Best Fanny Pack for Hiking: Our Top 11 for Day Hikes and More

Is your backpack weighing you down? Then you need a minimalist fanny pack! In this guide, you’ll find all the contenders for the title of “best fanny pack for hiking” and also plenty of advice on how to choose the perfect pack for you.

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Best Hiking Waist Packs, Fanny Packs, and Lumbar Packs

Looking for the Perfect Fanny Pack for Hiking?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • A selection of 11 of the best hiking fanny packs, water-bottle waist packs, and hip packs
    • Advice on how to choose the ideal fanny or waist pack for any hiking trip
    • Our top choice for the overall top hiking fanny pack

If your back is aching at the mere thought of wearing a heavy backpack, consider a lightweight fanny pack instead!

You’d be hard-pressed to find a trail these days that isn’t filled with hikers wearing fanny packs. Thanks to their lightweight comfort, versatility, and convenience, the popularity of waist packs keeps rising as ultra-minimalist hiking gear shows no signs of slowing down.

But remember – all fanny packs are not made equal! So if you’re new to the waist pack trend or want to channel the early 90s version of yourself, here’s our guide to the best fanny pack for hiking to help you find the ideal waist or lumbar pack for your hiking style.

Best Fanny Pack for Hiking by Category

Budget: Waterfly Slim and Kavu Spectator
Minimalist: Gossamer Gear Bumster, Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole, and Kavu Spectator
High-Capacity: MountainSmith Day Lumbar 13 L and MountainSmith Tour

Editor’s Choice

MountainSmith Tour

Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack

The MountainSmith Tour is a robust lumbar pack with a large carrying capacity. Thanks to its quality materials and dialed-in design features, the MountainSmith may even replace your regular daypack.

Some of its thoughtful features include compression straps, two water bottle holsters, an interior padded sleeve for your tech gadgets, and a secret back panel stash pocket for credit cards or other valuables.

The only drawback is that the MountainSmith might be too large for some small-framed people to carry comfortably. But if you’re a frequent hiker that can’t live without their gear, the MountainSmith Tour has all the capacity you need to stow your gear from the streets to the trail.

Bottom Line: A tough, high-capacity lumbar pack that’s ideal for standalone use on day hikes or as a second pack on thru-hikes.

At a Glance: Quick Recommendations

  • Editor’s Choice:  MountainSmith Tour
    “A durable lumbar pack with plenty of pockets for stashing all your gear.”
  • Runner Up:  Osprey Talon & Tempest 6
    “Keeps all your gear organized and easily accessible in six pockets.”
  • Best Value:  Kavu Spectator
    “A cool, mini hip belt that provides essential storage and plenty of style.”
  • Best Hydration Pack:  CamelBak Podium Flow Belt
    “The perfect ultra-lightweight hydration waist pack for thirsty hikers.”
  • Best for Fast-and-Light Adventures:  Gossamer Gear Bumster
    “An affordable and lightweight bag designed to hold just the small essentials.”
  • Best Eco-Friendly:  REI Co-op Trail 5 L
    “An eco-friendly bag with a deep main compartment and plenty of pockets.”
  • Best High Capacity:  MountainSmith Day Lumbar Pack 13 L
    “A massive 13L of efficient storage and multiple uses.”
  • Most Durable:  Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa
    “A tough waterproof option that’s perfect for rugged outdoor adventures.”
  • Best Everyday Carry:  Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L
    “This ultralight hip belt is easy to carry and incredibly weather resistant.”
  • Most Stylish:  Cotopaxi Bataan
    “A cool retro design, repurposed materials, and durable ripstop nylon… need we say more?”
  • Best Budget:  Waterfly Slim
    “A budget-friendly, no-frills waist pack that’s surprisingly waterproof.”

Best Hiking Fanny Packs: Our Top 11 Picks

MountainSmith Tour

Editor’s Choice

The MountainSmith is a robust lumber pack with a similar design to that of the Osprey – sturdy, durable, and with great compartmentalization. The MountainSmith, however, has a couple of extra thoughtful features that make it our overall top pick.

This hiking fanny pack features lots of functional pockets designed to store everything from a smartphone or tablet to two water bottles. A padded harness and compression straps offer maximum comfort even when the pack is fully-loaded.

  • PROs

    • High capacity
    • Lots of pockets
    • Padded back panel
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Two water bottle pockets
  • CONs

    • Heavy
    • A bit pricey

Bottom-Line: Thanks to its large capacity and thoughtful organization, the MountainSmith is a great substitute for your go-to day pack.

Osprey Talon & Tempest 6

Runner Up

Got a lot of stuff but hate rummaging around your backpack? The Osprey Talon 6 (click here for the women’s version Tempest 6) is a robust waist pack with a large, dual-zippered main compartment for stowing your gear and 5 other small pockets for keeping your small essentials organized.

With a medium storage capacity of 6L, hikers with a ton of gear might be better off choosing the MountainSmith Day 13L. But if you like traveling light with just a little more than the basics, the OspreyTalon/Tempest will provide all-day comfort while on the trail.

  • PROs

    • Sustainably built
    • Lots of pockets
    • Water-resistant
  • CONs

    • A bit heavy

Bottom-Line: A heavy-duty yet lightweight option that can withstand whatever the elements throw at it.

Kavu Spectator

Best Value

This sleek and retro option provides just enough room to carefully stow away your essentials. It’s roomy enough to keep all your small gadgets secure and organized, like a smartphone, keys, and passport.

The Spectator features a simple, 2-compartment design, and has other nice features like a padded back panel, adjustable straps, and a side-release buckle.

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Lightweight
    • High denier rating
  • CONs

    • Smallest capacity on our list

Bottom-Line: Keep your essentials close and your back pain-free!

CamelBak Podium Flow Belt

Best Hydration Pack

If you’re looking for a barely-there model to keep you hydrated, check out the CamelBak Podium. This minimalist hydration belt includes 2 liters of storage space and a 21-ounce water sleeve, making it perfect for a quick run or a short hike.

What we love is how optimized for convenience this waist belt is. Every detail has been thoughtfully considered, like its easy-access bottle pocket, secure stash pocket for your smartphone, and comfortable and adjustable waist belt.

  • PROs

    • Lightweight
    • Only model with a water bottle included
    • Reflective materials
    • Lifetime guarantee
  • CONs

    • Low capacity

Bottom-Line: The perfect waist belt for minimalist hikers who like to carry water and a few small essentials.

Gossamer Gear Bumster

Best for Fast-and-Light Adventures

The Gossamer is a no-fuss hiking waist pack for outdoor enthusiasts that live on the bare essentials. It’s one of the lightest and most affordable waist packs on our list along with the Kavu Spectator.

While the real showstopper of this bag is its lightweight and affordable price tag, you’ll also enjoy useful features like a top opening for quick access, internal mesh pockets, and a secure back pocket.

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Lightweight
    • Lifetime warranty
  • CONs

    • Small capacity
    • No fancy features

Bottom-Line: No frills, just a solid, lightweight hiking fanny pack for easy-going adventures.

REI Co-op Trail 5 L

Best Eco-Friendly

The REI Co-op is a rugged nylon bag made from sustainable materials. Its deep main compartment holds up to 10 essentials, and there’s also a secret hidden pocket in the back for stashing valuables.

We especially love the daisy chains on the front which allow you to clip on lightweight gear for easy access. Thanks to 5 liters of capacity at only 9oz., it has one of the better weight-to-capacity ratios on our list.

  • PROs

    • Sustainably built
    • Rugged nylon shell
    • Daisy chains for external storage
  • CONs

    • Small capacity

Bottom-Line: Environmentally-conscious hikers will love this rugged and sustainably made waist bag.

MountainSmith Day Lumbar Pack 13 L

Best High Capacity

Can a fanny pack stand in for an actual hiking backpack? The MountainSmith Day sure can!

This beast of a lumbar pack is a great choice for gear-heavy hikers. With 13L of storage capacity, your days of overstuffing your pack are over. Add the optional ​​Mountainsmith Strapettes (not included) for easy, backpack-style carrying.

Thanks to its function-first design, you’ll barely feel the weight you’re carrying. A patented compression load adjustment system evenly distributes the weight for easy carrying while back-panel padding and a tuck-away waist belt provide all-day comfort.

  • PROs

    • Highest capacity on our list
    • Plenty of storage pockets
    • Two water bottle holsters
    • Big enough for camera gear, large lunches, and extra layers
  • CONs

    • Heavy
    • A bit pricey

Bottom-Line: The top high-capacity option for hikers with a lot of gear in tow.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa

Most Durable

If you need a rugged companion to accompany you on your adventures, make it the HMG Versa. Its Dyneema (DCF) construction makes this model pretty pricey, but its waterproof and durable design will keep your gear secure.

Despite its large carrying capacity, it’s still one of the lightest packs on our list. Its large, zippered main compartment will hold a variety of gear and its impressive weight-to-capacity ratio makes it a good choice for heavy packers that want to minimize weight.

  • PROs

    • Durable materials
    • Lightweight
    • Back pocket
  • CONs

    • A bit bulky

Bottom-Line: If traveling light isn’t your style, stow all your gear in this rugged and durable bag.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L

Best Everyday Carry

This compact model has just enough room to carry your hiking essentials or extra snacks without weighing you down. On top of its fun retro design, it’s made from durable, 100% recycled ripstop nylon and meets Patagonia’s bluesign® criteria.

The main compartment features a convenient key ring clip and security pocket while a soft, flexible webbing belt provides all-day comfort around your waist or hips.

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Water-resistant
    • Lightweight
  • CONs

    • Less capacity
    • Low denier rating

Bottom-Line: The perfect lightweight, everyday carry for short hikes or strolls.

Cotopaxi Bataan

Most Stylish

The Bataan is a retro-style hip bag made from repurposed materials. No two are alike since the Cotopaxi brand creates each pack from excess materials left over from their other products.

The result is a classic hip bag with a funky, brightly-colored design. Durable yet lightweight ripstop nylon shell fabric will keep all your gear protected while its mesh and zippered pockets keep your small essentials secure and organized.

  • PROs

    • Cool retro design
    • Sustainable, repurposed materials
    • Lightweight ripstop nylon shell
  • CONs

    • Small capacity
    • No extra features

Bottom-Line: One for hikers who want to carry their essential gear in style.

Waterfly Slim

Best Budget

The Waterfly is an ultralight fanny pack designed for carrying just the bare essentials. You’ll get lots of versatility out of this waterproof fanny pack as it’s perfectly suitable for sightseeing, trail running, dog walking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

Despite its small size, the Waterfly is surprisingly water- and sweat-resistant. You won’t have to worry about your stuff getting wet while you’re exercising, and thanks to a secret anti-theft pocket, you won’t have to worry about your stuff getting stolen either.

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Durable ripstop nylon fabric
    • Waterproof
  • CONs

    • No extra features

Bottom-Line: The perfect budget fanny pack for trail runners, mountain bikers, or hikers carrying just a few snacks and water.

What to Look for in a Fanny Pack for Hiking

Capacity

The larger the carrying capacity, the more gear you can lug with you on the trail. Just remember the larger options out there will start to feel cumbersome if filled to the brim. 

Aim to get the lightest and smallest model you can without sacrificing on essential items. The highest capacity option on our list is the MountainSmith 13L and the smallest is the Kavu Spectator (0.5L).

The interior of a fanny pack
Plenty of room for all the essentials. © Kieran Cunningham/My Open Country®

Weight

It doesn’t matter how comfortable a fanny pack is, if it’s too heavy it’s going to be uncomfortable to wear. 

The lightest packs, like the Gossamer Gear Bumster (3.1 oz.) and HMG Versa (2.9 oz.) skip out on all the bells and whistles, but you’ll be shaving off some precious ounces. 

Heavier packs like the MountainSmith Tour tend to have large weight capacities, but they could be uncomfortably heavy on your waist and hips. 

Large fanny pack and water bottle sitting in front of the Grand Staircase-Escalante
A larger fanny pack with increased weight may come with the disadvantage of chafing around the waist.

Pockets

Multiple pockets are for more than just carrying your stuff, they also allow you to organize your gear in a way that is easily accessible while on the trail. 

For instance, most fanny packs have a large zippered compartment for storing your gear along with smaller, ‘secret’ stash pockets in the back for hiding your bank cards or passport.

A front zippered pocket affords you easy access to essentials like your keys or smartphone without having to dig through the main compartment. 

On our list, the Osprey and MountainSmith Tour feature the most functional and organizational pockets. 

The water bottle holder on the side of a fanny pack
A water bottle holder is a handy addition! © Kieran Cunningham/My Open Country®

Straps

Shoulder Straps

A shoulder strap allows you to turn your “bum bag” into a racer-style backpack or sling bag. If you’re prone to a sore back or hips while hiking, this is a good option to have. 

Adjustable Waist Strap

An adjustable strap at the waist allows you to adjust the circumference of the belt – usually from anywhere between 17 to 50 inches. This is a useful option if you share the same pack with someone else or you just like to indulge in a hearty lunch while hiking. Ideally, this strap will have a little padding at the hips to prevent chafing.

The Hyperlite Mountain has the largest adjustable waist strap on our list. 

Fanny pack with padded waist band fastened at the front
A little padding at the hips helps to prevent your waist belt from chafing.

Materials

As with all hiking kit, the more premium and hi-tech the materials, the higher the price tag. 

If you need lightweight durability, you can’t go wrong with rip-stop nylon. Few fabrics are as resistant to rips and tears. The Patagonia Ultralight, MountainSmith Tour, and MountainSmith Day are all made with ripstop nylon. 

If you regularly hike in unpredictable weather, you might think about investing in a waterproof option like the Hyperlite Mountain with its waterproof, super durable Dyneema® Composite Fabrics DCH50. The Patagonia Ultralight is also waterproof. 

Features

It’s all in the fancy features! If you’re on the fence about which option to choose, look for the features you think will be the most useful to you. Some of the common extras include water bottle holders, padded mesh backing, compression straps, and daisy chains. 

Fanny pack pockets
The usefulness of pocket positions, daisy chains, and other features will all be down to individual preference.

Best Hiking Fanny Packs: The Verdict

There you have it! How did you like our article? We hope this guide to the top fanny packs for hiking has made you reconsider your traditional daypack for a classic fanny pack! 

The MountainSmith Tour is our overall top pick thanks to its all-day comfort and high carrying capacity, but if you like to keep it light while on the trail, the Patagonia Ultralight makes a fine choice, too. 

If we missed anything or if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to share this post with any of your friends, go ahead! 

Last update on 2022-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jolanda is a full-time writer and life-long outdoor enthusiast. Growing up on a small island off the Eastern Canadian coast, she spent most of her childhood hiking, swimming and fishing in the Atlantic ocean.

After a short stint in the corporate world, Jolanda quit her day job to write full-time and check out what lies beyond the Canadian shores. Ever since, she’s been hiking, biking and kayaking her way across 11 European countries and counting.

Jolanda currently lives in the beautiful, Tuscan countryside. When she isn’t hanging out in the woods or at the beach, you’ll catch her foraging for mushrooms and truffles with her truffle-dog, Red.

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