My boys were off playing video games at “The Hideout” and I was at the kids’ pool, splashing around with my daughter when we heard the unmistakable high-pitched wail of an unhappy child. Or was it a cat?
I turned to find the mother and child pair, the poor little toddler had ketchup all over his face and hair. And from the pouches of the surprisingly fashionable belt bag around her enviably thin waist, the woman produced five or six wet-ones to remove the offending condiment.
Wow! How did she get all those wipes in that slim waist pocket? Wait a minute, did she just pull out her phone? Everything she needed – even her sunglasses and a headband – were in that pack.
And it looked so good. Its shiny black material matched her bathing suit but was designed like a microskirt and embellished with a sparkly rhinestone detail.
When did the fanny pack get a make-over? And where can I get one of those?
I have to admit, like the rest of America I abandoned the belt bag years ago. And not just because it was a fashion faux-pas. Think about it: How safe are your belongings when the pouch is pushed behind you?
Plus, the last thing you want to wear on the road is an over-stuffed, droopy sack draped around an expanding waistline emphasizing the size of my, shall we say, assets?
Still, sometimes you absolutely must have quick access to necessities, like that mom and her wipes.
I had to ask her about it.
But before I tell you more about her Global HipS-sister hands free belt, there are a few other amazing new accessories that are great when you need easy access to your essentials.
We found two functional belt-style bags by Paqlite that we liked. They really put the original fanny pack to shame because the low profile design sits much better across the stomach than a bulky pack.
The WaistPaq All in One Organizer has seven easy to access pockets that sit flat against the stomach. There’s a secure, zippered, inner pocket with three chambers for credit cards, passport or wallet. External pockets can fit sunglasses, a cell phone and a mini pack of kleenex.
The HipPaq Essentials On The Go is larger but lighter. With 19 pockets, there’s almost too many spots to stash your stuff. I think this one looks better on the men then the ladies and is ideal for stashing extra snacks, wipes and sunscreen.
Both bags are lined with reflective material, which is nice for hikes that run longer than anticipated.
One of the common features of all the bags we evaluated was a “hidden pocket.” Please note that these bags aren’t for securing your important documents. They are a convenience for carrying items you need on a short hike, when walking the dog or when visiting the county fair.
The Runner Hands Free Carry-All is worn across the chest, just like a sash at a beauty pageant. I’ll admit my better half patently refused to even try out this carrier.
It has eight easy-to-reach pockets and a carabiner hook for keys plus a D-ring for hanging. Pouches can hold bulky items like a camera, sunglasses or change purse. A larger pouch on the back can carry tools or snacks.
It suffers from some of the same design flaws of the fanny pack. It isn’t the most attractive solution. Unless it is weighed down with a water bottle, the sash moves around. When I bent over to tie my shoe it practically slid off my shoulders and the water bottle fell out.
Still I have many friends that swear by this contraption. Most of them have dogs and wear the reflective sash for early morning and late night potty walks. You can hook the leash loop into the carabiner hook.
What I liked the best about this design is how it supports your hips and belly instead of the other way around. It’s sleek style is almost like a second skin that hugs your hips in a flattering way while still having enough room to hold your phone, keys, cards, cash, ID and lipgloss.
Sorry guys, there currently isn’t a HipS-sister designed for men. But that’s going to change soon with their upcoming line of sports belts.
Turns out my new friend at the Four Seasons was the boy’s nanny. She’d found the HipS-sister in an online search when looking for a secure travel pocket to carry her passport and cash for a recent trip to Paris. She liked it so much, she’d bought two more for her mom and sister.
I noticed that each of these products goes out of its way to separate themselves from the original fanny pack. I can’t blame them. The stereotype of the awkward fanny pack wearer is just too much.