Fanny packs are more than just a ’90s fad coming back in style; they’re stylish and practical bags that help make carrying an actual load lighter. When traveling (or even running daily errands), you want to easily carry your phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, and other essentials to keep your hands free. And these days, you want to be equipped with sanitary items like a mask, wet wipes, or hand sanitizer. If these items can fit into a fanny pack, we tested them.
Our top pick is the Wandrd – Toiletry Bag in medium because of its high-quality build and 2-in-1 versatility that makes it easy to use for everyday errands and traveling–it’s also super comfortable! If you’re on a budget, we recommend the Lanult – Belt Bag because of its smooth and wide straps, inner pocket organization, and a vast array of color options – it’s a great dupe for a Lululemon – Belt Bag. For those that want a hands-free going-out bag, we like the Ecosusi – Fanny Pack as a stylish and excellent quality build.
We’re avid travelers, and we like nothing more than wearing bags that seamlessly bring utility and aesthetics together without breaking the bank. We’ve tested and used a variety of bags through the years in scenarios like snowboarding, walking tours, running, shopping, and on everyday errands alone or with children. We tested many other travel items like travel purses, travel accessories, packing cubes, travel jewelry cases. No matter where you’re traveling, we’ve pinpointed some features of fanny packs and belt bags that are useful to remember when picking a new bag.
This category takes into account a variety of features on the bag. One important aspect is aesthetics, which is very specific to each person. There are sporty, minimalist, or colorful fanny packs available, too.
Pocket count and placement are crucial too. We like belt bags that offer outside and inside pockets for more organization. Inner pockets also give you extra security when carrying your valuables.
Lastly, each fanny pack features a closure of some type, like clasps or buckles, and the location of the closure also affects usability. Some people prefer front clasps for easier removal.
Specific materials might actually be preferred for specific activities, as there’s not just one “best” material for all scenarios. Some offer features like waterproofing or ripstopping. If you’re going to a festival or a concert, you may need belt bags made of clear plastic for security reasons. There are also fanny packs made of leather or vegan leather that are great for going out to a nice dinner or club without making you look like a tourist.
Size & strap length
The size of the fanny pack affects how much you can carry at a time. Be wary of how big the fanny pack is because it might be difficult to wear and disproportionate to the size of the straps; for example, larger bags with thin straps would strain the shoulders. Strap length is also important to remember depending on your body type.
How we selected
We selected some of the most popular fanny packs on the market and bought popular dupes to see how they compared, in addition to testing other popular affordable and generic belt bags. All of these fanny packs we tested were under $50 at the time of purchase.
How we tested
We tested the build quality of each fanny pack by analyzing the durability and design of the fabric, zipper, clasps, straps, and waterproof status. Each category is rated out of 10, and the highest they ranked, the better quality of the fanny pack. Our most durable fanny packs often had ripstop, water-repellent fabric and zippers like the Wandrd bags and easily accessible clasps and smooth, comfortable straps like the Lululemon belt bag.
We tested each bag for over three months rigorously on different body types and took them on week-long vacations, daily errands, and events. During these fit tests, we reviewed the comfort of the straps, removing the clasps, ease of accessibility and pocket organization, overall capacity, and versatility. Each category ranked out of 10, and the more comfortable and easier-to-wear belt bags scored closer to 10.
Lastly, we tested the fanny packs based on usefulness during travel. We analyzed each bag based on its ability to fold easily into luggage or carry-on bags, safety features, comfort in wearing it for long periods, and ability to use it for other specific purposes like diapers or toiletry. Bags that were easy to use for traveling ranked closer to 10.
Best For Travel: Wandrd - Toiletry Bag in Medium
After testing fanny packs for several months, we tended to choose the Wandrd – Toiletry Bag over the other bags many times. It’s our top pick because of its minimalist design, waterproof, durable materials, and versatility. There are several handles and straps to hold onto the bag if you don’t want to use a strap, and it can easily attach to Wandrd backpacks too.
Wandrd designed this bag in two sizes (large and medium), and we tested the medium. Within the bag are two mesh sleeves holding smaller items and an outer zippered pocket for faster access. You can easily fit an iPhone 13 Pro, a small wallet, sunglasses, and anti-bacterial spray with plenty of room to spare. There’s even an anti-microbial sleeve for a toothbrush. Since it’s made to be a toiletry bag, it can also fit a full-size deodorant stick, a comb, a razor, and other bathroom hygiene products due to its size (9″ x 4.75″ x 2.5″).Read more…
Comfort-wise, the Wandrd was easy to wear for hours because the straps were smooth and wide enough not to strain the shoulders. Removing the straps is a little difficult, but we liked that they were secure and prevented easy theft while traveling. We did like that it easily fit different body types, with the adjustable strap expanding between 38.5-64 inches.
The only caveat with the Wandrd bag ($44) is that the strap ($24) comes separately, which rounds the price to $68. This may be a steeper price for some individuals, but we think the high-quality build and versatility of the Wandrd bag are worth the price. Alternatively, you can also choose to buy a different type of strap from another company.
Best Budget: Lanult - Belt Bag
If you’re on a budget, the Lanult – Belt Bag is our affordable pick because it’s under $20 and is designed so similarly to the very popular (and often sold out) Lululemon – Belt Bag. The Lanult bag comes in eight colors, and the minimalist style is perfect for any individual.
It’s made of water-repellent nylon material and a metal zipper that’s easy to open and close with one hand. One issue we encountered was that the metal zipper was slightly sharp, so we needed to be careful when opening and closing the bag. The wide and silky strap clasps at the front of the bag make removal more accessible. Having the clasp at the front prevents any potential issues with pickpockets. Note the strap expands between 29.5-47 inches, so the fit is slightly smaller than the other brands we tested.Read more…
One of our favorite design choices is the hidden inner pocket. We easily hid our wallet and other valuables in this pocket because it was harder to detect or open without removing the Lanult bag. The inside organization was also helpful in keeping our belongings neatly inside the bag. Three mesh pockets inside held our phones, wallets, sunglasses, and even wet wipe packets easily. Placing things inside the mesh pockets is preferable because if you open the zipper too wide, there may be a tendency for pieces to fall through. At $16.99, we recommend this budget fanny pack because it’s well-made and doesn’t break the bank.
Best For Nights Out: Ecosusi - Fanny Pack
For nights out on the town or at concerts where you want a cute bag to hold your essentials, the Ecosusi – Fanny Pack is the right choice. This small vegan leather bag measures 7.1” x 5.1 x 2.1,” and its petite size is perfect for carrying a phone and wallet for special events, but not too bulky that it ruins your outfit or is annoying to wear.
You can wear the Ecosusi in three ways: as a fanny pack on your waist, across your chest like a belt bag, or without the strap as a clutch. It has a flap-style bag design that closes with a metal buckle. Inside you’ll find a structured soft lining, one zippered pocket, and another open pocket for organizing cards and IDs.Read more…
One missed opportunity with this bag is not adding vertical loops in the bag to be able to turn this into a shoulder strap/crossbody bag too. However, we like that the strap can double as a belt if we ever need one. The strap expands between 30-45 inches wide and fits most of our testers. At $24.99, we think this bag is worth the price because its supple vegan leather and metal hardware make it look elegant for any special occasion.
Wandrd - Original Tech Bag
The Wandrd – Original Tech Bag has similar details and materials as our top pick, but it’s smaller and made as a 2-in-1 technology bag and fanny pack. The interior pockets include three mesh pockets and two elastic loops to hold pens or other tools. The zipper opens up 3/4th of the entire bag’s circumference to lay flat, open-faced. Wandrd bags were one of the only fully waterproof fanny packs we tested that scored 10/10 due to the coated body and zipper materials.Read more…
We picked the small Tech bag, which measures 7.75” x 4.5” x 2”. It’s similar in size to the Lanult and Lululemon bags. This small size is perfect for day-to-day errands where you only need a handful of things like a phone, wallet, keys, and sunglasses. Since the zipper opens wider than most bags, we recommend only opening it halfway; otherwise, your items may fall out unexpectedly.
Like other Wandrd bags, you must purchase an additional strap for $24 on top of the $34 Tech bag price, which may be a dealbreaker for some people. However, this is great if you want to buy a strap from another company. Wandrd also sells this bag in medium and large sizes if you need more space.
Lululemon - Belt Bag
On the top of everyone’s fanny pack favorites list is the Lululemon – Belt Bag. This bag has a cult following that surpasses just athletic-minded fans and constantly sells out no matter what colors Lululemon releases. We got our hands on the traditional black in the one-liter size. The body is made out of water-repellent nylon, which we tested and found that some water can get through due to the plastic zippers, but the water rolls right off the nylon body.
There are many similarities with the Lanult – Belt Bag, like the bag design, pocket organization, and accessibility. Wearing this belt bag was easy and comfortable due to the soft and wide straps that held the excess straps in elastic. We found it easy to interchange the Lanult and the Lululemon bags daily and didn’t find discrepancies. The Lululemon bag adjustable strap measures 31-49 inches.Read more…
The only issue with the Lululemon – Belt bag is that it’s often sold out in-store and online. Even if they come out with new colors and fabrics regularly, the cult following seems to snatch up new supplies frequently. And while it’s somewhat average-priced at $38, you may need to buy a bag from a third-party seller and pay higher prices. We loved wearing this bag.
Patagonia - Black Hole Mini Fanny Bag
The Patagonia – Black Hole Mini Fanny Bag was our tried and true belt bag for a long time. It’s one of the smallest bags we tested at 4.75″ x 8″ x 2″, but it carries a lot more essentials than meets the eye. We can fit an iPhone 13 Pro, a small wallet, one 20-pack of Wet Wipes, sunglasses, and more.
The Black Hole series is known for its compact and foldable bags that fit inside their pockets, making them great for traveling. It’s also made from ripstop fabric that prevents thieves from slashing the bag and provides a somewhat water-repellent body. After many years of wear and tear, we noticed the bag’s coating allowed some condensation inside.Read more…
This bag is super comfortable and lightweight to wear on long trips; however, we wished the location of the clasps was closer to the front for easier access. We were also worried during travel that someone would unclasp our bag from the back. The Patagonia – Black Hole Mini also had the narrowest strap adjustments between 28.5-45 inches. At $35, this bag is a good price for a Patagonia item, even with a few issues, because it’s packable and lightweight.
Aikendo - Fanny Pack
Many fanny packs we tested had a minimal design like the Aikendo – Fanny Pack. We were attracted to the Aikendo because of the many zippered pockets that allowed us to hide valuables, like the inside zippered pocket in the main section or the inner chest pocket.
After testing this back for several weeks, we found that the bag’s build was lacking. For example, the front clasp has sharp edges that scratched one of our testers while releasing the buckle. The wide straps were appropriate for the large size (12.2” x 5.12” x 4.72”) of the bag and supported it properly when full; however, the material was scratchy and uncomfortable.Read more…
For $15, this is a very affordable bag large enough to fit plenty of daily essentials like your phone, wallet, sunglasses, keys, and more. But note that the polyester material is not waterproof, and the plastic zippers will allow leaks into your items. The strap is adjustable from 36-57.5 inches wide, so it’s best for medium to larger individuals.
Lotus Lane - Fanny Diaper Bag
The Lotus Lane – Fanny Diaper bag is made for parents on the go but can also be used like any fanny pack. This bag has an extra changing pad that folds into the inside pocket, a carabiner on the side for keys, and a spacious body to keep baby essentials. There’s also a zippered pocket for your phone with a hole for headphones or external battery charging cables.
Our testers were parents that wore the Lotus Lane bag with their four-year-old and newborn for over a month. While they liked the extra changing pad, it didn’t replace a standard-sized diaper bag or backpack. While the bag fits a few diapers, a small pack of wipes, a phone, and a wallet, it couldn’t fit other essentials like snacks, formula, and an extra change of clothes. These are items necessary for even a short trip to the park.Read more…
While you can also use this as a normal bag, we didn’t like the scratchy straps and bulky material. We often found ourselves picking other fanny packs to wear because they were more comfortable and stylish.
North Face - Berkeley Lumbar
The North Face – Berkeley Lumbar fanny pack has the widest strap adjustment we tested and measured between 40-61.2 inches wide. If you need a bag with a wider waist size, this is your bag. This bag is also one of our larger bags we tested at 11.81” x 5.71” x 2.76”. It easily fits everyday essentials and more; however, like the Jansport, the larger body is too big for the thinner straps; This makes wearing the bag at full capacity uncomfortable because it strains your shoulder.
The North Face – Berkeley Lumbar bag was one of the few fanny packs with double zippers, and we appreciated this because it made accessing our valuables easier. There’s also a padded backing, which makes it comfortable to wear across your chest or waist.Read more…
At $38, this is one of our more expensive bags, and while we like the material and build, we wish there was more organization inside the main compartment. The size is so large it’s easy to lose things inside, making accessing your items a little more complicated.
Jansport - Fifth Ave Fanny Pack
Jansport bags are a constant in the backpack world, and we decided to test out their Fifth Ave Fanny pack. It’s made from similar fabric and materials to their traditional backpacks, like premium 600-denier polyester, which is super durable. We liked the double zippers that make opening the bag more accessible and the easy-to-open front clasp.
The straps are nylon, but they don’t have the soft padding from the backpacks; This makes wearing the Jansport – Fifth Ave bag extremely itchy on the shoulders. The bag measures 9.33” x 6.54” x 2.36” and can be filled to a bulbous shape, but the straps’ width doesn’t accommodate this weight–contributing to further discomfort while wearing the bag.Read more…
Another issue that came up was the lack of organization. The bag itself is large, but items got shuffled while using it, making accessing items difficult. It felt like we needed to dive into the bag to grab items. While we wanted to like this bag because of the name brand, our testers used this bag less frequently due to the design and discomfort.
Clearworld - Fanny Pack (not recommended)
Now that clear bags are standard for concert venues and festivals, we wanted to test out a transparent fanny pack. Unfortunately, our experience with the Clearworld – Fanny Pack left much to be desired.
After testing the clear fanny pack for a few hours, we quickly found that the nylon straps were too scratchy to wear around our shoulders. We found that the width of the straps did not support the large size of the bag itself, so the bag felt unstable and strained our shoulders and hips.Read more…
Placing items inside the bag was also tricky because the plastic material kept sticking to itself or the items. If we were outside at a warm music festival, we would imagine the plastic would stick even more and be a pain to deal with. At $14.99, we wouldn’t recommend the Clearworld – Fanny Pack because it was uncomfortable to wear.