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Hip-bags, belted satchels, buffalo pouches. Regardless of the chosen name, the hands-free accessory known as the fanny pack is experiencing a resurgence in the outdoor recreation industry—which, coincidentally (but unsurprisingly), is where it first gained popularity. A 1954 Sports Illustrated issue spotlighted a lightweight leather fanny pack “designed to hold a cross-country skier’s wax and lunch,” according to InStyle. And Men’s Health substantiates that skiers and hikers spearheaded the belt-bag movement that eventually evolved into an ’80s athleisure trend: “Oxford dictionary’s earliest reference to fanny packs comes from a linguistics journal in 1963, which references them as slang for the belt that ski patrol used to carry their first aid kit.”
After spending several years held hostage by the terrible fashion of tourists, embarrassing parents, and jazzercise, the fanny pack has come full circle. Here, five Colorado-tied brands take note.
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Day hikers can call-on the Drift, designed by Mountainsmith (pictured above), to tote essentials such as snacks, water, and an extra layer. The wide waist belt features a compression system that allows the wearer to tighten down the load and keep the pack weight close to the body. Plus, folks can use an optional shoulder strap for extra stability. The pack’s Cordura fabric withstands overall wear-and-tear and the elements, while two side bottle-pockets can carry up to 22 ounces of aqua. Plus, there’s even a headphone port for solo adventurers. $49.95
The Deuter Pulse 3, new this fall, features a mesh layer that keeps the pack suspended off the rider’s lower back, which allows sweat-drenched fabric to dry while offering space for a comfortable breeze. The design gets even better: Inside, there’s enough space for a 1.5-liter hydration bladder, plus a rain jacket, bulky car keys—and any extras you want to pack for your ride. $80
Created by Denver-based outdoor lifestyle brand Topo Designs, the fashion-forward Fronteer Quick Pack is a perfect match for travel, bike commuting, around-town errands, or quick lunch hikes in the foothills. The spacious bag is well-supported by the waist belt’s wide seatbelt material. Beyond the belly-sack, the Fronteer can likewise be worn across the body. $89
Invented by Kush Climbing, the Festi Bag is the first-ever chalk-bucket-and-fanny-pack combination. Made for bouldering, climbers can keep their chalk bag around their waist as they move between rock faces or up higher routes. The roll-top design is made from locally sourced hemp, recycled deep sea fishing nets, and Cordura fabric—which is super tough and withstands abrasion. The sack is made-to-order and manufactured in the Mile High City. $55
Osprey’s streamlined Duro Solo is ideal for trail runners. The waist-belt is wide and adjustable. The pack is lightweight, and boasts enough room for a snack, keys, and phone—which is reachable through a touchscreen-compatible fabric. Plus, this pack includes an exterior pouch that hugs a 570 ml water bottle (included). $40