Fanny Packs that Don’t Suck: Crossover

Still on the fence about fanny packs, eh? Let me try and persuade you with some bags from the crossover category. If you live an active lifestyle and travel light, these might be just the ticket.

Today’s argument for the fanny: accessibility.  Swing that hip pack from the back to the front in a flash and you have instant access to all your essential gear. Whether you’re fishing, riding your bike, or just enjoying a mountain stroll, the ability to access your gear without the need to remove a backpack is a game changer.   These crossover bags are big enough to hold a water bottle, snacks, small camera, and other essentials for all your day-length adventures.  Keep your back from getting all sweaty and put the weight where it belongs–on your hips.

Here are your best options for trail to town adventures.

High Above Cascadia Hip Pack


Cascadia Hip Pack with optional bottle rocket

If I had to pick one, I think this would be it.  High Above founder and chief executive dude, John Canfield, started out long ago at Mystery Ranch–so you know he’s legit. The High Above label started back in 2011 and has gained a ton of momentum within the mountain biking community for their lumbar/fanny pack style bags that carry all a mountain biker’s essentials in a small, convenient package close to the rider’s center of weight.

Using some seriously technical fabrics (X-pac, VX41), High Above produces simple, durable bags that are as much talking pieces for bag geeks as they are utility pieces. Canfield’s experience on production at MR and elsewhere guarantees these to be quality builds, so no worries there. I’m digging the black camo color way.  Made in Bellingham, WA.

Alpine Luddites Classic Fanny Pack

Stellar color way in the Fanny Pack from Alpine Luddites.  Love me some retro purple.

Get a load of this throw back from Alpine Luddites.  A late 70s era Wilderness Experience fanny pack inspired this recreation and its design gets me in the feels every time.  Leather lash tabs for strapping your jacket to the pack give you a little more latitude in what you carry.  Burly YKK 10mm zips to the main compartment won’t quit, and if you’re familiar with Alpine Luddites other products, you know that the quality is superb.

This bag is perfect for day hiking: water, snacks, nav., and maybe a layer strapped to the top. Multiple color ways to choose from, or mix and match to make your own.  You can’t go wrong with this one at the price–only $50 bucks! Made in Ouray, CO.

Topo Designs Minimal Hip Pack


Topo’s Minimal Hip Pack separates itself from the rest in that it uses a clam shell opening and gives to total access to your items.  Rather than having to reach down and navigate through your belongings in every other bag featured so far, the clam shell gives you options organizing and unpacking your bag.  Granted, at ~3.6L that’s not a big problem, but design wise, it’s a nice touch.

I see this really working as a fishing kit or a maybe a canoeing/kayaking pack.  It easily could have made the urban round up, but it’s a brand new release. Multiple color ways available and hopefully more to come soon, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your style.  Check out the collaboration from Tenkara Rod Co. Made in Colorado, USA.

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