This Columbia Hiking Fanny Pack Is Like Mary Poppins’s Magic Bag
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From scenic walks on a towpath to intense treks on high-incline trails, taking the proper gear with you will keep you prepared for unexpectedly long days, temperature changes, and inclement weather. Hiking fanny packs are versatile little bags for carrying small essential items like snacks, sunscreen, keys, cell phones, and even water.
They’re less bulky than backpacks, but can still offer ample storage, long-term durability, and various options for distributing the weight on your body. For day hikes, traveling, and weekend jaunts to the park, these waist bags and fanny packs—several of which we’ve tried ourselves—are handy, ergonomic places to keep all your stuff close by.
Best Hiking Fanny Packs
What to Consider
Whether you’re a novice hiker or more experienced, there are a few key aspects to look for when finding a hip bag that fits your waist and holds enough items to be useful.
Capacity is one of the most important specs to consider. Hiking fanny packs come in a range of sizes, from one liter to five. (Day packs, for comparison, typically run around 18 to 24 liters.) Our best overall pick from Columbia is compact and hugs tight to your body, but still has a full liter of space to store several important items, making it convenient to wear on and off the trail.
Hiking fanny packs with more capacity are better suited for longer day trips because you can bring along other items like headlamps or a bagged lunch.
Hit with an unexpected downpour? Hiking fanny packs made with fabrics like polyester and nylon are water-resistant or water-repellent to protect your values against water damage. Canvas is more durable and can withstand abrasion, dirt, and mud.
Keep an eye out for fanny packs that have a polyurethane coating, a final layer that helps water bead up and roll off, rather than pooling, on the surface of your bag.
Hiking fanny packs might start off lightweight, but they get heavier quickly once you load them up with all of your essentials, especially if you’re tucking items like a water bottle and a cell phone into the main compartment.
Think about the difficulty level and terrain of your hikes, and consider how much gear you’ll need to bring with you. If you’ll need a lot of extra water, multiple meals, or any camping gear, consider upgrading to a day pack—a too-stuffed fanny pack will sag and become uncomfortable after a few hours.
Daisy chains, water bottle holders, key hooks, and extra pockets are helpful additions that not every hiking fanny pack includes. Check for these features if you plan on using your waist bag as your only bag for a longer hike.
How We Selected
We tried out several hiking fanny packs in a range of capacities, materials, and designs to see how comfortable they were to wear, how much they could carry, and what features we found most helpful. We considered different settings and uses, including hiking fanny packs with high capacity for more difficult hikes, and casual hip bags for everyday use. We’ve curated the following list of the best hiking fanny packs to accompany you on your favorite trails this summer.
Zigzag Hiking Hip Pack
This fanny pack is small but mighty: even though it's more compact, I was genuinely surprised by how much I could fit inside. For a couple of hours walking trails, I was able to bring along a big protein bar, 16-ounce water bottle, chapstick, my keys, phone, and wallet (with some wiggle room to spare.)
The polyester fabric is covered in a polyurethane coating and can withstand elements like wind and water, and is less likely to wear or fade with time. There is an outer pocket and an inner pocket as well as a daisy chain to hook carabiners. The belt is fully adjustable, so you can wear across your chest or around your waist, too.
Mountain Waist Pack for Hiking
The Mountain Waist Pack from Topo Designs is great for carrying bare-bones essentials for a day of hiking and a quick lunch afterwards. I stuck my cards and ID in the small front pocket, and tossed my phone, keys and a granola bar in the inner pocket. The zippers aren’t flimsy, and the colorway adds a cool, retro touch.
The pack is made with recycled nylon, so it has a high abrasion resistance and is sure to last you awhile, even if you drop it or throw it on the ground mid-hike. The adjustable belt has a longer lead so you can loosen or tighten to your heart’s content.
Black Hole Hiking Fanny Pack
For committed and seasoned hikers, this hiking fanny pack will get you through hours of trekking on the trails. It has a very high capacity so you can basically cram as much as you want into the main compartment—snacks, ponchos, headphones, tissues, you name it.
The interior zippered pocket also has a separate mesh pocket which comes in handy for organization. The front pocket allows you to keep the most important items readily accessible. My favorite feature is the two water bottle side pockets—I’d rather be dehydrated than get stuck carrying around a water bottle that’s dripping in condensation.
Mojave Hiking Fanny Pack
As you spend extended time under the sun enjoying local trails, your body is going to sweat to try to help cool you down, which can lead to dehydration. Having water on hand is a necessity, and distributing the weight across your body helps a lot on long days.
This hiking fanny pack comes equipped with two 600-milliliter bottles, each with their own insulated carrying pockets. There are two zippered pockets, and a large main compartment with a mesh storage section to keep items organized.
The backing of the fanny pack is air-padded mesh, like a hiking pack, so it’s more breathable and less likely to trap excess heat than a solid pack.
X-Pac Hiking Waist Pack
A simple and straightforward hiking fanny pack can even be thrown into your everyday rotation for moments on and off the trail. The X-Pac from Snow Peak is super lightweight, yet still very durable. I didn’t feel bogged down by bulky straps and excess fabric when wearing, and I liked that it was versatile enough to wear across my chest, too.
The buckle is an innovative design (albeit slightly difficult to open), since you press a singular top button to release it rather than pressing both sides like on a rectangular clasp. The belt itself is thinner than others and feels less clunky to wear. There is a main pocket, an internal mesh pocket, and an external slot pocket for storing all of your essentials.
Daylite Waist Hiking Fanny Pack
A hiking fanny pack frees up your hands but still keeps important items close and secure. This bag has an interior mesh organizer for stashing necessities that you really don’t want to lose, like your car keys or credit cards.
There is a large main pocket and an external zipper pocket for optimal storage, and the pack can be worn multiple ways. The outer shell is made from sustainable polyester fabric and feels very sturdy and durable, so you can look good and feel good on your next trip to the local state park.
Hiking Waist Fanny Pack
Heading on a camping trip and you’re not sure if the weather will permit a hike? No big deal. This hiking fanny pack is ultra portable, and fits inside of an attached stuff sack the size of the palm of your hand. Just toss in your duffel bag and go.
It’s made with water-resistant nylon, and the durable YKK zippers with waterproof tape help keep precipitation and moisture out of the main pocket. There is an external zipper pocket, as well as a key clip for convenience.
Water-Resistant Hiking Fanny Pack
For a heavy-duty hiking fanny pack, Carhartt has you covered. The thick, polyester canvas is durable, designed for the outdoors, and is also water-repellent, so liquids will bead up and roll right off, making this a great belt bag for wearing in the field.
In addition to a main interior pocket and an outer pocket, there is also a key fob and two exterior loops for carrying other important gear. If you walk around a lot for work and need somewhere to keep your phone, pencil, and keys, this is a great pick that’ll hold up over time.
Bum Bag Hiking Fanny Pack
If you’re hiking for several hours, a fanny pack with more than two storage compartments might be a crucial addition to your gear. The Bum Bag from Van Beeken has four zippered pockets along the front to keep most items accessible, but there is aso hidden back zippered pocket for important items that you want to keep close like keys, a wallet, or a phone.
The fanny pack is made with water-resistant nylon to protect from moisture and precipitation, and two belt extenders come included to allow for a looser, more comfortable fit.
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