Rudey's Room

My Ode to the Fanny Pack


“I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.”

-Gilda Radner


Chanel may call it a belt bag to make it less dépassé, but I’m going to call it what I know it to be … a straight-up Fanny Pack.

Some may see it as a giant question mark on fashionable choices. It was never cool, even when it was “in style.”

I see it as so, so useful.

It’s certainly not the hippest bag I own, but it’s the bag I need. I love my fanny pack – unconditionally.

Maybe you can’t wear one without thinking about The Rock’s delicate hold on his in the late ’90s, well …



I get that. Neither can I. It’s a difficult image to erase. This picture is giant (I couldn’t reduce the size!) and there are so many things to talk about here – the silver chain over the turtleneck, perhaps.

Find out what he kept in pack from this clip on Jimmy Fallon. What a riot!

But fanny packs are so practical. And liberating. It’s easy access to your essentials; your hands are free.

I have an oversized one from the ’90s – see below. (Google couldn’t find an image other than a sold one on eBay because apparently, it’s vintage (ha!)). I was rocking this one in line at Great America and biking on the 606 through the hippest neighborhoods in Chicago until recently.



It’s bigger than an adult Croc. Need I say more?! It’s uncool, but it’s just so freakin’ easy that I go with it. It even has a separate zipped section for a water bottle.

The day of this picture I caught a man (not the Croc-wearing one) eyeing up my giant fanny pack while we waited in line for the alpine slide.  I anticipated that he would nudge his tween to peek at the sideshow and whisper to her about what a faux pas it is to sport this démodé trend.

(There’s something about the fanny pack that stir up mocking and even a little judgment and hatred).

I was primed for the look. Instead he struck up a conversation with me.

“Is that a fanny pack?,” he teased.

I own wearing it. I snap it on for a bike ride without irony. It’s so useful, I don’t care.

“Why yes, it sure is,” I replied with a eyebrow wiggle and placed my hand – possibly in the fashion of The Rock – on my pack. “Are you kind of jealous?”

With that, I pushed the lever down on my alpine sled and cruised down the 1700-foot slide with Stella.

I think he was.

I rarely hit the great outdoors without this pack – biking, hiking, roller coasting. It does the trick. I love the practicality of a fanny pack, but my green was a little cumbersome for day-to-day usage.

I needed an alternative pack, which is what prompted me to spend part of the Amazon gift card my in-laws gave me for my 40th birthday and upgrade to this one.   

It’s better suited for Logan Square, i.m.o.

The fanny pack is so convenient.

The New York Time’s even published a letter of recommendation. I’m aligned with what she writes, “To the unenlightened, fanny packs are synony­mous with the ugly American: the perfect accessory for extra-large, convenience-obsessed people. But to me they promote the greatest of our nation’s ideals: freedom.”

She continues, ” I can find everything I need right when I need it; I don’t have to suffer the vortex of a tote bag — that endless panic of sifting through old receipts and half-eaten snacks — just to find my keys or my work badge.”

If that’s not enough she says, “What other accessory ensures the safety of your essentials, with easy access, while also liberating your hands? The fanny pack, when used properly, enables a whole host of activities that other bags render awkward: a deep embrace, a dance party, the ability to quickly find and swipe and secure your MetroCard. Through its rare combination of aesthetic contrarianism and functionality, it enables a life of wild abandon.”

I’m with her.

I left my fanny pack in the car – a ferry ride away – on our recent trip to Mackinac Island. I overlooked the need – forgotten that we planned to bike around. I only had my beach bag to lumber over my shoulder through town.

Man, I missed my fanny pack those 48 hours.




Which fanny pack is right for you? Click on this link to see some pretty fantastic options. Perhaps you’ll add fanny pack to your birthday wish list.



P.S. This is what I use for running. I love it as well.

2 Responses to “My Ode to the Fanny Pack”

  1. Joan Radue

    I couldn’t agree more with the usefulness of a fanny pack. Had one for yrs & Wore it out! Searched high & low to find another, but they were “outdated”. I would still love one & I would definitely use it – stylish or not!


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