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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, chest packs, fanny packs, camera bags, phone pockets, or 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.

1. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Strap 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. Available in black and white.

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.

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.

4. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack

HMG Versa Fanny Pack
While the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa is a fanny pack, most hikers attach it to their hip belt so that it hangs in front of their waist or their shoulder straps so it hangs between them in front of their chest. This is very convenient for holding larger items like electronics, a Smartphone, GPS, food, maps, or personal effects where they can be accessed easily. Here’s a link to a video for instructions (scroll down). The Versa is popular because it’s made with Dyneema DCF so it’s ultralight, seam-taped, and waterproof. Of course, you can also wear it over your fanny!

5. Counter Assault Cross Draw Bear Spray Holster

Counter Assault Cross Body Holster
A must-have in bear country, the Counter Assault Cross Draw Bear Spray Holster provides multiple ways to carry a bear spray canister. You can attach it to your pants belt or your backpack’s hipbelt and wear it like a holster or attach it to your backpack’s shoulder strap with MOLLE tactical straps and carabiner so it doesn’t bounce and it’s at the ready when you need it. The holster fits 10.2 oz and 8.1 oz canisters so you can ward off an encounter with Yogi or Boo Boo.

Shop at REI

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.

Shop at MLD

7. PackbackDesigns Companion Pouch

companion pocket
The PackbackDesigns Companion Pouch is a 11 1/2″ x 10″ pouch with a zippered internal pocket and a mesh outer pocket that can hold a whole lot of snacks, maps, a phone, or navigational equipment. Weighing 3.4 oz, it attaches to most packs and provides lots of frontal storage while hiking. It comes with a 1/2″ webbing strap which converts this pouch into a side satchel.

Shop at Garage Grown

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 or EcoPak, it’s more versatile than your pack’s hipbelt pockets and probably much easier to reach too.

Shop at Garage Grown

9. Zpacks Multi-Pack

Zpacks Multi-Pack
The Zpacks Multi-Pack is a huge 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 Ultra, a waterproof and seam-taped fabric. Zpacks also makes smaller volume pockets that are worth a look including the Front Utility Pack Accessory (FUPA). I use the Multi-Pack as a top lid when I need to carry a bag of extra food that won’t fit in my pack’s main compartment or as a chest pack when I want to keep a map handy. It’s nice to be able to reconfigure it on the fly as needed during a long backpacking trip.

Shop 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.

Shop 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 are several sample setup videos for the pockets listed above to give you a sense of what is involved and whether it will work with your backpack.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Strap Setup Video

Gossamer Gear Shoulder Pocket Setup Video

Chicken Tramper Bottle Pocket Setup Video

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack Setup Video


Chicken Tramper UL Gear Water Bottle Sleeve Setup Video


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