Hikers Helping Hikers: Acromoda's Ultralight Fanny Pack Carries it All

Abby Evans


Staying involved with the thru-hiking community doesn't mean just hiking another long trail. For Josh "Cheese Curd" Wood, a 2021 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, it meant designing hiking gear. Starting with zero knowledge of sewing, he has since built his company Acromoda creating premium fanny packs and more. 

Josh originally took the leap to start the company with his friend, Eric "Great Value" Velasquez, who he met while thru-hiking. Starting a business is similar to thru-hiking a long trail — terrifying and exciting — and it was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail that kindled Josh’s entrepreneurial spirit. Even though neither he nor his hiking buddy knew how to sew at first, nothing seems all that scary after walking 2,198 miles. The two threw themselves into four months of an intensive learning process of learning to sew hiking gear — everything from backpacks to fanny packs — determined to provide support and stay connected to the thru-hiking community. 

"I thought starting Acromoda was a good way to stay connected to thru-hikers. I’m also a major gear nerd," Josh said. "I was thinking ‘Oh, what’s the optimal backpacking set-up?’ all the way up the trail."

Josh "Cheese Curd" Wood and Eric "Great Value" Velasquez


“I was really fortunate. I was in college when I started [Acromoda], and they had an industrial sewing machine which was awesome. I was able to use their laser cutter. Pattern making was super easy starting out — I could put something into a laser, and it would be cut. It was still difficult to learn though.”

In March of 2023, after much figuring out which side of the pack to sew the seams into first, their first pack was born. A frameless backpack! Soon afterwards, Eric left to pursue other opportunities, and Josh was left to continue the company on his own. Luckily, working with Eric at the start allowed Josh to realize he had all the skills he needed to run the company independently. Similar to parting ways with a hiking partner on the trail, he pushed on, launching the Acromoda Contour Fanny Pack on Kickstarter in the summer of 2023.


The Contour Fanny Pack weighs 4.5oz and is made from waterproof recycled ECOPAK™ material. It features several internal mesh pockets and a removable water bottle pouch. Josh elaborated on his ideas behind the design:

“I built it around being light enough to take on a multi-day backpacking trip but also being able to take on day trips. It will attach directly to your hip belt — there’s a really wide slot so you can fit an Osprey hip belt through it — or even something bigger — and you can just leave the strap at home. The water bottle pouch allows you to bring water without having to use up your fanny pack space. You could even use it for slackpacking so you can have easy access to water without having to carry it.”



Straps on the bottom of the fanny pack allow hikers to carry a rain jacket or puffy pack without expending room in their pack. With a carrying capacity of 2.5L, there’s plenty of room for all your favorite snacks. Its internal organizational system features an easily accessible phone pocket and pockets for other items such as first aid materials, a power bank, or a satellite communicator.

“I’m the kind of person who doesn't like to take their bag off during the day,” Josh said. “I know a lot of people don’t have giant hip belt pockets on their backpacks. So that was a part of the reason, and I hadn’t been doing a ton of hiking, so the first fanny pack I made was something for me to get hiking again.”

The name Acromoda originates from some trailside jokes with his hiking partner about making a high fashion gear company for hikers with acro meaning high and moda meaning fashion in Greek. Although the high fashion clothing line never came to be, Josh’s fanny packs take personalization to new levels.



“I’ve been focusing on making stuff that is unique to a specific place. I made a product customizer so that you can select a region and have the topographic lines of a specific area printed on the front panel of the fanny pack. So, if somebody had a meaningful outdoor experience in a specific place, they could have a piece of gear that commemorates it.”

Buying your favorite ultralight backpacker friend a present can be difficult since they’re usually specific about their set up. However, Acromoda’s fanny pack has the versatile ability to be used for backpacking or day-hiking and can be stuffed full of snacks — which is difficult for even the most extreme ultralighters to pass up. 

After all the evolutions his small business has gone through, Josh is thrilled to see his products in the wild. “I remember when I used to make the backpack, I got pictures from somebody in Indonesia, and they were climbing a volcano with my pack! It’s really cool seeing people taking your gear out on a real adventure.”

Whether you’re climbing a volcano, hiking a long trail, or out on a day hike, Acromoda’s contour fanny pack can help you carry everything you might need — while keeping another hiker in the loop.


Abby Evans, or S.W. Fireball Queen of the Salamanders, enjoys thru-hiking, jumping in mud puddles and catching salamanders. When they're not doing these three things, they love to write about their on-foot adventures. They recently finished the Appalachian Trail, and they're looking forward to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year!



Contour Fanny Pack by Acromoda
Contour Fanny Pack by Acromoda



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