No longer a pack mule, not yet just wristbands

This February will be our first trip without a stroller. We have a 9 year old and us two adults going. My fantasy is going to the parks with just the clothes on our bodies and our wristbands but realistically we need to bring some stuff in with us. (ASD kid needs headphones, a small sensory bag, at least one water bottle for us to share, first aid kit… Ok ibuprofen, let’s be honest.) Also in February I know we’ll be wearing jackets/coats/hoodies all morning but as soon the sun peeks out we’ll be too warm to wear them and I just don’t want to be carrying them all through the parks in my arms.

My thought was to bring a small cinch-type backpack (We have one that we bought on our last Disney trip when we needed something to carry our stuff that we didn’t want to leave in the stroller. “Webbing” straps about an inch thick. Not a string-cinch-backpack.) And also packing a foldable backpack in there for when we want to take our jackets off but not hold them all day.

Do you have any suggestions for a foldable backpack that holds its shape? Especially against the back? Have any better suggestions for this situation?

What I don’t want is:

-a big ol’ backpack that gets heavier as the day goes on. (Our current backpack stash ranges from a small Vera Bradley purse-sized backpack to hold essentials, to a large backpack that we use as our carry-on luggage.)

-a cheapy-cheap backpack that is going to be uncomfortable and shift everytime you take a step.

-a crossbody anything. It hurts my shoulder to carry all that against one side of my neck.

I like a photo or fishing vest. It spreads out the weight.

I LOVE Tom Bihn bags- high quality, made in Seattle. They have a packing cube backpack that is very popular:


You can also look at LL Bean. They have a packable backpack. I love my stowaway day pack which is lightweight but can hold a lot if needed. I used it when we were in WDW. All are on sale this weekend!

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I use a LL Bean stowaway backpack as well when not using a smaller cross body. Day dictates how much we carry. I actually prefer the sling bag due to the ability to access while on and walking.

Nothing but a small ‘cinch’ backpack for me…I dream of the day I won’t even need that, but you are right, everyone needs to essentials (tylenol, packable poncho, etc.) The lighter the better - and remember to always, always send any purchases either to the front of the park for pick up or back to your resort (if you are staying on site)

Could you put a 2nd cinch backpack inside the first one?

Cargo pockets! :slight_smile:

And if not that, a fanny pack.

Your water bottle is the most difficult thing to accommodate, though. Everything else can be stashed away easily.

We were at Universal in February (first week) and never needed jacket/sweatshirts. A little cool, but still bearable in shorts and short sleeves. Problem is, that time of year can be a bit unpredictable. Our plan, had we needed our sweatshirts, was just to tie them around our waists.


I would do a fanny pack in a heartbeat if my family wouldn’t abdandon me the moment I clicked it on.

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That was my plan, bag in a bag, like Russian nesting dolls.

Wow. You need to find a better family. One who loves you JUST the way you are, fanny pack and all! :wink:

(Our kids sometimes make fun of us for our fanny packs…until they need something and we’re able to just pull what they need out from our waist pack. Then we make fun of them for making fun of us!)

Actually, the BEST fanny pack I ever had was simultaneously a fanny pack AND a baby carrier. This webbing with straps and leg holes stashed away inside. But when we needed to get the baby out of the stroller for a while, I’d pull it out and wear the baby. Loved it.

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I’m with @ryan1 on this - cargo shorts. That’s what DH uses to carry his phone and wallet (with DVC card and driving licence and a bit of cash), and anything else like medication.

I use a fanny pack, I honestly don’t care what I look like wearing it! OK, if I was going to meet others in the parks I would probably take a wee bag on a strap to wear over my neck and shoulder. But who cares what strangers think about a fanny pack? It’s not the worst thing in the world …l

Very occasionally we use a tiny backpack bought for about £5 from a supermarket camping aisle. It’s about 12” across and 18” tall with one outside pocket. That’s more if we go offsite, Legoland maybe or Universal. It will hold a water bottle, ponchos for everyone and anything else.

As for hoodies /jumpers. My rule is very simple - your jumper, you carry it. Tie it round your waist or wear it. Or don’t take one. Last time over Christmas there was only one day it was cold enough to really need a jacket by late afternoon, and we all ended up buying a souvenir fleece or jumper at DHS before Fantasmic.

Reminds me of a trip I took with a friend to Magic Kingdom when I was in the ninth grade. It was late February, and during the day, temperatures had been hovering around 80. But as the sun started to set, temperatures plummeted into the 50s. Everyone was freezing. I mean, like EVERYONE. The entire population of MK crowded into the gift shop we were in. No exaggeration here that it was packed, shoulder to shoulder, with people buying up every sweatshirt the place had. We managed to snag white sweatshirts with Mickey on them. Took about an hour, but we survived the rest of the evening without frostbite settling in. Never seen a store more crowded than that in my life.

The next day was just about our last day I think. DS and I were in Main St and looking at sweatshirts. There were hardly any left. In the end, I got one in my size but DS had wanted the same design. No luck, they had all been taken the night before! The CMs said it had been mayhem. :joy:

DH actually bought a fleece jacket at DHS that night! Just has a tiny DHS logo on it, so pretty versatile - in that it doesn’t scream “Disney” when he wears it,