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Once an oft-mocked accessory adorned by theme-park goers, tourists and ‘80s rollerbladers, the fanny pack has made an astonishingly fashionable comeback within the past few years — and we’re quite pleased about it.
The fanny pack/belt bag/waist bag (whatever you prefer to call it) not only has multiple monikers but can be used for a wide range of activities. Walking the dog? Going for a run? A hike? Grabbing coffee? Have a plane to catch? Your wallet, keys, phone and chapstick are conveniently accessible (and safely secure) right across your chest or above your waist.
The fanny pack’s ability to haul essential items without becoming a nuisance is really the accessory’s top selling point, which makes it particularly useful for parents and active types. Still, even those of us who aren’t chasing children around playgrounds and hiking mountains on the daily are quite obsessed with our waist bags.
Waist packs are not all created equal and vary in style, size, fabric and price point. Depending on your intended use, it might behoove you to do some research — but that would entail, like, Googling things and reading multiple boring articles. Instead, you could read this not-boring article, which expertly breaks down which belt bag is right for you. From everyday pouches to hiking bags to the best sack for parents, below the best fanny packs for every conceivable hands-free situation.
- Best Overall Fanny Pack: Dagne Dover Ace Bag
- Best Everyday Fanny Pack: lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag
- Best Commuter Fanny Pack: Everlane Renew Transit Fanny Pack
- Best Affordable Fanny Pack: Carhartt Waist Pack
- Best Fanny Pack for Parents: Kiboug Vegan Leather Bag
- Best Running Fanny Pack: Nathan Marathon Pak
- Most Surprisingly Spacious Fanny Pack: Baggu Fanny Pack
- Best Hiking Fanny Pack: Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack
- Best Sustainable Fanny Pack: Cotopaxi Kapai 3L Hip Pack Del Día
Things to Consider When Buying a Fanny Pack:
Size: From one-liter capacity to five-, waist packs come in various sizes. Depending on your use case, you’ll want to consider how spacious your pack needs to be. A roomier bag means your belongings are more organized and fit more comfortably (no awkwardly shoving your phone in there.) However, style and fit-wise they look and feel a bit bulkier, something you might not want if you’re merely looking for a light everyday bag to carry your essentials in. At the very least, each waist pack on our list is capable of storing your phone, wallet and keys with room to spare.
Material: Since you’ll presumably be using this waist bag on the day-to-day, or in outdoor scenarios, it’s gonna get dirty. Most of our picks below are constructed from recycled polyester and nylon — two fabrics that are quite durable and super easy to wipe down. But you’ll also find packs made from neoprene (a water-resistant fabric) and faux leather. These materials lend themselves stylistically but are still manageable to clean.
Price: Rest assured, you won’t be paying over $100 for any of our top belt bag picks. We mean, you could absolutely drop over $1,000 on a Saint Laurent waist bag if you so pleased. Just about every designer brand has its own luxury take on the fanny pack. However, if you prefer function over fashion, there’s really no need to pay top dollar for a dependable waist bag (that still looks good)— in our opinion. We’ve been using a $38 pack nearly every day for years. Still holds up.
The Best Waist Bags for 2023
Best Overall Fanny Pack: Dagne Dover Ace Bag
The Ace Fanny Pack comes in at number one for a few reasons. For starters, its design, like many of our favorite bags from the female-founded brand, is simple and sleek. It’s also available in two different styles, the brand’s core Neoprene and Air Mesh, a lightweight, packable and customer-favorite fabric. Most importantly, though, it comfortably fits the essentials. There’s a main compartment large enough for your phone, plus an interior card pocket, slot for your Chapstick and a clip for your keys. There’s also an additional card pocket on the back, and a smaller front pocket. All in all, the Ace Fanny Pack has more than enough room for day-to-day travel, plus it’s quite a looker.
Best Everyday Fanny Pack: lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag
You can read our full review of the lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag here. But TLDR; the internet-famous belt bag is a favorite for good reason. It’s been my personal go-to fanny pack for over two years now and is still in great condition (sans a slight zipper snag I recently noticed.) Its clean, low-profile design makes it easy to pair with any outfit and it’s pretty roomy — I can typically fit my keys, wallet, kindle, phone and chapstick without having to cram. And it’s loaded with pockets: three mesh pockets on the inside and a zippered pocket that spans across the bag’s entire back for even more room.
Best Commuter Fanny Pack: Everlane Renew Transit Fanny Pack
The Renew Transit Fanny Pack features a noticeably more sophisticated design, which makes it a solid commuter bag if you’re traveling to the office light. Available in four color options, the 100% recycled polyester waist pack/crossbody bag (you decide!) includes two external zip pockets, plus an internal divider in the main compartment for extra organization.
Best Affordable Fanny Pack: Carhartt Waist Pack
A pack that won’t break the bank. Carhartt’s classic waist bag is made from a tough, water-repellent fabric to keep your treasured belongings dry in inclement weather. As described, it’s a “no-fuss bag” that’s capable of holding the essentials, “and maybe a small snack or two.”
Best Fanny Pack for Parents: Kiboug Vegan Leather Bag
Kibou is “the deliberately minimal diaper bag.” That’s right, this trendy fanny pack is actually a convenient diaper bag. It’s got a built-in waterproof pocket designed to hold 20-plus wet wipes, a fold-out and detachable changing pad, pockets for cash, credit cards and her phone, plus a key/pacifier hook and a comfy, ergonomic belt. Even if you don’t have a baby, this is still a pretty dope bag.
Best Running Fanny Pack: Nathan Marathon Pak
If you prefer not to run phone in-hand, this unobtrusive training pack is an excellent solution. Not only does it offer protective phone storage, but even has an external stow away loop to hang a t-shirt or towel, gel loops and a pocket to store your trash — making it a lean running companion, whether you’re training for a 5k or running a full marathon.
Most Surprisingly Spacious Fanny Pack: Baggu Fanny Pack
As much as you might try to be a minimalist, you’re really just someone who can’t leave their home without a ton of extra shit: Reading material, several tubes of lip balm, a pair of sunglasses, a notebook and those other “just in case!” items. Well, for you overpackers there’s still a fanny pack in your future, believe it or not. From trendy accessory brand Baggu, comes a stylish, extremely versatile bag with ample room. Made from recycled nylon, the Fanny Pack features the brand’s signature puffy look and has two spacious compartments for all your completely necessary unnecessary belongings.
Best Hiking Fanny Pack: Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack
The beloved Patagonia Black Hole Duffel — now in fanny pack form. With the ability to hold a whopping five liters and a whole ass water bottle, the adventure-ready Black Hole Waist Pack is a no-brainer choice if you’re in need of a hiking pack with abundant storage that can brave the elements. Like its larger duffel counterpart, this Patagonia pack is made from 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU-film laminate that’s weather-resistant and hard-wearing (yet still surprisingly lightweight).
Best Sustainable Fanny Pack: Cotopaxi Kapai 3L Hip Pack Del Día
This 5-star hip pack from colorful, sustinable outdoor brand Cotopaxi is created from 100% recyclable materials. Coming in at 9 x 5.5 x 3 in with a 3L capacity this bag is built for hands-free outdoor activities, so anticipate it being slightly larger than some of the everyday packs on our list. But Cotopaxi doesn’t sacrifice comfort for more space. The Kapai 3L Hip Pack features an ergonomically shaped back panel designed to contour to your body, so you can hike those trails hands-free without feeling like a pack mule.
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