Chrome Industries Phone Pouch Review
The Chrome Industries Phone Pouch comes in two sizes and is an excellent addition to an urban adventurers pack, we just wish the reflective panel was brighter.
- Keyring offers quick access to house and car keys
- Ballistic nylon is durable and protective
- Two sizes offer a home for most smartphones
- Can feel awkward when attached to a belt loop
- Exposed areas on top and bottom allow water inside
- Lack of insulation can deplete battery life on cold days
2.65 oz (75.1 gm)
3 oz for the large
7.28 in x 3.75 in x 0.75 in (18.5 x 9.5 x 1.9 cm)
Large | 5.44 in x 2.64 in x 0.28 in Regular
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Chrome Industries has forged a reputation for making gear for use in urban environments that looks good and lasts. Although these pouches are designed to use on any Chrome bag, they’re universal enough to fit almost any pack. Are they as functional and durable as other Chrome Industries gear we’ve tested in the past? Let’s find out.
Materials & Aesthetic
The pouch comes in two sizes: the standard size and a large size. Both are made from 1050D ballistic nylon with a TPU coating, which is thermoplastic polyurethane. The fabric’s durability makes it a little rough to the touch, but not enough to cause discomfort. The interior is a polyester laminate with a TPE coating, which is a thermoplastic elastomer, a more rubbery material than polyurethane.
At the time of writing, the pouches only come in a black colorway consistent with Chrome Industries’ back catalog of gear we have on hand here at Pack Hacker. They look and feel durable, and after a few weeks of roughing it around Detroit, they still look new. One of the interior materials tags did loosen while we were examining it, but that’s more on us than the manufacturer and doesn’t impact performance.
The Chrome Industries logo is imprinted on the front panel of the pouch, which is only viewable from up close. Other than that small imprint, there is no other branding. This makes the design feel very minimalist, which is something we have grown to expect from Chrome.
The hook-and-loop fastener used to secure the top flap is strong and has enough surface area to hold on tightly. If an item is too large for the pouch, it can reduce that surface area for the fastener to connect to, but for the most part, this is not an issue as the fastener is quite strong.
The front of the pack has a ring to attach a set of keys to. It isn’t a ring that accepts keys alone, but you can easily connect your existing ring to the loop. It’s sturdy and shows no signs of wear. Depending on how close you wear the pouch to your ears, the clanging of keys can be a little loud when moving quickly, but having easy access to our keys in cold weather is worth the trade-off. We hate standing at the door digging through our bag as a frigid Detroit winter breeze slaps us across the face, so the keyring addition is a great shout.
On the back of the pouch is two attachment loops. There’s a hook and loop fastener to attach it to a shoulder or sling strap. Again, the fastener here is quite tight, secure, and durable. However, the pouch tends to slide down on a shoulder strap with a smaller width, even if you tighten the fastener as much as possible. This isn’t an issue on wider shoulder straps or packs with a sternum strap to stop the pouch from sliding down further.
The other attachment loop is a strap of nylon that runs vertically down the back of the pouch. To access this loop, simply undo the hook and loop fastener and reattach it behind the nylon loop. This vertical nylon strap is used to attach the pouch to your belt for quick and easy access to your phone while walking around the city or at work. It can also be attached to a sternum strap. The large pouch feels a little too big to wear on a belt, especially if you need to be mobile. There is a lot of room between the attachment points on the strap, so it falls to the top end of the loop when attached to a belt or strap that’s less wide. This can be uncomfortable, especially when bending over.
Moving back to the front of the pouch, the front panel where the logo is located is reflective when light hits it directly for safety purposes. We don’t feel that this is sufficient enough in use as a safety feature while out and about after dark, because it isn’t that bright even when light hits it directly. The reflection is dull and isn’t all that visible from even a moderate distance, let alone as far away as you might be from a car or bus.
Inside The Pouch
The inside compartment of the pouch is about as basic as basic gets. The front and back are thick to keep both sides of your phone or device safe, and the sides are stretchy elastic to keep the fit snug and secure.
The top of the pouch doesn’t close completely, as there is a small area where the flap curves over that leaves the sides exposed. In light rain our gear stayed relatively dry, but you might want to stow valuables in a packed bag if you’re caught in inclement weather for more than a few minutes.
The bottom of the pouch has a similarly exposed loop where the elastic doesn’t quite meet the ballistic nylon. This isn’t ideal for weatherproofing, but if water manages to get into the top of the pouch, this little exposed area will let it out the bottom instead of allowing it to pool and ruin our gear. Similar to the exposed area on the top of the pouch, we didn’t notice any water getting in during minor inclement weather.
Let’s jump into what these pouches are meant for: phones. The regular pouch is best for standard smartphones, whereas the large model can hold plus-sized phones. If you have a protective case, both pouches can be a little tight. An iPhone 11 fits snugly in the regular-sized model, but with a case, it barely fits and is hard to get out of the grip of the elastic sides. Taller phones also make it harder to secure the top flap. As for the large pouch, we have no problem fitting in any size iPhone or Android, though your mileage will vary. We recommend looking at the product dimensions before making a purchase, which you can find at the top of this page.
Although these pouches are designed to fit modern cell phones, we found they also have other uses. The large pouch will fit a small point-and-shoot camera, which is great for hobbyist photographers who want to keep a camera on them while exploring for casual shooting but don’t need a larger setup like a DSLR, or for a professional who likes to keep a secondary camera with them just in case.
Though their designs seem similar, the Phone Pouch lacks the versatility of something like the Yakoda Supply Utility Pouch, which is a similarly sized pouch that attaches to a bag or belt. If you’re looking for something a little bigger than both of those, we’d recommend a minimalist sling.
Our favorite use for these pouches is while cycling, but the features are also handy while traveling. We love that we can still hear notifications and phone calls on our phone because the speaker is closer to our ear and less obstructed than in our pocket or in our pack. This is far safer than using headphones because it doesn’t restrict the other sounds around you, so you can hear a car honking or a person talking while traversing city streets. It’s also much easier to grab your phone out of the pouch to answer a call, check your GPS, or see a text message than to get it out of your pocket or pack, especially if your pants are on the tighter side. Having quick access to your phone in general is a great perk, too.
Insulation may be an issue if you plan to use these pouches in cooler weather. The 1050D ballistic nylon is great at keeping our gear safe but not so great at keeping it warm. Our cell phone is noticeably cooler than usual after a long bike ride, so much so that it has a negative effect on battery life. This was only in sub-freezing conditions, but it’s worth noting.
Overall, we love the ease of use these pouches enable us to have. Grabbing our phone to make a call, having quick access to our keys in cold weather, and hearing our notifications while using the pouch makes our day go by smoother. We wish that the front panel was a little brighter and there was a way to attach the pouches to thinner shoulder straps, but you can’t win them all!
- The large fits an iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Can be attached to shoulder straps
- Front D-ring handy for hanging keys and accessories
- The interior tag ripped off in use
- The shoulder strap fastener stayed tight
- No loose threads, marks, or damage