Ah, the fanny pack—an oft ridiculed accessory, especially back in the ’80s and ’90s when movie stereotypes of nerds and dorks included the belt bag and its cousin, the pocket protector. But as we evolved into the noughties, what was once considered nerdy and dorky became cool. Ironic statement shirts and dorky fashion suddenly became a staple.
As an old millennial, I am often confused about which is cool-geeky a la Joseph Gordon-Levitt circa 2009 and genuine dorky a la Steve Urkel circa 1990. I am probably more of the latter, which is why the fanny pack and these travel accessories are on my radar. Tell me which ones you secretly want to buy.
1. Hiking Fanny Pack
I’m not talking about the designer belt bags worn by fashion stylists or those tribal print packs worn by influencers to festivals. I’m talking about multi-pocketed fanny packs meant to replace the knapsack. Check out the Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack. Priced at $75, this six-liter hip pack has a main compartment to store your snacks and camera. There’s a zippered pocket for your personal effects like your phone and keys. On the side there are two 600-ml water bottle holders (water bottles included). Available at Osprey and Amazon.
2. Fanny Pack Slippers
Seasoned backpackers will tell you that the best way to avoid being pickpocketed is to hide your money is special spots like your underwear, socks, and shoes. It looks like Nike is taking this up a notch by designing the Nike Benassi JDI Fanny Pack Men’s Slide. These lightweight, soft foam sole slippers feature zip pockets on the fanny-pack-inspired straps where you can store small essentials. Available at Nike at $50 a pair.
3. Travel Icon T-shirt
Lost in translation? If you’re looking for a bus stop, restaurant, hospital, and other travel destinations, just point at one of the 40 icons on this shirt and pray that the local you’re asking help from will understand. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want to whip out your phone and use apps in high-burglary areas. It’s also less creepy than the baller band version where you have to ask a local to look at your wrist. Available at ICONSPEAK. Choose from t-shirts and tanks at $33 each.
4. Inflatable Hangers
Not all accommodations provide hangers in the closet, so it’s best to pack your own. Just make sure it isn’t the bulky type that takes up too much space and weight. Look for inflatable hangers that are lightweight. Price varies. Try Travelon, Scrubba, and Amazon.
5. Portable Rain Hood
While I don’t like getting drenched in the rain while traveling, I also dislike packing rain gear in my carry-on. From trying to fit in a clunky travel umbrella to stuffing my rain jacket into my sling bag, rain gear just doesn’t mesh well with light travelers on the go. Here’s a stylish solution: Hood To Go, a $25 hood-vest that will go with whatever outfit you’re wearing. It’s best to wear under your blazer. When the sun comes out, you can take it off and stuff it in your bag pocket. Available online at Hood To Go.
6. Travel Vest
If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to have zero carry-on bags when boarding a plane, try this. You might look like a cross between a fishing enthusiast and an old-school journalist attending a press con, but you’ll glide through the airport faster. There are several travel vest brands to choose from, but I have my eyes on Travel Smith’s 15-Pocket Voyager Vest, $84.95-$94.95. It’s safari chic!
7. Bra Wallet
If you’re one of those who like hiding cash and other essentials in her bra, here’s a more hygienic and secure option. Eagle Creek’s undercover bra stash is small silk purse that you can securely clip on any part of your bra. Use it to store some cash and a few credit cards, or a small phone. Available at Eagle Creek and Amazon for $13.50 each.
Photos from Amazon, Hood To Go, ICONSPEAK, Nike, Osprey, Pixabay, The Scrubba, and Travel Smith.