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A waist pack is a smaller alternative to a big, bulky backpack that just weighs on your shoulders. Instead, the pack can sit in front of your waist or on your lower back and still hold all of the items needed for a microadventure — snacks, water, camera, phone, wallet and whatever else you deem necessary on the trail. We’ve got the best waist packs for all of your adventures, from easy day hikes to traveling around a new city.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Osprey Packs Talon 6 Hip Pack
For comfort, compactness and all the storage you need, use the lightweight Osprey Talon six-liter hip pack. Made with all the padding and top technology that Osprey packs are known for, the Talon is chock full of similar elements, including the continuous wrap-around hip belt and multiple cinch straps. There is a dual-zippered large main compartment for snacks, lunch, cameras and extra layers, plus a front panel zippered pocket for keys and phones. On the side are two 570-milliliter water bottle holders (BPA-free water bottles included). Use this for day hiking, trail running and even mountain biking. The pack is 8 x 12 x 8 inches. The waist strap is adjustable up to 41 inches. Colors include black, red and green.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: EGOGO Travel Sport Waist Pack
Wear the durable, water-resistant EGOGO Travel Sport waist pack on the side of your hip for the best placement and ease of use. It’s smaller than other waist packs, but still has enough space to hold a water bottle, plus extra snacks or a camera in the main zippered compartment and other small items in the middle zippered or small front compartment. Hook your keys inside on the included clip, and stay comfortable all day with the padded back and side panel.
The pack is 13 x 6 x 3.5 inches. The waist strap is adjustable up to 45 inches. Colors include dark green, black, bright blue, orange, purple and pink.
Best Budget: Everest Lumbar Waist Pack
At less than $20, the water resistant Everest Lumbar Waist Pack provides just the right amount of pockets to carry your keys, wallet, snacks and even water bottles. The pack can be worn in the front, back or side, and has padded panels to keep you comfortable all day. There are three large zipper pockets, plus two insulated water bottle pockets. Cinch each compartment tight with tie-down straps for a slim fit. When you aren’t wearing the waist pack, use the top handle instead. Colors include black, navy and olive. The waist strap is adjustable up to 48 inches.
Best for Running: FlipBelt
Slip on this extremely minimalist belt that can hold your keys, ID, phone, cards and money. The FlipBelt is made from a stretchy fabric that is wicking and quick drying. There are no buckles to add unneeded weight or bounce to the belt. Instead, you simply slide the belt up and over your feet to fit securely around your waist. Colors include black, pink, teal, gray, blue, purple, neon green, neon yellow and orange.
Best Basic: JanSport Fifth Ave Waist Pack
For a sleek, small bag that won’t be too bulky, the lightweight JanSport Fifth Ave pack keeps all your small essentials right at hand. It measures 12.5 x 6 x 4 inches and is made from 600 denier polyester for durability. There are two zippered pockets: a larger main pocket (perfect for a water bottle, wallet, smartphone, etc.) and then a smaller front pocket for little things like keys or cash. The band is adjustable enough that you can wear it around your waist or cross-body so the pouch is on your back.
The Fifth Ave waist pack comes in 15 different colors and patterns, from basic black to colorful tie-dye and zebra stripe prints.
Best Convertible: Mountainsmith Lumbar Tour
Take this pack from the office to the trail. The Mountainsmith Lumbar Tour pack has a removable shoulder strap to carry the bag messenger style, but you can also wear it as a lumbar pack with an air mesh foam back panel for extra comfort and breathability. The lumbar waist belt tucks sleekly away into the back panel when not in use. The zippered main compartment has an interior padded sleeve for laptops or tablets. On the outside of the bag, you’ll find two side water bottle holders, cinch straps, a top handle, and a zippered front pocket. The bag is 10 x 11.5 x 5 inches and its waistbelt can accommodate frames 28 to 48 inches. Available colors include black, red, deep blue, and hemp tan.
Best Water-Resistant: Waterfly Waist Bag
If you are traveling in an area that is prone to rain or are spending the day on a boat or river, opt for the Waterfly Waist Bag. This water-resistant, sleek waist bag has one larger zippered compartment, two smaller front pockets, plus a rear zippered pocket to stash your money, passport and other important goods that need to stay dry. There is also an inner clip for keys and other items that you don’t want slipping out. Size is 11 x 4 inches; the waist strap is adjustable up to 50 inches. Colors include black, gray, purple and red.
Best Style: Kavu Women’s Stroll Around Backpack
A funky fanny pack is perfect for the beach, festivals and just strolling around town. With the Kavu Stroll Around Backpack, you’ll get a small pack that will not only keep your personal items close to your body in a zippered main compartment, but also a pack that doesn’t skimp on style. Patterns include a navy and white geometric print, a subdued blue, red and orange checkered print, a bright yellow, blue and red starburst print, a a muted green and red desert print. The cotton fanny pack has adjustable straps that extend to 38 inches total and clasp with a carabiner. The fanny pack measures 5 x 13 inches.