One thing I really enjoy about Bellroy, outside of their just generally solid products, is that they have something for every aspect of your carry-life. Their line of bags, cases, and accessories come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and their ability to more or less keep their entire line gender-neutral is an accomplishment in itself.
The new Bellroy City Pouch continues that trend, especially as we start to see more small cross-body bags being used in every day life. Personally, the need to carry a mask, sanitizer, and other pandemic-era items has lead to me carrying a small sling or cross-body bag when I would have left with nothing in-hand before. The City Pouch really shines here for that, and it brings with it the signature Bellroy look and feel with the bells and whistles typical of the Melbourne based designer.
|Capacity||122 cu. in.||2L|
Quality and Comfort
If you’re familiar with other Bellroy packs and pouches, there’ll be no big surprises here. The City Pouch uses the same recycled Venture Weave fabric we see on so many current Bellroy bags. The abrasion and stain resistance is superb – ask me how I know. Despite not being a well known branded fabric like Cordura or XPac, I really enjoy Bellroy’s Venture Weave.
Hardware has a special place in the Bellroy lineup, where we always see nice matte metal sliders and buckles, along with signature leather accents, which are a nice throwback to Bellroy’s beginnings. That’s no different here. All of the strap hardware here is metal, and looks great against the contrast of this colorway’s strap. However, the strap seems to have started (ever so slightly) fraying around areas that make contact with the metal hardware. I don’t think this will cause problems long term, but it’s worth noting. You can always clean this up with a quick match or lighter held close. Just be careful.
As mentioned, the City Pouch comes accented with natural tan leather zipper pulls and a leather Bellroy label on the front. It adds a nice pop without looking too much like “branding”.
It might be weird to talk about comfort on a bag like this, but here we are. While the strap is a narrow 5/8″ near the ends, it actually tapers down from a full 1″ around the shoulder. This lets the City Pouch have a bit more physical flexibility and play when on-body, while still giving enough width for all day comfort even when you’ve loaded it up.
I’ve always found Bellroy products to err on the side of more organization than less. Given that, there’s a lot going on here for such a tiny pouch. On the very front is a flat pocket with a recessed, leather adorned zipper. You’re not fitting your phone in here, but it’s a nice place for a small to medium sized wallet, especially with the hidden opening. Like the rest of the bag, it’s lined with a light grey fabric with a tiny bit of stretch to it.
The rear pocket is sized similarly to the front, except with an open top. My wife found herself using this almost exclusively for her phone, as it kept it secure against the body, but allowed for quick access. However, if you’re worried about pickpockets in crowded areas maybe just keep your phone inside the main compartment.
The main compartment is divided into three main sections. The rear-most section is set with a stretchy mesh with an offset split. This area is sized nicely for a notebook, or your phone, and a pen. The middle and front-most sections are split by a padded divider, and have a bit more volume to them. You can definitely fit a small tablet in here, just check dimensions beforehand. My Kindle Oasis fits, but it’s a little snug. I imagine the slightly slimmer Kindle Paperwhite would fit better. The front-most area also has a key-leash.
You may notice that the City Pouch has some expansion built into it. This works pretty well, but it could work better. Almost all of the expansion is built into one side, since the zipper has to terminate somewhere. In practice, this lets the bag expand a little more than you’re actually able to access from the top – it makes the opening feel narrow. I’m not a softgoods designer, so I won’t pretend to propose a solution for this, but it would feel better if the top was able to open a bit more on the right side.
- Fit and finish is top notch, which we’ve come to expect from Bellroy
- Tapered strap is comfortable while not feeling bulky
- Lots of organization, pockets, and some device protection
- Expands to hold quite a bit more than you’d think
- The fraying on the strap is unfortunate, though more annoying than worrisome
- The main compartment would function better if it opened just a bit more on the one side
A lot of us have been adapting lighter carry methods lately. With the lack of travel and commutes to the office, but with an increase in small items we want on our person, slings and cross-body bags have continued on the rise throughout 2020. Bellroy’s release of the City Pouch just makes sense, and it’s a well executed effort at that.
If you’re looking to switch up from the typical front-wearing sling, this might be a good option, and with Bellroy’s wide range of color offerings, it does a great job staying gender neutral
The City Pouch is available from Bellory in a wide variety of colors and fabrics starting at $79. If you check one out, let us know what you think.
Disclaimer: The City Pouch was provided by Bellroy for use in this review. The contents of the review were not shared prior to publication. Our reviews are impartial and never changed to keep a brand happy.