Best Fanny Packs and Travel Gear, Picked by Style and Travel Pros

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Best Fanny Packs, Picked by Style and Travel Pros

Whether you’re traveling, running errands or just walking the dog, these crossbody bags help you stay organized in style


Best Fanny Packs, Picked by Style and Travel Pros

Ignore the name, love the functionality: Fanny packs stow your essentials and leave your hands free. PHOTO: Jeff Westbrook for Buy Side from WSJ. STYLING: Miako Katoh for Buy Side from WSJ.

Dec. 31, 2022 10:00 am ET

By Taryn Mohrman

Once you get past the frumpy-sounding nickname, there’s a lot to appreciate about fanny packs, or belt bags, as they’re officially called. They single-handedly (or rather, no-handedly) make life on the go easier, whether you’re carrying shopping bags, sightseeing or chasing after kids. Fanny packs are more stylish than ever, too, so you can find one to match your look and lifestyle. (If you need more carrying capability, see our recommendations for commuter backpacks.) We asked fashion and travel experts for their favorite packs—these are the ones they use to power through their days.

Buttery-soft bucket

Fanny Pack


Fanny Pack

$285 AT CLARE V.

Since fanny packs don’t often fit a ton of stuff, it’s a win when you find one that looks chic and can carry more than just the essentials. The Clare V. Fanny Pack has a single, streamlined compartment that falls below your hips, and it can be comfortably worn crossbody without major adjustments. “This fanny pack holds a surprising amount,” says Donna Duarte-Ladd, executive director of New York Family Media and a former fashion stylist, who has worn this leather bag everywhere from school field trips to France over the last four years. “It also looks and feels high-end, so I’m constantly asked where it’s from.” 

Workout sidekick

Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack


Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack

$25 AT REI

$35 Save $10$25 AT DICK’S$35 Save $10

Made from 100% recycled fabric inside and out, Patagonia’s Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is a lightweight, portable organizer. “Whether I’m headed on a hike or to a workout class, I’ve got this bag by my side,” says Lillian Rafson, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, which plans surprise getaways around the U.S. The pack, which comes in four color options, allows her to keep her basics with her, “plus, it’s comfortable to wear.” But the coolest feature? It folds up into its own pocket when you’re not using it.

Ultrasoft standout

Zion Narrows Sherpa Fanny Pack


Zion Narrows Sherpa Fanny Pack

$41 AT REI

$55 Save $14

Parks Project is known for their prints, and this fun and funky fanny pack doesn’t disappoint. “Sherpa is not only very durable, it’s very soft,” says Amanda Sanchez-Breton, New York City-based outdoor lifestyle designer for outdoor retailer Mountain & Isles. “It’s definitely a nontraditional fabric choice for a bag, which is part of why I love it so much.” There’s no worry about sherpa sticking to your skin (unlike leather or nylon) and it doesn’t lose its shape when you wash it, she says. 

Classic workhorse

Fanny Pack


Fanny Pack


If you’ll be using the bag every day, you want something machine washable like the recycled nylon Baggu Fanny Pack. Duarte-Ladd relied on this particular bag when she was on-set styling fashion models and needed something that could get messy. “I washed it a lot,” she says. “It’s straight up super-durable and it really feels sturdy when you belt it around your waist.” It can also be worn crossbody or over one shoulder. With two main compartments, there’s plenty of room for your essentials—as in, a phone, keys, work ID, dog poop bags—whatever your day-to-day requires. 

Stylish snack pack

Co-op Trail 2 Waist Pack


Co-op Trail 2 Waist Pack

$30 AT REI

If you’re looking for a trusty travel companion, consider the water-repellent REI Co-op Trail 2 Waist Pack. It’s lightweight, durable and easy to spot clean, reports Tesa Totengco, New York City-based travel advisor and owner of Travels with Tesa. She loves that it’s made from recycled material and has functional pockets: The main compartment is bucket-style, so you can easily reach in and grab what you need.

Statement splurge

Mini Attica Leather Belt Bag


Mini Attica Leather Belt Bag


$595 Save $316$340 AT FARFETCH$680 Save $340

If anyone can make a fanny pack look cool, it’s Alexander Wang. This leather bag is petite yet it packs a lot of edge—and compartments, says Levin. Its four zippered pockets hold “exactly what you need to get out the door and go.” 

Petite with pop

Fourteen Hip Pack


Fourteen Hip Pack


$30 Save $12

It’s sometimes a fine line between basic and boring, and this streamlined belt bag, recommended by Westport, Conn.-based style and trend expert Brittney Levine, is a basic best. She likes that the pack comes in over 15 colors and prints, making it as suited for travel as it is for accessorizing athleisure. “It’s my go-to when I’m wearing all black and I need a statement accessory,” Levine says. Also a fan is Duarte-Ladd, who adds that its 8- by 5.5- by 2.5-inch size means “it’s the one you wear when you don’t need a ton with you.” 

Mod neutral

Ace Fanny Pack


Ace Fanny Pack


The most-recommended pack on our list is this neoprene must-have. Rafson praises its “great structure and sleek, streamlined design that looks seamless no matter if I’m running errands or running through security.” Levine appreciates that it’s fully wipeable: “I used this bag a lot when my son was born and I needed something that could get wet—with who knows what!—without worry,” she says. This style comes in nine of-the-moment colors, but the crowd favorite is Dune. “It’s soft and feminine and works as a neutral,” adds Chataigne. Did we mention there’s a key clip and cardholder inside? Yes, they thought of everything.  

Parent pleaser

Vegan Leather Bag


Vegan Leather Bag


With the ever-growing need for parents to be hands-free, Kibou Vegan Leather Bag is a stroke of fanny-pack genius. At 11 by 4 by 6 inches, it’s roomy enough to fit diapers, has a waterproof pocket for wipes, plus, it includes a changing pad and hook to wrangle pacifiers or keys. But don’t think it’s just for the child-rearing set. Chataigne, who doesn’t have kids, takes the bag on trips to Ojai, Calif., and finds it useful on mountain hikes for holding her journal and pen and “stylish enough that I take it to happy hour.” 

Superior staple

Everywhere Belt Bag


Everywhere Belt Bag


Think of Lululemon’s Everywhere Belt Bag as the little black dress of fanny packs. “It truly matches everything, so I can wear it everywhere,” says Rafson, who has used the bag several times a week for a year and a half and reports that it has held up well. The zipper on the waist side is a favorite feature because it’s a discreet place to put your credit card or passport.

Figure-friendly pick

Plus Size Fanny Pack


Plus Size Fanny Pack


$26 Save $2

For women with a bigger bust, Chataigne recommends this nylon belt bag because it’s particularly comfortable worn as a crossbody if you have this figure type. This style is also spacious, with two roomy pockets, making it an ideal pick for anyone who wants the functionality of a fanny pack with the carrying capability of a traditional day bag.

Slim style setter

Juno Slim Hip Bag


Juno Slim Hip Bag


Substantially longer and leaner than other styles—at 10 inches wide but less than an inch deep—Tumi‘s Juno requires no behind-the-back fumbling to put it on or take it off, thanks to a conveniently-located side clasp. There’s also an interior key holder and a mesh pocket in the back makes it great for working out and running errands, says Totengco, who prefers wearing this style crossbody. 




MAY 4, 2023 10:00 AM

The Best Camera Bags, Straps, Inserts, and Backpacks

Tote your photo and video gear around in style. We tested more than 65 packs and rounded up our favorites.

Wandrd Roam camera bag
Brevite 'The Jumper' backpacks in different colors arranged in a row
Image may contain Bag and Briefcase
Peak Design Everyday bag


4 / 20

THE PERFECT CAMERA bag doesn’t exist. I once spent two hours in a B&H store trying to fit all of my photo gear inside more than 20 bags the store had on sale, and I still left unsatisfied. Everyone’s needs are different, and what works for me might not work for you. But to make your search easier, the camera enthusiasts on the WIRED Gear team have tested nearly 70 bags to help whittle down the choices. We’ve shoved our equipment into slings, messenger bags, backpacks, and cubes—we’ve even gone bag-free—all in search of a convenient way to carry everything while keeping it protected and lightweight. These are our favorite picks.

Check out our other camera buying guides, like the Best Compact CamerasBest Mirrorless CamerasHome Video Gear, and Best Camera Accessories for Your Phone for more. We also have a handy explainer on what “liters” mean in backpacks.

Updated May 2023: We’ve added bags from Peak Design, Lowepro, Mujjo, and Clever Supply.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Scott Gilbertson and Jaina Grey contributed to this guide.

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