, since some buckles give when you bend or load too much weight on the bag. All zippers worked perfectly even after rain showers and dips in the water.

 

Functional and Versatile

The bag can be carried in various positions: on your stomach, on the side or tilted on your back. Since I'm left-handed, the bag was usually at an angle at the back on the right. In all positions, all items are easily accessible and quickly at hand - daisy chain makes it possible!

I think the zipper on the main compartment is brilliant. Many hip bags have a straight zipper, which makes it difficult to get to the boxes. If the bag is packed full, it gets tricky. With the CountDown Hip Pack, the zipper is U-shaped which allows you to access the bag easily and see what’s inside.

I even leave the bag open while I’m fishing, because the open lid acts like a shield so that nothing falls out. Small point of criticism: as a left-handed person, I would have liked a 2-way zipper for the main compartment. Maybe on the next version?

There are daisy chains on the front. I have to confess: I wasn't too excited about it at first and I thought I would remove them. But after a short time I really came to appreciate them, because they make it easy to transport bulky equipment such as fly rod for the trout stream (when I'm mainly using a spinning rod). And a folding saw to clean up overgrown areas, an action camera on a selfie stick... You name it! There are dozens of possible uses for the daisy chain – and if you can't think of any, the straps can be removed and stowed away in 10 seconds.

Second Conclusion

The Rapala CountDown Hip Bag is slim and perfect option for shorter fishing trips – whether on a wild stream or urban street fishing. Yet it leaves enough options to attach additional tackle. It is comfortable to wear. The selected materials are durable yet classy-looking. Worth the money. I would recommend it you give it a try!