A light and thoughtfully designed pouch that offers…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $12.95
A light and thoughtfully designed pouch that offers a transparent TPU panel for easy viewing of contents. A lightweight organizer pouch recommended for travelers or backpackers who don't mind sacrificing a bit of weight for a tad more durability and function.
- Quality of materials and manufacturing good
- Smooth zipper movement
- TPU panel permits quick visual check of contents
- Pouch "sits" when full
- Potential for seam ripping if overstuffed or after long use
The See Pouch is a Sea to Summit product that—as the name suggests—allows one to see the contents of the pouch without opening it. Sea to Summit produces these in three sizes:
- Small (215x40x100 mm; 8.5x1.6x3.9 in),
- Medium (250x65x145 mm; 9.8x2.6x5.7 in), and
- Large (270x70x215 mm; 10.6x2.8x8.5 in).
The color combinations include Lime/Black (pictured), Midnight/Slate, and Aubergine/Slate. This review concerns the small Lime/Black See Pouch.
- Translucent Cordura fabric (labeled Ultra-Sil by Sea to Summit)
- Puncture resistant transparent TPU panel
- Hypalon grab tags for "secure opening and closing"
The See Pouch appears to be durable. I've used mine for over a year, carrying it as a toiletry bag during international travel and as an organizer for what Mike Clelland calls "dinky stuff"—sunscreen, soap, hand sanitizer, etc.—while on weeklong backpacking trips.
The Cordura fabric is doubled at seams, as is the TPU panel, and—where possible—double stitched. A ribbon of cloth conceals interior seams, leaving a smooth seams that won't entangle contents of the pouch. Construction and materials are good.
In my experience other gear I've had that has incorporated stitched plastic eventually gets stressed and a seam or two will rip. This is not a concern after a year of using my See Pouch, and it seems to me that this is an acceptable risk given the light weight and good utility of the product.
The lightweight zipper tracks smoothly whether opening or closing, and the Hypalon tabs are indeed useful during these processes. The thoughtfully provided holes in these tabs both save weight and allow the See Pouch to be fastened to other things: a lightweight keychain carabiner can easily secure the See Pouch to the outside of a pack, for instance, and I've found that I can clip the pouch to my hammock's structural ridge line to use it for storing my glasses, a flashlight, or the like while I'm sleeping.
Sea to Summit claims a 27g/1 oz weight; my scale showed 28g, but that's probably within the margin of error for my (inexpensive) scale.
The packaging makes no claims about water resistance or waterproofness, but the Ultra-Sil label was too tempting for me not to test this. I noted that the interior traps air when zipped shut: the weight of my hand easily forced the air out, but it required minor pressure to do so. I have not exposed the See Pouch to the elements during my travels or backpacking—it rides in my suitcase or in the brain of my backpack—so I just opened a water bottle and spilled it on the Cordura fabric.
The result was that the water beaded on the surface. My guess is that your See Pouch contents would be fine if you had to pull this out of your bag during a rain shower, but this is certainly not a secure dry pouch for your phone or other valuables, and I wouldn't think of relying on it to keep things dry.
Mine has not been soiled enough to merit cleaning--I typically have liquids in mini zippered bags to guard against spills, but cleaning directions are included in the bottom of the pouch: hand wash with mild, soapy water; no ironing! I think most backpackers will be okay with the "Do not iron" part!
This pouch is a useful organizer for occasions when you want something more secure or durable than a sandwich bag and when you don't mind toting its modest weight. I found it admirable for travel as a toiletry kit because it did not have a lot of bulk or weight and yet it allowed me to pack all I needed to for ten days in Italy (no, I didn't carry many hair products!).
And, too, it has worked equally well when used in the backcountry. I have taken it with me on weeklong backpacking trips when I didn't mind carrying a few luxury items. When backpacking, I generally like to have liquids (bagged first in zip bags, as I noted before) in something more durable than just a sandwich bag because I have had leaking occur before in my pack. The See Pouch inspires more confidence than a sandwich bag, having greater integrity of form, and has thus far been resistant to the various pressures or stresses it has endured.
I like that is "sits" on the flat bottom when full. This has been especially useful when I was putting in my contact lenses, taking bottles out of or placing them back into the pouch. I also like the flexibility of being able to connect it to other things or to hang it up.
Overall, I have been quite pleased with this product.