Should a Fanny Pack be your Next Travel Purchase?
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Should A Fanny Pack Be Your Next Travel Purchase?

I’ve struggled with a slightly embarrassing closeted desire for a fanny pack for a while now. The trend, usually reserved for ravers and unfortunately dressed tourists, just seems like too good of an idea not to take advantage of. Who wants to carry around their iPhone while sight-seeing? So, should a fanny pack be your next travel purchase?

Should a fanny pack be your next travel purchase

“Pockets,” you say. Oh yeah, the funny thing about womens’ clothes is they are often made without those useful little features. I rejoice whenever I find a dress equiped with pockets and even then, sometimes choose not to use them to avoid one awkwardly large, iPhone-shaped hip. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of purses and tend to carry a large bag with everything from bug spray to a scarf inside, but sometimes I just don’t want to bother.

Since we’ve been in Thailand, we have ridden our scooter almost every day, and even if I do have pockets, I don’t want to risk losing my valuables while we zip through crowded streets. Most days, my iPhone and ID end up in Eric’s pockets, and I leave everything else at home. But I keep getting the feeling a fanny pack would solve all my problems.

Think about it. Most of them zip closed: nothing will fall out. You can turn the pocket around to the back or front: easy access. Your hands are free to browse through racks of clothes, eat, play an instrument, shake someone else’s hand, whatever you want. Men have huge pockets and small wallets, why can’t women just have the fanny pack?

This past summer at Governor’s Ball, I spotted a few gals sporting the trend with their festival wear and noticed that some really sleek leather styles were emerging. But can this semi-ironic, absolutely useful accessory successfully leave festival grounds and make it in the big city? Does the re-dubbed “bum bag” or “belt bag,” transformed from the hot pink and neon green styles secured with a black plastic clip into hand-sewn leather with brass buckles make the cut?

Nasty Gal belt bag | 3AM Forever waist pack | Zenness vintage waist bag | Hipzbag waist bag

Fashion is often decidedly un-functional, but sometimes the line blurs and we get to wear things that make our lives easier. Birkenstocks, the anti-plantar-fasciitis footwear that was previously donned selectively by hippies and Germans, were featured on runways and embraced by every fashion blogger ever. So why can’t the fanny pack be next? When Man Repeller and Refinery29 have both sported the look, is it acceptable in real life? For non fashion tycoons like me? Most importantly, can you wear it as it was once worn by your parents as a day-travel accessory or through an airport, or is it only OK to pair with an ultra-trendy outfit in an out-of-place setting, like a high-class brunch, for example…

What do you think? Would you wear a fanny pack? I may be past the point of being talked out of getting one, much like the time I bought wedge sneakers, but I would love to hear your opinion.



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Evanne Allen

Evanne co-founded Poplar Travels after quitting her job in Washington, D.C. She got itchy feet at a young age and has never lost the urge to explore the planet. A previous museum employee, she is apt to drag travel partners into several cultural institutions anywhere she goes. She wishes she could speak every language and loves meeting new people.

  • I’m beginning to see some “fashion” fanny packs too. I agree the concept is very functional, but for me, a crossbody bag is cute, fashionable, and gets the job done!! You don’t have to worry about it slipping off your shoulders and your hands are free. It’s definitely my answer for my travel pack.

    October 19, 2014 at 3:51 am
  • When I was living in Taiwan (where everyone owns a scooter and drives them daily), many expats owned and used some form of a fanny pack. It is definitely a growing trend there. Personally, I never owned one, but I am currently searching for a fashionable one to use on my next trip.

    October 20, 2014 at 1:01 am
  • malaysianmeanders

    I was just listening to an NPR show where they were discussing fanny packs, namely about how it’s very useful for nudists who obviously don’t have any pockets. I’m a cross-body purse type of gal. Although, it’d be very handy to have a fanny pack if I could find one that is significantly fashionable. My one big worry is that someone just runs up and unclips it from me.

    October 20, 2014 at 5:39 am
  • I actually quite like the leather ones that you’ve pictured in this article. I’m usually a crossbody bag type of girl, but I could be swayed by those fanny packs (or bum bags as we call them in Australia!).

    October 21, 2014 at 1:27 am
  • I think the ones you’ve pictured don’t actually look too bad! I don’t know if I would ever get one, I’m more of a crossbody bag/purse type of person, but those could be useful for many situations!

    October 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm
  • Rachel G

    My Dad wore a fanny pack and for that reason I think I’ll never wear one. 😛 Although, my husband has found them pretty useful when traveling! Maybe I do indirectly benefit from fanny packs, but I delegate the wearing of them to others.

    November 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm

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