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10 Best Backpack Accessory Pockets of 2024

10 Best Backpack Accessory Pockets

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.

Make / ModelType
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder PocketShoulder
Gossamer Gear Shoulder PocketShoulder
Chicken Tramper Gear Water Bottle SleeveShoulder
Gossamer Gear Hip Belt PocketHip
LiteAF Hip Belt PocketHip
Mountain Laurel Designs Pack PocketHip
Superior Wilderness Designs Hip Belt PocketHip
Thrupack Summit Bum ClassicHip
Zpacks Multi-PackChest, Hip, Top Lid
High Tail Designs UL Fanny PackHip

Here are the top 10 backpack accessory pockets we recommend in 2023.

1. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Pocket
Hyperlite’s Mountain Gear’s (HMG) Shoulder Strap Pocket is a waterproof pocket made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics that is perfect for carrying a Smartphone, point-and-shoot camera, or travel documents. It has a built-in sleeve that can be used as a hiker wallet as well as an external mesh pocket that will hold a phone securely, even when you take off your pack or it falls over on the ground. It’s easy to attach to packs with daisy chains on the shoulder straps with the included gatekeeper buckles. Works best with packs from HMG, Zpacks, ULA, and Granite Gear, among others.

Shop at Garage GrownShop at HMG

2. Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket

Gossamer Gear Shoulder 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.

Shop at Garage GrownShop at Gossamer Gear

3. Chicken Tramper Gear Water Bottle Sleeve

Chicken Tramper Water Bottle Sleeves
Can’t reach your water bottles when you get thirsty? That’s not a problem if you attach your water bottle to your backpack shoulder strap. The Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear (CTUG) Water Bottle Sleeve can attach to backpack shoulder straps that have a daisy chain in front or a hydration hose keeper loop making them compatible with just about every backpack in existence. The sleeve is available in two sizes and compatible with 0.7L and 1L Smart Water Bottles (a hiker favorite). Durably made with X-Pac, these sleeves are attached at the top and bottom so your bottles won’t fall into the dirt when you bend over to tie your shoe.

Shop at Garage GrownShop at Chicken Tramper

4. Gossamer Gear Hip Belt Pocket

Gossamer Gear Hip Belt Pocket
The Gossamer Gear Hip Belt Pocket is a simple zippered pocket that is universally compatible with any backpack hip belt. It has two elastic loops on the back and gear loops at the ends that can be used to prevent the pocket from sliding back and forth along the hip belt (clips or cords, not included). Made with Robic Nylon, these pocket are water resistant and have a hook inside to secure your keys.

Shop at Garage GrownShop at Gossamer Gear

5. LiteAF Hip Belt Pocket

LiteAF Hipbelt Pocket
The LiteAF Hip Belt Pocket is a four point attachment system with two elastic loops on the back to fit over your hip belt and two end clips to lock it in place and prevent it from moving back and forth. It has a 1L capacity and is made with waterproof and seam-taped Ultra 200 fabric with a YKK water-resistant zipper. This pocket is only available in a black color. Also, check out LiteAF’s fanny packs, which are optimized for use with the anchor points on LiteAF packs but may still work with your hip belt. They’re available in custom print colors and patterns to let your freak flag fly.

View at LiteAF

6. Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Pocket

Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Pocket
The Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Pocket (MLD) has a three-point attachment system with an elastic band on the back to slide over your hip belt and Z clips on the ends that can clip to a hip belt daisy chain, gear loops, or can be tied off with a piece of cord to prevent the pocket from moving back and forth. This pocket is available in Ultra 200 which is a durable waterproof fabric and has a water-resistant YKK zipper on the front. It has a capacity of 0.74L/48 cubic inches and is available in grey, only.

View at M. L. D.

7. Superior Wilderness Designs Hip Belt Pocket

Superior Wilderness Designs EcoPak Hip Belt Pocket
The Superior Wilderness Designs Hip Belt Pocket (S.W.D) has a four-point attachment system that includes two elastic bands on the pack that can slip over any hip belt and Z clips on the ends that can clip to a hip belt daisy chain, gear loops, or can be tied off with a piece of cord to prevent the pocket from moving back and forth. This pocket is available in EcoPak or Ultra 200 which are durable waterproof fabrics and has a water-resistant YKK zipper on the front. It has a capacity of 0.8L/50 cubic inches and is available in different colors.

View at S.W.D.

8. Thrupack Summit Bum Classic Fanny Pack

Summit Bum Thrupack

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, internal sleeves for cash or cards, and an easy-access external pocket large enough to stash a smartphone. Use it to stash liner gloves, earbuds, snacks, a headlamp, a 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, it’s more versatile than your pack’s hipbelt pockets and probably much easier to reach too.

View at Garage Grown

9. Zpacks Multi-Pack

Zpacks Multi-Pack
The Zpacks Multi-Pack is a large pocket that can be used as a chest pocket, a fanny pack, a top lid on roll-top backpacks, or as a front pocket attached to your shoulder straps or hip belt. Its value is in its versatility and the fact that it is available in waterproof and seam-taped fabrics, including Dyneema and Ultra. Zpacks also makes smaller volume pockets that are worth a look including the Front Utility Pack Accessory (FUPA).

View at Zpacks

10. High Tail Designs UL Fanny Pack

Hightail 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.

View at Garage Grown

Backpack Pocket Attachment Systems

There are several 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 sample setup video from Chicken Tramper to give you a sense of what is involved and whether it will work with your backpack (or you need to kludge something up).

Chicken Tramper UL Gear Water Bottle Sleeve Setup Video

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  1. 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.

  2. Have you tried the water bottle sleeves JustinsUL makes (Etsy seller)? They’re absolutely excellent.

  3. 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.

  4. Any opinion on the mesh pockets for the back of packs like the exped flash pack pocket.
    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.

  5. 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.
    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Adding water bottle pockets gives you options, the two key issues are where, and how secure. Imagine my disappointment receiving a used pack that someone had cut the factory pockets off completely. Yet – they included photos showing them. Hmmm.

    This particular pack has wings they were sewn into, which can be utilized, the edge at the “frame” side is in a seam where it appears front, back, a stiffener sheet, and the foam padding all come together. I’m sure that takes a serious commercial machine to do the job. Since stretch mesh does have the issue of snagging and unraveling, I can see a sewn replacement in kind won’t be 1st Tier. If anything, the designers are moving away from it, and the next edition of that pack uses pack fabric.

    I can see an neoprene “taco” sleeve with bungee cord lacing as a solution. I can spread the load on the existing flap and also as much vertically as possible to reduce the constant pounding a liter of water puts on the fabric. And, add some insulation, too.

    Wish me luck.

  8. I’ve have nothing but good things to say about Chicken Tramper’s seam sealed Shoulder Strap Zipper Pocket at 1.6 ounces. The zipper is located on the front, not the top, to help with rain protection and my phone stays in even when not zipped. Lots of color choices and the price is more reasonable than HMG. (I just picked up a couple more on sale for gifts.)

  9. I’m still on the hunt for an alternative design water bottle sleeve. I don’t want one on my shoulder strap, and I can reach behind for the pockets on my pack (short arms on petite frame). Somethig that can attach between the pack side pocket and where the shoulder strap attaches by your hip. Let me know if anyone knows of such a unicorn

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