An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Personal utility pouch.

AIMED AT: Stylish travelers who want the convenience of a fanny pack but without the geek factor.

HOW MUCH: $19.95, in six colors.

BUT DOES IT WORK? Fanny packs are as fashionable as man bags, and while we can appreciate their ease and usefulness, we prefer our waists to be fanny-free. The PUP, however, keeps the best of that Don't item -- adjustable belt strap, multiple pockets -- and combines it with a chic tool-belt look. With its flat, square shape and Carhartt- esque fabric, the carrier lays flat and unobtrusive. The main zippered pouch is large enough to hold small travel essentials, like maps and snacks, but avoid sticking in a fat paperback (no one, man or woman, needs a pooch). Four outside pockets of varying shapes can fit pens, a cell phone and other loose items. But don't stash valuables in there; the pouches have no closures. Finally, like any good couture item, the PUP can go from day into evening -- readjust the strap and your fanny pack is now a purse.

-- Andrea Sachs

Available at 321-952-8771, www.selectpup.com.