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

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

They may sound like the newest wrinkle in reducing aids for the broad-beamed. But fanny packs are a comfortably compact way to tote basic supplies on day outings.

The idea isn't new. Fanny packs were developed in the 1960s by ski patrolmen to carry first-aid supplies. What is new are all the special-purpose fanny packs now on the market, with designs for joggers, fishermen and river-runners, bird-watchers, photographers, horsemen, and cyclists, as well as hikers and skiers.

There are small packs for incidentals. Larger ones, with capacities ranging from 500 to 1,000 cubic inches, are big enough to carry everything you'll need on a dayhike. So-called convertible or expandable fannies, which grow into large-capacity day packs or small backpacks (up to 2,000 cubic inches), cost $30 to $100.

Why use a fanny pack? A pack that rides on your hips instead of your shoulders offers several advantages:

--It puts the weight squarely onto some of the body's strongest muscles (around the pelvis), allowing you to carry heavier loads comfortably while reducing neck and shoulder strain. (Some hikers report easing of lower back pain as well.)

--The lower center of gravity means more stablity for skiers and joggers.

--You don't have to take off the pack to get at the contents--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 water bottles and reflector stripes for night running. One model for long-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 supply shops) with removable foam inserts and dividers for lenses and camera bodies.

Convertible fannies. A fanny pack that expands into a rucksack (shown at right) is a compromise. We found some weightsaving features presented problems, such as unpadded shoulder straps that dig in. Also, with the rucksack in use, you can't swivel the attached fanny pack around. Some users handle this by wearing a fanny pack with a separate rucksack.

The right fit. Make sure the hip belt has a wide enough range of adjustment for you. Is the belt padded and wide enough to support a heavy load comfortably? Does the buckle (usually plastic) release easily?

Access. Will you be able to load and unload quickly? Is the fabric "slippery' (as nylon is), so you can slide the pack around to the front easily?

Padding. Is there enough padding so you won't feel the sharp contours of your camera or tackle box?

Ride. When loaded, does the pack feel as if it's hanging out too far or falling off? Better models offer compression straps to pull the load tight or have canted bottoms to tilt contents inward.

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

Where to shop. Many of the types pictured here are sold in--or can be ordered through--stores specializing in running, backpacking, and skiing.

Three packs may be hard to find. The oversize one is made by Expeditions International, Box 1040, Hamilton, Mont. 59840. For the camouflage, write to Eastpak, Box 471, Haverhill, Mass. 01830, or Eddie Bauer, Inc., 1330 Fifth Ave., Seattle 98101. The inflatable pack is made 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, a padded, 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-pint water bottles

Photo: Inflatable watertight vinyl pack ($28) keeps gear dry for anglers, river-runners

Photo: Basic fanny pack ($10), with zip-open top, suits a variety of purposes

Photo: Two-in-one fanny pack ($40) expands into rucksack for larger loads. Rucksack extension folds out of top compartment
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1985
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