A fanny pack is a small bag, often made of nylon, which is worn around the waist to store the necessities of a biker, hiker or other athlete. Because the fanny pack rests on the hips, it is comfortable and does not restrict the movement of the wearer. Also known as a belt or bum bag, a fanny pack is often used by travelers to stash cash, identification and other necessities.
Many hikers use a fanny pack to store water or sports drinks, as well as snacks. It is also a good place to stash an extra pair of socks, sunscreen, and blister ointment or other first aid cream. Some users also pack a rain poncho, cell phone and map.
A fanny pack generally has an adjustable waist strap; some feature foam padding for comfort and utilize mesh materials for ventilation. Most fanny packs fasten with a buckle and may or may not have a shoulder strap. Separate compartments are useful to some wearers who want to organize the pack’s contents. Look for lined compartments to protect sunglasses, binoculars or cameras.
Another useful fanny pack feature is a key hook or latch. For durability, consider a fanny pack made with waterproof materials, plastic zippers and pulls, sturdy stitching and resilient straps. A hydration fanny pack stores water or sports liquid in a bladder-type compartment and features tubing so the runner or hiker can drink. This type of pack usually contains additional zippered pockets for other items.
For the athlete who carries a compact disc (CD) or MP3 player, some fanny packs have special headset ports that reduce the likelihood of tangled cords. For travel, fanny packs come in a variety of colors, styles and materials, including leather. Some fanny packs feature a bungee cord to strap on items, such as a lightweight jacket or hat, to the exterior of the pack.
Fanny packs come in various price ranges, with lightweight nylon bags containing few features being the least expensive. Bags with hydration systems or those made of leather tend to be more expensive. Some fanny packs are even designed as diaper bags, complete with a changing pad and room for baby bottles.