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Best Fanny Packs for Men and Women 2023

Jul 02, 2023Jul 02, 2023

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Whether you call them fanny packs, belt bags, or hip packs, these expert-recommended models are ready to grab and go.

Fanny packs, also called belt bags, are a blast from the past. They were kind of a thing in ‘80s (for tourists mainly) and then disappeared when they were labeled uncool. Well, give anything enough time and it has a resurgence, and this accessory is no exception. The fanny pack is back and better than ever in both the athletic world and in fashion circles.

Whether you love or hate the look, the fanny pack, you have to admit, is pretty darn convenient for having essentials on hand when running or while simply running errands. Keep your hands free while still toting around a phone, wallet, keys, snacks, and even water bottles? We’ll take a fanny pack over a tiny purse any day. Though many runners opt for running belts, fanny pack styles are ideal for in-run as well as simply for running around town.

Pockets: Take stock of pockets: how many there are, if they have zippers, and where they are located on the fanny pack. Many bags have some interior organization, but a few other places to check include a bag's lid and back, which are great for easy-access storage. "You can carry all sorts of items like extra gels and snacks [or] bars, and some packs are even designed to carry fluid bottles," professional trail runner Sage Canaday says. "You can easily and quickly reach items that you need while on the move, and the extra weight is less noticeable [compared to if you had to carry your phone in your hand while running]."

In terms of water bottle storage, some models incorporate purpose-built pockets, whereas others are large enough to fit a small bottle inside the main compartment.

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Belt: Pay attention to the belt which is typically adjustable. The maximum strap length among our recommendations ranges from 36 to nearly 62 inches. Storage options, like strap loops, for the excess fabric after you’ve strapped in is a small detail that can make a big difference. Flapping straps can be uncomfortable, even at low speeds. Keep in mind a wider belt is likely to be more comfortable because it can distribute the weight you’re carrying more evenly.

Performance: Being hands-free during a run helps posture and allows your training to be more effective, says Amanda Foland, an ACSM–certified personal trainer, ISSA–sports nutrition specialist and a professional triathlete. Strapping on a fanny pack to swallow your necessities is helpful from a performance-gain standpoint. However, you should also consider a pack's bounce factor.

More often than not, fanny packs can be bouncy while running, which will quickly ruin the moment. I find that wearing them higher on my waist, rather than on my hips, helps reduce bounce. (More on sizing and positioning later.) Before you head out on your long run, wear the fanny pack on a jog around the block to test out your preferred positioning.

Closure: Along with belt size, look at the closure. Many packs feature a plastic buckle, but other bags won't have any type of closure so you may need to wiggle into it. I tend to steer clear of Velcro closures since they can wear quickly if washed frequently. Note: If your waist size is too big for the fanny pack, you can also purchase an inexpensive belt extender that connects to most standard buckles.

To help you find the best fanny pack, I relied on my own experience both running and running errands with fanny packs. Additionally, I drew on previous versions of this article written by contributor Emily Shiffer.

Our combined efforts offer you selections that range in style, design, and price—from the more budget friendly options to feature-packed fanny packs with higher price tags. The most expensive option here is still under $75.

There is a reason the Bataan bag has a cult following: It's made of an ultralight yet durable nylon ripstop fabric sourced from leftover fabric scraps to reduce waste. No two packs look the same so you’re guaranteed a colorful, one-of-a-kind creation. It holds tons of stuff—up to 3 liters worth of essentials and extras.

The front zippered pocket is convenient for accessing your stuff in a snap and there are two internal mesh pockets for more storage. The belt on the bag is adjustable on both sides of the clip, and stretchy loops hold excess material after adjustments to minimize the bag from bouncing.

This is more than just a running belt: It holds so much that it deserves official fanny pack designation. If you typically run with a FlipBelt, you'll appreciate that Nathan's 5K belt has so many more convenient features.

First, there's the fabric: thick, supportive neoprene prevents bounce when you run. The loops on the adjustable belt kept the excess material out of the way. It also scores points for its looks. Unlike most fanny packs, this 8-ounce one is sleek and unique ( it comes in an eye-catching Storm Green/Finish Lime color.)

While this pack admittedly isn't a great option for running, city dwellers will find a lot to appreciate with this water-repellent nylon twill fanny pack. (If you’re looking for something a little sleeker, it also comes in vegan leather.)

There are many features that make the 12-ounce Metro perfect for commuting like its four interior pockets and keychain carabiner. The interior lining is anti-bacterial and made from recycled water bottles. But the best feature is the hidden, full-length, zippered back pocket that keeps essentials at the ready.

The Janji Multipass Sling Bag is truly the most chameleon-like of all the fanny packs we recommend, thanks to a simple extra strap that can be attached when you want to wear the pack cross body, but have it stay firmly in place.

Its large capacity—3.5 liters in one primary pocket—makes it easy to stash gym clothes, phone, and other necessities. If you're heading out for a run, you can easily fit snacks plus a water bottle.

The strap is wider than that of many of the other options in our roundup, which makes this pack more comfortable, and the elastic pulls on the straps as well as the pack section allow for on-the-go adjustments that may decrease the bounce quotient considerably.

It's available in eight colors ranging from neutral black or white to wild tie-dye.

The Nike Premium Hip Pack looks simple on the outside, but when you unzip the main pocket, you realize that it's the organized soul's best friend, thanks to two small pockets in the interior plus one on the exterior that fits most phones.

This 8-liter pack—the biggest of the ones recommended—can be used pretty much the same way you would use a big purse or small gym bag.

This might be an ideal fanny pack or cross-body satchel for a parent who needs to be handsfree while still carrying various kiddo-accessories like snacks, plus the adult life essentials of phone, wallet, and keys.

While I wouldn't do a long run with the 2L Belt Bag, I would definitely take it for a short jog, and it certainly wouldn't stop someone from sprinting for the subway when running late. It looks and feels great when worn as a crossbody bag.

At 2 liters, and constructed of polyester and nylon, this bag has twice the storage room compared to the brand's cult-fave Everywhere Belt Bag (1-liter) which consistently sells out.

If you want more space but a less obvious fanny pack vibe with a more streamlined design, this belt bag for you. Highlights include a ‘garage’ space for extra strap length, an easy-access exterior zippered pocket, and a mesh interior pocket that has a carabiner-like key loop for more secure key storage.

The Camelback Ultra Belt is a belt/fanny pack hybrid for runners. It's more than a belt thanks to tons of storage space, but unlike a fanny pack, it keeps gear close to your body to avoid bounce.

Unlike some single-pocket options, this pack enables lots of organization, making it ideal for racing. You don't have to worry about where your gel got to—it's exactly where you stashed it. It also is designed to hold a 17-ounce soft flask so you’re not saddled with a splashing hard water bottle for your whole run.

For people who trek around with poles, there are clips to pack away poles when you don't need them. The only downside is the small and specific size range offered for this fanny pack: While you can adjust the three size options slightly, it doesn't allow the same maneuverability that the more strap-based fanny packs offer. But that's also the reason it stays in place so well, so it's a trade-off.

Want to go long and not worry about water stops? The Salomon Active Belt Hydration Waist Pack lets you run with 20 ounces of water plus snacks without feeling bouncy or weighed down.

This ergonomically designed fanny pack sits nicely on your lower back with a low-profile fit that renders it nearly bounce-free. Today's giant smartphones can be a bit of a stretch on the single pocket, but you can fit one in here along with a few gels.

It also comes with Salomon's lightweight 3D water bottle that holds 20 ounces of water—perfect for runs under two hours, or for runs with easy refill stops along the way. The bottle fits tightly in the pocket. During my runs, I was never worried about it coming loose, but it was still easy enough to pull out for a drink.

Pro tip: Take Salomon's advice and trim the straps to avoid flapping. But when you cut them, give yourself a few extra inches of slack since you may realize you prefer it sitting in a different spot, or determine that you need it to be looser to breathe deeply.

If you’re reading this and thinking "Nope, a full-on fanny pack isn't for me," you may prefer something low-profile like the Flipbelt to stash your phone, keys, cash and a (small) snack on your runs instead.

This is a sleek, minimal alternative to a fanny pack—and more comfortable than carrying your keys and phone in your hand during your run, but without the bounce factor found with some fanny packs. Use it for any distance run, or even slip it on if you’re heading out for the day in an outfit that's sans pockets!

RW : Is there a material, like one that's water-resistant, that is best for these bags?

M.H.: Water-repellent nylon, or nylon that's been treated with a water-resistant coating, is best if you plan to run (and possibly sweat) while wearing your fanny pack. Look for thoughtful runner-friendly additions like mesh panels as well, which will increase air flow and keep you more comfortable.

RW : How easy are these to clean? And how often should you do that?

M.H. If you plan to put in a lot of running miles with your fanny pack, you may need to wash it more often to avoid a funky sweat smell. Giving it a quick rinse after any particularly sweaty run is a good idea to keep the funk at bay. Check washing instructions since many packs are hand-wash only. If that's the case, soak it with a bit of detergent and warm water to cut through grime and sweat.

RW : Can you wear a fanny pack both on your waist and across your chest?

M.H. For running, stick to wearing the belt around your waist—unless it has a cross strap to keep it in place when worn across your chest, like the Janji Multipass Sling Bag. Otherwise, it will bounce around as you run. For hikes and walks, though, across the chest is a great option.

RW: How do you know what size fanny pack to get?

M.H.: Don't estimate when you’re purchasing a fanny pack or waist belt that comes in different sizes, and don't base your sizing on what size pants you wear.

Instead, use a soft tape measurer and measure the part of your waist where the fanny pack will sit. For most runners, this will be at your natural waist. (Unfortunately, even if you prefer the belt to sit lower on your hips, it's likely still going to ride up to that natural waist point.) Use that measurement to choose your size—and if you’re between sizes, opt for the larger option since it's easier to tighten a slightly loose belt than it is to extend a smaller one.

Unfortunately, many of the fanny pack and belt-based options for runners don't offer a wide size range—especially when shopping for run-specific belts and packs. If your waist measurement is wider than the fanny pack you’re hoping to get, you may be able to get an inexpensive belt extender to add some inches—just check that the clasps will match.

RW: What's in your fanny pack when you go for a run?

M.H.: The essentials—and I keep it as minimal as possible. The lighter the pack, the less risk of it bouncing around. Your phone, keys, and snack are all that will fit in smaller packs. For those with a bit more space, you can potentially add a water bottle (even a tiny flask-sized one!) or stash your packable lightweight jacket.

Molly writes about cycling, nutrition and training, with an emphasis on women in sport. Her new middle-grade series, Shred Girls, debuts with Rodale Kids/Random House in 2019 with "Lindsay's Joyride." Her other books include "Mud, Snow and Cyclocross," "Saddle, Sore" and "Fuel Your Ride." Her work has been published in magazines like Bicycling, Outside and Nylon. She co-hosts The Consummate Athlete Podcast.

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The Expert: Pockets: Grab These and Go: Best Earbuds • Best Running Shoes of 2023 • Best Lightweight Running Jackets Belt: Belt: Performance: Closure RW : Is there a material, like one that's water-resistant, that is best for these bags? M.H.: RW : How easy are these to clean? And how often should you do that? M.H. RW : Can you wear a fanny pack both on your waist and across your chest? M.H. RW: How do you know what size fanny pack to get? M.H.: RW: What's in your fanny pack when you go for a run? M.H.: