Smartphone Tips, Wallets

How to Find a Good Fanny Pack Alternative

The fanny pack gets a bad rap. Sometimes, you have too much stuff to carry it all in your pockets, but you also don’t want to bring a full backpack—or even a purse—along for your adventures. In such situations, a fanny pack provides a good way to tote around your phone, your wallet, and other stuff without dealing with excessive bulk. Unfortunately, fanny packs tend to receive failing grades in both the fashion and comfort departments. If you don’t want to be tagged as a tourist the moment anyone sees you, fanny packs are pretty much out.

Luckily, in the years since the fanny pack earned its bad reputation for being uncool and uncomfortable, the market has given us a slew of alternative options. Some are bags not too far removed from the fanny pack tradition, but with much more fashionable (and comfortable designs). Others are clothing items with hidden pockets or compartments for carrying stuff. But how can you find the right fanny pack alternative for you? Below, we’ve compiled a few questions that you can ask yourself to help find the right answer.

Question 1: How much stuff are you carrying?

Picking the right fanny pack alternative is at least partially about finding an option that provides plentiful space for your stuff. If your pants or shorts don’t have pockets, you might just be looking for somewhere to stash credit cards, cash, or keys. Believe it or not, there are special clothing items out there—from undergarments to socks to flip flops—with pockets or compartments big enough to conceal a few small belongings. If you are carrying your phone, your wallet, your keys, and your passport, you probably need something better. A holster case that hangs underneath your arm, or sits on your hip, is a good option here—one that gives the capacity of a fanny pack without the look of a fanny pack.

Question 2: How much do you care about concealing your belongings?

One of the problems with fanny packs for some people is that they are just too obvious. Not only does a fanny pack tell potential pickpockets where all your stuff is, but thanks to its association with tourism, it can identify you as a hapless victim as well. If you are traveling in an unfamiliar area, you might be looking for a fanny pack alternative that makes it easy to conceal your cards, cash, or other key belongings under your clothes. Some money belts or travel wallets are small enough to be worn under your clothes but offer enough space for your phone, your credit card, and other items.

Question 3: Do you want extra features from your fanny pack alternative?

Manufacturers are getting more ambitious about phone holsters, travel belts, and phone or tablet cases. Many of today’s fanny pack alternatives offer adjustable straps (so that you can wear them in several configurations). Others come with RFID protection (which blocks cyber thieves from stealing your credit card information).

What’s your favorite fanny pack alternative? Let us know in the replies!