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Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack?
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack? on 10/12/2012 19:19:39 MDT Print View

Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack? How do you use it and what do you carry? Do you have examples of lightweight models?

I had a silnylon one that I bought years ago. It looked like a good DIY product. I can't find it at the moment to weigh and photograph, but it was essentially a big zippered pocket with a waist strap and buckle, made in a good UL way. I've seen many versions with lots of padding, straps and hardware, and most had water bottle pockets or the main compartment was made for a small bladder, a la several Camelbak models. Mountainsmith has been a leader in making monster lumbar packs and there are many backpacks that are considerably lighter while having more volume, knocking those off the list for obvious UL reasons.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
yes on 10/13/2012 00:08:24 MDT Print View

Osprey Talon 4. Just under 11 ounces and with bottles under 15. I carry a first aid/survival kit (5 oz), space blanket, gloves, and wind jacket. Still room for a few more things. What's really great is the fact your back is not sweating with a pack covering it. I use it for local hikes where the amount of gear needed is minimal. Mike M. suggested this one a few months back when I was looking for a fanny pack. It is great. May use it this weekend. It isn't the lightest option, but is very functional.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Lumbar pack on 10/13/2012 06:49:57 MDT Print View

Funny, I ended up with the Black Diamond Fuse on Mike M's suggestion :D...actually I think from the same post,as I recall he mentioned the Osprey also. I found it on sale so decided to try it. I only use it for dayhikes and used it for the first time last weekend doing trail maintenance. It's got lots of room in the main compartment,as well as two side pockets..very comfortable as well. Weighs 8.4 oz. It was a cold rainy day, so I paired it with my Gossamer Gear RicSak, so I could carry rain gear and a fleece top. Worked out really well.

For backpacking I recently started using a Gossamer Gear Hipster, as a sort of "ditch kit", mainly it keeps all my small incidentals/emergency gear close at hand. Weighs 1.4 oz.
I really like it.

Edited by leighb on 10/13/2012 06:51:24 MDT.

daypack on 10/13/2012 06:58:04 MDT Print View

I use a sea to summit ultrasil daypack. 2.4 oz for a daypack.

I have a robust lumbar pack I bought years ago for skiing. Not that useful really, too small. A backpack is easier to manage on/off and has more room, although the wt of the lumbar pack is located better (low in small of back).

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/13/2012 07:00:59 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gossamer Gear Hipster, etc on 10/13/2012 09:31:05 MDT Print View

@ Leigh

The small silnylon pack I mentioned was much like the Hipster and best used the same way that Gossamer Gear reccomends, as a "belly pack" over the top of a backpack waist belt. The Hipster uses PU coated nylon which is tougher and can handle objects with rough edges better.

I think these smaller sub-2oz pocket sized models may be a good alternative to the neck lanyard debate, for carrying critical essentials.

I've done the dance of paring up a hydration-oriented lumbar pack with a SUL backpack. It makes sense to carry the greater water weight on the hips and carrying water is usually the challenge with most packs in the "stuff sack with shoulder straps" class. While the combination is practical enough in use, you can get packs with water bottle pockets and more capacity for less weight than a hydration lumbar pack plus SUL day pack.

it seems that hydration-oriented lumbar packs get caught in a design death-spiral, adding more padding and wider belts to keep it in the lumbar area and adding more stabilization straps and associated hardware to keep it from bouncing. Many designers do a nosedive off the ultralight bandwagon, adding more compression and lash straps as well as layers of pockets and organizer panels, and using heavy fabrics. It's not a bit different than backpack design, adding features and weight. Mountainsmith has taken it to the point that they offer shoulder straps to keep the monster from slipping to your knees when fully loaded.

It would be great to see a lumbar pack that adheres to UL principles and still carry a couple 750ml bottles, a snack, and some core essentials.

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/13/2012 09:33:16 MDT.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Lumbar pack on 10/13/2012 11:29:47 MDT Print View

@ Dale,
I agree with you completely,on all counts. Would love to see lighter wt. lumbar packs....any cottage folks out there listening :)...I use the lumbar pack just as you described, to keep water wt on my hips and off my back when dayhiking.I was surprised how well it did that job, but I can see it being hot in warmer climes. I have an old lumbar injury that causes me grief from time to time and is the reason I have yet to find a UL pack that works for me...but I keep looking. I will get to try out my new Gorilla in a couple of weeks, and hope it will work for me. Thanks for posting this, I think there will be better options out there in the future.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack? on 10/13/2012 12:42:58 MDT Print View

I have used them off and on through out the year for hiking and everyday use to carry my stuff. I had Lowe that I used for hiking alot it a hidden top pocket you would unzip it would turn in to tear drop day pack I really liked it.

In the 1970's as teenager I read was fascinated with a section of book "The Complete Walker" By Colin Fletcher how he went light weight backpacking with a fanny pack only. I always have wanted to try it but I always had to much equipment to carry.
I have tried on large monster fanny packs that some had shoulder harnesses through out the years and I tried to packed my stuff in them at the shop but they did carry right or my stuff would not fit in the fanny packs by Jandds,Mountain Smith,Dana designs through out the years.

Then back on this board we started talking about fanny packs. Then Christopher Zimmer made the best monster fanny pack and harness system I have seen over the years out of Cuben. Their called the half pack 2.0 half pack 2.0 Elder they put any fanny pack to shame in the big named fanny pack manufactures. The harness system alone look like same used by Hot Shot teams on fire fighting packs but ultra light. Call Chris at Zimmerbuilt he will make what you need.

Edited by socal-nomad on 10/13/2012 12:45:57 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack? on 10/13/2012 14:53:03 MDT Print View


I have to laugh when I see fanny posted on here as it means something else back in Europe.

Have a great weekend all,

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Do you use a fanny or lumbar pack? on 10/13/2012 15:00:05 MDT Print View

Aye, and "windbreaker" is funny too:)

And a bum to we Yanks is a homeless guy out of work.

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/13/2012 15:01:48 MDT.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Windbreaker on 10/14/2012 23:11:55 MDT Print View

was the appropriate name in the 70s and even into the 80s. Got a cycling variant from the latter at about 6 oz. Works pretty good even now.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Windbreaker on 10/14/2012 23:19:31 MDT Print View

The Yank term "windbreaker" has more of a flatulent take by the Brits.

I remember the light nylon ones with hood and kangaroo pocket being popular in the early 60's (I was in grade school) and we definitely knew them as windbreakers.

meanings on 10/14/2012 23:22:29 MDT Print View

a fanny pack has another meaning here too.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: meanings on 10/14/2012 23:25:08 MDT Print View

Yup, and the idea of making a pack for one is odd too, adding zippers and the like ;)

And then there is "stuffed." How does "stuff sack" go over?

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/14/2012 23:26:07 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Yep. Especially south of the border. on 10/15/2012 00:14:15 MDT Print View

I've still got a simple, light one by Caribou. They had a range of basic daypacks and bookbags in medium-weight packcloth without tons of features or goo-gahs on them. Alas, selling $19 daypacks doesn't make as much money as selling $69 daypacks and they went out of business.

Anyway, I use it mostly to be cooler, not to save weight. Especially now that I have that 2.4 ounce sea-to-summit day pack. But for a Powerbar, 500 ml of water and maybe a hat and a phone, I don't want my whole back covered and sweaty.

It's also nice in an urban environment - I tend to unknowingly whack people when I turn around with a daypack on, much to my wife's annoyance, and if I'm concerned about pickpockets, I can rotate the fanny pack to my front where I can keep an eye on it.

For all those reasons - pickpockets, storing minimal stuff, and being cooler - mostly I've worn it on vacation in Mexico.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Yep. Especially south of the border. on 10/15/2012 00:27:27 MDT Print View

Hah! I tried wearing a backpack on the subway in Rome and turned around and wiped the nose of the guy behind me in the process. I got a free lesson in Italian slang that isn't in the textbooks. Ooopsa! Shoulder bags rule in that environment, IMHO.

PacSafe makes a waist pack with steel mesh in the pack body and a cable in the belt so it can't be slashed. They make shoulder bags and backpacks too.

There are a number of waist packs that double as holsters. One day I noticed a police officer eyeballing my waist pack and realized that he was probably checking to see if I had a concealed weapon. Pen, notepad, camera and cell phone was as dangerous as I could get :)

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
DIY on Youtube on 10/15/2012 10:11:17 MDT Print View

This guy has interesting take on ultralight backpacking with everything in DIY waistpack. You can jump to 2:00 point to see him talk about it:

also here:

His system was based off a low cost lumbar pack, looks similar to this one:
Lumbar pack

You can also see big assortment just by searching 'lumbar pack' at Amazon.

Edited by hes on 10/15/2012 10:45:08 MDT.