Fanny packs (“bum bags” in British English), also known as waist packs or belt bags, have become very fashionable. They have experienced a huge resurgence in recent years for good reason. They’re practical and versatile. With a small footprint, undeniable functionality, and capable of being worn in a variety of ways, these hand-free bags are a convenient way to carry daily essentials and keep them close at hand.

Although the modern fanny pack trend first appeared in the late 80s, bags attached to belts have been around since ancient times. Ötzi the Iceman, who lived in the European Alps over 5,100 years ago, was found with one. They have been used by many cultures. The traditional Native American buffalo pouch or medicine bag is an example closer to home.

Nineteenth century photograph of a Native American warrior of the Great Plains showing a belted bag known as a medicine pouch. Bags attached to belts have been around since antiquity and used by many cultures.

Today, you have a lot of options. There are a seemingly endless number of fanny packs on the market today to choose from. They come in all styles and colors. When choosing an everyday carry (EDC) fanny pack, you first need to decide what you’re going to carry. Otherwise you will likely end up with one that’s either too large or too small for your needs and without the necessary features. EDC should be needs driven, without going overboard. Be realistic in your assessment.

Vertx SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack

If you’re looking for a versatile and discreet way to carry your everyday essentials, you might want to check out the Vertx SOCP® Tactical Fanny Pack. This isn’t your typical fanny pack. It may look like a stylish belt bag, but it’s purpose-designed with the needs of prepared professionals in mind.

The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is the big brother to the SOCP Sling. It was developed in conjunction with Greg Thompson, founder of Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP). Pack has fully adjustable strap and may be worn multiple ways.

The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is the big brother of the Vertx SOCP Sling. Although the SOCP Sling is an outstanding product that serves its intended purpose very well, people wanted something similar to it that had a greater carrying capacity. They wanted to able to carry a gun it and be able to carry more items. Although I would always opt for on-body holster carry whenever possible, there are situations where off-body carry, such as in a belt bag, makes a lot of sense and may be the only practical option.

A lot of thought went into the design of the SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack. The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack was developed in collaboration with Greg Thompson, founder of the ever-evolving Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP) taught to US military special operations personnel and law enforcement. Greg has been training Special Operations Units since 1998. SOCP has been one of two programs of record for the US Army since 2010. Greg has a Masters Degree in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University and has taken dozens of products to market.

The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is significantly bigger than the SOCP Sling. The latter is quite small by design. The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is packed full of features that provide additional capabilities, while maintaining a low-profile appearance. And as many were clamoring for, it has a concealed carry compartment. I have included the size and weight specs at the end of the article.

The materials and construction of the of the SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack are top-notch. The body fabric is 500D CORDURA® nylon, which provides the optimal balance of strength and light weight. It’s a very durable fabric that’s resistant to tears, punctures, and abrasion. It’s also water-resistant and resistant to mold and mildew. It has a texture that mimics a natural fabric. Bonded nylon thread is used throughout, with critical seams and attachment points bar tacked for extra durability. The stitching is straight and uniform. Bias taped edges prevent fraying. YKK® self-repairing nylon coil zippers, VELCRO® Brand hook and loop, and Duraflex® (D-Flex®) plastic hardware are used throughout.

The pack has a fully adjustable waist/shoulder strap made of CORDURA webbing. The strap has a quick-release buckle. The strap is easy to adjust and offers multiple carry options. It can be worn as a belt bag, a shoulder bag, or a cross-body sling bag depending on your preference. The pack is designed to closely hug the body and stay in place during strenuous activities. The strap attachment wings of the fanny pack are padded for comfort and feature hidden pockets for small items. The strap attaches to loops on the end of the pack wings which allows for optimal fit on the body no matter how the pack is worn.

External cellphone pocket with touch screen window can be folded down to use as NAV board and adjusts to fit most cellphones.

The pack has an external cellphone pocket on the front with some special capabilities similar to the cellphone pocket on the SOCP Sling. The pocket folds down horizontal to access the phone or use it as a navigation board. It has a clear touch screen window. The pocket is adjustable via a hook and loop strap to fit most cellphones and is very easy to use. The cellphone pocket on the pack is secured by hook and loop, which simplifies access.

Exterior flaps on cellphone pocket tuck in for photo or video surveillance or use of cellphone as hands-free light.

The front of the cellphone pocket has exterior flaps that can be tucked in to reveal a clear window to allow for discreet photo or video surveillance, effectively turning your phone into a covert body cam. The flaps are secured closed with hook and loop when the camera is not being used. Video image quality through the clear window is very good, something that I was initially concerned about. The clear window also allows you to use the flashlight on your cellphone as a hands-free light, which will probably see more use for most people than the covert cam feature.

The pack also has two large zippered compartments a front/main compartment and a rear/CCW compartment. There’s also a hidden access compartment. Both of the zippered compartments are of semi-clamshell opening design for easy access. The zippers are equipped with quiet, positive-grip zipper pull-tabs. The exterior zippers have back-to-back pulls for ambidextrous access.

Front main compartment has multiple organizational pockets.

The front/main compartment has multiple organizational pockets. There’s a large zippered see-through pocket with a durable tear- and abrasion-resistant light-colored see-through nylon mesh facing on the font of the compartment. In the rear of the compartment there are two stretch admin pockets that are secured closed by hook and loop. There’s also an built-in key clip attached via a webbing lanyard. The compartment has a gusseted bottom which keeps the pack thin as possible while allowing for expansion when filled.

The rear/CCW compartment can hold up to a full-size handgun. It has lockable zipper pulls and red colored hot-pull attachment loops with a paracord hot pull for rapid weapon deployment. The latter is a great feature to have. A hot-pull can be set up to allow the compartment to be ripped open using gross motor skills. The compartment is fully lined with soft loop on both sides (most tactical fanny packs only have loop on the side closest to your body). It’s compatible with all loop-mounted accessories (including Vertx Tactigami™).

Loop-lined back CCW compartment has lockable zipper and has hot-pull for rapid access. It includes hook and loop holster retainer and has removable pouch with strap to hold magazines.

The pack comes with a hook and loop adjustable holster retainer that’s compatible with belt holsters. It works best with an IWB holster with 1.5” to 1.75” holster clips. If you already have an IWB holster that you like, the odds are good that it will work flawlessly with the holster retainer. The holster retainer is removable and may be mounted anywhere on the loop inside the CCW compartment. The holster retainer is NOT intended to be used as a holster.

Vertx also offers you additional options with its patented Tactigami (tactical origami) platform, which is available for purchase separately. Tactigami is precision built from VELCRO Brand ONE-WRAP® fasteners developed specifically to attach to loop. Tactigami is a very innovative and versatile system to organize firearms, magazines, tools and accessories in a bag or pack.

The CCW compartment comes with a large removable zippered pouch that attaches to the loop. The pouch is constructed of the same see-through light-colored nylon mesh used in the front compartment pocket. The zipper has a cord pull. The interior of the pouch has has a mag retention strap that holds two pistol magazines and has a zippered smaller pocket with a cord pull. The pouch has an attached cord loop that allows you to quickly rip the pouch out.

Hidden access pocket for the SOCP dagger or other tools. Laser-cut attachment points for SOCP dagger on back panel and grosgrain loop attachment points for SOCP dagger.

The rear of the CCW compartment has a hidden pocket with hook and loop access to a hidden rapid access pocket on the back of the pack. The hidden access pocket can also be accessed from either side on the back of the pack. The access points are secured with hook and loop.

There’s a pass-though back panel with laser-cut attachment points and two grosgrain loop attachment points that are designed for securing the sheath of a Benchmade® SOCP Dagger or other tools. This feature is also a carryover from the SOCP Sling.

Summing Up

The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is a great option for anyone who wants to carry their essentials in a low-profile and functional way. It’s an exceptionally well-made and well-designed pack with some unique capabilities that can adapt to your individual needs and preferences. Simply put, it’s an outstanding tactical fanny pack.

The SOCP Tactical Fanny Pack is available in ITS Black, Canopy Green/ Smoke Grey, and Reef/Smoke Grey colorways. MSRP is $99.99. It can be purchased from the Vertx official website or from other authorized dealers. It’s one of Vertx bestselling products. Whenever new stock comes in, it quickly sells out.

Vertx stands behind all of its products. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, they will be happy to accept an exchange or a return for a full refund within 60 days of purchase (terms apply, as always).



Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP)

Benchmade Knives

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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