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If you’re planning a strenuous, multi-day hike, then you’re going to need a sturdy backpack. For shorter day treks, however, a lightweight hiking fanny pack will do the trick. Take it from someone with years of experience–when you’re on the trail, the last thing you want to do is wrestle with a bulky knapsack.
A hiking waist pack provides a carefree alternative. If it’s a high-quality product, you won’t even notice it’s there until it’s time to reach for your trail mix. Some are even equipped with water bottle holders, so your hands will be completely free during your hike. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the qualities that distinguish the best hiking fanny packs from the competition.
Best Fanny Packs for Outdoor Adventure – 2020 Reviews
Best Overall: Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Hiking Pack
This versatile pack includes not one, but two padded water bottle holders–and BPA-free bottles to match. Each bottle holds 570 milliliters of fluid, so I like to fill one with water and one with an energy drink, such as Gatorade, on long runs.
The main compartment can be accessed by a dual-zippered pocket, making it easier to reach in and grab your stuff when you’re on the move. There’s also a smaller compartment in the front that provides the perfect home for lip balm or energy gels. Best of all, the material is breathable and lightweight, with a flexible hip belt that’s easily adjusted for premium comfort.
Padded bottle sleeves with two included 570 ml BPA-free PackBottles
- Large enough to hold wallet and keys
- Cleverly designed zipper pockets
- Wide yet comfortable belt
- Breathable material keeps you cool during your hike
- One of the bulkier models available
- Water bottles could be of better quality
Best for Running and Light Outdoor Activities: WATERFLY Hiking Waist Bag Fanny Pack
If you’re looking specifically for something more lightweight, check out this offering from WATERFLY. This nylon hiking fanny pack is water-resistant, with an adjustable strap that gently hugs the waist in an unobtrusive yet stable fashion. An elastic rope helps to keep water bottles snugly inside the built-in holder, even while running. Note that the water bottle isn’t included with this pack–you’ll have to provide your own.
One of our favorite aspects of the WATERFLY is the multitude of color choices available. No matter what you like to wear on the trail, you’ll be able to find something to complement it in this lineup. The front pocket is large enough to fit most modern smartphones, which is another nice touch. And if you’re going to be out at night, the reflective strips will keep you visible in the dark.
Breathable, lightweight and portable.
- 15 colors and patterns available
- 3 roomy compartments
- Suitable for nighttime use
- Extra reinforcement for water bottle
- Water bottle not included
- Some of the seams need reinforcement if pockets are packed too full on a regular basis
Best Heavy Duty and Most Spacious Fanny Pack: Bp Vision Hiking Waist Bag
Like the Osprey Talon 6, this pack includes two water bottle holders for maximum hydration potential. The versatility doesn’t end there—the Bp Vision is outfitted with extra straps that allow for three different carrying styles. You can choose to carry this rugged and sturdy pack wrapped on your waist, draped over your shoulder, or knapsack-style.
Water bottles aren’t included with the purchase, but the holders can accommodate a diameter of 3 inches (to put it in perspective, that’s about the width of a 24-ounce bottle). The pack uses wear-resistant nylon and breathable mesh in its construction, with five separate pockets to help organize your gear. Because of its high capacity, this is the perfect option for longer day hikes or cycling trips. The company stands behind its product with a 12-month warranty and 30 day refund policy.
Good value fanny pack for outdoor junkies.
- Sturdy construction
- Offers plenty of space
- Reasonable price point
- Generous warranty
- Great choice for cycling
- Strap configuration can be confusing
- Buckles are not as high-quality as the rest of the material
What to Look for in a Good Hiking and Outdoor Fanny Pack?
What sets these particular models apart from the competition? To find out how they compare, take a look at this list of features and benefits.
Features to Consider
The best hiking fanny pack will feature an adjustable waist strap that can accommodate a broad range of body types. There’s nothing worse than a strap that’s too tight—nothing except for one that’s too loose. A properly fitting pack is essential to your comfort, so make sure the strap can be adjusted to suit your preference.
Multiple pockets make it easier for you to store and organize your gear before hitting the trail. You don’t want to keep reaching for your lip balm or sunscreen and wind up grabbing hold of your keys instead. Keeping your belongings in separate compartments will give you greater peace of mind during your adventures—and isn’t that what nature is all about?
In addition to being convenient, interior compartments will keep your gear safe and dry in inclement weather. If you’re planning on bringing your cell phone along, you’ll appreciate the extra security. The inside pockets also provide a convenient place to store cash.
Remember that your hiking fanny pack will be enduring a fair amount of punishment from the elements. Rain and wind are the least of your worries—it could also get snagged on branches, bashed against rocks, or dragged through the mud. That’s why it’s important to invest in a bag that can handle these challenges. If the pack is made of flimsy material, you’ll just have to turn around and buy another one after a season or two. This will negate any money you saved by choosing an inferior pack in the first place.
While we’d all love to trek through the woods unencumbered, some basic necessities are essential to a successful hike. If you prefer to keep your hands and shoulders free while walking or running, a hiking waist pack can provide you with the experience you crave.