Fanny pack. The images conjured in your brain probably jump to the stereotypical tourist—aloha shirt, sandals with socks, a selfie stick, maybe a sunscreen stripe on the nose. What used to be a fashionable necessity has been considered a fashion faux pas for a little over two decades. But just like all trends, what’s old is new again, and over the past few years, the fanny pack has made a resurgence, but with a twist. No longer called the “fanny pack”—which it never should have been named in the first place since no one ever wore it over their fanny—you can now refer to them as hip packs, belt bags, waist packs, cross-body bags, or bum bags. The list goes on.
But what’s the purpose of wearing these minuscule packs? Is it just a gimmick? No. These bags have been going in and out of style since Ötzi the Iceman was alive, back in 3350 BC. And just like back then, they were born out of necessity. If you’re still in doubt, here are some of the reasons why fanny packs are so epic.
Your Air Travel Ally
Airports are stressful. The worst is when you have to go through those TSA checkpoints. The long lines, the rush to get everything on the conveyor belt, and knowing full well that your items will make it through the scanner way before you do. Enter the mini bag. Your boarding pass, your jewelry, and the other tchotchkes you’re wearing can fit right inside. For added security, latch it onto a bigger bag or put it in with your shoes. Now you don’t have to worry about someone swiping your wallet or your shinys.
Perfect for Pooch Walks and Sweatin’ it Out
Bros in cargo pants have it lucky when it comes to the wardrobe department. Sure, jeans have some carrying capacity and modern yoga pants have a cell phone pocket. But when you’re out and about with your puppy pal and need to pick up a dog-log, where do you do carry the poo bags? Having one of these hip packs is great for storing all you’ll need for the perfect pooch stroll—your phone, wallet, waste bags, treats, and even a water bottle. If you’re hitting the pavement (or trails) to go for a run, there are multiple types of belt bags that can carry all the necessities you’d need.
Your New Festival Friend
Sweet! It’s festival time! Wait, where do you put your phone, keys, and wallet? Chances are, you’re going to be moving, getting pushed all over the place, and hopefully holding onto your plastic cup of $20 Bud Lite. Guys, you may think, “why do I need a bag when I have pockets?” Well, if you’re trying to find your lost sandal in a crowd, you can almost certainly say bu-bye to your designer sunglasses when you bend over.
Using porta potties is another conundrum. With a cross-body bag, you don’t have to take it off to do your business or hand it to someone to hold and risk never seeing it again. Girlfriend wants you to hold her phone, cash, keys, and the funnel cake she just bought while she goes to dance with her friends? Good thing you read this article and picked up a sweet extra “hip pocket.” At least you can eat the funnel cake with free hands.
Wear a fanny pack, carry snacks
The best thing about fanny packs is that you can carry important stuff. Mainly snacks. From the smallest hip bags to the bulkiest ones, there’s some sort of food item you can haul around to potentially save the day. Hungry kid in line at the grocery store won’t stop screaming? Good thing you packed those extra goldfish crackers. Crisis averted.
Bumbags Don’t Discriminate
That’s the thing about this accessory—there is literally a bag for everyone. These compact satchels are not only fashionable, but they’re function-able, too. Because they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, price points, and patterns, you’re free to choose whatever suits you for that particular moment. If the Ötzi the Iceman was smart enough to wear one, you should be, too.
The Five Best Fanny Packs for Fanny Pack Newbies
Picking out your first fanny pack, hip bag, whatever you want to call it, can be daunting. That’s why we dug up some super unique and versatile finds. From utilitarian to minimalistic, there’s bound to be one pack that suits you. Here are five of the best fanny packs for newbies.
High Tail Designs Ultralight Fanny Pack
Show off your love for avocados with High Tail’s Ultralight Fanny Pack. This no-frills bag weighs in at 1.8 ounces, so it won’t add any unnecessary bulk. It’s made from waterproof and abrasion-resistant Dyneema Hybrid Fabric (sounds fancy), so you can be sure your snacks and other necessities will be safe.
Jansport Recycled Waistpack
If you’re an eco-warrior, then this is the fanny pack of your dreams. The entire bag is made of 100% recycled material—even the labels. With a big, seven-liter capacity, it comes in three bright and two not-so-bright colors, so you can easily color coordinate for the next Earth Day Festival.
Cotopaxi Bataan Fanny Pack
The best thing about the Cotopaxi–besides it holding up to three liters of your stuff (snacks!)—is that you have no idea what color combo you’ll receive in your order. Your order will be a mystery. Sort of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” but, you know, you don’t really have a choice.
Belroy Sling Mini
This one from Belroy comes in four attractive earth tones and compresses flat when not stuffed full of snacks. This water-resistant, unisex hip back also has a built-in key clip, because your keys will always be hard to dig out, no matter how small the bag.
Igloo Retro Fanny Pack
Thanks to Igloo, now you can be the life of the party. Reminisce about the early ‘90s and simultaneously keep your drinks insulated with this radical fanny pack/cooler combo. It can hold up to three cans and comes in four fresh color combos. Like, totally.