The Bike List

The North Face Base Camp Hot Shot £65

Tested by Oliver Laverack, tester for The Bike List

Bombproof is the first word that hits you when you first pick up this 30 litre daysack. It's made of the same robust and durable material as The North Face's Base Camp Duffle bags which have become rather iconic for bad-ass mountaineers hauling around equipment for even badder-ass expeditions.

This backpack is definitely built to last. We got it hideously splatted in mud on the trails, shoved it unceremoniously into the washing machine and it came out looking like new. Almost! There's no hint of wear on the reinforced base and ballistic nylon outer fabric yet (we're working on that).

The fabric is also waterproof and the zippers water-resistant, so this keeps your kit nice and dry unless it rains all day - in which case using a waterproof drybag inside will sort that out straight away. There's a reflective strip on the base which is great for understated high viz, but if you're commuting on dark winter nights a great deal you might want a little more reflective detail.

One nice little safety touch is the chest strap clip which has an integrated whistle. Perhaps you can use this instead of a bell if you're commuting, while out on the trail 6 quick sharp blasts will hopefully have rescuers on to you in no time.

The airmesh back panel keeps the load from making your back sweaty and the wide shoulder straps plus a hip belt with short padded wands and a chest strap spread the load nicely. This bag fitted very comfortably even when packed full to the brim with heavy shopping, but only if you are a guy. The straps are too wide for the average slimmer-shouldered lady as this bag is not designed with women in mind.

The Hot Shot has two compartments, the main one has a padded sleeve that fits most 15" laptops or your hydration bladder, and the front compartment has various pockets for credit cards, pens, tools and keys. It is a large bag at 30 litres so this does make it a perfect size for commuting or possibly long mountain bike rides where you need to carry a lot of kit or just take a lot of lunch!

Once you've packed the Hot Shot full of stuff, you will notice it has what they call a 'BackSaver' bottom which moves the load closer to your back for easier carrying. If things are rattling around in there you can compress the load with side straps so it doesn't flap around as you take the corners. Or if you're really taking the kitchen sink and have run out of room, there's always the daisy chain loops on the front to clip things on to, and two elasticated mesh pockets at each side for drinks bottles and snacks. The daisy chain loops are also ideal for attaching rear lights to when cycling about in the dark.

All in all this is a super durable bag that won't let you down for many, many years (unless you poke it with something really sharp) so it is a good investment for your £65. The Hot Shot is a little large for day rides unless you're the mug that has to carry your entire family's kit and lunch, but it is a fantastic size for relentless daily commuting, in which case it would benefit from a few more subtle reflective details, such as a reflective logo and side-reflective detail.

The North Face says:

The 30 litre Base Camp Hot Shot fuses the design of our popular back pack with the durable, waterproof fabric of the legendary Base Camp Duffel.


  • BackSaver bottom panel
  • Comfortable, padded Airmesh back panel and shoulder straps
  • Dual side water-bottle pockets
  • Durable, water-resistant zippers
  • Large main compartment with padded universal sleeve and hydration clip/port
  • Secondary compartment with organization


  • Access  Top
  • Average Weight   1160 g STND
  • Dimensions   52 cm x 33 cm x 20 cm
  • Fabric   Phthalate-free TPE laminate, 1680D ballistics nylon
  • Sizes   One size
  • Volume   30 liters

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At a glance

Verdict An extremely tough, durable 30 litre daysack with a laptop sleeve great for commuting and longer day rides