This Fanny Pack Always Keeps My Books Safe While I Travel

Plus, more options from Madewell, Ganni, and Fjallraven.

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Traveling with Books Round Up Tout
Photo:

Baggu, L.L. Bean, Madewell, Shopbop

Keeping the book I’m currently reading with me every time I leave the house is one of the biggest tips I can give to those that want to read more. You just never know when you’ll be able to get in a few pages, and it has helped me feel less annoyed by life’s little delays. The next train is not coming for 18 minutes? Time for a chapter. I am meeting a friend and they say they are running late? No worries; good thing I brought my book. All of these opportunities add up, and once I got into the habit of always carrying a book around with me, I entered the market for the best bag that would allow me to carry all my daily essentials plus a Kindle e-reader. And luckily, I’ve finally found the answer for my on-the-go reading needs. 

See, a standard tote is too big. It always seems like some sort of party happens inside that bag as I walk around because whenever I pull my book back out, my water bottle, keys, headphones, sunglasses, emergency snack, or all of the above would have somehow ripped, bent, or spilled on my beloved reading material. That’s why, when I initially set out on this journey for a bag to keep everything safe, I was looking for either a bag with a separate book pocket with bonus points for a zipper or for a small handbag that was compact to keep all my belongings securely in place while in transit.

My search came to an end when the prefect bag came into my life as a thoughtful birthday present from my close friends. The Baggu Fanny Pack allows me to pack just what I need, plus a small book or an e-reader. With two zippered pockets and the option to wear it across my body, all my essentials are safe and secure enough for me to take them on a bike commute or even to a concert without worrying about losing them. The front zippered pocket is the perfect size for my Kindle, and I choose this bag everytime I travel so I have everything I need organized and at chest level. I find having my reading material so close means that I reach for it instead of my phone when I am needing to kill time. 

Fanny Pack

Baggu

To buy: baggu.com, $54

The fanny pack’s flexible nylon fabric and small size also mean it can act like a pouch of sorts to keep everything contained in a bigger carry-on style bag. I have been loving wearing it as a crossbody bag at airports so I know everything important is in one place and then tossing it in my personal item when needing to consolidate before boarding. But you can also wear it around your waist if you prefer, thanks to the adjustable strap with a buckle. The fanny pack is light and can be worn in a way that it distributes weight so I forget I am even wearing it and allows me to have both my hands free while I’m on the go.  

The Baggu Fanny Pack comes in a variety of colors, including basics like black and army green, as well as bolder options like bright purple and black with an embroidered floral pattern.  This bag has become my go-to, but I have also included other bags I love for keeping my books from getting trashed once they leave the house with me. See below my picks for keeping books safe while on the go. 

Oaxaca Mexican Handwoven Tote 

Oaxaca Mexican tote handwoven

Etsy

A small handbag gives that oddly satisfying feeling of everything having its place. This handwoven structured bag comes in a variety of colors and the plastic material means they are not adding much weight beyond what you are already packing. This open bucket style lets you see everything all at once and gives you a little more flexibility on book size. After all, having what you’re reading peeking out of your bag feels very chic. 

To buy: etsy.com, $48

 L.L.Bean Small Boat and Tote 

L.L.BEAN Open-Top Boat Tote
L.L.BEAN

If you are someone who gets served fashion content on TikTok, you are probably familiar with the ironic boat-style totes that were popping up everywhere over the summer. With ten characters to play with, people have been putting clever phrases instead of a simple monogram on the traditional bag. While the heavyweight canvas tote comes in four sizes, the small is the perfect size to bring a book with you along with your essentials. For $8, you can add “book luvr” to the outside, à la AOL instant messenger. 

To buy: llbean.com, $30

Madewell Small Transport Crossbody 

The Small Transport Crossbody

Madewell

Madewell’s Medium Transport Tote has always been a best seller for the brand, and its smaller version does pretty well for itself with close to a five-star average rating and over 250 reviews. This surprisingly roomy small leather bag has an exterior pocket for easy access to the Kindle and an interior side zip pocket to keep your keys, phone and wallet separate and protected from damaging the book you have floating around in there too. You can wear it as a handbag but also across the body for when you need your hands free.  

To buy: madewell.com, $128

Ganni Tech Cross Body Bag

GANNI Tech Crossbody Bag

Shopbop

The way a small crossbody bag lets me keep all my essentials, including my Kindle, in one easy-to-access place makes me feel unstoppable. This style of bag is a top tier option for when you’re commuting and you can’t worry about if your valuables are going to fall out while you are running to the subway or biking over bumpy roads. This one from Copenhagen-based designer Ganni is similar to the Baggu bag but the leopard gives you that extra pop of pattern to accessorize with any outfit. 

To buy: shopbop.com, $145

Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack

Fjallraven Women's Kanken Mini Backpack

Amazon

I can attest to the durability of these backpacks, as I’ve been using mine for over a decade now. The regular sized version is  great for travel and school but the mini style is perfect for when you can leave the laptop at home. It is about the size of your biggest hardcovers and the little lining pocket and the zippered outside pocket are both opportunities to add another layer of protection from rubbing, potential tearing, and bending of covers and pages when you’re out and about. It also comes in a wide variety of colors, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your style. 

To buy: amazon.com, $69 (originally $84)

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