As a teenager in the 2000s, I grew up with the widely accepted idea that fanny packs were “square” or “lame.” They were reserved for boardwalk roller bladers and midwest dads at DisneyLand.
However, the 80s and 90s fashion statement that is the infamous fanny pack has since made a full on comeback in the modern backpacking world. It provides the perfect expansion of your pack capacity and makes for a handy town bag for thru-hikers. Make your way out to a popular long-distance trail, and you’re guaranteed to see trail-hardened hikers donning the familiar waist satchel.
I am 100% sold on the fanny pack as part of my backpacking kit. I don’t think I’ll ever go on a trip without one again. Here’s why ...
Keep Valuables Close
I like to keep my most valuable items in my fanny pack i.e. cash, credit cards, drivers license, phone, etc. That way when I catch a hitch into town for a resupply, even though I may toss my pack into the back of a stranger's pickup truck, my valuables are attached to my waist at all times. I have yet to have any negative hitchhiking experiences, but knowing that I’ll always have the most important things with me should I have to jump ship really gives me some extra peace of mind.
Ultimate Day Pack
During town days, before the fanny pack era, I used to walk around with my pockets bulging with the items that I needed, such as my phone, wallet, charging cable, etc. — not to mention the collection of snacks I’m bound to pick up along the way. The items would swing awkwardly in my lightweight running shorts while I fought gravity to keep the shorts themselves on my waist. Having a fanny pack to put all my junk in is just so much more convenient. I’ve got more space and it’s way more comfortable than having everything bouncing around in my pockets.
Who doesn’t like additional easy-to-reach pockets? Even with a pack that has ample capacity in the main body and outer pockets, accessibility to regularly used items is a huge time saver throughout the day.
There's no need to stop hiking and pull off my pack when I want to snap a photo or down some calories. And, a fanny pack can be a convenient place to stash micro-trash like energy bar wrappers.
Are you the person who's always misplacing small camp items, like your spork, lighter and headlamp? A hack is to use a fanny pack at night, too, to store these items on your hip, always securely within reach.
Extra Storage + Weight Transfer
If you’re reaching the comfortable carrying limit with your pack, a fanny pack can be cleverly utilized to shift some weight from your shoulders to your hips. When I’m carrying my frameless pack, I like to keep a few particularly dense items, like my battery bank and sunscreen in my fanny pack.
In My Fanny Pack I Keep
- credit cards
- battery bank
Are you a fanny pack fan? Why or why not? What’s your favorite maker or brand of fanny packs?