Different meets will run in different ways, but the most common way to run a meet is to move from one location to another, while stopping at each location and practicing some moves before moving on to the next. The goal of a backpack thus is to keep your items and personal effects together and provide a way for you to transport them easily place to place. In this case you can easily get along with grabbing your favourite backpack (or alternatively any form of bag that will do the job) and loading it up with whatever you wish to bring with you. If you share the same situation as this keep in mind that any bag can suffice, or alternatively you can go with the ever popular “fanny-pack” for smaller loads.

If you are wearing a backpack for increased weight and resistance while training, please note that this is dangerous and detrimental to your health and safety. While I don't like telling people to buy things, if you really want that much to add resistance and weight, do yourself a favour and buy a proper weight vest.

If you intend to run and actually perform parkour moves with your backpack on, it’s a different story. You don’t want to be wearing a regular backpack while doing a roll or an under-bar. In this situation a really small bag is the better option, something minimal so as to restrict how much it limits your movement. Any emptied camel pack style hydration bag is a really good option in this situation as it holds everything close to your body, comes in many sizes, doesn’t restrict movement or range of motion (provided you picked the right fit) and is comprised of a relatively strong material. Alternatively if you have a larger load it is in my opinion essential to find an ergonomic back pack that will help distribute the weight as research shows that exaggerated movements with a larger load can greatly increase the risk of back damage.

The other cases would be that you have either decided not to bring a backpack for lack of need et cetera, or you are looking to invest in a parkour specific back pack. If you fall into the second class, chances are you’ve already looked around and are aware that you are most likely to find a parkour specific backpack on the internet. I have also looked around a little bit, and would like to offer these brief reviews on some of the more popular parkour backpacks.

Urban Tool Designs
Urban Tool hosts a variety of different holders and other products that are meant to keep effects on your person and has been considered and used by a great deal of traceurs, but only two designs caught my eye as being functional in a parkour environment.

The sportHolster sells for $59.99 and comes in three sizes. Its shape resembles that of a gun holster from older movies, but has a more functional twist. It is an ergonomic solution for those who only have a little bit with them but wish to keep it safe and on their person. It has two main pockets: one on the back which is enclosed by a mesh like lattice, and one on the left arm strap which is better suited for cell phones, mp3 players, small cameras and the like. Provided you order the right fit, the holster hugs your body and does not appear like it would slip off accidentally in any circumstance. The materials used ensure flexibility and a wide range of motion, while remaining light and keeping close to your person. The main problem with the sportHolster is the functionality in comparison to the price. If your intent is to move around with this as a means of protecting your goods, you won’t go too far if you have a lot to protect. While the back pocket is larger and can accommodate a fair bit, it is not very protective in an instance where you have to roll out of a jump. That being said, there are parts of the back pocket that reach towards the front more that could accommodate smaller items, though how securely they would stay there is not something I have heard. The left strap pocket is enclosed and is the most functional part of the overall design, and the right strap features a key fob. While many people have looked to purchase this for its tight yet relaxed fit and ergonomic design, the sixty dollar price tag is a little too high when you consider that only one pocket may be functional in an actual parkour run.

Style: The mesh back gives it a very fresh and sporty look to the already sleek, minimalistic and overall cool factor. It is currently available in three sizes and comes in either yellow or black. 5/5

Fit: The design allows for a very snug fit and the material is very comfortable. The pockets are arranged in a way that doesn't interfere with vaults, leaps or running, though the contents of the back pocket are vulnerable when doing rolls. 4/5

Weight: The minimal design coupled with the incorporation of mesh and other light weight materials allows for full marks. 5/5

Durability: It appears that the material is quite strong, though the mesh back may give way to frequent rolling within a year of regular use (hypothesis, not actually tested). 4/5

Value: The fact that the back pocket is rendered useless when practicing rolls takes away from the value as only one pocket remains. What would normally seem a little high priced becomes a little pricer when function is taken into consideration. While your personal effects may be valuable, you can not hold many items reasonably and this option becomes greatly overpriced for its functionality. 1.5/5

Overall: If your intent is to keep one object safe while looking fashionable, this is for you. However if you are looking at practicality, you may consider that the sportHolster is for sports as opposed to parkour. 3.5/5

The hipHolster sells for $49.99 and is a close fitting bag that hugs around your thigh with support from a hip strap and the optional leg strap; it should be noted though that the leg strap is nonnegotiable when practicing parkour as the bag would else wise hang loose from the hip strap and could not only hinder your performance as an annoyance, but while hanging the bag is more susceptible to getting banged off of an obstacle while on a run. The hipHolster has four covered pockets, a key fob and a Velcro strap that will support cables such as a pair of earbuds. The one thing that is noticed in comparison to the sportHolster is the bang for the buck. While the cheaper alternative, the hipHolster holds itself against your leg in a way that no pockets are rendered useless or questionable and will not interfere with a parkour roll as it can be adjusted to sit more to the front of your leg. The holster is a one size fits all design as the strap lengths can be adjusted, and with this comes flexibility and comfort while it stays close and firm to your person.

Style: The hipHolster is very fashionable, and while it may not hold the sportier look associated with parkour, it looks like something I could wear on a daily basis (provided my wardrobe matched). The hipHolster is a one size fits all deal and is available in five colours (black, fango, camouflage, aubergine, and earth). 5/5

Fit: The hipHolster appears to hug your leg when coupled with the optional leg strap. The straps do not in any way look constrictive, but comfortable, and the one size fits all option means that it will be a perfect fit every time. 5/5

Weight: While the overall weight is dependent on how many pockets you fill, the material is one of those used throughout the Urban Tool products and is very light and nearly unnoticeable. 4/5

Durability: Provided correct technique is used, the hipHolster will rarely if every come in contact with any objects aside from one's leg, and it strong enough to hold up to the elements. While I was unable to locate any comments on longevity I expect that with proper care this option could last a fair few years. 5/5

Value: The cheap man that I am normally could not fathom spending fifty dollars on a backpack; however if the price is compared to the price of every day backpacks, it does not seem too much at all. Though I wouldn't mind a few dollars being shaved off, I could see myself purchasing the hipHolster without a glance back. 4/5

Overall: This option seems highly functional, comfortable and many other adjectives. I would eagerly purchase it if the chance arose, though I may try and bargain for a slight discount. 4.5/5

Urban FreeFlow
Urban Freeflow is regarded as the leading parkour and freerunning community online. With their mass popularity, they have decided to market by selling shirts and DVDs, and now a back pack.

Embroidered with their famous glyph logo, Urban Freeflow’s backpack sells for 21£ (that’s roughly $40.95 Canadian or American). This is my second time reviewing this backpack, as I have seen one myself in use and saw an increase in functionality. The backpack features two main compartments with smaller ones enclosed within. It makes the most of its compact size in order hold any essential items that you may wish to carry while performing runs or moves. The bag has chest straps to keep the backpack tight to your person, and it doesn’t take away from freedom or range of movement. If you like to parkour topless or shirts with very thin material , I expect the straps may cause some chaffing in the under arm and side areas, as the look a little to rugged and don’t look designed differently from your run of the mill backpack. I have been judging bags by their function during a parkour roll, and while my first impression was that this bag keeps all your belongings in the middle of your back thus hindering your roll ability and possibly causing injury to you and your effects, it is so compact that as long as the contained items are durable, they can survive the impact.

Style: The backpack is available in only black and features the well known glyph of Urban Freeflow. While the compact pack may look silly to some, looking like a child's backpack painted black with a pretty stencil, however I believe that the backpack looks alright. The backpack does not seem to have any real advantage or disadvantages in a beauty contest and remains a solid three. 3/5

Fit: This backpack is very compact and the straps will adjust to fit almost any traceur, however the straps may not be as comfortable as some alternatives. 4/5

Weight: While the overall weight is dependent on how many pockets you fill, the material is one of those used throughout the Urban Tool products and is very light and nearly unnoticeable. 4/5

Durability: The material of the backpack seems durable enough, however a great deal of it comes in contact with the ground during rolls and has the potential to wear out within the first one or two years. 3/5

Value: Forty dollars is a fair bit to pay for this backpack in my opinion. While regular backpacks can still go for quite a bit, I would suggest that Urban Freeflow shave five or ten dollars off of the selling price. 3/5

Overall: The overall impression is that this backpack appears to be a only smaller version of a regular backpack, however it's compact nature gives it an advantage over some of the similar alternatives. 3/5

TraceHQ is a smaller parkour related online community. Their website is still under construction, but their community extends offline and appears to be doing quite well. In their store alongside a small assortment of clothing is their Traceur Bag.

For an estimated $67.95 with shipping to the United States or Canada, this bag has very few features that make it in any way exceptional. I reviewed this bag only because I have seen it posted as a solution in forums where people inquired about parkour bags. The backpack features two large zippered pockets on the interior and seems capable of holding a great deal of belongings. The bag also features inner pockets, side mesh pockets (the kind you see on regular back packs that hold water bottles et cetera), an optional hydration pack and shoulder strap access to the pack, as well as a shoulder strap access to your headphones. While the straps are a step up from the Urban Freeflow alternative in comfort and the material is able to take a beating the bag is larger, heavier and bulkier. Ideally if the choice is to have a parkour backpack as opposed to way to carry your stuff around, you will want a smaller bag so as to not weigh you down, impair your ability to move, or cause unnecessary strain on your back.

Style: The backpack appears no different than any backpack that could be found in a regular store, and only comes in the one colour. 2/5

Fit: The straps adjust to fit nearly any traceur, and feature much more padding than the Urban Freeflow option; other than that there are no real indicators as to whether or not this bag would fit and be comfortable and thus it receives a neutral three. 3/5

Weight: While the fabric looks lightweight, the actual backpack is pretty large and when filled could reach a considerable weight. 2/5

Durability: The material of the backpack seems rather durable, and if the backpack is not used in any rolls, it could last a fair number of years. 3/5

Value: This bag is largely overpriced considering how few advantages it has over any common back pack. 1/5

Overall: Considering how obtrusive this bag seems, my overall impression is that I would suggest it only as a means to carry your stuff from A to B without the addition of parkour movements and techniques. You may be just as well or better off with a regular back pack or hydration bag. 1.5/5

Out of the four options reviewed thus far, I would definitely choose the hipHolster as the majority of the other alternatives leave the bulk of your belongings in the middle of your back hindering your ever important rolls; and it is the best price to functionality option.

I will add more reviews to this as I find more intriguing or forum spammed options, to keep you better educated on your options. Until then leave me a comment and tell me how I'm doing, and feel free to ask any questions or propose ideas for future articles.

To read more on what to wear while performing parkour: CLICK HERE

13 comments and questions

  1. Schizm // 17/11/08 09:15  

    Hey, great reviews man! I was just looking for a PK backpack and will keep a lot of your critic on mind when buying.

  2. Jared // 23/11/11 23:33  

    Just wondering, do you have an opinion about any of those single strap backpacks? It's seems like they would be easier to roll in. Some examples are the Adidas Yates sling or the Everest Deluxe Sling Backpack.

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