The Best Fanny Packs and Slings of 2020
At your waist, across your back—what’s old is cool again
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Unsettle and Company Rush Hour Sling ($79)
Photographers on the go, meet your new gear bag. A removable padded lens divider and DWR coating keep equipment safe whether the Rush Hour is on your torso or attached to your handlebars. An external zippered compartment, six interior pockets, and two pen sleeves make it a smart choice for cameraless outings, too.
Kavu Washtucna Hip Pack ($40)
Kavu’s classic fanny pack pairs retro looks with trail-to-town functionality. The roomy main compartment fits a light layer, while a hidden pocket in the mesh back panel stows valuables. A detachable koozie holds a small water bottle (or a beer), and adjustable cinch straps bring it all together.
Dakine Cyclone Hip Pack ($200)
No need to leave valuables onshore: the Cyclone is fully submersible, with two zippered sand- and waterproof compartments that keep stuff dry even when you’re not. The padded mesh back panel dries quickly and is comfortable against your skin until then. Compression straps secure contents in place so you can focus on paddling.
Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack ($80)
Mountainsmith’s classic lower-back hugger just got an update. Expanded water-bottle pockets now fit 32-ounce Nalgenes, and an external sleeve holds bulky items like a helmet. Loaded to capacity, the Tour felt comfortable on a six-mile hike, courtesy of the robust waist belt and mesh back panel.
REI Trail 2 Hip Pack ($30)
Just 3.6 ounces, REI’s Trail 2 is the most packable (and affordable) bag we tested. When not in use, it collapses into a flat, taco-size bundle. Yet the main pocket, hidden back zip, key loop, and outer pocket still offer ample storage for a day’s worth of essentials.
Boundary Supply Arclite Sling ($129)
City folk will vibe with Boundary Supply’s feature-laden commuter bag. The main compartment and shoulder strap have fiddle-free magnetic buckles, and additional magnets provide compression when the pack’s at less than 15-liter capacity. The water-repellent fabric is Bluesign approved.