The VeloPac PhonePac Plus is a stylish replacement for the traditional plastic freezer bag that keeps phone, cards, cash and so on dry and in one place. It's big enough for 'plus' sized phone, closes securely with a grip seal and is made from a semi-rigid plastic that keeps its shape and helps reduce pocket sag. VeloPac claims it allows in situ touchscreen operation but my iPhone 7's home button would not work at all through the front panel.
Normally we wouldn't be encouraging people to throw away plastic bags, but in this case you might consider binning it responsibly and using this smart VeloPac PhonePac instead – which looks nicer in the cafe and will provide longer service anyway. In addition, if you return it to VeloPac for specialist recycling at the end of its life you get a 50 per cent discount off a replacement.
In the world of phone portage solutions for cyclists, the VeloPac PhonePac is entry level. At the luxury goods end, you could be spending £79 on a leather Bellroy x MAAP All-Conditions Phone Pocket. So for £8 it does a good job of keeping your phone and whatever else you want to put in it away from rain, sweat, dirt and so on.
However, VeloPac seems to make it in only the 'plus' size, which is 20cm long and too tall for most cycling jersey pockets. If you're using a regular phone, like an iPhone 7 or 8 at 138mm, it can be folded over but, because the plastic is 'semi-rigid' it's not ideal if you're looking for ultimate smooth lines for the rear of your jersey. Having said that, the plastic warms up and becomes less rigid from body heat.
The good news is that regular folding doesn't seem to stress it or compromise it in any way. The grip seal engages just the same after multiple folds and the PVC is supple enough to return to its unfolded shape mark-free. VeloPac says the PhonePac is cold crack resistant to -30°C so it seems like pretty durable stuff.
Does it offer good value? Well, £8 is quite a lot of money for something that is arguably only just above the level of a Ziploc sandwich bag – and which used to be given away regularly in sportive goodie bags or with clothing. For just over twice that, you could get VeloPac's own RidePac Lite for £20, which is a much more sophisticated affair with separate compartments so that keys, money and other valuables don't scratch your touchscreen, and it will last much longer too. In addition, an increasing number of phones are water resistant. Even my iPhone 7, for example, which is classed as ancient being from 2016, is rated IP67, meaning it can survive submerged in water a metre deep for half an hour.
The VeloPac PhonePac is smarter than a plastic bag, but it's too tall for most jersey pockets unless you fold it over, touchscreens can't be operated while inside it as claimed, £8 seems like a lot of money for what it is, and if your phone is already water resistant, as many modern ones are, you may not feel the need for it anyway.
Looks smart and functions well, but too big for jersey pockets and expensive for what it is
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road.cc test report
Make and model: VeloPac PhonePac Plus
Size tested: 200 x 118mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
VeloPac says: "Designed specifically for cyclists, PhonePac waterproof cases will protect valuable phone handsets from rain, dirt & sweat damage whilst cycling. They are also a perfect accessory for many other outdoor pursuits, traveling, beach days etc.
"The soft, high frequency welded material features a simple waterproof zip seal to keep your phone, bank card & cash safe and dry whilst cycling.
"The new PLUS size PhonePac will fit most cycling jersey & jacket pocket and accept almost every smartphone including 6" screen 'PLUS' size phones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google, Sony etc."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From VeloPac's website:
Key design features:
Semi-rigid form factor fits a jersey or jacket rear pocket.
Keeps valuable together without floating around the pocket
Protects contents against water, dirt & corrosive sweat damage#
Helps to prevent pocket sag!
PhonePac will hold a phone together with bank notes, a credit card, passport etc
Fits all makes of Smartphone up to 6" screens including 'PLUS' size phones
SuperClear front panel allows in situ touchscreen operation (If handset enabled).
Soft PVC materials ensure quality & durability.
Cold-Crack resistant to -30 degrees Celcius
Dimensions: 200mm x 118mm
Made in the UK
Neat plastic welds, nice sharp paint application.
It seals well and keeps out the elements as advertised, but the touchscreen doesn't work through the front panel as claimed.
Pretty good so far, despite regular folding.
It weighs hardly anything.
You can't feel it once it's in a jersey pocket.
A lot of money for something so basic.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well. It kept out water, sweat and dirt as you'd expect a sealed plastic wallet to, but the home button of my iPhone 7 wouldn't work at all through the front panel despite the manufacturer's claim.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
If your phone needs protecting from the elements it will do the job, and it looks a lot nicer than a plastic bag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It had to be folded to fit in most jersey pockets – it's a pity VeloPac doesn't still make a 'mini' version for regular sized phones of up to 145mm.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We haven't reviewed many similar products – this type of phone case is usually given away free in goodie bags – but for a premium version of what the VeloPac offers, try the Fickaskap Waterproof Phone and Valuables Wallet at £23.48. There are many more expensive options over the £20 mark so it looks like good value compared to those, but not for the basic plastic wallet that it is.
Did you enjoy using the product? I preferred the VeloPac RidePac.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they were still using an old sandwich bag.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The VeloPac PhonePac is much nicer than a Ziploc sandwich bag but essentially does the same job except it doesn't fold over as neatly (it's sized for a 'plus' sized phone – i.e. too big for most jersey pockets – and is made from semi-rigid PVC). I also have to mark it down for the home button of my iPhone 7 not working through the panel despite the manufacturer's claim that it should. And £8 is a lot of money to pay for something that is usually given away in sportive goodie bags.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem
Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.
As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.
He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).