Not Your Parent’s Bum Bag; Nurse’s Pouches Were Always Cool

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It’s safe to say that bags strapped to the waist have been fashionable almost as long as the wheel. They've been around, as far as we can tell, at least 5,000 years. Early humans and their descendants didn’t need the fashion industry to tell them that bum bags rule.

Think about these conditions:

  1. You want to carry a few things.
  2. You want your hands free.

Your options are otherwise terrible.

The shoulder bag flops about, hitting your stomach and even your face if you need to run. Even a tightly sashed version will swing around your waist.

Backpacks induce massive back sweat and are usually overkill unless you’re traveling far. A sweaty back stripe is not a good look.

There is only one bag that allows you to move naturally. There is only one that lets you carry critical items in the perfect range of your hands for quick and easy access.

They’re called bum bags around this part of the world, and nurses have been carrying them since before they were cool again. We call them a nurse’s pouch.

It should come as no surprise that an Australian, Melba Stone, takes the credit for first introducing this sort of bag as a fashion statement. In fact, inspired by Kangaroos, those bum bags hit runways in 1962.

All the fuss is rather silly considering nurses have been sporting this look regardless of fashion trends, and with good reason.  

Why the bum bag is so hawt right now


It was only a few years ago, an image made the rounds like wildfire featuring the American entertainer, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, sporting a black turtleneck, and a bum bag back in the ‘80s.

In the US, at that time, they called them fanny packs.


What’s worse, that pic may have been taken in the — gasp — 1990s, long after the trend had faded.

By that point, the bum bag was the epitome of an era faded into silliness. Who, after all, actually wore one of those ridiculous things everyone collectively wondered? The pic looked so… ‘80s.

That was about the time nurses glanced to their own trusty hip-bags, reassuring themselves that this was no bum bag. They were no silly thing.

For nurses, there was never any hipsters irony in wearing the bum bag. It had a perfect function to keep pens from disappearing, and to keep necessary tools at close proximity.

Then it happened.

Gucci was the first big brand to re-introduce this fashion to the non-medical world, then Nike, and others followed. Silver bum bags, tie-dyed versions and bright coloured ones too.

Overnight, the world plunged hip-first back into bum bags.


Bumbag or bum bags?


Since both spellings come up in a search, and there is no official Bum Bag Society for the Preservation of Hands-free lives (The BBSPoHL?).

You can call them whatever you want. The category is as open and free as you’d like it to be.

We’re no experts on fashion over here at Medshop, but as far as we can tell you can call any bag that wraps around the waist a bum bag.

So long as it doesn’t hang from the shoulders in any way, and it frees up the hands, even if it was meant for a shoulder but you’re wearing it around your waist. It’s a bum bag.

Here’s the best part. No matter what you call it, you're officially trendy if you wear one.

That means, if you’ve been wearing one all along, you’re what they call fashion forward. You’re not riding the wave of fashion, but you’re making it happen.

We’re looking at you, nurses.   


What is a nurses pouch?


For the record, Medshop has no plans to rename our nurse’s pouch category as bum bags, not anytime soon.

Call them what you will. Nurses pouches have served nurses and nursing students well for decades.

While we carry a few bag brands, there are three that produce bumbags in a wide variety of styles. We’ll get into those brands in the following sections, but they are Elite Bags, Medibags, and Mu Bags.

Chances are good, if you’re a nurse, that you already own one of these. You might have landed on this blog because it’s getting time to replace the said bag or maybe you want a backup.

In any case, you can call your nurses’ pouch a bum bag if it makes you feel more connected to all the cool things. It’s your life but understand this: To us, you were cool with or without the bag all along.

Elite Bags are a medical pro’s trusted accessory ELI00048 EB145 back view copy.jpg

Elite Bags really makes a great bag. As such, their name appears on more than just bum bags. They make emergency bags that could go to war if they wanted.

No, seriously. They have bags that are made for going into battle.

The downside to Elite Bags’ products is straightforward. You’ve gotta pay for all that brand reputation and quality.

Elite makes a bum bag that for most people will be more than what the doctor ordered.

Their Kidle’s first aid bag wear both as a bum bag and as a leg holstered bag. It carries a ton of gear, and you’ll never lose it because it’s covered in emergency red but for the black straps.

For better or worse, this bum bag will live forever.

If you need something a little more streamlined, the Descen’s bag straps into your leg like a holster too, but is slimmer.


Medibag will save you money


If you like the look and feel of Elite Bags, but don’t like the price tag, take a look at Medibags line of bags.

Medibags, our signature brand of bags, utilize durable, water-resistant fabrics. The seams and zippers are designed to take daily punishment and come back for more.

Best of all, bags like the Medibag utility bag wrap around your hips.

That one, in particular, is big enough to hold almost as much as a backpack. It’s crazy spacious. You can even carry a standard-sized laptop in it if you want.

Eat your heart out, Gucci. The one in the link above is grey, but Medibag makes a black version too.

You’ll pay about half of what you’d spend on Elite Bags for your Medibag bum bag. The downside is, it might be a little much for stomping around town.

Maybe not.


Mu Bag’s line is cute and versatile


If you need a bum bag that carries only a few things, and keeps them tight to your body so they don’t bang into corners, but looks cute enough to wear anywhere, go with Mu Bags.

Yes, men can do cute too. It’s almost the year 2020.

Understand this about Mu Bags: It’s an Australian company, designed by a nurse from Victoria.

Many of the Mu Bag line of bum bags are neoprene, the same material found in wetsuits. It’s flexible and tough.

Although Mu Bags tend to be smaller than Elite Bags and Medibags, they flex to let you cram a lot of stuff in your bum bag.

If you need it handy, it will fit, pens, scissors, calculators, wipes, keys, and yes forceps. You can shove them in your Mu Bag, make your rounds, and they’ll still be there safe and sound at the end of your shift.

What’s so great about Mu Bags is that they wear as well outside of work as they do in, provided you keep it clean. The neoprene helps with that.

With so many fashionable people wearing them about these days, nobody will question you wearing your Mu Bag bum bag to the club. They’ll probably ask you where you got such a cool bag.

“Is that Gucci?”

Bum bags will have their time in the sun, and in time the fashion will fade again.

Somewhere, the next Dwayne Johnson is gearing up to miss the trend by a decade to become someone’s punch line in about 30 years.

All the while, nurses and medical professionals will be wearing their sensible hip bags like it was never a big deal.

That’s what being truly cool is all about.

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