Remember fanny packs? Well, you may have noticed that they’re back. Perhaps because fanny packs got such a bad rap in the 80s and 90s, they’ve been reintroduced as ‘lumbar packs’, and it looks like they’re here to stay.

Truth be told, I resisted returning to the world of fanny–er, lumbar–packs, but there’s a reason (or two) they’ve stood the test of time: these packs are convenient for getting gear in and out of, and they’re comfortable.

When you don’t have need of the larger liter backpacks, but are too active for a purse or tote, lumbar packs fit the bill.

Mountainsmith Knockabout Lumbar Pack
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Mountainsmith Knockabout Lumbar Pack

  • Adjustable webbing sling converts to waist or shoulder carry.
  • Zippered main compartment with organizer sleeve.
  • Back panel hidden stash pocket.
  • Front panel accessory pocket.
  • Headphone port.

Mountainsmith has been making some of my favorite backpacks for some time (in fact, my pre-teen son uses a Mountainsmith Pursuit while backpacking).

The Mountainsmith Knockabout is actually a hybrid lumbar pack and sling pack, with an adjustable strap to pull double-duty. You can easily swing it over one shoulder for use like a small purse; I’ve done so around town at home this past summer.

While traveling, it’s easy to stash the Knockabout in a bigger day pack or carry-on, to pull out when you’ll be leaving your hotel to dine at a restaurant or go on a short day excursion, and all you need to bring is the essentials: wallet, phone, etc.

As a lumbar pack, the Knockabout fits around the waist, clipping into place just about the hips. The strap attaches at the top of each end of the bag, instead of in the middle, so you don’t get that bouncy fanny pack feel.

Instead, the pack hugs your hip pretty nicely. Again, it’s not designed for truly rugged trail running or high impact activity; this is the pack to clip on for errands, that quick trip to the outdoor market, or that walk to the restaurant.

The Knockabout is 3.7 liters (10.5″ x 7″ x 2″ / 27 x 18 x 5 cm) and you get a zippered main compartment with an organizer sleeve, hidden stash pocket on the back panel, front panel accessory pocket with key clip, headphone port, an adjustable webbing sling, all with a bright yellow lining to make finding your items easy.

The outside is CORDURA fabric, which is known for durability.

Pick between several colors, including huckleberry (rich maroon), black, or barley (tan). Trust me, you’ll forget you’re wearing a fanny pack! The Knockabout is available on Amazon.

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