The Best Fanny Packs of 2023
All the rage in the ’90s and the topic of much ridicule in the decades since, hip/waist/fanny packs are almost certainly here to stay. Heck, more than that — they’re making a strong comeback. From fishing to trail running and travel to bike commuting, fanny packs prove endlessly versatile and useful.
Even the skeptics among us have to admit fanny packs are pretty great. Whether you want to carry a snack, pack your phone, stash hydration, or speed through airport security, a fanny pack helps you do it all without the hassle of slipping shoulder straps or unreachable zippers.
There’s a specialized fanny pack for almost every use, so we rounded up 14 of our favorites for you to consider.
At the end of our comprehensive review, you’ll find our buyer’s guide with helpful tips on how to find the best fanny pack to fit your needs. We’ve also included a specs chart for comparing bags and an FAQ section.
The Best Fanny Packs of 2023
- Best Overall Fanny Pack: Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack
- Best Budget Fanny Pack: Jansport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack
- Best Running Fanny Pack: Nathan Peak Hydration Waist Pack
- Best Everyday Lightweight Fanny Pack: Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack
- Best Backpacking Fanny Pack: Thrupack Summit Bum Classic
- Best Around-Town Fanny Pack: BAGGU Fanny Pack
- Best Fishing Fanny Pack: Patagonia Guidewater Hip Pack
- Capacity 9 L (Men’s), 6 L (Women’s)
- Dimensions 11.5" x 10" x 5"
- Weight 1 lb., 9 oz.
- Number of pockets Three external, two water bottle, two hipbelt
- Large capacity
- Water bottle pockets
- Comfortable, padded back
- Front compression attachment system for stashing a jacket
- Can get heavy if packed full
- Not an everyday fanny pack
The bungee cord is great for storing a rain jacket, and the padded back provides plenty of comfort. The interior foam-padded pocket keeps your tablet (or beloved Kindle) safe, and the hip pocket can hold a large smartphone.
Though packed with many helpful features and a large carrying capacity for time on the trail, this lumbar pack might be a little too much for someone who is looking for something more casual to also carry around town.
The Mountainsmith Tour fanny pack wins best overall for its comfort, size, and functionality for many activities in the outdoors. It’s a great choice for hikers, dog walkers, anglers, mountain bikers, and more, with ample space for accessories. We think it’s the best fanny pack available today.
- Capacity 2.5 L
- Dimensions 6” x 12.5” x 4”
- Weight 4 oz.
- Number of pockets One main zippered, one front
- Comes in many different colors and patterns
- No inner security pocket
- No breathable mesh back
The adjustable waist belt allows you to wear this pack comfortably as a crossbody bag. And the Fifth Avenue’s small size prevents it from getting too heavy and having the strap dig into your shoulder.
Throughout use, the fabric was robust, being made with a strong, 600-denier ripstop polyester. We also loved that the textile is constructed from 100% recycled materials.
There are some features on our top-rated fanny packs that are lacking in this simple bag. Our testers prefer fanny packs to have a security pocket, which is a small interior pocket where your valuables are more tucked away. We also like bags with mesh backs for breathability, which becomes especially noticeable on hikes, bike rides, or long dog walks.
Other than these missing attributes, the Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack from Jansport is a great, fun choice for those with a tight purse.
- Capacity 0.25 L
- Dimensions 12" x 6" x 5"
- Weight 6 oz.
- Number of pockets One zippered stretch, one water bottle
- Minimalist running pack for water and essentials
- Comfortable and ergonomic fit with minimal bounce
- Includes a water flask
- Angled bottle holder allows for one-handed access
- Very small capacity
- No pocket for storing a jacket
- Expect some bounce while running
- Specialized, sporty look
The extended side panels hug the body securely, and the expandable zippered pocket keeps essentials at hand. We especially like the included SpeedDraw Flask and the angle of the bottle pocket, which makes it easy to grab and stash your water on the go.
While the Hydration Waist Pack does a great job at staying close to your body and keeps the water bottle small enough that it doesn’t feel like a huge encumbrance while you run, it’s hard to make a fanny pack that is absolutely bounce-free. So expect some bounce in this waist pack on your runs.
This waist pack is best suited for runners or hikers or dog walkers who want a fanny pack that can carry some water as well, and don’t mind a very specialized, sporty look.
- New version is made from all recycled materials
- Can stuff into its own pocket making
- Made of 70-denier, 100% recycled ripstop nylon for durability and weather resistance
- Minimal capacity
As an added portability bonus, the pack folds into its own pocket when not in use. It’s perfect for stashing in your carry-on just in case or keeping it as a backup in the car. It’s available in a variety of colors.
As mentioned above, this fanny pack has a 1-liter capacity making it one of the smaller packs in our fleet. So don’t expect to carry much with this everyday pack. It won’t be able to fit a book or e-reader, but it’s perfect for a phone, wallet, keys, some chapstick, and a few other small accessories.
This is a great choice for someone who needs a small, high-quality pack that is made of weather-resistant nylon, and can carry the essentials for you when your pockets are not quite enough. For overall build quality, this is one of the best fanny packs you’ll find.
- Capacity 2.5 L
- Dimensions 9" x 5" x 3"
- Weight 3.5 oz.
- Number of pockets One zippered, one drop-in
- Highly customizable
- Can be worn five different ways
- Made by thru-hikers, for thru-hikers
- High-quality materials
- Certain accessories sold separately
- Interior pockets are quite small
- No exterior pocket
Our senior editor Nick Belcaster used a Summit Bum during a 2018 thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and carried snacks, his phone, and a full mirrorless camera setup in it for thousands of miles.
This fanny pack can be worn five different ways: as a standard fanny pack around the waist, through your backpack’s hip belt (best for simple webbing hip belts up to 1.5 inches wide and at least 8 inches between hip-belt padding), across your chest with its two included lightweight carabiner attachments, as a crossbody bag, and around your backpack.
With 11 different colors to choose from plus the option of purchasing a Comfy Strap, this is the most customizable fanny pack in our lineup, and its thoughtful design makes it well worth the moderate cost.
This fanny pack is minimalist, however, and doesn’t translate as well off the trail as an everyday pack. With no interior space division, this is the most minimalist fanny pack in our lineup in terms of pocket space.
If you like the organizational qualities extra pockets provide, then this might not be the choice for you. But if you’re a thru-hiker planning your next trip on the trail, the Summit Bum just might be the accessory that makes your experience that much better.
- Large capacity
- Simple and stylish
- Made of high-quality recycled materials
- BAGGU will send a strap extender for free
- No padding on strap
You might want to be careful, however, in loading it up too much. The strap has no padding on it and could become uncomfortable if walking around all day with heavier items inside.
We enjoyed the spaciousness and style of this BAGGU fanny for everyday use and think its simple look, functionality, and array of colors and patterns to choose from make it the best around-town fanny pack for almost anyone.
- Capacity 9 L
- Dimensions 13" x 9" x 9"
- Weight 1 lb., 6 oz.
- Number of pockets One external zippered, one internal zippered
- Very large capacity can fit all your fishing essentials
- Nylon with a PU face coating and a TPU back coating makes this a durable and waterproof pack
- Exterior loops and webbing for additional gear carry space
- Large, technical fanny pack not meant for everyday wear
- Can get heavy if packed full, making it more difficult to hike with
This pack is designed with a large central pocket and a smaller detachable pocket inside for things like phones or wallets. And it’s waterproof-rated to IPX-7, thanks to waterproof zippers and fabric.
This technical fanny pack is definitely overkill for those looking for something simple to take into the outdoors, with a high price tag to reflect that. And at 9 liters, it can be easy to overpack with heavy items and make you wonder if a small backpack might have been the better choice.
But Patagonia markets the Guidewater Hip Pack for fishing and water-laden activities, and it’s the perfect pack for those dedicated to those pursuits.
- Capacity 5 L
- Dimensions 12" x 7" x 4.5"
- Weight 1 lb., 3.2 oz.
- Number of pockets Two zippered body, one zippered hipbelt
- Includes a 2 L water reservoir
- Large capacity for layers, snacks, and tools
- Air mesh back panel keeps you cool
- Too bulky for running
- Bladder takes up a lot of space when full, limiting the capacity for storing other items
We found it the perfect capacity to hold water, a bike tool, snacks, and a spare tube. And the magnetic buckle did a fantastic job holding the hydration hose in place.
This is a great choice for mountain biking and lightweight hiking. Be forewarned, though, it’s not good for running. The larger capacity inevitably leads to a lot of bouncing around and fighting with the straps.
But if you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, heading out to the flowy singletrack and looking for a hydration waist pack option, the Hot Laps bag is for you.
- Capacity 2 L
- Dimensions 7" x 4.7" x 3.5"
- Weight 4.7 oz.
- Number of pockets Two zippered front, one zippered back
- Tough canvas design
- Available in many different color schemes
- Not 100% waterproof
It also sheds water well. It’s not waterproof, but if you get caught in a light rain biking across town, your gear will stay dry.
It has a hidden zipper pocket on the back to keep your ID or cards close at hand. And internal pockets aid in organization. All in all, this is a great pack for travel or daily use.
- Great carrying capacity for everyday use or for quick day hikes or dog walks
- Stylish, fun colors
- Made of repurposed nylon
- Thin webbing hipbelt
- Can’t order specific color combinations – each bag is unique
Best of all, it’s extra versatile and quality-made with recycled materials. The 3-liter size holds all the necessities without weighing you down. And the single webbing waist strap is simple and comfortable.
You might not want to get attached to a specific colorway, however, because each fanny pack is designed by employees in the Phillippines with control over the final colors of the product. Therefore what you receive might not look quite like what you chose.
All in all, the Bataan is a great pack for biking around town, hanging out with friends, or wearing every day to add some color and flair to your lifestyle.
- Capacity 2.25 L
- Dimensions 2.25" x 6" x 9"
- Weight 3 oz.
- Number of pockets One zippered main, one front, one back stash
- Made of waterproof, high-quality materials
- Compatible with backpack waist belts and sternum straps
- Good for backpacking or everyday wear but not enough features for a day hike
- White model gets dirty quickly
With a wide clamshell opening, the pack can easily store and provide access to things you might need like snacks, bear spray, sunscreen, or a GPS device. An internal mesh pocket allows you to divide your items, and a bonus front zipper pocket is great for smaller items like chapstick or keys.
A pouch on the back with side openings can be used to slip the fanny pack over your backpack’s waist strap for seamless integration. Made with waterproof Dyneema composite fabrics, this fanny will keep your things dry in an unexpected shower.
Be forewarned, however, that the white model is prone to getting dirty. And while this might not be a problem on the trail where everything will be covered with dirt anyway, if you’re buying this pack to primarily use around town, you’ll have to clean the outside frequently as dirt becomes quickly apparent.
Minimalist enough for the trail but stylish enough for everyday use, the Versa is a versatile, ultralight option.
- Made in the U.S.
- Comes in an array of stylish designs and colors
- Can be made into a bicycle handlebar bag with purchase of an attachment kit
- Made of high-quality, durable, and recycled materials
- Bike attachment kit sold separately
Use it as your daily fanny pack, hook it on the handlebars of your bike, or fill it with toiletries for a functional Dopp kit. The 2.6-liter capacity will hold plenty of gear, and the DWR exterior finish gives it water-resistant protection.
To attach it to your bike, however, you’ll need to buy additional attachments that aren’t included in the price of this already slightly pricey pack.
The Pioneer 9 is a great choice for fanny pack aficionados looking for a quality made-in-the-U.S. option, and around-town bike enthusiasts looking for a handlebar bag. For its overall design, it’s one of the best fanny packs available.
- Simple design with three pockets for organization
- Comes in fun colors and patterns
- Made of cheap materials
- Too simple to be useful in the outdoors
This pack is great for traveling, biking to meet friends for a microbrew and, of course, keeping it weird at music festivals all summer long (check out some of the wild prints available).
It holds just enough to be useful (keys, cash, credit card, and phone) but has limited space, so it’s not really suited for activities like hiking or mountain biking where you would want room for a wind layer or a water bottle. And because it is the least expensive of any of the fanny packs in our lineup, it sacrifices quality and durability, being made without YKK zippers or waterproof nylon.
The SoJourner fanny pack is perfect for the budget-conscious person who wants something simple for around town or something fun for their next music festival or Halloween costume, and doesn’t mind sacrificing some quality for a great price.
- Made with high-quality materials
- Comes in a vegan version
- Interior fabric made from recycled plastic bottles
- Not hybrid for any outdoor activities
The 1.8-liter size is just enough to hold all of the everyday carry essentials without being overly bulky. The main compartment keeps things organized with an internal zippered pocket and two small stash pockets. We also really like the discreet zippered pocket on the backside of the pack.
While it’s great for keeping your phone easily accessible or stashing important documents while traveling, the Metro Sling isn’t a hybrid fanny pack for outdoor activities.
Whether you carry this as a sling or wear it as a traditional waist pack, this bag will elevate your everyday carry if you’re looking for something stylish exclusively for around-town or city life.
Fanny Pack Comparison Chart
|Fanny Pack||Capacity||Dimensions||Weight||Number of Pockets|
|9 L (Men’s), 6 L (Women’s)||11.5″ x 10″ x 5″||1 lb., 9 oz.||Three external, two water bottle, two hipbelt|
|Jansport Fifth Avenue
|2.5 L||6” x 12.5” x 4”||4 oz.||One main zippered, one front|
Nathan Peak Hydration
|0.25 L||12″ x 6″ x 5″||6 oz.||One zippered stretch, one water bottle|
Patagonia Ultralight Black
Hole Mini Hip Pack
|1 L||8″ x 4.75″ x 2″||3.5 oz.||Two zippered|
|2.5 L||9″ x 5″ x 3″||3.5 oz.||One zippered, one drop-in|
|BAGGU Fanny Pack||1.7 L||6.5″ x 8″ x 2″||5.7 oz.||Two zippered|
|9 L||13″ x 9″ x 9″||1 lb., 6 oz.||One external zippered, one internal zippered|
Dakine Hot Laps 5L
|5 L||12″ x 7″ x 4.5″||1 lb., 3.2 oz.||Two zippered body, one zippered hipbelt|
|2 L||7″ x 4.7″ x 3.5″||4.7 oz.||Two zippered front, one zippered back|
|Cotopaxi Bataan||3 L||11″ x 5.5″ x 3″||4 oz.||One zippered|
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Versa Fanny Pack
|2.25 L||2.25″ x 6″ x 9″||3 oz.||One zippered main, one front, one back stash|
North St. Pioneer
9 Hip Pack
|2.65 L||9″ x 6″ x 3″||5.7 oz.||Two zippered|
|SoJourner Fanny Pack||3.4 L||11.5″ x 7″ x 4″||6 oz.||Three zippered|
|Monos Metro Sling||1.8 L||10.2″ x 5.5″ x 1.9″||12 oz.||One zippered|
Why You Should Trust Us
The staff of GearJunkie has been around the block, and we aren’t afraid to admit we’ve been on the fanny pack train for a while now. From carrying essentials on day hikes to mountain bike laps where a backpack would be cumbersome, fanny packs make our outdoor adventures more enjoyable, and we’ve come to know a good pack when we see one.
Miya Tsudome is one of the primary gear testers on this review and uses over a decade of experience in the outdoors combined with years of writing gear reviews to help you make the most informed purchasing decision for your fanny pack needs.
Living in Bishop, Calif., on the flanks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Miya spends many days out hiking and backpacking where having a good fanny pack always comes into play. And, she knows what to look for in one to take around town on her daily errands and walks.
She and the other testers on this review spent weeks assessing the qualities of all the fanny packs in this lineup, with the hopes this information will help you wade through the plethora of different fanny packs on the market to find the one that’s best for you.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Perfect Fanny Pack
Now that you’ve seen how awesome fanny packs are, you want one but don’t know which to choose. Here are a few considerations to help you pick the perfect pack.
First and foremost, how do you plan to use your pack? Do you need something sleek for travel or a carryall for hiking? Or is water capacity of utmost importance? These are important considerations.
What you’ll use your fanny pack for the most will determine what type of fanny pack to buy. Take care to look at each pack’s specifications closely, as some of them will specialize in a certain activity, while others are more hybrid.
While the classic way to wear a fanny pack is on your hips with the bag facing the front, there are actually a few different ways to wear one which will change based on the weight of the pack, personal preference, or activity.
Larger bags for everyday use can be great to wear across the body. Some packs in our review, like the Thrupack Summit Bum or Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa, can be fitted onto your backpack hip belt or attached to your bike as a bike bag. Some packs are heavy and are better worn on the back of the hips rather than the front for less awkward carrying.
Not all fanny packs are created equal. It’s important to note the capacity of a pack before purchasing as well as look at the number of pockets the pack has to make sure it’s going to be the right fit for your needs. We tested fanny packs ranging from ultra-lightweight to the 9-liter Mountainsmith Tour and Patagonia Guidewater Hip Packs.
Some packs only have one major compartment, while others have a variety of pockets, pouches, and even water bottle holders. Consider what level of organization you’re looking for in a fanny pack.
While nylon is a popular fanny pack material, it certainly isn’t the rule. Many innovative packs utilize high-tech fabrics to gain water resistance and durability or simply add some flash.
On the technical side of the spectrum, the Dyneema composite material of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa gives it exceptional durability, while the TPU of the Patagonia Guidewater Hip Pack makes it 100% waterproof. We were also impressed with the Jansport Fifth Avenue Fanny, which is a budget pick still made with 600-denier ripstop fabric – a highly durable material.
Fanny packs also often integrate other textiles into their design to add special functionality, such as a stretch mesh used in a water bottle pocket or a neoprene divider that adds structure to the pack.
From zippers to drop pockets to water bottle hostlers, there are a number of different ways to tote around your kit in a fanny pack. In any zippered pocket, look for high-quality YKK brand zippers that will last longer than their generic counterparts. Some will even be water-resistant.
A drop pocket won’t have any type of closure to keep things secure, but often these can be handy for quickly tossing a phone into while you’re out and about. We also greatly appreciated whenever a fanny pack included an internal compartment with a key loop to clip our keys to.
Because most fanny packs can only carry so much (the average across the packs we tested was 3.5 liters), large padded waist straps aren’t often needed. Many will use a simple webbing hipbelt, brought together with a single side-press buckle.
It’s always a good idea to take your measurements and check the pack specs. Most bags fit a variety of people, but some packs don’t cinch down small enough for petite packers while others run surprisingly small. Measuring will help you pick the right pack for your body to maximize success and comfort.
Now it’s time to buckle up and get ready for a life of fanny-pack adventures. We’ll even let you call it a lumbar bag or hip pack if it makes you feel better. Just get out there and enjoy the awesomeness that is hands-free packing, whatever the activity.
You can wear a fanny pack however you like! There are a number of different ways you might choose to saddle up your fanny pack, including across your waist (with the pack at the front or back) or worn as a crossbody bag.
Worn at the front of your waist can provide quick access to essentials, while a fanny pack worn at the back carries better if you choose to run with your pack. There are also fanny packs, like the Thrupack Summit Bum, designed to integrate with your backpack hipbelt.
It all boils down to geographic slang! While calling it a fanny pack or waist bag is common with American English speakers, British English speakers will often call them bum bags. Other terms we’ve come across include lumbar packs, hip packs, and rump rucks (all right, we made that one up).
In many ways, fanny packs often are safer than purses when it comes to traveling internationally where pickpockets may be an issue. Because they are buckled around your waist as opposed to slung over a shoulder, they are much more connected to your body.
Fanny packs, often by default, will close with a zippered entry, which while not 100% secure can be a deterrent to prying eyes. And positioned at the front of your waist, fanny packs allow you to keep your valuables in view at all times.
A fanny pack like the Monos Metro Sling is styled for travel and includes smart design features such as a hidden full-length zip on the back of the pack for things like a phone, wallet, or passport.
It would be simple to say nylon, but the truth is there are a variety of textiles fanny packs can be made from that lend themselves to different uses. There are even different types of nylon. For example, TPU-backed nylon creates a 100% waterproof pack that is ideal for fishing.
Also, consider the Monos Metro Sling, a pack available in either nylon or a vegan leather option as well as the Cotopaxi Bataan, a fanny pack made from 100% repurposed nylon.
Fanny packs are exceptionally useful for activities where you might want quick access to a number of essentials. From backpacking trips where you might store a map, compass, and a snack to exploring a new city and keeping your wallet and boarding pass secure, fanny packs are made to make things easy to grab on the go.