Many hikers and backpackers like to attach extra accessory pockets to their shoulder straps and hip belts to provide extra storage and help organize their gear so it can be accessed quickly without removing their backpacks. Extra water bottle sleeves, camera bags, phone pockets, or extra hip belt pockets are available and commonly used for this purpose, including ones that come from companies other than your pack’s manufacturer. Most accessory backpack pockets are designed so they can be used on any backpack but it’s important to understand how they’re attached, whether they’ll stay bounce-free and secure, and how easy they are to remove or switch to another backpack.
Here are the top 10 backpack accessory pockets we recommend in 2023.
1. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket
|View at Garage Grown||View at HMG|
2. Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket
The Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket has a three-way velcro attachment system that is compatible with just about any backpack under the sun. It’s available in a medium size that is compatible with most Smartphones and a large size if you want still more storage. Made with water-resistant Robic Nylon, these pockets have a second mesh sleeve on the outside which is great for stashing sunglasses or snacks for easy access. This pocket works well with all backpacks, especially those that don’t have daisy chains on their shoulder straps like packs from Osprey and Gregory.
|View at Garage Grown||View at Gossamer Gear|
3. Chicken Tramper Gear Water Bottle Sleeve
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4. Gossamer Gear Hip Belt Pocket
|View at Garage Grown||View at Gossamer Gear|
5. LiteAF Hip Belt Pocket
6. Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Pocket
7. Superior Wilderness Designs Hip Belt Pocket
8. Thrupack Summit Bum Classic Fanny Pack
The Thrupack Summit Bum Classic is a 2.5-liter fanny pack that holds everything you need when transitioning between town and trail. It has a large enclosed compartment with a mitten clip, d-ring, and internal sleeves for cash or cards as well as an easy-access external pocket large enough to stash a smartphone. Use it to stash liner gloves, earbuds, snacks, a headlamp, compass, chapstick, or any small essential that you want at hand without having to take off your pack and dig around for them. It comes with a 1″ webbing strap expandable to 50″ to loop around your waist or over your shoulder. Available in waterproof Ultra 200 or EcoPak, its more versatile than your pack’s hipbelt pockets and probably much easier to reach too.
9. Zpacks Multi-Pack
10. High Tail Designs UL Fanny Pack
The UL Fanny Pack from High Tail Designs is made with seam-taped waterproof Dyneema DCF fabric to keep your essentials high and dry. Weighing 2 oz, it has one liter of on-board storage with a large main compartment and internal sleeve. A 3/4″ webbing belt is included along with a waterproof zipper. High Tail Designs is known for its wild and colorful designs which are fun if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Backpack Pocket Attachment Systems
There are a number of different ways to attach extra pockets to a backpack shoulder strap or hip belt. Some of these are universal in that they can be attached to any backpack and some are limited by the anchor points available on the backpack shoulder straps or hip belts such as daisy chains. In any event, you can often overcome these limitations with a small of cord to secure a pocket or prevent it from bouncing too much.
Here is a selection of setup videos from the vendors listed above to give you a sense of what is involved and whether it will work with your backpack (or you need to kludge something up).
Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket/Hip Belt Pocket Setup Video
Chicken Tramper UL Gear Water Bottle Sleeve Setup VideoSectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
Hilltop packs also make some great stuff. I have a Fanny pack that holds up to 4 liters but can be rolled down to 2 liters. It has a snap at the top then you just roll down to the size you need and use the buckle and tighten it. I also have a phone case from them with the same idea but with Velcro, it rolls down. It also has a mesh pockets in front. Last but not least a water bottle holder also with a pocket in front with cord to secure bottle, I hold my electrolyte mix in the mesh. All 3 are made from eco-pac. I believe that there are 5 or so colors to choose. Customer service is amazing, and they really stand behind their products.
Have you tried the water bottle sleeves JustinsUL makes (Etsy seller)? They’re absolutely excellent.
I use the same ones, there great.
Waymark’s shoulder pockets are pretty great.
Justin outdoors stuff is incredibly popular on social media and Etsy. His pockets are great too. Water and phone.
The reality is that it just comes down to inventory at this point. Whoever has the biggest manufacturing capacity will get the sale because people want immediate gratification and not backlogs. It’s not like these are difficult products to make and they’re all basically just copies of one another. Just saying.
In stock is important for sure but none of the products I mentioned have zippers, so maybe they didn’t reinvent the wheel but it is nice to have everything secure and no water-resistant zippers to deal with or fail.
Yes – but I was underwhelmed. Everybody copies everyone else now. Doesn’t really matter who you buy them from. CTUG keeps them in stock and they work well.
Any opinion on the mesh pockets for the back of packs like the exped flash pack pocket. https://www.campsaver.com/exped-flash-pack-pocket.html
I like the idea of being able to flip it over so the mesh is not exposed when you are in areas where it could get snagged. Obviously if your pack alr3ady has one there is not much point.
That pocket is specifically designed for Exped’s Lightnings packs (do they even make them anymore?) I have no idea if its compatible with other backpacks or manufacturers.
Indianapolis just held the One America Mini-marathon Festival, the 5K and others. I was thinking about doing the 5K next year. In checking out the rules, they don’t allow backpacks or fanny packs, but they do allow flip belts. They are elasticized, expandable belts. There are also flip belt shorts. https://flipbelt.com/products/running-shorts?gclid=Cj0KCQjwmN2iBhCrARIsAG_G2i4HXt0nItXGIi4zjJ6_qv3mcjgsNQMd5LeJcdTha31zPbsUQs-yEGQaAlYWEALw_wcB
It’s amazing all the stuff you can stuff in the waist area. (You can also wear it low on your hip. I won’t be buying either because last year I bought Bermuda shorts with deep front pockets, a large pocket within one of those pockets, and two zippered back pockets that you could put a full sandwich in. LEE makes them. I’m just not the Cargo type. Anyway, what do you think of the flip belt/shorts Phil?
Consider LA Police Gear Tactical Chest Pack Attachment
It’s a halter-style vest with layered pockets varied in size and depth. It drapes across the back of the neck, then’s secured with a 6″ zip front and buckle belt in back. Since the design’s open-back, it doesn’t compound sweating. You can take off the chest pack without having to remove your back/day pack.
I am not suggesting you watch the video but it has a bungee with a hook on the end on each corner. They imply that it will fit other packs but you are correct that it may not. I saw a similar triangular shaped one last year but could not find it in stock this year I can’t find it at all.