Favorite Fanny Pack and Backpack for Universal?

jenhelgren

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
What are your favorite bags for the parks and why? Full disclosure--I am an extreme over packer. We always carry a large backpack at Disney and like to have options. Our last trip to UO was 5 years ago and I used a Kipling Merryl waist pack and we carried a backpack as well. I do not remember having to pay for the larger lockers back then and would prefer to avoid the extra step and cost of paying.
What are your best bag recommendations for a waist pack and backpack/sling that are allowed on rides and will fit in the free standard lockers? The back pack will be for flip flops for water rides, ponchos, wands, water, and snacks.
Thanks for any and all advice!!
 

mamapenguin

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
I have a fjallraven Fanny pack. The one with the little handle on top. It was perfect for our July trip. I also have a Universal backpack that I bought while we were there, it’s brown and you will see it in the stores. I alternated between the 2 depending on what I wanted to bring in.
 
  • mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    Universal and WDW are two different beasts, IMO.

    1. We mostly try to pack light. What I find helpful is to find ways to carry minimal quantities, and items that do double duty (when possible). At night, I take a moment to replenish if necessary, and remove the items I didn't use/don't need. So I have a small clip-on bottle of hand sanitizer that is easy to refill. I also try to carry only a minimal amount of change (pennies, etc.)

    2. At WDW, you an carry your bag all day. At Universal, using the lockers is a pain. If it happens to be rainy, and we have water bottles, we tolerate them. Otherwise - I hate fanny packs- but fanny packs are allowed on most rides. Sticking to just fanny packs = no lockers at all. At universal, that's what most people do, because it is just such a big time saver. One notable exception is the Harry Potter Wands. Those have to go in lockers, but it is also hard to put them in a backpack. If you are staying onsite, maybe leave the wands in the hotel room most of the time. Maybe set aside a specific evening to use them.

    3. One area I would NOT skimp is carrying water, especially this time of year and the current situation.

    4. If not sticking to fanny pack, the bags that have been best for us are very small crossbody bags and/or a very small backpack. Since the backpack is mostly just for water, ours is clear plastic. Security appreciates that it is clear (though they mostly use scanners now over manual searches.) we bought our most recent bags at Target, but I don't think they still carry the exact bags we bought. The clear backpack came from the kids' section! I think a number of stores sell small backpacks, especially this time of year. Target usually has a pretty good selection of reasonably quality bags that aren't crazy $$$. Camping/sporting goods stores carry nice stuff, but it is $$$. L.L. Bean has nice bags. Not cheap, but sturdy- and free monogramming.
     

    cschaaf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    Sticking to just fanny packs = no lockers at all.
    Except for Hulk, Velocicoaster, and Rip Ride where you have to go through metal detector. No bags allowed, and, if you have any metal in your pockets, that has to be put in a locker, too.

    We don't find the lockers to be that big of a deal at Universal. Different than Disney for sure. I wish some of the rides that have lockers didn't, but we don't mind using them.

    I carry an Osprey Talon 11 and my wife carries a Kavu sling bag.
     

    mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    Except for Hulk, Velocicoaster, and Rip Ride where you have to go through metal detector. No bags allowed, and, if you have any metal in your pockets, that has to be put in a locker, too.

    We don't find the lockers to be that big of a deal at Universal. Different than Disney for sure. I wish some of the rides that have lockers didn't, but we don't mind using them.

    I carry an Osprey Talon 11 and my wife carries a Kavu sling bag.
    Good catch! I meant to edit that myself, but then I posted without proofreading.

    Lockers/no lockers is like carrying a backpack. One trip through lockers is no big deal, but cumulatively it is easier to be bag-free. All those little stops add up to a slower pace.

    Also with the pandemic, I shudder a little at the thought of using the Harry Potter locker rooms, and just how many times it was body to body crowded. Forbidden Journey in particular, was often tightly packed in my pre-pandemic experience.

    Men's cargo shorts are also worth a mention here as a way to carry some stuff.
     

    disneyseniors

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2014
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought only fanny packs that are 3 pronged are allowed???
    We always go light at disney and Universal. I hate to carry bags or wear a fanny pack. My husband wears the pants with multiple pockets, so I just put our small little bag of pills in it, our ID's, reading glasses (I have one that folds up to 3 inches by 1 1/2 inches), a small amount of cash and that's it. We use our magic bands at WDW and a credit card at Universal. The lanyards are great for our tickets, etc.
     

    DisneyMom93

    DisneyMom
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2012
    Kipling Merryl here! It’s all I need for Disney or Universal.

    In it I carry Tylenol etc in small plastic ez dose zip baggies, pack of wet ones wipes, compact, tinted lip balm or gloss, phone, travel charger, disposable poncho, tissue pack, band-aids, cash, and credit card.
     
  • jenhelgren

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2010
    Kipling Merryl here!
    I am not a fan of waist packs at all but agree that the Merryl holds a ton and is comfortable enough to wear. I won't be riding any of the metal detector rides myself so I plan on keeping as much as possible in my Merryl but we will need a backpack for glasses cases, water bottles, etc. The standard lockers seem so small, I'm thinking two smaller backpacks may be the best option? Even my packable backpacks measure too large for the standard UO lockers so I am still hunting for bags that will work
     

    wdwrule

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2013
    I was there recently and took my usual park bag… Baggallini crossbody bag. It’s water resistant, light weight and not too big. It easily holds my phone, a few travel sized umbrellas, sunglasses and more. There’s an outer side mesh compartment that is just big enough to hold a water bottle. It easily fit in all of the lockers along with my daughter’s mini backpack in the same locker.
     

    Cuchman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2003
    We have always been small backpack people but we're gonna try the "fanny packs only" approach on this trip. Skipping some lockers - especially for Gringotts and Forbidden Journey - seems REALLY appealing. Those two specifically have a bad/crowded/crazy locker setup.
    I am thinking I can cram a water bottle (maybe a small one), a poncho, and some incidentals in my fanny pack. I found some super cheap (~$7) on Amazon that I really like so think we'll bring a few colors.
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Kipling multiple is the one I’ve used for many years.

    Holds enough for a few hours in the park and goes on all rides except the metal detector rides. Lots of little compartments and a good main compartment.
     
  • laughinplace199

    <font color=blue>AKA Shrimpo or Flamingo Legs<br><
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2001
    I used the Kipling Abanu Mini Convertible Crossbody and it was perfect. I could fit my phone, glasses, small tube of sunblock, Purell, and tissues. I didn't bring a wallet, but there's a zippered pocket on the inside which was perfect for cash, ID, and credit cards. I LOVED not having to do the lockers.
     

    NicoleLarson

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2010
    Crossbodys for sure at UO. You can now wear them on many rides, the only ones that you can't are Hulk, RRR, Velocicoaster, maybe MIB and mummy, I haven't tried to take it on these. Anything that isn't crossbody HAS to go in a locker. My parents always carry a backpack but after our last trip my dad was cussing it out after having to constantly go put it in lockers. I have a Baggalini one that was designed by flight attendants. It holds water bottles perfectly, water proof, has a RFID pouch and has lots of easy access compartments.
     

    cschaaf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    what do you pack in that 11L bag? Not sure if it’s too small or not.
    I usually carry: one poncho, a charger with cables for our phones, a ziplock with some bandaids, blister pads, tape, etc., another ziplock with sunscreen, empty ziplocks to drop our phones in if it rains, and maybe an umbrella or two. Colder months, I've also added in a pullover.

    The Coke Freestyle cups we have the flexible, detachable handle on the top, so I just loop that around one of the shoulder straps and it hangs down by my waist. Those cups don't fit too well in the bottle holder things they have on the side. It kind of works, but always feels like the cup is just too tall and could fall out at any time.

    Sometimes, my wife won't carry her bag, so I add in her poncho and wallet and loop her Freestyle cup on the other side.

    At various times, I've had extra ponchos, a change of shoes and socks, walking poles and other random things.

    Check out some YouTube videos to get an idea of how much can be put in there. I also found one at an outdoor store and was able to see the size before I bought it.

    I've never had anything that I wanted to carry in there that didn't fit. The bigger issue is, you can stuff in some extra shoes and sweatshirts, but it makes it a LOT harder to get the bag in the small, free lockers.
     

    twincruisers

    I love it when a plan comes together
    Joined
    Jun 15, 2021
    Thanks, I was thinking of using the 3L camelback in there so that would leave 8L left. Not much room so I was wondering what would be practical to put in there. Good info, I'll swing by REI to see if there is one to try out.
     

    GinnyBear's_mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2008
    I have a Harry Potter jujube hipster but I wear it as an over the shoulder bag. When I go on rides it qualifies as a fanny pack.
     

    corlando60

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2006
    This is some great information. Just curious about the Freestyle Cup. Does it have a handle so that we can hook to the fanny pack belt?
     

    cschaaf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    This is some great information. Just curious about the Freestyle Cup. Does it have a handle so that we can hook to the fanny pack belt?
    I think most have a hard handle that you could loop through the fanny pack belt, but you'd have to unhook the belt any time you needed the cup. Alternately, you can get a carabiner and attach that way. That may keep it at an angle and cause some spillage, though.

    The Freestyle cups we got a few years back have a flexible handle on the top that detaches. It's easy to detach one side, loop it around a strop, then reconnect.

    They seem to change the design from time to time.

    I know some have found drink holder straps online and have taken those to use.
     

    corlando60

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2006
    I think most have a hard handle that you could loop through the fanny pack belt, but you'd have to unhook the belt any time you needed the cup. Alternately, you can get a carabiner and attach that way. That may keep it at an angle and cause some spillage, though.

    The Freestyle cups we got a few years back have a flexible handle on the top that detaches. It's easy to detach one side, loop it around a strop, then reconnect.

    They seem to change the design from time to time.

    I know some have found drink holder straps online and have taken those to use.
    Thank you so much - I think that carabiner and drink holder is a good idea. Thats what I will do. Thank you for this information.
     


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