Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear 1L Fanny Pack Review
I used to be one of those snobby backpackers who swore up and down I’d never use a fanny pack.
I have enough side pockets on my hip belt, I told myself. Even my pants have pockets! And besides, if I can’t figure out how to carry what I need in what I’ve got, I’m carrying too much.
A couple of things happened along the way to change my mind utterly. First was meeting “Snack Pack,” another solo female thru-hiker walking the Arizona Trail who got her trail name because she carried a mini-pack in front of her body, offering easy access to quick nutrition. I wanted to be her. I needed to be her! No more setting down my pack and rummaging around to find a bar. Still, that wasn’t quite enough to sway me since both my backpacks have hip belt pockets where I can store a snack or two.
But it wasn’t until I walked Scotland’s wild Cape Wrath Trail, when daily downpours destroyed the lens on my phone, that the point was driven home. I needed a storage option I could get into quickly that would be as close to waterproof as possible, small enough to fit on me while wearing my backpack, and large enough to carry my phone and a few snacks.
That’s when I stumbled onto the opportunity to test Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear’s one-liter fanny pack.
MSRP: $45 (stock) | $50 (custom)
Weight: 2.5 ounces
- Waterproof X-Pac
- 3D spacer mesh backing
- Water-resistant zipper
- 4-way stretch Lycra interior pocket
- 3/4″ webbing belt (adjustable)
Seam sealing? No
Max waist length: 55 inches
Colors: yellow, navy, white, coyote, blue, purple, red, green, teal, mulberry, black, grey in any combination of two! (five color combos in stock; 169 possible custom color combos!)
Additional sizes: 2.5 and 4 liters
Circumstance of Review
I have been using the CTUG fanny pack constantly for day hikes, long bike rides, and a recent backpack trip. It fits snugly and comfortably on my torso without sagging or loosening. It’s unobtrusive and just the right size for my wallet, keys, phone, lipstick, and a few bars. In fact, hunched over my handlebars, I barely know it’s there. This fanny pack now doubles as my purse—something to think about for my next thru-hike when roaming through town on zero days.
On my most recent backpack trip, I fully loaded the fanny pack and my backpack and was pleasantly surprised by how well the fanny pack fit below my backpack’s hip belt. This meant that when I wanted to remove my backpack, I could easily leave the fanny pack in place.
I could not test its rain worthiness on this recent trip since it was bone dry, but I found I could leave the zip undone to quickly pull out my phone or map, something I had no idea I needed.
READ NEXT – The Best Fanny Packs for Thru-Hiking
Materials and Features
Per Chicken Tramper’s website, the fanny pack has the following features:
- Lycra Mesh Pocket
- Water-Resistant Zipper
- Comfortable 3D Spacer Mesh
- Double Zipper Opens on Either Side
- Waterproof X-Pac
- 1/2″ Elastic Strap Keeper
- Secure 3/4″ Buckle
- 55″ Webbing Strap for Multi-Use
Let’s take a closer look at some of the materials.
X-Pac: Chicken Tramper uses X-Pac pack fabric as its primary material. Made by Dimension Polyant, a world leader in sailcloth manufacturing, X-Pac is 100% waterproof. It’s designed to withstand similar environmental and physical forces to those encountered on the high seas while maintaining a high strength-to-weight ratio.
3D Spacer Mesh: X-Pac is strong stuff that feels a bit like extremely flexible (and thin) plastic. That’s why for the part of the pack that fits against the body, Chicken Tramper uses 3D spacer mesh. You likely know this material from your backpack. It’s soft and squishy and wicks sweat. Chicken Tramper even took the trouble to sew a wee bit of spacer mesh to the ends of the ¾” webbing belt to prevent chafing where it rests on the hips.
Water-resistant zipper: To seal the deal, as it were, a water-resistant zipper opens and closes from both ends. Why not go all the way and use fully waterproof zippers, you ask?
Water-resistant zippers use a water-repellant polyurethane film coating on the outside that sheds water, while the inside is coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant)
In contrast, waterproof zippers hide the teeth at the back of the zipper and use a rubber coating to cover the front of the zipper. Think SCUBA diving or dry suit.
Full waterproofing is overkill unless you plan to go swimming with this bum bag. For backpacking, it doesn’t make much sense to use the more comprehensive (heavier and bulkier) waterproof zipper. But that also means the pack is not guaranteed to keep everything inside it dry. Furthermore, Chicken Tramper does not seal the seams.
Chicken Tramper 1L Fanny Pack Pros
Mostly water-resistant: Since the zipper is water-resistant, not waterproof, I did an experiment. Crumpling up a wad of toilet paper and stuffing it in the pack, I zipped it closed and left it in the sink under a running faucet for a few minutes. The TP stayed bone-dry.
Does this mean I can fully trust the fanny pack through multiple days of bucketing rain? Maybe not, but it’s better than my pants pocket or the minimal water resistance of my hip-belt pockets.
Ultralight, durable materials: As stated above, X-Pac is durable stuff designed to withstand the rigors of the high seas—so it should be more than adequate for backpacking. It weighs just 2.5 ounces, a modest penalty for such a functional item.
Comfortable and easy access: The fanny pack is far more ergonomic than twisting around to unzip my hip belt pockets. It also features an adjustable belt for a secure and customizable fit.
Chicken Tramper 1L Fanny Pack Cons
No key hook: The fanny pack could use a hook to ensure that keys don’t fall out.
Interior pocket: Some users may find the stretchy internal pocket unnecessary.
Price: $45 for stock and $55 for custom is on the steep side (although in line with other cottage manufacturers). You’ll also face lead times of two to four weeks for fanny packs with custom color schemes.
The Chicken Tramper UL fanny pack fits well with a roomy design and lots of attention to detail. As a mostly waterproof bit of gear, it will serve many uses. For me, the one-liter size is just right, though 2.5 and four-liters are also available. Add a CTUG Water Bottle Sleeve, and you’re good to go on your next hike!
Comparable Fanny Packs
- MSRP: $35
- Weight: 3.5 oz
- MSRP: $30
- Weight: 4.3 oz
- MSRP: $30
- Weight: 4 oz
The Chicken Tramper 1L Fanny Pack was donated for purpose of review.
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