Put something in your jersey pocket on a bike ride and it is quite likely to come out damp. Sweat, rain, snow and sleet, or if you are really unlucky a burst energy gel; there are plenty of reasons to try and protect your valuables, tools and spares from the elements and yourself!
One simple, but innovative solution, designed specifically for the bike, comes from the new British firm PocPac. Offering both a tool pouch and a mobile pouch, their products promise to keep all your pocket's contents dry. I recently received one of each to review, and have been putting them both to the test in the inclement English weather that we have recently encountered.
The PocPac Road Pac:
The Road Pac is designed to take a tube, levers, a gas canister and its head, as well as a few slim objects like a card, cash or a few adhesive patches. The tools can be separated from the card etc. by an internal slip; which helps to avoid damage.
From my personal perspective I don't use a gas canister, preferring to opt for the more economical pump option instead. However the space for the gas canister was ideal for my LifeLine multitool (which I have yet to review on the blog). The fit is tight; but I don't take these objects out of my pocket very often, fortunately, so once they are in there it doesn't matter too much, and it is far better than having excess material.
Out on the road, the pouch does what it says on the tin; it keeps its contents dry and safe from the elements. The curved edges mean it is comfortable to have in your pocket, and the seams are holding up well. The zip closure at the top of the pouch inevitably does not "fully" close, leaving a tiny gap. However unless you're going to jump into a big puddle, it will keep your vitals dry; it certainly has in all the weather I've taken it through.
For me, protecting my multitool is far more important than levers or a tube, which won't corrode with water ingress; but that is a personal preference, and fortunately there is room for it instead of the gas canister in this pouch. The PocPac also provides a good way of ensuring that all your vitals are in one easy-to-grab package before you head out on a ride; which is always a good thing at first dawn, when many of us head out on our rides.
At present my "similar" solution when heading off-road is an old school plastic pencil case! I am sure the Off-Road Pac will be a significant improvement over this; more waterproof, more comfortable in your pocket, and certainly a lot trendier.
Overall the tool pouches present a good value, well designed investment in the current British weather; both for trail and tarmac riders.
This smaller, rectangular PocPac is designed to take an iPhone, Blackberry or most android phones that size or smaller. The iPac promises to keep your communication life-line safe from the elements.
I don't have an iPhone, but this is a picture of one of my team-mate's iPhone 5 in his PocPac. As you can see, it's a nice snug fit; with no excess material. The good news is that you can also use the phone through the clear front casing as well; handy when you need to call the 'broom-wagon' when you've had a fatal mechanical!
The one qualm about the iPac case over similar phone cases such as an AquaPak (which I previously used for my phone), is that is is not fully waterproof; again the zip will not fully seal, so you wouldn't want to drop this in a river. It's also not as sturdy as an AquaPak. However, for keeping sweat and drizzle off it is ideal, and has the benefit of not having a fiddly and cumbersome closing device like the AquaPak, which can be quite uncomfortable in your pocket. Also noteworthy it that the PocPac is also a lot cheaper, coming in at just £6.99; money well spent to protect your valuable electronics.
Overall the PocPacs seem to be a well thought-out, innovative idea. They are relatively cheap, and do what you want them to do; keep your vital equipment and phone dry in the British weather. If there is one downside, it is that they are not fully waterproof; but they are more compact, more comfortable in your pocket, and more practical than the alternatives that are. Well worth a few pounds to protect your kit.