CODEOFBELL ANNEX 360 Review
The CODEOFBELL ANNEX 360 is a souped-up wallet you can carry as a sling and many more ways, though there's a bit of a learning curve.
- Customizable carrying styles via attachment points
- Zippers and fabric provide good water resistance
- Multiple pockets for organization despite small size
- Strap system tangles easily
- Accessing split main compartment takes getting used to
- Lacks space for large smartphones
6 oz (170.1 gm)
5.1 in x 3.3 in x 1.8 in (13 x 8.4 x 4.6 cm)
YKK Zippers, Woojin Hardware, Fidlock Hardware, X-Pac, DWR Coating, Hypalon®
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Look! Slung across the sky! It’s a sling, it’s a pouch, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…no…it’s the CODEOFBELL ANNEX 360! This swiss army knife of a wallet aims to accomplish a lot for its small size. It’s a great organizer for folks looking to move on from traditional wallets but who aren’t quite ready to plunge into full-sized slings. It’s an in-between of sorts, taking cues from both sides to make something more functional.
Keep in mind, though, that going from a traditional wallet to a sling-wallet hybrid takes some getting used to. The variety of carry styles, inverse-opening zippers, Fidlock keychain, and multiple pockets for organization certainly offer a rich experience, but it can make some heads spin. Fortunately, that’s what we’re here for; to guide you through each and every feature and what they’re like to use.
Materials & Aesthetic
CODEOFBELL’s aesthetic has always been unapologetically sleek and futuristic. They join the ranks of brands like NOMATIC, Aer, WANDRD, and others who all wear their urban-centric design language on their sleeves. Say what you will about the all-black colorway; we dig it because it’s in tune with the feature-rich vibe CODEOFBELL has going for the ANNEX 360. Besides, small as it may be, it isn’t devoid of personality.
All the zippers, buckles, adjusters, and straps on the ANNEX 360 remind us of the alien machines from 2005’s War of the Worlds movie—now who wouldn’t want to wear something like that? But we get it, to each their own. At the very least, the ANNEX 360 is built properly with the right ingredients.
The main fabric is X-Pac, a favorite material of CODEOFBELL because of its useful properties. It’s made out of multiple layers, including an outer nylon shell with a water-resistant coating and X-Ply mesh underneath, which gives the fabric its signature diamond pattern. Those two are just part of what makes up X-Pac and we can go on and on about the material alone. But the bottom line is, it’s tough, water-resistant, and will hold up to the stresses of day-to-day use.
It doesn’t stop there either; CODEOFBELL pulled out all the stops for the ANNEX 360. The zippers are all YKK AquaGuard (some of our favorite), two of them being self-locking. The hardware? Reliable Woojin. They even put nice feeling Hypalon pulls on areas you’ll be pulling the hardest on, like the main compartment’s zipper pulls and the strap’s adjuster. Finally, the cherry on top is a Fidlock magnetic buckle on the strap—it’s a nice touch of tactility that shows the brand’s attention to detail.
CODEOFBELL has the right ingredients brewing in the neat little pot that’s the ANNEX 360. It’s small but feels very robust and well-built, like a condensed unit of quality. There’s not a single thread out of place, a buckle out of shape, or a zipper to replace—so far, nothing to dislike about the materials.
Going back to one of our earlier points, the ANNEX 360 is CODEOFBELL’s reimagining of the traditional wallet. At a glance, however, it can be tricky to see it as a wallet because of all the versatile means of carrying it. Our favorite has to be the sling-style carry, but you can easily come up with more creative ways to utilize the attachment points for your own unique carrying style. That said, let’s take a look at what we’re working with here.
Around the ANNEX 360 are three attachment points: two D-rings at the top and a triangular gatekeeper clip at the bottom. For a crossbody carry, the included strap attaches to the two D-rings at the top. If slings aren’t your thing, you can use the bottom gatekeeper clip to attach the ANNEX 360 to a belt loop, on the inside of your backpack, or anywhere else that takes your fancy. Besides the trio of attachment points, the ANNEX 360 also has a nylon strap at the back with a snap fastener, which is handy for directly attaching it to a belt or accessory strap.
In total, that’s at least three main ways to carry the ANNEX 360. CODEOFBELL counts the different uses of the bottom clip as separate styles, but we’re summarizing them as one. Regardless, the three attachment points and nylon snap fastener/strap combo make the ANNEX 360’s portability truly versatile. Just keep in mind that whichever style you go for, access to the rear pocket may be hindered, so choose wisely before deciding.
The included strap itself is bustling with materials and features. It has three endpoints, two of which end with gatekeeper clips (the same type at the bottom of the main wallet itself). The third end of the strap ends with a magnetic key chain, detachable via a Fidlock magnetic buckle. At first, this appears to be a stabilizer strap; it’s not, though, as its primary purpose is to hold onto keys and accessories.
It can dangle freely when wearing the ANNEX 360 as a sling. However, you can attach it to the bottom clip to keep things neat and distraction-free. The Fidlock magnetic buckle releases quickly and easily for when you have to unlock doors. It’s also really handy for car keys since it’s detachable, unlike most bags’ built-in and fixed key clips.
The ANNEX 360’s carry comfort varies depending on what style you choose. As mentioned earlier, we prefer the sling style. Since the ANNEX 360 is rather small and lightweight, it wears comfortably and adjusts easily even when we have it packed to the brim. We particularly like the Hypalon pull on the strap’s adjuster; it adds convenience, so we don’t have to fiddle around as much to get the right fit.
That said, all the hardware attached to the strap can make it feel tangle-y at times. We sometimes have to pause and inspect how we’re wearing the ANNEX 360 to make sure the strap isn’t caught in itself. To be fair, it rarely actually tangles, it just feels that way sometimes. Plus, since the clips are all on swivels, the strap almost never twists awkwardly into itself, even when we’re rushing to put it on.
As for attaching the ANNEX 360 via the nylon strap or using the bottom gatekeeper clip, both are fairly secure, and we don’t worry about them going loose. If the holster-style is your thing and you like an external pouch hanging off your belt or a belt loop, it’s reasonably comfortable—as long as you don’t mind it somewhat pulling down on your pants.
Inside The Pack
As an intended replacement for your wallet, the ANNEX 360 boasts more than a big empty main compartment to dump all your everyday carry items into. But before we get into the many compartments this small wallet alternative has, we have to put things into perspective.
Size is one of the first considerations when looking at the ANNEX 360. A lot of slings and pouches are able to take in a smartphone, but this one doesn’t have the space inside for it. For context, neither the large iPhone 12 Pro Max nor the smaller iPhone XR fits inside. In fact, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a slightly larger footprint than the ANNEX 360. In short, your smartphone may have to stay put in your own pocket or a separate sling.
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s talk about what the ANNEX 360 is at its core: a wallet.
First up is the front pocket. It’s guarded by a self-locking YKK AquaGuard zipper, complete with a zipper garage at the end. The ANNEX 360 is shaped kind of like a dome, as CODEOFBELL themselves put it. This gives the front pocket a good amount of depth to store even relatively bulky items like a wireless earbuds case, a credit card-sized Cold4ged Forkanife Travel Set, and a Rolling Square TAU mini power bank.
The pocket’s split opening and small size can make digging inside for small adapters a bit tricky if they’re lodged into far corners. Thankfully, all of the ANNEX 360’s compartments have a bright neon orange liner that’s super easy to navigate and contrasts with most gear you store inside. Of course, since the zipper is self-locking, you can also leave the pocket partially open so that you can route a charging cable through, for example.
The ANNEX 360’s main compartment doesn’t have self-locking zippers. Instead, it has a pair of zippers with Hypalon pulls, each with snap fasteners you can interlock. Unlike typical zippered openings, the zippers here move inwards towards each other to open and outwards to close. In other words, it’s an inverse split opening, similar to the one found in the Bellroy Venture Sling 9L.
Why would CODEOFBELL go with this kind of zipper arrangement? That’s because the main compartment is divided into three pockets—left, right, and top—and you can access most of them independently with inverse zippers. The left and the right pockets are designed for cash and cards (ideally separately), and we generally didn’t have trouble fitting either. US dollar bills folded in half fit inside no problem, and so too do tall Japanese yen bills. However, we opt to quarter-fold our bills to avoid any problems.
The top pocket is ideal for coins, but since we don’t typically carry a lot of those around, we put a Zippo in there instead. The caveat with the inverse zipper opening is that you have to open one of the side pockets to access the top one as well. This means you have to orient the side you’re unzipping upwards to avoid spilling its contents.
There were instances when we opted to just unzip both zippers to one side to access all three pockets. The problem with this approach is that the side pocket where both zippers end up gets slightly blocked. Both of the YKK zippers are relatively big compared to the opening, so we had to shimmy cards out because of them.
The inverse design of the opening and divided main compartment does take some time to get used to if you’re familiar with more typical sling and wallet designs. However, we enjoyed using the ANNEX 360 as a sling-wallet hybrid—the small learning curve is worth it.
Lastly, the ANNEX 360 still has an extra pocket up its sleeve. At the back is a security pocket of sorts, also guarded by a YKK AquaGuard self-locking zipper. Among the pockets of the ANNEX 360, this one is the slimmest, and it’s best reserved for more important but less often used cards like a driver’s license. We keep emergency cash in here just in case, and even Japanese yen bills fit inside, albeit quarter-folded. It’s a nice addition for security purposes, though as we mentioned earlier, access to this pocket can be tricky in some carrying modes.
The number of bells and whistles the ANNEX 360 packs is something to behold. As a wallet replacement that can be carried as a standalone mini-sling, it’s a good choice for an upgrade. But, because the compartments and strap system are designed to be as versatile as possible, it takes a bit of “getting-to-know” to become really comfortable with its usage. Once you find your groove with it, though, it might be hard to look back.
- Feels very condensed with pockets and attachment points
- Multiple ways to carry, including sling-style and on a belt
- Orange interior liner is easy to navigate
- Excellent cocktail of components and materials, which isn’t new to CODEOFBELL products
- Lockable zippers are a nice touch but don’t feel super integrated
- So many carry modes, very versatile
- Strap can twist up easily
- Great concept, though it’s only fully utilized with properly sized, mini gear (unless you don’t want to carry too much)
- EXTRA satisfying when you find the right-sized gear that fits