I think there’s a fanny pack for everyone, and that is the hill I die on today. I don’t actually know how controversial that is to say in 2021, because outdoor gear has taken the Fashion Week streets with peak gorpcore flair, and fanny packs have already proven their high style chops on ~très fashion~ celebrities, but I still feel like some people get intimidated and/or confused by the art of the bum bag.
It’s a damn shame, because a great fanny pack becomes an endless magic trick; it’s a means of staying hands-free, and hoarding your snacks like a moody hobgoblin on the trail, in the clerb, or at work. When I’m packing a carry-on with essentials to travel by plane, I always take one as a secret, third carry-on bag strapped over my chest. Sneaky, sneaky.
Fanny packs have also branched out like crazy since the 1980s. For one, we’re no longer limited to wearing them in classic dad belt fashion (though we fully support that look); instead, you might now sling that North Face pack across your chest, or carry it over your shoulder with nonchalance; tie a fanny pack’s straps in all kinds of interesting ways (the longer the strap, the greater the fun), or wear more than one bag at a time. Even the most traditional of outdoor companies have taken to injecting their trail bags with a little more oomph, and classic brands like Calvin Klein have been making leather fannies for years.
Where there’s a will to be hand-free, there’s a way to fanny pack. Here are some of the best bum bags for getting there.
Nothing wrong with that. Truly the most versatile of the bunch, your Level 1 fanny pack is going to come in black or another neutral color that will match everything. We’ve plucked a few in a fall-specific color scheme…
A mid-sized olive sling
Everlane makes such solid basics, and their fanny pack is no different. It’s ample in size, has multiple pockets, and is made out of 100% recycled materials.
Go for a trail-ready fanny
Hot tip? You can find some of the best, waterproof fannies at outdoorsy stores and just use them in everyday life. REI turned out this ochre gem (which is also made from recycled nylon) and gave it a subtle grid pattern as a finishing touch.
Reach for workwear-centric companies
We know that Carhartt kills it in the canvas and denim department, and their fanny packs are a bite-sized version of that excellence; this one has a 4.8 star rating online, with customers saying it’s bar none in attention to detail. “Only Carhartt would triple stitch a fanny pack,” writes one reviewer, while another says “It also has little spots to clip things on the outside.” Doing the most, as always.
The Fashion Week fanny pack
Ok, now we’re getting a little freakier. Well, not really, but if the tides of gorpcore have taught us anything, it’s that North Face is #Fashion, and you can bring all your crunchy outdoorsy gear to the FROW if you style it right.
You are but a fashionable wisp on the horizon line with this expandable sling from the Parisian fashion brand. Those matte black carabiner clips are just *chef’s kiss* perfect.
North Face comes in hot with the ripstop nylon, three liters of carrying volume, and a pattern that screams, “I am an industrious, fashion-forward leopard shark.”
Nothing like a little Kodak yellow to zhuzh a black fanny pack, and make people wonder who TF you are (little do they know, you got it on eBay). Keep ‘em on their toes.
You are an American Girl Doll
Tight. Where were you with this look during the Met Gala? We’ve yet to see another frilled, gingham fanny pack in the wild, so you’ll definitely be the only hot, human picnic blanket at the function with this bum bag. It feels a little bit fall, and a little bit forever-summer.
It’s all better in leather
Add some luxe, leather slings into your nylon fanny rotation, like this vintage red Calvin Klein piece. Just look at it. Now that’s the kind of buttery leather we can smell through the screen, and that ripe red hue is too juicy to pass up.
You’re M.C. Escher
Check has made a massive comeback this year, and we’re stoked about it. This pattern has gotten a little op-art swirl, so you can have something to zone-out to while riding the subway.
You’re a rich stoner
You’re our favorite friend. The one who has the best munchies on-hand, or else tucked into a fleece fanny pack that feels like a hug.
Here’s the other thing about fanny packs: They can be a great way for the color-shy to start living with a little more pizazz. Especially as the months grow colder, there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’ll be able to spot your friend by the Memphis Group-esque, bright blue fanny pack slug over their puffer.
Keep it primary
There’s literally nothing that won’t go with this? Cotopaxi is an outdoor brand that sure merits its volcanic namesake, because all their bags are fire (and meant to last at least 61 years).
Back to the future
Designed specifically to tug on your 1980s heartstrings, this Mountainsmith pack comes in three different color schemes–avocado, glacier blue, and purple reign–that all deserve a place in our closet.
Da ba dee da ba di
Keep it icy. This blue fanny pack is washable, has sturdy YKK zippers, and is a good way to bring in a more lowkey pop of color that will work for every season.
The multi-tasking fanny
Unsurprisingly, Amazon has loads of fanny packs with rad bonus features, from holding your beer to blasting your bops. If you don’t get them for yourself, get them for your bros for the holidays.
You live on the wedge
We all know one person who deserves this. They always tip over your Sea-Doo and burn the hot dogs at the lake, but damn, are they fun.
The one with hidden speakers
How nice would it be to bike to the park with this fanny pack speaker? Bop to the bops in style, and safety. Love that.
Your face fanny has arrived
So, of course Amazon is brimming (sorry) with novelty hats. This idea is so deliciously cooked–nay, fried–that we couldn’t say no. Just imagine asking your friend to get your lighter out of your forehead when your hands are busy. You just became the most interesting person in the room.
Make it a novelty moment
Can you do an armpit fart? Is your dad from Wisconsin? Then this fanny pack belongs in your life.
Enjoy the hands free life, my friend.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.