Best Fanny Pack for Travel

Best Men’s Fanny Pack

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini 1L

$29

Buy from Patagonia

Quite simply the best everyday carry (EDC) fanny pack in an ultralight form factor that somehow just works for practically any situation

Who this fanny pack is for:

Minimalists, urban travelers, day hikers, and fashionable flashpackers, and just about everyone with stuff.

I hate that I like this fanny pack so much. I do. I got the Patagonia 1L Ultralight Black Hole Mini to use as a day bag in town during a long distance thru-hike in Spain (the Camino de Santiago). Just something to keep my phone, wallet, and keys organized in my hiking bag and handy when I changed out of my hiking clothes to head into town.

Cut to seven months later, and I’ve been using this little bag almost daily across Europe, and Southeast Asia. It’s become an annoying staple of my daily prep, and I can’t seem to stop using it.

Don’t buy this fanny pack if you don’t want to become a fanny pack person. Because once you experience the ease of tossing your phone, wallet, keys, earbuds, passport, loose change, eye mask, and maybe even a snack into this deceptively large fanny pack, you’re never going back to pockets again.

What We Like: Great Thing. Small Package

  • 1L is all you need: I routinely pack the main pocket with a: passport, iPhone 6s, DJI Osmo Pocket Camera. The front pocket holds my wallet, earbuds, change, and assorted candy and snacks
  • DWS Water resistance: This fanny pack can’t handle a sustained downpour, but it’s more than rugged enough to shrug off a drizzle or even a few good minutes of rain
  • Super durable: The rugged ripstop nylon hasn’t even started to fade or fray after seven months of brutal daily use
  • Just enough organization: The main pocket does it all, while the smaller front pocket is perfect for the little stuff, like change, earbuds, or even a front pocket wallet
  • The price: For less than $30 you get a do-it-all minimalist day bag, flight bag, and hiking bag you can proudly carry anywhere
  • Surprisingly hip: The color options and two-tone style (I went with maroon, blue, and red) makes this fanny pack something you’ll want to wear—even in chic European destinations. Seriously.

What We Don’t Like: Minimalists Only

  • Not great for larger items: This storage width of tops out at around most smartphone lengths. If you have a particularly large phone, you might fumble to get it in and out of the main pocket.
  • Only for minimalists: I use the fanny pack in sling mode (over one shoulder) as my day bag, but I don’t often need things like a jacket or guide book. If you pack a lot, go with something bigger, like a daypack.
  • No water bottle pocket: If you absolutely have to carry a water bottle, this fanny pack might not be for you. Although, I clip my Vapur .7L collapsible water bottle onto the strap and it works like a charm.
  • Not 100% waterproof: This is not a dry bag, so while it performs well in most weather, don’t trust it with sensitive electronics during a downpour.

Big Value in a Little Package

It’s crazy that my favorite fanny pack on this list is also the cheapest. The daily use I’ve gotten from the Patagonia Black Hole has far surpassed the measly price tag. This is a durable, stylish, do-everything fanny pack that works for urban exploring, trail running, or just as a trusty travel day companion to keep all of your most important items safe and close at hand.

Heck, there’s even a hidden “secret” zipper compartment in the main pocket for keeping credit cards or other items safely stowed away from your other stuff.

I love to load this up with my camera, phone, wallet, passport, and earbuds and toss it in the tray at security at the airport. No more fumbling in my pockets for loose items or wondering if everything is safe. It’s always right where I need it, even when I board the plane.

Best Women’s Fanny Pack

Herschel Seventeen Hip Pack

$30

Buy from Herschel

The classic fanny pack look and feel, elevated with signature Herschel style and more than enough room for all your stuff

Who this fanny pack is for:

Urban travelers, day hikers, and anyone looking for a larger day bag style sling.

Let’s be clear here: fanny packs are gender neutral. Every fanny pack on this list can (and should) be worn by both men and women. Heck, my girlfriend also sports the Patagonia Black Hole Mini as one of her favorite day bags. She has the teal one.

The point is, the fit, feel, and style of most fanny packs translates to just about everyone. That being said, there are some great fanny pack options that are slightly more targeted towards female travelers. One of the best I’ve come across is the Herschel Seventeen Hip Pack.

What We Like: Not Your Mom’s Fanny Pack

  • Elevated style: Yes, this looks like a fanny pack, but it’s a cool one
  • Waterproof zipper front pocket: Keep your phone safe and dry
  • So many color options: Match this fanny pack with your favorite outfit or go ghost protocol with a matte black pack. Herschel’s 18 color options ensures you won’t get stuck with a neon pink fanny pack because it’s “for women.”

What We Don’t Like: As Big as a Purse

  • The size: This could be a pro for you, but the Seventeen hip pack is pretty big. It’s basically a sling/purse. That might be great for some, but too much for others
  • No water bottle pocket: Again, it’s big enough to keep a (small) water bottle inside, but you might get your stuff wet (unless you keep everything in the front pocket)
  • No internal organization: The main pocket can get cluttered with too much stuff and not enough separation. Just saying.

Things to Consider

The Seventeen Hip Pack is stylish, durable, and great for all day wear. But it’s also a bit bigger than I like in a fanny pack, making it basically a full-time crossbody sling. Again, that’s not a deal breaker for anyone who’s used to carrying a purse or shoulder bag, just worth pointing out.

Also, the missing internal organization in the main pocket might be frustrating if you carry a lot of smaller items. And remember, you can always downsize to the Fifteen Hip Pack, but you’ll lose the waterproof front zipper compartment (which is a big loss if you ask me) if you go with a smaller fanny pack.

All-in-all the Seventeen Hip Pack is a great transitional day bag/purse/fanny pack, especially if you’re already used to carrying a bag everyday. Upgrade your clutch to this fanny pack, or downsize your day bag and experience hands free travel in a package you’ll rock with confidence anywhere.

7L Bellroy Cross Sling

$99

Buy from Bellroy

Coolest Fanny Pack

This fanny pack (ok, fine “sling”) looks good enough to wear to a black tie dinner, yet performs like a beast with more than enough room for absolutely everything you need during the day (and night)

Who this fanny pack is for:

Minimalists, urban explorers, cyclists, and people that think they’re too cool for fanny packs.

Without a doubt, the coolest fanny pack on this list is the 7L Crossbody Sling from Bellroy. Technically a “crossbody sling” this 7L pack still looks and feels like a fanny pack to me, and honestly, most everyone carries their fanny pack as a sling anyway, so I’ll allow it.

That’s a subtle but important shift from smaller fanny packs, as the added weight of a fully packed 7L bag isn’t comfortable to carry in the front. Remember, a fanny pack only helps keep your stuff safe from thieves and pickpockets if you wear it in front. Although it is worth pointing out that the clever shoulder strap design actually works like a kind of compression strap to keep the weight close to your body for easier carry on overloaded days.

Bottom line, you can load this bag up with a bunch of stuff and wear it like a messenger bag, but I liked it best when it was in fanny pack mode.

What We Like: Oh So Stylish

  • It looks great: This bag just looks hip as hell. The colors, the style, the sling—you will want to wear this bag, and you will be asked questions about it. Prepare to make an entrance.
  • It’s rugged: Like many fanny packs on this list, the Bellroy is made with recycled plastic fabric (aka polyester) so it’s durable and moderately water-resistant.
  • Big enough for your stuff: Unlike my favorite fanny pack, The Black Hole Mini, the Bellroy sling is… well… a sling; meaning it’s big enough for larger items. You can fit a (small) water bottle, full size Moleskine, and other larger items easily in this 7L sling.
  • The front pocket and key clip: The strongest part of this sling might just be the super functional front pocket. The larger front pocket helps keep your phone away from the stuff that might scratch it while still managing to make everything thing a blind grab away. No more fumbling in a dark purse or never ending day bag for your stuff.

What We Don’t Like: A Designer Sling

  • The price: This is a great sling, but there’s no getting around the price tag. At $100, this fanny pack tops our list, and while it’s got a great design and several killer features, it might not be in your budget.
  • It’s big: The ability to hulk out to 7L is great—when you need to. However, 7L day in, day out can be a pain. The compression style strap helps keep this sling close to your body, but it’s not going to magically make your stuff less heavy.
  • It’s not a fanny pack: This is a sling dressed as a fanny pack. It’s designed to be worn as a crossbody bag, and while that’s how I carry my fanny pack 99% of the time, it’s worth noting that you don’t really wear this bag around your waist.

Form and Function

I managed to fit a journal, pens, bluetooth keyboard, sandwich, phone, wallet, keys, earbuds, change, passport, water bottle, and battery pack in the Bellroy on a particularly fun travel day. If you’re feeling especially eco-conscious, go for the Forest green recycled version.

I didn’t care much for the gimmicks like the magnetic clasp on the front for quick on/off access, but the sunglass pocket in the main compartment was surprisingly handy, especially in Southeast Asia. I scratched up a few pairs of sunnies before I tested this bag.

Yes, the Bellroy Sling is the most expensive fanny pack on this list at $99, but if you’re in the need for ultra stylish performance in a sleek city-friendly package, it’s worth the investment. The front pocket is fantastic for keeping your keys, wallet, and phone organized and ready to go, and the spacious main compartment can hold a shocking amount of stuff.

Moment Fanny Sling

$60

Buy from Moment

Best Waterproof Fanny Pack

Designed by photographers for photographers. Packed with organization, scratch proof pockets, in a waterproof package that will get you out the door and shooting without the hassle of a bulky day bag

Who this fanny pack is for:

Photographers, minimalists, urban travelers, and digital nomads.

I love this fanny pack because it’s all about functionality. Designed as an everyday carry for mobile photographers, the crack Moment team packed this bag with features that just plain work. 

What We Like: Tech-Friendly Minimalism on the Go

  • Thoughtful organization: The main pocket is full of slots and sleeves to keep your cards, lenses, or whatever else you need organized and ready to go, which I appreciate.
  • Waterproof zippers: One of the only truly “weatherproof” fanny packs on the market that you’ll actually want to carry, you can trust your stuff won’t get ruined if it’s raining.
  • Secret back pocket: I’m a sucker for secret pockets, and the small “passport” pocket on the back is not only comfy, but clever.
  • Compression straps: Like the belroy sling, the built-in compression straps keep the fanny sling close to your body when you’re loaded up and on the move.

What We Don’t Like: Not for Hiking

  • Over organized: I personally dig the internal organization, but if you want to carry larger items it can be a bit too much for some people.
  • Mainly for camera gear: This is a photography sling disguised as a fanny pack, I’m nitpicking here because I love that it’s purpose built, but this isn’t really a hiking fanny pack if that’s your thing.
  • No water bottle pocket: Again, like many fanny packs on this list, it won’t keep you hydrated if that’s a big deal for you.

Honestly, this bag might have won the top slot in our review if we’d had more time with it. It’s a great weather-proof fanny pack that’s cleverly divided, packed with mobile tech friendly features like scratch resistant lens pockets, and it’s nearly half the price of the Bellroy sling with a lot of the same look and features.

This bag is a clear winner for most travelers, but if you’re planning to “do it for the gram,” this is your go-to travel fanny pack.

Patagonia 1L Ultralight Black Hole Mini

$29

Buy from Patagonia

Best Lightweight Fanny Pack

minimalist answer to a day bag that fits everything you need

Who this fanny pack is for:

Minimalists, urban travelers, cyclists, and anyone looking to lighten their load without leaving anything behind.

This bag took the title for my favorite travel fanny pack, largely because it’s the best lightweight travel fanny pack I’ve tested. Minimal, under the radar, and just plain ready to go—this bag is great for hands free day trips and active travel. I’m a minimalist at heart (I’ve been traveling with just a 26L backpack for the past seven months) so I like to keep my gear lean and mean. This fanny pack fits the bill perfectly.

What We Like: Perfect Minimalist EDC

  • Durable: I’ve put this fanny pack through hell, and while it doesn’t look new anymore, it’s not frayed or ripped anywhere.
  • Big enough for my stuff: I can fit everything I need for the day in the main and front pocket. In a pinch I can drape a towel or extra shirt through the strap.
  • The price: Minimalism on a budget; can’t beat that.

What We Don’t Like: Not for Everyone

  • 1L limit: I like the quick clean EDC feel of this small fanny pack. But for some people it can be a bit restrictive. If you pack a lot of “just in case” items, this isn’t the fanny pack for you.
  • Not waterproof: I’ve only run into it a few times, but I’d love to have more waterproofing (zippers and front pocket specifically) to keep my gear dry on wet days.

Patagonia 5L Black Hole Waist Pack

$59

Buy from Patagonia

Best Fanny Pack for Hiking

Small enough for a trail run, yet packed with enough space and rugged features to destroy your next day hike

Who this fanny pack is for:

Hikers, plain and simple.

The big brother to the Black Hole Mini, the 5L Black Hole Waist Pack has every feature you could ask for in a lumbar pack.

It’s just the right size to fit enough snacks, emergency supplies, and a change of clothes for a long hike without being ridiculous or awkward like some other hiking fanny packs I’ve tried (more on that in a second). The waterproof finish is sufficient for most weather, and the pocket design, while basic, is perfect for loading up for the trail.

I like Patagonia fanny packs, and would consider the 5L Black Hole for most day hikes, especially if (like me) you’re not a fan of hiking backpacks for shorter treks.

What We Like: Designed for Hiking

  • Water bottle pockets: Finally, a fanny pack that can handle a decent size water bottle. The elastic pockets expand to fit many water bottle sizes, and shrink away when not in use.
  • Lumbar pack design: This is definitely not a sling. Designed to be loaded up and worn at the waist, the compression straps and comfy padding make this a hiker’s dream.
  • Simple, spacious pockets: One main pocket, one front pocket. You’re good to go.
  • Price: $59 is a great price for a hiking pack you can wear for years.

What We Don’t Like: Not Many Features

  • Not 100% waterproof: Nothing sucks more than getting stuck on the trail in a downpour. While more waterproof than many packs, it’s still not dry bag level protection.
  • No added functionality: I like that this bag is streamlined, but I’d appreciate a few attachment points on the front for paracord or lights, etc.

I tried the super popular Mountainsmith Classic Lumbar pack, and despite it’s legendary status as the best hiking lumbar pack ever, I kind of hated it. The bag was too big (10L) and once I loaded it up with a few common items for a day hike, I found it just plain uncomfortable to wear—even with the compression straps. The smaller Drift or Dry Tour bags might be better, but unfortunately I was so turned off by the Classic I didn’t get a chance to test the newer bags.

A great hiking lumbar pack is hard to find. But the Patagonia 5L is the right size, shape, and design for just about any day hike. Well worth the modest investment if you want to keep your pack light without sacrificing (much) functionality on your next trailhead.

Baboon to the Moon Fanny Pack

$55

Buy from Baboon

Best Anti-Theft Fanny Pack

Ready for festivals, crowded subway cars, packed city streets, and anywhere you might take your valuables

Who this fanny pack is for:

Minimalists, urban travelers, commuters, and festival rats.

Honestly, most fanny packs are anti-theft bags simply thanks to their design. You (typically) wear them in front of your body on your chest or waist (unless you’re truly old school), and today most travelers opt to wear fanny packs like a sling bag over one shoulder. That situates the fanny bag squarely on their chest, right below their line of sight—a tough place for thieves to reach without you noticing.

However, some people really like to over prepare. And that’s cool. For the nervous road warriors out there, the Baboon to the Moon fanny pack is a great theft-proof sling bag that you can comfortably wear all day at festivals, on crowded public transit, or just walking tours through your favorite crime-riddled city.

What We Like: Secret Pockets & Reinforced Straps

  • “Ballistic” caliber cordura ripstop nylon: About as close to slash-proof as you can get in such a small, lightweight package. No one is going to be able to open this thing or tear it off your body without you noticing.
  • Big secret pocket: I’m all about the hidden body pocket. Pressed up against you, this is the best place to keep your passport or emergency money safe and sound, and it runs the length of the bag unlike other unusable stash pockets.
  • Mesh organization: Internal organization keeps everything where you want it so you can open it with confidence and get what you need quickly.

What We Don’t Like: Too Flashy

  • Bright colors: I love the design choices here, but one of the cardinal rules of theft-proofing your stuff is to be low key. This bag is a bit too bright and flashy, and might attract a little too much attention.
  • No water bottle: Broken record here, but no designated water bottle storage on board.

The simple grab and go style front pocket is great for holding frequently used items. However, the large hidden rear pocket is my favorite feature on this fanny pack because it’s actually large enough to, you know, use.

Unlike other stash pockets, this one runs the length of the bag, meaning you can fit a passport, money, and your grandma’s picture in it to keep your treasures safe. A safety feature is only useful if you use it. You’ll use this one.

The strap is also one of the most comfortable I tried thanks to the reinforced design. It’s wide enough to comfortably wear as a sling, and at 3L you don’t need a compression strap feature unless you’re transporting gold bars in this thing.

All around, this is a great fanny pack for keeping your stuff safe on the go. Perfect for festivals, bike commuters, and walking tour enthusiasts. I just plain like this fanny pack, and appreciate the clever built-in features that incidentally make it great for keeping dirty thieves away from my sweet sweet stuff.

How I Tested Each Fanny Pack

I’ve been a travel writer with Tortuga (and a few other travel brands) for the past six years, and before that I was a bartender, surf instructor, copywriter, and long-haul travel specialist with nearly 20 years (yikes!) of travel experience in over 40 countries.

To help you find the absolute best fanny pack/waist pack, I tested the heck out of 15 leading fanny packs over the past few months—both at home in New York City and during my around-the-world-trip across Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia/NZ—to see how they perform on the road and how the right fanny pack can make travel easier.

Key Concerns While Testing:

  • Price: I honestly don’t think you need to spend $100 for a great fanny pack. Or even $50.
  • Durability: Can the fanny pack take a beating day in and day out (including the zippers)?
  • Water-resistance (or proofing): How does the bag handle a light drizzle or a wet boating day trip?
  • Style: Do I actually want to wear this in public?
  • Size: How does it fit, and more importantly, what can fit inside? Also, what’s the right size for a travel fanny pack?
  • Portability: How well does the fanny pack travel, both in use and in my backpack?
  • Organization: Does the fanny pack have enough pockets to keep everything where I want it during the day?
  • Comfort: How does it feel to wear fully loaded all day?

Full transparency, some of these fanny packs were significantly more useful/functional than others so I tested them for longer. I reward success with more scrutiny, which you’ll see in the full reviews down below.

Also, I understand that some of these bags may fit me great (I’m 6’1” 170 pounds) but they may rub you the wrong way—literally. Find one that suits your size, needs, and style and hold it close, because the right fanny pack is a game changer.

 

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