If you’ve read any of our Strategist editor hauls, you’ll know that our writers and editors buy a lot of stuff, and even though we think carefully about each thing that goes into our carts, there are still standouts. To close out the year, we’ve asked our staffers to write about the best thing they bought in the past 12 months. Today, writer Jeremy Rellosa on the convertible sling pack that he now can’t live without.
I’ll admit it: I’m an overpacker. I stuff my suitcase for a weekend trip like I’m also packing for my wife and two kids (neither of whom exist). Unfortunately, I overpack when I run too — especially true for long runs. I’ll bring one too many layers and my keys, wallet, headlamp, and phone in fear that I’ll get lost and have to hitchhike my way home, which was way more rational when I lived in New Mexico, and probably less so when I’m running through Brooklyn. I used to either run in a hydration vest, which felt like overkill for shorter days, or stuff everything into my pockets and stick my phone in my waistband, which flat-out sucked because my keys bounced around with every stride and my phone chafed against my hip. But I can fit all of that (and more) in my Janji Multipass sling pack, which is, hands down, the best thing I bought in 2022.
One of my favorite things to do in New York is to go on a long run with friends to some food destination, eat there, and then take the train back home. This pack is perfect for those excursions. Its main compartment can fit everything I need for my run and for hanging out after, including an extra layer (on super-sweaty days, I pack a clean, dry T-shirt to change into at the restaurant), a hat and gloves if it’s cold out, and essentials like lip balm and a mask, as well as earbuds, granola bars, and energy gels. There’s a tiny plastic carabiner that holds keys, and a separate zip compartment closest to the back side of the pack that is meant for stashing flat, heavier items like credit cards or a phone, which prevents them from moving around on the run when they’re close to the body.
But what sets this pack apart from others is the hidden cross-body strap that stashes inside that inner compartment. I can go from fanny-pack mode to wearing it like a sling on my back: The strap goes underneath my arm and across my chest and secures the pack to my back with a plastic buckle, so it doesn’t jostle when I’m moving.
Then there’s the comfort. Other fanny packs I’ve tried to run in suffocate my skin, because you often have to cinch them tight to prevent them from bouncing around. But the Multipass has this waffled foam and mesh cushion that hugs my body and allows lots of airflow.
For summer day hikes, this pack is all I need. Between the main compartment and inner one, there’s a bungee cord chute that holds a water bottle — a clever, minimalist solution for storing a bulky item, and one that I’ve also used for carrying my bike lock.
Janji makes some of my favorite running apparel, and it also happens to make my favorite accessory for running. I’ll be wearing this well into 2023 and until it falls apart, in which case I’ll gladly buy a new one.
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