In Defense of the Fanny Pack, a Tragically Underrated Commuter Bag
Some call it a waist bag, or waist pack. Some call it a bum bag. Others a hip bag. Cross-body. Sling pack. Pragmatic men who can’t be bothered surely, rationally, call it a belt bag.
Just don’t call it a fanny pack.
For one, the operative word does not mean what you think it means in many parts of the English-speaking world. But beyond that, the fanny pack comes with inescapable connotations. It’s easy to assume, for example, that a man wearing a bag around his waist is only concerned with your height and a ticket to ride — or that he’s a tourist who’s had too much sugar.
Point is, you should ignore all those mockeries. Because belt bags, or waist packs, or whatever the hell you want to call them have always been (and continue to be) a useful carry option.
The news of high-fashion’s recent fixation with them is just the runway catching up with us plebs who’ve been unironically rocking the style since the ‘90s. What has changed is how we wear them. The traditional orientation — around the waist — is no longer the preference. These days, it’s acceptable to sling the fanny pack over the shoulder or diagonally around the torso, where it’s tight to your body and easily accessible. Unless you’re hiking, in which case around the belt is still very much in vogue.
What hasn’t changed is the fact that fanny packs are utilitarian. Traveling abroad, they become a pick pocketer’s worst enemy. At music festivals, they are the perfect all-day companion. And at home, they lighten the commute and give reason to empty your pockets and stash your EDC elsewhere.
Below, you’ll find some of our current favorites.
Carthartt WIP Military Hip Bag
From Carhartt’s young, hip sibling brand, a military-inspired pack with two exterior zip pockets for extra carrying room. $105
Topo Designs Hip Pack
A sizable hip pack from the always-colorful outdoor brand Topo Designs. Looks great slung across the body, even better hiking the foothills. $69
Datum Trecknos Fanny Pack
A meticulously constructed bag made in the US. from corudura nylon fabric with a lifetime guarantee against defects. $106
Aer Day Sling
Aer’s Day Sling has enough room to carry a tablet, with a hidden pocket in the back that keeps valuables safe. $60
Matador Daylite Hip Pack
A perfect travel option, this pack rolls down to the size of a lemon and weighs just 2.2 ounces. Throw it in your carry-on and go. $34.99
Côte & Ciel Isarau
A clean, modern take that can fit a tablet and features an exterior zipped pocket with a concealed opening for secure storage. $185
Hex Aspect Waist Pack
A rugged no-frills option with the price to match. $27.99
DSPTCH Waist Bag
A technical all-black bag meant to be slung over the shoulder, with mil-spec webbing and enough room to fit a tablet. $105
Eastpak Springer YMC Maze
A classic youth brand made hip by cult menswear label YMC. $57
Our Favorite Products Right Now