A Brief History of the Fanny Pack

Fanny packs enjoyed popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, and now they're making a comeback.

Photo: Shutterstock

Fanny packs were super popular in the 1908s and ‘90s, and thanks to hipsters, they are making a comeback.

The first accessory resembling a fanny pack can be seen as early as the 15th century. They are the perfect size of all the important to-go items, and it won’t slide around on your arms or shoulders. The pack gets its name because it’s traditionally worn around the waist, with the bag in the back, over one’s fanny. Now they are worn on the front or side of the waist. Some people even string them diagonally across their chest. In other countries where fanny is not slang for the wearer’s rear, they are called bum bags or belt bags.

The modern fanny pack didn’t become popular until the 1980s, and even while they were popular they were getting ridiculed. As Jerry tells George on Seinfeld: “It looks like your belt is digesting a small animal.” Lorraine Dorsey is credited with being the Mother of the Fanny Pack because of her constant advocacy of the benefits of the fanny pack in the Baltimore area in the 1990s.

Once designers jumped on the bandwagon, one could find fanny packs in a variety of patterns and fabrics: plaid, smiley faces, leather, sequined, nylon, satin and animal skin. They are incredibly convenient hands free storage for travelers, those with disabilities, and people with mobile professions.

Many still mock the use of the fanny pack, including Weird Al Yankovic in the song “White and Nerdy.” Stereotypically, fanny packs are for out-of-place tourists.

One odd fact about fanny packs is that they are also incredibly easy to use for carrying small firearms, and many manufacturers make fanny packs specifically for concealed carry of weapons.

Thanks to the hipsters and their obsession with retro styles, the fanny pack is making a comeback, especially at events such as music festivals.


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