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

For the jogger, fisherman, birder, skier .

. . a fanny pack for everyactivity They may sound like the newest wrinkle in reducing aids for thebroad-beamed.

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But fanny packs are a comfortably compact way to totebasic supplies on day outings. The idea isn’t new. Fanny packs were developed in the 1960sby ski patrolmen to carry first-aid supplies. What is new are all thespecial-purpose fanny packs now on the market, with designs for joggers,fishermen and river-runners, bird-watchers, photographers, horsemen, andcyclists, as well as hikers and skiers. There are small packs for incidentals. Larger ones, withcapacities ranging from 500 to 1,000 cubic inches, are big enough tocarry everything you’ll need on a dayhike. So-called convertibleor expandable fannies, which grow into large-capacity day packs or smallbackpacks (up to 2,000 cubic inches), cost $30 to $100.

Why use a fanny pack? A pack that rides on your hips instead ofyour shoulders offers several advantages: –It puts the weight squarely onto some of the body’sstrongest muscles (around the pelvis), allowing you to carry heavierloads comfortably while reducing neck and shoulder strain. (Some hikersreport easing of lower back pain as well.) –The lower center of gravity means more stablity for skiers andjoggers. –You don’t have to take off the pack to get at thecontents–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 waterbottles and reflector stripes for night running. One model forlong-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 supplyshops) with removable foam inserts and dividers for lenses and camerabodies. Convertible fannies. A fanny pack that expands into a rucksack(shown at right) is a compromise. We found some weightsaving featurespresented problems, such as unpadded shoulder straps that dig in. Also,with the rucksack in use, you can’t swivel the attached fanny packaround.

Some users handle this by wearing a fanny pack with a separaterucksack. The right fit. Make sure the hip belt has a wide enough range ofadjustment for you. Is the belt padded and wide enough to support aheavy load comfortably? Does the buckle (usually plastic) releaseeasily? Access. Will you be able to load and unload quickly? Is thefabric “slippery’ (as nylon is), so you can slide the packaround to the front easily? Padding. Is there enough padding so you won’t feel the sharpcontours of your camera or tackle box? Ride. When loaded, does the pack feel as if it’s hanging outtoo far or falling off? Better models offer compression straps to pullthe load tight or have canted bottoms to tilt contents inward.

Seans and zippers. Make sure seams are double-stitched at stresspoints. Zippers should be smooth-tracking plastic.

Where to shop. Many of the types pictured here are sold in–or canbe ordered through–stores specializing in running, backpacking, andskiing. Three packs may be hard to find. The oversize one is made byExpeditions International, Box 1040, Hamilton, Mont. 59840.

For thecamouflage, write to Eastpak, Box 471, Haverhill, Mass. 01830, or EddieBauer, Inc., 1330 Fifth Ave., Seattle 98101.

The inflatable pack ismade by Sima Products Corp., 4001 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60646. Photo: Ski-touring pack ($30) includes organizer for ski wax kit,first-aid items Photo: Oversize pack ($25) has four zippered compartments, apadded, contoured back Photo: Camouflage design ($13), for bird- and wildlife-watching,holds binoculars, field guides Photo: Lightweight fanny pack for runners ($37) includes two 1-pintwater bottles Photo: Inflatable watertight vinyl pack ($28) keeps gear dry foranglers, river-runners Photo: Basic fanny pack ($10), with zip-open top, suits a varietyof purposes Photo: Two-in-one fanny pack ($40) expands into rucksack for largerloads.

Rucksack extension folds out of top compartment


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