It’s official: Fanny packs are back in fashion. They’re so convenient and easy to carry that you’ll wonder why the trend didn’t reemerge sooner. They have certainly had a glow up, and a wide range of sophisticated versions can now be found alongside more retro styles. 

If you’re only just trying out this particular trend, you might be wondering which fanny pack to buy. Thankfully, there’s an option to suit most buyers, whether you want something compact or roomy, high fashion or kitsch. 

What are fanny packs?

Fanny packs are small bags on belts that are traditionally worn around the waist. While they’re coming back into style, you’ll often see manufacturers refer to them as waist packs, waist bags or belt bags. These are all still fanny packs by another name, perhaps to put distance between them and any unflattering associations. 

They’re usually large enough to carry essentials, such as keys, wallets, snacks, phones, sunglasses and hand sanitizer. However, they’re designed to be compact, so they can fit far less inside than a backpack. 

Why are fanny packs popular? 

You might be wondering about the benefits of fanny packs. It’s their versatility and handy features that have brought them back into popularity. While there isn’t just one reason why they’re popular, there are several contributing factors. 

Compact size

Their compact size makes waist packs easy to carry nearly anywhere. They don’t weigh you down the same way that large purses, bags and backpacks can. With comfort at the forefront of many current fashion trends, the fact they’re small, light and comfortable to carry around only adds to their popularity. It can also keep you from overpacking when going out for the day, which is easy to do. 

If you’re looking for an option that’s even more compact than a standard fanny pack, consider a running waist belt. These are similar but smaller and designed for use while exercising. 

Convenience

Fanny packs are simply convenient to carry and use. Rather than digging through a large bag to find what you need, things are always easy to find. Not only is the main compartment relatively small, but most have at least a few more zippered compartments. This makes it easy to keep organized. 

What’s more, they’re often worn on the front or side, or they can easily be swiveled round to the front. This makes it easy to rummage through them without taking them off and setting them down somewhere. 

Hands-free wear

Like backpacks and messenger bags, these packs are hands-free. Shoulder bags, on the other hand, can easily slip off if you don’t hold onto them. They’re also compact enough that you can keep them on when you sit down, making them more convenient than any other type of bag. 

Travel-friendly

The stereotype of fanny pack-wearing tourists exists for a reason: These packs are extremely travel-friendly. They’re light, easy to access and easy to wear on your front without looking strange in areas where pickpocketing is an issue. 

Good looking

Although they have a bad reputation, fanny packs can look great. They’re now available in a far wider range of shapes, styles and materials than they have been in the past. This means there’s an option to suit most buyers, whether your style is cool and casual or sleek and sophisticated. With so many more options available, including those from designer brands, it’s a good reason to embrace the trend.

How should you wear a fanny pack?

Fanny packs are designed to be worn around the waist with the bag either on the front, back or side. However, in their new era of popularity, they’re frequently worn across the body with the bag at the front. While you can wear your pack any way you’d like to, this crossbody look is arguably the most fashionable way to do so. 

Best fanny packs that cost under $30

JanSport Fifth Ave Fanny Pack

JanSport Fifth Ave Fanny Pack

Practical and affordable with a casual look, this fanny pack comes in a selection of four colors and patterns: black, red, blue and camo. It has a front pocket as well as its main compartment and is spacious without being bulky.

Sold by Amazon

Adidas Originals Sport 2.0 Waist Pack

Adidas Originals Sport 2.0 Waist Pack

With plenty of pockets and compartments for storage, including an interior earbud pocket, this is a highly functional choice. It’s great for both casual wear and use while exercising.

Sold by Macy’s

Maha Bodhi Handmade Hemp Festival Waistpack

Maha Bodhi Handmade Hemp Festival Waistpack

Thanks to its boho style, this is a great choice for everyday wear or festivals. It comes in solid orange, green and blue as well as a rainbow-colored version.

Sold by Amazon

Columbia Zigzag Hip Pack

Columbia Zigzag Hip Pack

This lightweight bag has one large main compartment and a smaller front pocket to house anything you need quick access to. You can choose from black, blue and camo versions.

Sold by Macy’s

Carhartt Adjustable Waist Pack

Carhartt Adjustable Waist Pack

Made from a rugged fabric with a water-repellent coating, this is a durable choice for work, recreation or exercise. The belt extends up to 52 inches and can be fastened around the waist or across the body.

Sold by Amazon

Best fanny packs that cost $30-$45

Herschel Seventeen Waist Pack

Herschel Seventeen Waist Pack

A versatile choice thanks to its understated design, this fanny pack is roomy and practical but still looks good. It’s made with excellent attention to detail, such as the easy-access front pocket and striped inner lining.

Sold by Amazon

The North Face Explore Hip Pack Bag

The North Face Explore Hip Pack Bag

This pack is practically designed with sleeves inside for your phone and coins plus a key fob loop to keep your keys safe. It’s spacious enough for the essentials without being overly bulky.

Sold by Macy’s

Ju-Ju-Be Hippie Fanny Pack

Ju-Ju-Be Hippie Fanny Pack

With its eye-catching black and white zigzag stripes, this is a perfect fashion-forward choice. However, it’s also practical, thanks to convenient pockets and its machine-washable design.

Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Best fanny packs that cost over $45

Fjallraven Kanken Hip Pack

Fjallraven Kanken Hip Pack

You’ve probably seen the backpacks made by this popular brand, but its fanny packs are just as stylish and practical. It features two zippered exterior pockets, an interior pocket and a key clip, so organizing your belongings won’t be an issue.

Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Calvin Klein Millie Belt Bag

Calvin Klein Millie Belt Bag

This stylish faux leather fanny pack is available in doe or lemon hues. There’s a slip pocket and zippered pocket for interior organization, and it comes with a detachable coin purse.

Sold by Macy’s

Kipling Presto Up Waistpack

Kipling Presto Up Waistpack

Its spacious design gives you plenty of storage options, including two exterior zippered pockets and one zippered pocket inside the main compartment. It’s lightweight yet durable and water-resistant, so it’s great for drizzly days.

Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Lauren Ralph Lauren Pebbled Faux Leather Belt Bag

Lauren Ralph Lauren Pebbled Faux Leather Belt Bag

Sophisticated and elegantly stylish, this is not the fanny pack of the ’80s and ’90s. It’s smart enough for evening wear or the office but understated enough for everyday wear.

Sold by Macy’s

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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