Most hikers are carrying a phone on trail, but where to keep it? In a pocket, chest pouch, hip belt pouch… Three Points of the Compass has been using the Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket for the past three years.
The Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket is a simple product with a lot of good design built into it. It is a lightly padded pouch with zipper closure and a mesh front pocket with elasticated opening. I use it to hold my phone but it could be used for just about anything that would fit such as trail snacks or a GPS
The pouch is available in two sizes, medium and large, visually differentiated by the colour of the zipper pull cords. I have been using the large size since purchasing it in 2020. I am currently using a Samsung S20+ phone and it fits perfectly. The pouch has done around a thousand miles of trail and other than a few rumples still looks almost new other than some corrosion to the metal zipper pull and slight fading to the zipper pull cord. The zip itself is plastic and still closes fine. There isn’t a worn or loose stitch on it, the mesh is still intact with no holes and the elasticated opening to the outer pocket still has plenty of ‘snap’.
|External dimensions||Advertised weight||Actual weight|
|Medium||152mm x 76mm x 32mm||38.5g||–|
|Large||178mm x 95mm x 38mm||50g||47.2g|
The Shoulder Strap Pocket from Gossamer Gear is designed to fit both their own packs and many others due to the flexibility that the adjustment system provides. Three Points of the Compass uses one of two Gossamer Gear packs when backpacking. Either the framed Mariposa, or frameless G2-20. The pouch fits to each of these with ease and there is little if any chance that it might subsequently come adrift from either. This is due to the very secure and possibly over specced Velcro attachment straps. It does take a little while to thread through and attach the shoulder pocket but once in place it doesn’t wobble, sag or twist. In theory, if you felt one or more of the straps wasn’t doing anything for you, then you could cut it off. I haven’t and use all of them. I do find the zip catches occasionally and I need to hold the pouch with the other hand when zipping. The zipper closure has a blue accented cord attached to it and there is a similarly coloured cord loop on each side of the pouch that I occasionally hang a small thermometer or RovyVon Aurora A5R keychain flashlight from.
The rear of the Shoulder Strap Pocket has a 285mm long vertical Velcro attachment strap, of which 40mm is sewn to the pocket. This will pass through daisy loops or D rings on a shoulder strap before passing back through a loop on the top rear of the pouch. This is complimented by horizontal Velcro straps on the rear that pass behind the shoulder strap. This are slightly longer at the top to allow for a widening shoulder strap. Each is approximately 95mm at the top and 80mm at the bottom.
It is made in Vietnam of primarily DWR treated robic nylon. While this may be showerproof it is not waterproof at all. I have foolishly allowed it soak out in heavy rain with a phone inside and the phone’s charge port got damp inside as a result. I now keep the phone inverted when stored inside with the port exposed to moving air and if anything more than a shower, put the phone inside a small ziplock inside the pouch. I haven’t had any issue since adopting that practice.
Many hikers will use a phone for navigation, listening to podcasts or music. I use mine during the day for photos… a lot! Positioned on the strap in this manner my phone is always immediately to hand for the quick capture of a moment and the phone slips in and out of the pouch with no snagging. There is just a little padded foam protection to the contents of the pouch and I have no qualms about keeping an angular mini tripod next to the phone, in the outside pocket, though I am careful to orientate the screen of the phone toward the body. The zip opens to the right, so I keep mine on my right shoulder strap which keeps the zipper pull to the outside/right of my body when the pouch is open, which it is most often.
My shoulder pouch is grey in colour, which matches the colour of both of my Gossamer Gear packs. So it doesn’t look too much of an ‘add-on’ accessory. Looking at the Gossamer Gear website I see that it is now also available in yellow. I am more than happy with how this pouch works and will continue to include it on all backpacking trips. Due to its robustness so far, I cannot see myself having to buy another of these pouches for some time yet. As I write this (May 2023) the large pouch is priced at $22, the medium $20. There are many alternatives to this pouch of course. I have a couple of lighter and far simpler shoulder pouches myself but I prefer the added lightweight protection and rigidity provided by the Gossamer Gear offering.
If you want a waterproof pouch covering for your phone you will need to either put the phone inside a ziplock inside the pouch or look at something like the very similar in design Shoulder Pocket from Hyperlite Mountain Gear. UK hikers also have a few home-grown choices, not least the well priced minimalist phone strap pocket from Tread Lite Gear.
Hi Jools, Good review. I’ve had one for the past 2 years and wouldn’t be without it as my main pack has a dearth of pockets. It’s a great balance of usability and durability with rock-solid attachments. I’ve had to buy a second one as my wife kept “borrowing” mine. The medium is too small to be useful though IMHO and for UK hikers Ultralight Outdoor Gear (where I bought mine) doesn’t seem to stock it any more. I concur with keeping a phone charging port pointing down, my Samsung seems particularly sensitive to the least humidity in this regard. Cheers, Peter.
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Thanks Peter. I purchased mine from Ultralight Outdoor Gear and was hoping to provide a link to them, but as you say, no longer stocked
Whilst I prefer MOLLE kit for the increased durability over more lightweight hiking gear, I can definitely concur with the usefulness of a shoulder pouch for a phone and/or other accessories. My slingpack even has two such pouches, although the one on the back of the shoulder is more of a radio pouch (great for MP3 players, etc) and doesn’t really count as it’s built-in to the pack.
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