Bellroy Elements Phone Wallet Is Great for Outdoor Sports

The Bellroy Phone Pocket i6 provides extra carrying space and protection for your smartphone
© Bellroy

Like most outdoor sports and fitness enthusiasts, I carry my smartphone during nearly every workout or trip, for many reasons, including the use of my fitness apps, navigation and communication in case of an emergency. This can potentially expose the phone to a number of hazards, including water, dirt, sand, sweat and more.

And like most athletes, I've tried a range of tactics to protect my phone, including the old reliable zip-lock plastic bag. But I've also been looking for a way to do more than protect the phone from incidental moisture, including carrying capacity for some extras such as cash, cards and other small items. What I've been looking for is a compact and lightweight, nice-looking "go-to" phone case that is ready to take my phone, zip and go. 

So when I took my first look at Bellroy's Elements Phone Pocket, I was ready to find out if this is my ideal sports wallet. The Elements is designed to fend off occasional water splashes and sweat, but it's not waterproof. If you are looking for something truly submersible, see my review of dry bags for smartphones.

The Elements Phone Pocket is designed to hold your smartphone, plus 1 to 8 cards, plus a key, and other items such as SIM cards and cash. If you are using a larger phone such as an iPhone 6, it will fit in the Elements, even with a slim case on it such as Apple's leather or silicone case. The Elements Pocket is not, however, large enough for a six-inch-by-three-inch phone, such as the iPhone 6 Plus. The Pocket actually comes in two sizes: 3.35 x 5.55 inches for iPhone 5 or equivalent, and 3.62 x 6.10 inches for iPhone 6 or equivalent. It comes in three colors, cognac (shown in photo), black and slate.

The Elements Phone Pocket is made of a nicely finished fine-grain leather, and a water-resistant YKK zipper. The zipper isn't an ordinary zip - it pulls the seam of the case together very snugly to provide a very water-and-dirt-resistant seal.

One of the biggest pluses of the Phone Pocket from my perspective is that it fits perfectly into a typical bike jersey rear pocket. But I also found that its size works well with typical mountaineering pants zip pockets, as well as a typical zip pocket in a parka or rain jacket. Bellroy's objective with Phone Pocket was to provide protection and storage while keeping bulk to a minimum, and the company succeeded beautifully.

In actual use, the Phone Pocket carries the promised amount of cargo, including my iPhone 6 with Apple leather case, a couple of cards and cash. I don't tend to carry a key, but there was plenty of room for one, even a bulkier single car key if necessary.

While I used the Phone Pocket as a sports wallet, it would serve perfectly well for someone wanting to replace a conventional wallet entirely, as long as they were willing to keep extra cards and other wallet cargo to a minimum.

In use, the Phone Pocket easily fended off the types of potential phone-damaging elements I encounter on a hike, trail run or bike ride, including sweat, dust, dirt and water spray from an occasional puddle.

Overall the Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket is a well-thought-out, effective but minimalist solution to the challenge of carrying your phone for outdoor sports.