Fanny packs: The underdog accessory you need

By Jeffrey Heng, Staff Reporter

Backpacks, duffel bags, satchels and purses.

Throughout Conestoga, these bags often form the supply-carrying foundation for the student body. However, it always astounds me how many people overlook possibly one of the most versatile pieces of inventory on the shelves: the fanny pack.

Fanny packs are small, fabric pouches usually worn around the waist and secured with buckled straps. These “belt bags” were used since they originated in Native American buffalo pouches, an alternative to sewn pockets. Positioned in front of the body, the location of the bag provided protection from thieving bandits.

These bags resurged in popularity recently due to high-end brands, such as Gucci, which featured celebrities on runways showcasing the iconic bag. And let’s not forget about Dwayne Johnson’s incredible photo taken in the 90s — a turtleneck, a necklace, and of course, an infamous fanny pack. Johnson retook the photo in 2017 while hosting “Saturday Night Live,” engaging another push for its popularity.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the front-fastened position makes it seem like you’ve grown a kangaroo pouch. But here’s the catch: unlike kangaroos limited to one joey, you can carry multiple. In this case, the joeys are your essentials, but the pouches serve the same purpose. Whether it is your long-beloved 0.7-point mechanical pencil or never-ending supply of salt packets, all your essentials are within hand’s reach.

In addition, fanny packs are a distinguishable sense of fashion. The North Face website, for example, features a variety of gender-neutral fanny packs, proving everyone has a selection to choose from. While many lack accessories around their waist, those wearing fanny packs differentiate from the basic belt. Even if the bag clashes with your style, you’re still making a statement that will definitely start conversations.

In terms of health, fanny packs can support balance. Although many students rely on a single backpack to hold their inventory, this can ultimately lead to serious back pain. An article by the Mayo Clinic Health System suggests that students carry no more than 15% of their body weight in a backpack; yet, many students report that they experience soreness in their spine and muscles. By combining the use of a fanny pack, the weight of a hefty backpack is distributed and can improve student posture.

Some will argue that fanny packs, despite their multiple capabilities, are limited by their small size. This is true, and fanny packs are by no means ready to replace backpacks or eliminate their use. However, they serve as an alternative spot for small commodities. Even though they cannot hold large textbooks or laptops, they can thrive on their own by holding smaller essentials. They are like the lifeboats on the side of a cruise; they hold a few objects, but still are fully functional.

With the busy lives that many ’Stoga students have, fanny packs would serve a major convenience. A compact, low-waist bag holds supplies with ease that would otherwise contribute to an already heavy backpack. So, when you go back-to-school shopping in a few months, think about investing in a fanny pack, the underdog staple of the fashion industry.

Jeffrey Heng can be reached at [email protected].