Your Head Deserves The Best, Ornot

I find it silly to be writing a review on a cap. It’s like trying to write about a T-shirt or tacos. Both super important, but not really quantifiable like a bike frame or a jersey. I’m honestly not sure how I talked myself into this, but I guess I can attribute it to my love for cycling caps. I just love them, on the bike and off.

But I didn’t feel that way before. I used to be an occasional hat guy and my sole collection was this well broken-in San Francisco Giants baseball cap. Unfortunately, I lost it in a tragic accident by leaving it inside a police car, after a boring embed with a bunch of SWAT teams doing mock hostage rescues for a day. I was too embarrassed to call up the lieutenant and be like “Yo, did I leave a Giants hat in the back of your SUV?” The replacement never felt right.

And as far as cycling caps go, I was always under the impression that caps, at least the types that Merckx and Ullrich wore, were expendable like a quart-size clear deli container from my favorite takeout place. It gets the job done, is good to reuse a couple times, and then bye bye bye. Let’s face it: cycling caps hardly ever get much attention from companies – besides slapping a some logo on a cruel 70’s design with equally rudimentary material that quickly fall apart. A terrible highway robbery.

But I think I’ve finally found my match, The Ornot Classic Cap.

I scoured the interwebs for a cap prior to a work trip in Hong Kong last September knowing I needed a flexible cap to keep my excessive sweating under control. Being a last minute buy, it was helpful Ornot is local here in San Francisco. I begrudgingly slapped my credit card down thinking $30 is a tad bit steep, while also wondering whether I could write it off.

I ended up, as per usual, sweating buckets in the never-ending late summer heat. Donned my new cap during a torrential rainstorm that destroyed a mobile phone and a camera. Washed my U.S. made, four-paneled dyed cotton twill cap multilple times in various hotel sinks. And it’s still in great shape, eleven months later.

Miserable day at work, but hey at least the cap hold up.

The visor has just the right amount of flex to be hand curved, ever so slightly. This is important as it raises the visor just enough for when I am behind my camera’s viewfinder. The soft KoolFit elastic sweatband offers all-day comfort. Unlike a bulky baseball cap, the Ornot Classic Cap can be quickly folded and stowed, a nice touch whether I am on a bike or preparing to don my gas mask/helmet at protests.

In case you’re wondering how it performs as a cycling cap under a helmet, it’s been wonderful under both my POC Ventral and Kask Valegro. Case closed.

There’s also something to be said about Ornot’s understated graphics, the play on shapes and colors make the cap stand out, without be outstanding. the low fuss-factor makes me feel like I wasn’t duped into shelling out my own dough to be someone else’s walking billboard. The minimalism speaks to me in a loud whisper. I am going to add another one to my collection soon, and maybe its pebble-colored sibling, just to mix it up. 

Hats off to you, Ornot, for making a cap worth writing about.

Hip New Fannypacks Launched By Everyone

Fanny packs have never really gone out of style. What’s different now though, besides it’s unmistakable shape and the usual banter, are better designs and materials from back in the day.

Three respectable San Francisco-based companies just so happened to launch their interpretation of the ideal hip pack with decidedly different flavors. All are made in the good ol’ USofA. Let’s see if any of them will float your boat.

Ornot Mission Workshop Hip Pack


Ornot teamed up with fellow San Francisco-based Mission Workshop to produce theirs out of 500d nylon with a tpu coated liner backing plus a YKK urethane coated zipper tucked inside a flap. The $130, 2.5-liter pack also comes with a laser-cut back, side panels, and a super thin belt. There is also a zippered interior compartment, a key clip, a built-in u-lock holder and three colors to choose from.

Ornot Mission Workshop Hip Pack

Spurcycle Hip Pack Dyneema


With roughly four liters of internal space and a $135 price tag, Spurcycle‘s Hip Pack is the bigger and pricier amongst the three. Spurcycle focused on weight and durability. The end result is a 250-gram bag with a Dyneema-fabric exterior that is incredibly light, thin, waterproof and durable. Basically all you can ever ask for. Open its heavy duty zipper and you’ll find four interior pockets and a zippered compartment made out of X-Pac fabric. That’s not all, however. Also included are two adjustable shock cords near the zipper on top of the pack to tie down warmers, jackets, or maybe even a beer.

Spurcycle Hip Pack Dyneema


Outer Shell Adventure Hip Slinger Hip Pack

Bag specialist Outer Shell Adventure‘s take, the Hip Slinger comes in 11 colors and a choice of coated Cordura or X-Pac outer fabric for $90-$100. There is black, purple, graphite X-Pac, leopard, to name a few. Outer Shell’s version has four internal pockets plus a zipper compartment accessible via its front or rear water-resistant zippers, an air mesh back panel, rubberized hypalon wings for stabilization connected to an offset waist buckle, but perhaps the coolest feature is its roll-top feature that shape shifts on demand with elastic hooks providing the said changes from 1.5 to 3 liters.

Outer Shell Adventure Hip Slinger Hip Pack

Ornot: A Low-Key Alternative

West Coast riders are likely familiar with Ornot, since they launched in San Francisco back in 2013. But to the wider world, it’s still a relative newcomer and I’ll admit that, prior to their recent European launch, I’d never heard of them.

There’s a lot to like about Ornot. For starters, there was their motto: “You could be a rolling billboard, Ornot.” Intrusive branding has always been a turn off for me, so any company that promises to lose the logos has my full support. I also like the straightforward line-up. They offer a set of classy bib shorts and a few different types of jerseys. By contrast, one of the major Italian brands currently offers 19 different variations of shorts on their website. I like that Ornot are keeping things simple, and just focusing on making the best bib they can.

The first time I pulled said bibs on, the pad felt a little thin. On the bike though, it was plenty comfortable and after a few months riding I now prefer its lower profile. The material used has a nice texture to it and feels a little bit compressive, and the chunky cuffs look cool and keep everything in place.

At €134/$180, they’re not exactly cheap, but they feel like good value. In terms of comfort and ergonomics, they’re as good as any bibs I’ve tried, but crucially, there’s an obvious attention to detail in their construction. They feel more robust than a lot of other high-end bibs in my wardrobe, and with a good warranty and a crash replacement policy in place, you’ll get your money’s worth out of them. And aside from the blue detail on the right leg cuff, they’re neutral style-wise, so they’ll easily pair with any jersey or jacket you fancy wearing.

The Work Jersey I tested feels great, too. It’s comfortable and up close there are some nice little details in the design. The set-in sleeves look a bit retro, which I liked, and the olive colour is an understated alternative to the usual blacks and reds we see so much of in cycling clothing. I’d normally say that white is the only acceptable colour for a cycling sock, but the matching olive numbers that came with the kit really made it pop.

Good stuff all round, basically, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on what they do in future.