Baby Got Pack

It’s not for looks.

By Samantha Gross, Concordia University


The past several years, an era fondly termed the “twenty-teens,” have been chock-full of 90’s nostalgia.

The generation born from ’91 to ‘99 have finally reached the age at which looking wistfully back on their childhood becomes preferable to the shitstorm of reality they’re currently facing. It’s easier to try and bring back the pretty points of the past than face an uncertain and frightening future.

Urban Outfitters fanny packScroll through Tumblr for even a moment, and aesthetic photographs of plastic buckle sandals and mom jeans will crop up by the fuck load. Nineties nostalgia is real, folks, and the aesthetic of high-waisted jeans and, yes, the fanny pack, is making a strong comeback.

Fanny packs live in the fondest corners of my mind, usually strapped around the Hawaiian patterned shirts and slung low under tourist beer bellies. My dad had one with more pockets than a cargo vest, the black leather cracked with age and always harboring at least three sticks of chapstick. My mom’s was electric blue and reserved for occasional outings where she’d need both hands to wrangle me and my wild sister. I had a mini one that I kept cookie money change in when I was an itty bitty Girl Scout peddling my wares outside of Vons. Fanny packs literally taught me fiscal responsibility and financial mathematics. I look back on those wonderful waist purses with nostalgia and gratitude.

But it’s not just nostalgia that’s bringing back the waist-strapped bad boys. Oh no—it’s much more than that. Sure, the older generation never truly abandoned their fanny pack ways, but the college crowd is recognizing the usefulness of the fanny pack. Move over Hawaiian shirt-clad tourists, fanny packs are trending with the college crowd, and here are three reasons why.

1. Portability

With a fanny pack strapped around my hips, I don’t need to juggle my purse, my lunchbox, my book and my water bottle while trying to lock my car in the parking lot at work. I don’t have to worry about dropping everything in front of my manager’s car or risk seeing the disappointment in his gaze as I frantically attempt to gather all of my belongings so that he can park. I can strap that bad boy around my hips and have an arm free for a non-embarrassing and safe arrival to my place of employment.

With the hands-free glorious waist motherfucker that is the fanny pack, I can destroy anything student leadership throws at me.

Posters and tape on a window nobody else can reach? No problem. Direct parent and student traffic through campus? Fucking cake. My phone, wallet, keys, chapstick, and whatever the fuck else I might need are within easy access but don’t require unnecessary hand or arm usage.

Yeah, okay, backpacks can do this too, but those lesser bags take up a lot of space. They restrict your arms (hello, poster hanging requires full mobility, and backpacks just don’t cut it) and make it impossible to lie on your back comfortably. College requires a lot of you, so outings where you can lessen your bulk, retain full mobility, and lie down at any possible moment transcend beneficial and become absolutely essential.

2. Capacity

My purse weighs about the same as a small child. It is a mass of lipstick, headphones, receipts and lotion. The dark recesses of my bag create the perfect wormhole for items to fall into and never been seen again, adding weight and mess to my already heavy and disaster zone of a purse. It’s like the black hole in “Interstellar.”

Fanny packs, if purchased in the correct size, can usually hold the necessary items without leaving room for unnecessary excess. Do I really need anything besides my phone, wallet and keys? Not particularly. And if I can only carry those things, it will dissuade me from attempting to bring more than I need. Ergo, fanny packs are saving my back and shoulders from purse-related injuries as well as assisting me in downsizing to the vitals. And, as college students, do we really need to carry around extra lotion and multiple pairs of sunglasses? Honestly, we don’t. But if you really feel the need to do so while also rocking a fanny pack, they come in larger sizes as well.

3. Discretion

My cell phone is larger than my pockets, which I blame on both the women’s fashion industry and ever growing cellular technology. My wallet doesn’t stand a chance at resting anywhere discreet on my person.

Urban Outfitters fanny packChapstick makes for funny-looking cylindrical pocket pouches, and the extreme visibility looks ridiculous. My keys hang on a lanyard, so at least that’s hands free, but I click with every step and get dangerously hooked on things far too often.

Fanny packs can store all of these items and then some, all in a nicely proportioned and safely tucked away hands-free hip pouch.

Backpacks and purses are bulky and messy, as previously discussed, but they are also prime pickpocket targets. College students have very little money, so saving every little bit counts, and it’s almost impossible to grab a person’s fanny pack and make off with it. You become less of a potential target if you have a fanny pack instead of a large purse or backpack.

Additionally, ladies, we all know how difficult it can be to run with a purse and how easily backpacks can be grabbed from behind. The fanny pack is the ultimate safety bag, where you can keep pepper spray in an easy to reach location and be able to bolt if the situation becomes unsafe.

Nobody has to notice the fanny pack if you don’t want them to. They’re small, come in various colors, and are not something people are used to looking for anymore. The strap may go around your waist, but the actual pack can rest anywhere along those 360 degrees of available hip space. I should’ve added versatility to this list, but you all get what I’m saying.

Fanny packs may not be the height of fashion according to A-listers or fashion boutiques, but college students everywhere are recognizing the usability and reliability of the fanny pack in their everyday lives. Anything that allows students to discreetly carry our meager belongs and keep our hands free for the million other things we have to do is an A in our books, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

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