Many handheld pouches are making a debut as wallets. The ALPAKA Zip Pouch is minimalist and good for EDC gear. With a zipper opening it can operate as a mini tech or travel wallet for cash and card carry. Built using XPAC materiaL, the only thing this everyday pocket carry might have a problem with is access. The zipper placement is not optimal.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
The Alpaca Zip Pouch VX21 is slim, but, is it too big for a wallet or just right?
It has a X-pack material that displays some cool little geometric shapes. In addition, it has a nice feel to it and if you touch it you can feel those ribs. It also comes in a forest green. It does have a couple of zippers, which are pretty standard and even hard to get open. So, is it too big? Not really. But do we have wasted space?
From a feature perspective, it has one external pocket for quick access. It is perfect for most credit cards with the capacity of probably two, and maybe some cash. The interior has the main compartment. It has a divider for organization and access. Besides credit cards, it can accommodate bigger items as well as more cash. You could put in other items like coins, SIM cards, small cables, utility multi-tool and that kind of thing.
This particular wallet measures 5 x 3 x .02″, when empty, and weighs 34 grams or 1.2 ounces. It lacks opening space, as a half-moon is a must in such wallets. Wallets like the Undivided and Bellroy Zip show how a half-moon is more usable.
The company recommends four to 12 cards. I inserted two cards in the front, however, because I have added some content in there, the cards begin to interfere with the zip. That is one of the problems encountered with the usability when this wallet gets to be a little thicker leading to issues with its functionality. In addition to the cards in the front, I added three cards plus an ID as well as a utility card, plus, I threw in a little emergency travel charger. I also got three sets of currency, and it does fit the taller currencies, which only need to be folded once.
This is designed in Australia and made in China from an x-pack material, which is hydrophobic, meaning that it is water-resistant and waterproof. The internal orange material is a 2010 D rip-stop nylon, which has a great feel to it. It does have RFID lining and the zip poles are riveted, which provides attachment of a kind of nylon. I am not sure if this is hyper-long, since I have not been able to find out, but it is very strong and sturdy. At the end, it has reinforcement ends on both sides. Thanks to the reinforcement, it will not come unzipped completely, therefore, it helps take care of the abuse of back and forth but it also reduces, even by a small amount, the opening available at the top for access.
This is a wonderfully priced product with a very reasonable price at $25. As I have previously mentioned with several zip wallets, when the main opening is too tight, meaning that it is not wide enough to provide enough capacity, you start to run into issues, and in this wallet, it is just too tight, causing the usability of the wallet or the pouch to go down when that happens. Half-moon helps accommodate that as it zips halfway or all the way down, and if you are using a locked zip, as YKK has some lock-zip zips on them that they make in Aqua guard as well, when you are coming to unzip it while it is a lock, if the tab goes there, you cannot open it anymore. Please watch the video for a better illustration.
When that works very well in a half-moon design, the issue is when it is open while you have many things in there. It becomes hard to handle as you will have to dig in. You have only that much room for your thumb and fingers to get in, and it then becomes an issue for cards because they can slip in fairly well, but you still should be putting them in at an angle. Furthermore, once you are in there, it is hard to see the card that you want without really digging and pulling out. The same goes for the front pocket, if we grab a card and try to put it in, it barely works, and you have to put it in at an angle.
I do like the zipper pole tags in this wallet, but they are way big. I did notice that they are constantly improving the design. They have reduced the size and the length in half, which I think is more reasonable. However, if it has been reduced a bit more, I think that would have worked better. Otherwise, the design is out of balance, considering the size of the main pouch to the pole.
My final take is that this wallet is a little bigger than normal, and there is wasted space due to the zipper opening being too restricted. But the protection you get for your contents, because it is a zipper wallet, is something that you cannot compare.
The final score of the Alpaca Zip Pouch is five for quality, four for the price because it is well-priced, three for features because what it provides is fine, two for usability because the opening for the zipper is just too tight and could be better, and with four for perception, this wallet gets a good score of 37 out of 50.