CodeofBell is a California based company well known for their X-Pack and X-Pod single strap bags. They have recently expanded their product line, introducing smaller versions of their packs under the Annex namesake. This Annex Carrier is essentially a smaller version of the popular X-Pod pack.
|Height||4 in||10 cm|
|Width||10 in||25 cm|
|Depth||2 to 6 in||5 to 16 cm|
|Weight||6.4 oz||200 g|
|Capacity||73 to 244 cu in||1.2 to 4 L|
Quality and Comfort
The front part of the pack is made of water proof Dimension Polyant / X-Pac material and the zippers are YKK water repellent zippers. The back of the pack is Cordura which gives the bag a bit more structure.
The strap on this bag is removable, and can be setup for left or right shoulder carry. The strap hooks onto a small loop on each side on the bag with a triangular Woojin clip. The design of the clip makes removing it from the loop slightly difficult because there is a backward hook at the opening. However, this is something you’re most likely not going to be doing often.
The strap is one inch in width, thiner than the one on the X-Pod but it is more than adequate for this smaller bag. The strap locks in a through-the-buckle fashion, like a normal belt or like a messenger bag. I normally prefer a loop back system where I can pull with one hand from one end to shorten the strap. There is a pull tab at the adjustment point to let you quickly loosen the strap once you have some practice. It’s a little small, so I found that hooking a #3 S-Biner onto the tab makes manipulation easier.
The Annex Carrier is a smaller and simpler X-Pod, if you’re familiar with that. The main compartment can be expanded outwards by loosening or unclipping the side clips. It is a tent-shaped compartment that at the maximum size can fit a small 500mL water bottle. I can fit two smaller pouches to carry my personal hygiene items as well as a small battery pack and cable for my iPhone.
In these photos, I have the pack in expanded mode. Because it is a relatively small bag, the bag looks fine; the “tent” is not sticking too far away from the body.
With it pulled tight it can hold my small EDC pouch and my keys. Like the X-Pod, in the expanded mode, you have to access it at the end away from the bag. However because this is a smaller pack, I find using that zipper to access the main compartment easier.
The back compartment is a rectangular space with about an inch of depth. I put more regularly needed items in this area, like my small wallet, AirPods Pro, a small EDC multi-tool, and a face mask. This compartment has two zippered mesh pockets on each wall. Since this is a small pack, operating these inside zippers is not that easy. I would have preferred just pockets with a bit of elastic at the openings.
If you lay the bag down on the back panel, the bag takes on the shape of a typical dopp kit. You can certainly remove the straps and just use this pack as a dopp kit, with the main compartment holding toiletry items or whatever else you may like. This setup lets you utilize the Annex Carrier as a pouch inside a larger bag, but repurpose it as a sling around town.
The Annex Carrier has one final design trick up its sleeves: There is a slightly padded wide handle sewn onto the bottom side of the bag. It invites you to slide your hand through it, and hold the bag clutch style. It’s very comfortable, and great for grab-n-go.
- The expanding “tent” design works better in this smaller form factor bag than it does in the larger CoB bags
- The carry handle invites the user to use it in clutch mode and it works wel;
- Especially in the more compressed form, this is a good EDC pack for carrying a minimal amount of items with you
- A better strap system will make the adjustment easier – this is common on the entire Annex line
- The Woojin triangular clip design make extra work in attaching and detaching the strap from the bag
- Internal zipped mesh pockets can be simplified
I am a fan of the original X-Pod. This smaller version make sense to me. One may argue that when the amount of items carried is pared down, a simpler one compartment pack can work. I, however, find the extra organization and carry options appealing. The Annex Carrier, with the X-Pac exterior and interesting shape, stands out from other almost all small slings.
CodeofBell is known to iterate on their product design. I hope they fix some of the small issues mentioned. In this current design, I am going to use it more in clutch mode with my minimal carry items inside, and throw the whole pack into a larger pack when I need to carry other items.
The Annex Carrier is available directly from Code of Bell for $79 in both black VX21RS and Multicam Black X50.
Disclaimer: The Annex Carrier was provided by CodeOfBell for use in this review. The content of the review was not discussed with CodeOfBell prior to publication. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.