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Happy Cow Hip Bag Review: My New Fashionable Travel Bag


A big problem for me when traveling is finding items that are both practical and cute at the same time to take along, such as a purse or bag for daily travel life on the move. That’s where the Happy Cow Leather Hip Bag has made my life easier as it is not only stylish, but also a safe, hands-free storage option that I’m never going to just “forget in a taxi ride”.

You can’t. It’s always buckled around your waist!

A glorified fanny pack? Are you serious?!

I’m totally serious! The Happy Cow Leather Hip Bag may have the same features as the fanny pack you sported around in the early 90s, but with such a sleek redesign, who cares? And, really, it is just like the bag Fiona from Burn Notice wears while assembling bombs and operating machine guns. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!

The True Test: Taking the Hip Bag to the Gold Coast

I received the chocolate brown bag a few weeks ago from Happy Cow and have taken it all around Sydney from the train to the pub, but I wanted to wait for this review until after taking it on my trip to the Gold Coast.

I generally tend to drop purses from my packing list altogether because I can get by using my pockets and the daypack that is more of a necessity in my mind. Plus, a purse will get in the way of my DSLR camera bag, which is also worn over the shoulder. However, I am often left without any sort of stylish way to hold simple purse items when going to dinner or a bar.

This is where I loved my hip bag. It offers me a unique and stylish look (see photo to the left *smile*), and it also gives me extra storage that won’t get in the way of my camera bag during sightseeing. This is a major bonus as I’m then less-inclined to try and stuff lip gloss and a hair brush into a bag where it just doesn’t belong.

How else did the bag benefit me during my trip?

While out for a drink, I was never in a position where I had to worry about my purse since it was always attached. I never forgot it in a car, taxi or at a friend’s place. I was even able to play games of pool, video games, putt-putt golf and take photos — all without ever having to juggle an extra bag!

The Amazing Storage Capabilities of a Tiny Bag

You can pack quite a bit into this little bag, and the numerous pouches and zipped compartments make it so easy to stay organized in the process. It’s great for money, personal products, a small camera, cell phone, tissues, keys and more. To get the true Fiona from Burn Notice vibe, I make sure to include my little multi-tool (except for on planes!). NOTE: Overloading the bag can make it heavy and sag. If you are wearing it as a belt with jeans, it can easily make you look like a plumber.

A Bit More About the Features and Happy Cow

>> The Leather Hip Bag contains 1 main storage pocket with zipper enclosure and 2 front pockets that are closed by the button-down flap.

>> There are 3 “secret” pockets in this bag: 1 zipped pocket in the enclosing flap, 1 zipped pocket in the back of the bag that touches the body, and 1 velcro mini-pocket in the actual belt section.

>> The bag can be worn as a belt through most standard belt loops, or it can also be worn slung over the top of the clothes higher or lower on the body.

>> It fits quite close to the body given its storage capabilities. Note: Even so, you will most likely find yourself bumping the bag on things in the early stages of wearing it. Not a deal breaker for me.

>> This bag is a unisex bag meant to be enjoyed by both male and female travelers.

>> With a hip bag, you get to be hands-free! It’s a liberating feeling to be walking down the street without any straps and bags constricting your movement.

>> Hip bags are perfect for individuals that suffer neck and back pain associated with standard shoulder bags.

>> Hip bags are great for most activities except for toilet breaks. Having to handle the bag in the process can be annoying, but still not a deal breaker for me.

>> Happy Cow is a Melbourne-based company, but they ship all over the world.

>> Happy Cow is named so because it makes its bags from the leather cut-offs and scraps that would otherwise be tossed and wasted. MAJOR PLUS.

>> The bags are handmade, but quite affordable given the ability to use recycled leather.

>> Happy Cow produces tons of hip and shoulder bags that are awesome, so it is worth your time to shop around their website if you are in need of a new and unique travel bag.

Final Thoughts on the Happy Cow Leather Hip Bag

All thoughts expressed in this review are my own. I do thoroughly enjoy my Happy Cow Leather Hip Bag. In fact, you will probably see me wearing this if you cross my path in Sydney, or on upcoming travels. If you have any specific questions about the bag, feel free to leave a comment or send an email — I’m happy to help!

Note: All photos in this review are mine as well. Please do not use without my permission.


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11 Responses to Happy Cow Hip Bag Review: My New Fashionable Travel Bag

  1. Globetrooper Lauren June 25, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    I’ve got a similar pacsafe one, and it’s awesome! But I’m used to carrying around a massive garbage-type handbag so it’s been hard to adjust to the small size 🙁

  2. Bethany June 26, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Love it! Seriously! I am going crazy looking for a bag for my camera that doesn’t look like a camera bag. I wish this was a little bigger because it would totally work! I love the secret pockets. I love anything with pockets and secret ones are the best! I have been going crazy looking for a bag – this one is totally cute and it looks great with your clothes. 🙂

  3. Luke Hamilton July 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Wow. I really want one! Do you think a guy could pull this off…?? :p
    Or perhaps there is a male equivalent.

    • Brooke July 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

      My boyfriend wants one, too! haha It is actually supposed to be unisex, and if you look on the website, there is a photo of a guy wearing it. 🙂

  4. Monique July 22, 2010 at 5:41 am #

    Does somebody knows if I can buy them in Europe? Thanx

  5. Jennifer October 28, 2010 at 4:27 am #

    What is the actual color of the bag you purchased? You listed “Chocolate”..but the one I got that is supposed to be “chocolate” doesn’t look as good as your 🙁 (the color of the bag- the bag is as you described).

  6. Jess April 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Great tip! I’m going to Europe this summer and I was worried about finding the right travel bag.

  7. Cat January 30, 2014 at 2:12 am #

    Love this bag!
    I know this is an old post, so is this bag still working well for you? Or have you found a better alternative?
    I’m trying to find that nice balance between a cute bag that keeps my hands free as much as possible, and a bag that is super secure.

    • Brooke February 26, 2014 at 4:53 am #

      Hi Cat – I wore the bag for a very long time, all the time. The snap close buttons have broken, but I still use the bag when I work at market stalls on the weekend. Still love it, but I will need to fix the snap buttons before I take it traveling or use it regularly again. 🙂

  8. Liezl September 23, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    Hi Brooke,

    What color is your leather hip bag? Is it “dark brown” or “dark red”?




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