Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack | First Look

The The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is an ultralight way to make key gear quickly accessible on the trail without having to take your pack off. It makes a great catch-all for the day’s trail food, maps, sunscreen, lip balm, iphone anything else that you want to quickly grab while walking.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear says the Versa Fanny Pack is for  “Outdoor athletes who want a durable, weatherproof, flexible accessory pack for hiking, backpacking, packrafting, fishing, biking, trail running, travel, or errands around town.” But in this First Look we evaluated it primarily for hiking and backpacking.

On the Trail

We got our sample Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack just a bit more than a week ago. Long enough to test it out on a Section Hike on the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park. We found it useful for holding a full DSLR 4K Video setup, and equally useful for holding all our valuables, electronics, camera, phone and charging gear in one place. That way when we went into a store to resupply we could easily bring everything of value with us, since the stores required we leave our packs outside.

We also like the Versa’s organization. For such a small pack there are a large number of smaller pockets to organize things like cell phones, wallets and keys. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack has a large weatherproof main pocket divide into two parts by a mesh divider. It has a key clip. There is a separate waterproof zippered front pocket. And our favorite is the large padded rear pocket that is perfect for fast access to your phone.

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack goes along for our Section Hike of the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park. Here we are super excited to get a big dinner at Big Meadows Lodge after a 20 mile day.

Quick Specs

Weight: 0.26 lbs | 4.1 oz | 116 g  [2.9 oz | 83g  without waist strap]
Dimensions: 2.25” (H) x 6” (W) x 9” (L) | 5.7cm” (H) x 15.24cm (W) x 23cm (L)
Volume: 137.3 cu. in. | 2.25 liters
Body: DCH50 (Black) – 3.5 oz/yd2 Dyneema® Composite Fabric Hybrid

SHIP DATE: November 15, 2019

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack

While only 4 ounces, tough and nearly weatherproof, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack holds a surprising amount. It can easily hold 3 cans of beer, and iPhone Xs Max, wallet, keys and still have room to spare.

What Can you Carry in the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack?

While only 4 ounces, tough and nearly waterproof, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack holds a surprising amount. For backpackers and hikers here are a few possible uses:

Hiking

  • For minimalist, ultralight hikers in addition to your clothing pockets the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack may be all you need for a long hike in warmer weather.

Backpacking

  • Use it to hold all your valuables, electronics, camera, phone, USB battery and charging gear in one place. That way if you have to leave your pack somewhere, or if you need to go into a store to resupply or eat you can easily bring everything with you. This year we saw a lot of AT thru hikers doing this, since almost every store and restaurant requires that you leave your backpack outside. And of course then you have all your electronics with you to hopefully recharge while you shop or eat.
  • Use Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack as a “feed bag.” It fits over 2 pounds of food, or more than a days worth.  Not only will it make eating on the move a breeze. But it can also move a significant amount of weight forward on your body improving weight balance.
  • Store all your photography or video gear in the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack. This gives you almost instant access to it. But also protects it from dust and rain. And if you decide to venture out for a side shot you can easily leave your pack behind and move quickly with just your camera gear in the fanny pack. This is likely or favorite use.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack fits over 2 pounds of energy bars. If used as a “feed bag” it can not only make eating on the move a breeze. But it can also move a significant amount of weight forward on your body improving weight balance.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack can fit a compact, mirrorless DSLR Video rig, including a external shotgun microphone, and a full set of ND filters. With it you can shoot pro-quality 4K video. And there’s still room for your iphone in the rear pocket.

Chest or Belt Carry?

For backpackers, there are two options to carry the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack.

  1. Use the waist belt and carry it on the font of your waist just under your pack hip belt buckle. This is our favorite option.
  2. Carry the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack on your sternum strap. This chest mount is a super position for ease of access but has a few caveats which we describe below.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack

Our favorite way to use the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack was around the waist just below the hipbelt. We saw many Appalachian Trail Hikers use small fanny packs this way to store valuables, electronics, camera, phone and charging gear etc. And fanny packs were even more prevalent with ultralight thru hikers using small hibbeltless packs (no hip belt pockets), where it added valuable on-the-move gear access and extra storage volume.

Another option is to mount it on the sternum strap of your pack. While this is doable, there are a few things you should know. First you should use at least one small carabiner to anchor it to a shoulder strap to keep it from sliding off when you undo your sternum strap (mine is hidden between the water bottle and fanny pack). Second, in this position it’s best not to weigh down the fanny pack too much — three cans of beer is a but much! That being said this is a great way to access lighter gear.

Conclusion

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is a great option to make key gear quickly accessible on the trail without having to take your pack off or fumble in awkward pack side-pockets. We found it especially useful for storing all our photography and video gear. Giving us nearly instantaneous access while providing rain and dust protection. It was equally useful to  it to hold all our valuables, wallet, electronics, camera, phone, USB battery and charging gear in one place. And of course it makes a great catch-all for the day’s trail food, maps, guide book, sunscreen, lip balm, iphone anything else that you want to quickly grab while walking. Finally, it makes an excellent small fanny pack for minimal day hikes.

Other Thoughts

That being said, at just 2.25 liters the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is not large. It is a minimalist pack to hold key gear. As such, don’t expect it to carry a ton of gear for a day hike compared to a “standard” fanny pack like the 9 liter Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack. But again, that’s not the Versa’s purpose.

PRODUCT SPECS

Weight: 0.18 lbs | 2.91 oz | 83g (without waist strap)
0.18 lbs | 2.91 oz | 83g (without waist strap)
Dimensions: 2.25” (H) x 6” (W) x 9” (L) | 5.7cm” (H) x 15.24cm (W) x 23cm (L)
Volume: 137.3 cu. in. | 2.25 liters

Materials

Body: DCH50 (Black) – 3.5 oz/yd2 Dyneema® Composite Fabric Hybrid
Back Panel: Spacer Mesh
Internal Divider: Mesh
Waist Strap: 1” Webbing (adjustable up to 52″ circumference)
Zipper: YKK #3

SHIP DATE: November 15, 2019
MSRP: $70

Disclaimer

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

6 replies
  1. Jacob Brent
    Jacob Brent says:

    Would the Versa be able to hold a standard Nalgene? I am looking for something for short day hikes to hold a couple snacks, a very light rain coat and a water bottle

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Jacob, it will easily hold a pint water bottle, phone, keys and enough room left over for some food and/or a UL rain jacket. As to your Q, it just fits a standard quart Nalgene with a bit, but not much space left over. Hope this helps. Wishing you a great year of hiking. Warmest, -alan

      Reply
  2. Chris
    Chris says:

    Thanks for the review (and reminder). I just preordered the versa and look forward to adding it to my 3400 Junction.

    Can you tell me what brand/model the yellow wallet is in the size comparison photo?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good Q Jeff. Sadly, HMG does not make a bottle pocket for the the SW, Windrider and Junction Packs. I’m using Mountain Laurel Designs Bottle Pockets.

      “Weighing in at 1.2oz-32gm , the Bottle Pockets is made of 4 Way Stretch Very Tough Mesh, closes tightly with a stuff sack style bungee top and fits most 12 oz to 32 oz | .35L to 1L water bottles.”

      Happy hydration. Best, -alan

      Reply

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