Once you get past the frumpy-sounding nickname, there’s a lot to appreciate about fanny packs, or belt bags, as they’re officially called. They single-handedly (or rather, no-handedly) make life on the go easier, whether you’re carrying shopping bags, sightseeing or chasing after kids. Fanny packs are more stylish than ever, too, so you can find one to match your look and lifestyle. (If you need more carrying capability, see our recommendations for commuter backpacks.) We asked fashion and travel experts for their favorite packs—these are the ones they use to power through their days.
Since fanny packs don’t often fit a ton of stuff, it’s a win when you find one that looks chic and can carry more than just the essentials. The Clare V. Fanny Pack has a single, streamlined compartment that falls below your hips, and it can be comfortably worn crossbody without major adjustments. “This fanny pack holds a surprising amount,” says Donna Duarte-Ladd, executive director of New York Family Media and a former fashion stylist, who has worn this leather bag everywhere from school field trips to France over the last four years. “It also looks and feels high-end, so I’m constantly asked where it’s from.”
Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack
Made from 100% recycled fabric inside and out, Patagonia’s Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is a lightweight, portable organizer. “Whether I’m headed on a hike or to a workout class, I’ve got this bag by my side,” says Lillian Rafson, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, which plans surprise getaways around the U.S. The pack, which comes in four color options, allows her to keep her basics with her, “plus, it’s comfortable to wear.” But the coolest feature? It folds up into its own pocket when you’re not using it.
Zion Narrows Sherpa Fanny Pack
Parks Project is known for their prints, and this fun and funky fanny pack doesn’t disappoint. “Sherpa is not only very durable, it’s very soft,” says Amanda Sanchez-Breton, New York City-based outdoor lifestyle designer for outdoor retailer Mountain & Isles. “It’s definitely a nontraditional fabric choice for a bag, which is part of why I love it so much.” There’s no worry about sherpa sticking to your skin (unlike leather or nylon) and it doesn’t lose its shape when you wash it, she says.