Zpacks Passport Zip Pouch
There's not a whole lot to be said about a simple DCF zip pouch. But for the amount of use I've gotten from mine, it deserves a moment in the spotlight. My zip pouch has traveled the world with me, dutifully containing some of my most important items and documents. It's lightweight, durable, simple, and good at being the one place to put the small stuff I can't afford to lose.
- DCF is tough, durable, lightweight, and water-resistant
- Webbing allows customization with clips, lanyards, etc.
- DCF creases, warps, and shrinks over time
- Zpacks offers limited color options, but there are many retailers producing similar items
- The inside lacks any partitions, so anything you put in it is mixed together with everything else...very basic, but that's what I was looking for
Background: Just before I traveled overseas to begin my thru-hike of New Zealand's Te Araroa, I decided to add a small Dyneema (DCF) zippered pouch to my kit. I specifically needed something to keep my passport dry and secure while I walked, biked, and paddled the length of the country for 2,000 miles. My backpack lacked an internal zippered pocket, plus I also thought it prudent to be able keep my valuables closer at hand when staying in hostels and campgrounds.
This humble little pouch not only survived my overseas adventures, it went on to serve as my wallet and small-stuffs keeper for all my thru-hikes. It continues to be a part of my travel kit to this day. I hadn't thought to do a review on it until realizing just how long I've been using it. I figured it was important to highlight the durability and utility of such a product.
These days, such DCF and Xpac pouches are easy to find online on Etsy, Garage Grown Gear, Ebay, and pretty much every cottage company's site. Giving credit where credit is due, Zpacks was one of the first to offer them and would probably still be my first choice in replacing the one I have now. A quick look at their website reveals eight different options, with sizes ranging from a minimalist wallet to a document-sized pouch.
Mine is marketed as a "passport" pouch, originally measuring 6" x 4.25". While it's warped and shrunk considerably over time (as all stuff made of DCF is apt to do), my passport still just fits inside.
Ease of Use & Features:
A zip pouch need only do a few things. First, the zipper needs to function well, lasting through years of repeated use. The Zpacks zip pouch has pretty much exceeded this mark. The waterproof-type zipper still slides smoothly...though I wouldn't trust it to be more than water-resistant at this point. If I was carrying documents that can't get wet (say an immunization card), I'd probably double bag it with a plastic zip lock just to be safe.
Secondly, there should be some sort of outer attachment points so that the pouch can be secured to a pack, pocket, or your body. Most have nylon webbing loops at either end of the zipper, made for this purpose. I attached a piece of shock cord to mine, using it as a sort of purse whenever I'm in town, frequently needing to access my wallet. On the trail, my pouch usually stays tucked away with my electronics or spare clothes.
Lastly, a zip pouch simply needs to securely hold small stuff and important documents I don't want to lose. Sure, I could probably make due with a rubber band and my Purple Rain Adventure skirt or dress pockets, but I like having a dedicated pouch for my cash, credit cards, passport, and any other small, easily misplaced items that only really serve a purpose when I'm in town. I don't need or want such items to be accessible when I'm on the trail. I've also stored jewelry inside my pouch, such as when I didn't want to wear my ring while paddling down the Whanganui river, for fear of losing it.
Construction & Durability:
DCF is a very durable material. Mine is free of any damage after all these years. It's been hand-washed and thrown in the laundry on numerous occasions. The material is creased and warped, but still perfectly functional.
If I were ever to lose or replace mine, I'd definitely get one that was brighter in color...perhaps orange. The more standout the color is, the less likely it is to be misplaced. Funny story, a friend of mine uses an orange zippered pouch as his wallet, which he left behind at a brewery in Bishop, CA. We made it all the way back to the trailhead to resume hiking the PCT, before he noticed it missing. Fortunately he was able to get it back, but I harped on him for not using a lanyard for a long time afterwards. I highly recommend a lanyard or clip of some sort!
This is the first and only DCF zip pouch I've used. It's lasted way longer than I ever expected, so I just keep dragging it along. 5 years, 12,000 miles and counting.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $15
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Reviewers Paid: $15.00
0.33 oz / 9.4 g
3.1 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite Fabric
6.75" wide x 4.25" tall / 17.1 x 10.8 cm