Magazine article Sunset

For the Jogger, Fisherman, Birder, Skier ... a Fanny Pack for Every Activity

Magazine article Sunset

For the Jogger, Fisherman, Birder, Skier ... a Fanny Pack for Every Activity

Article excerpt

For the jogger, fisherman, birder, skier . . . a fanny pack for every activity

They may sound like the newest wrinkle in reducing aids for the broad-beamed. But fanny packs are a comfortably compact way to tote basic supplies on day outings.

The idea isn't new. Fanny packs were developed in the 1960s by ski patrolmen to carry first-aid supplies. What is new are all the special-purpose fanny packs now on the market, with designs for joggers, fishermen and river-runners, bird-watchers, photographers, horsemen, and cyclists, as well as hikers and skiers.

There are small packs for incidentals. Larger ones, with capacities ranging from 500 to 1,000 cubic inches, are big enough to carry everything you'll need on a dayhike. So-called convertible or expandable fannies, which grow into large-capacity day packs or small backpacks (up to 2,000 cubic inches), cost $30 to $100.

Why use a fanny pack? A pack that rides on your hips instead of your shoulders offers several advantages:

--It puts the weight squarely onto some of the body's strongest muscles (around the pelvis), allowing you to carry heavier loads comfortably while reducing neck and shoulder strain. (Some hikers report easing of lower back pain as well.)

--The lower center of gravity means more stablity for skiers and joggers.

--You don't have to take off the pack to get at the contents--a plus for anglers, horsemen, photographers, river-runners, skiers, even harried mothers in supermarkets. Just loosen the hip belt, slide the pack to the front, unzip, and reach in for wallet, camera, snacks, or rain gear.

Specialized designs. Fanny packs come in an array of designs; seven are shown on these pages. Fabrics range from lightweight nylon (ideal for runners) to durable waterproof cordura or ballistics cloth.

Joggers can choose from several designs with pockets for water bottles and reflector stripes for night running. One model for long-distance runners holds a small insulated plastic tank for water.

A bicyclist's model doubles as a handlebar bag.

Photographers have several choices (check photographic supply shops) with removable foam inserts and dividers for lenses and camera bodies.

Convertible fannies. A fanny pack that expands into a rucksack (shown at right) is a compromise. …

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