When I ceased car ownership a decade ago and started to rely upon a combination of my bike and mass transit for getting around, I encountered the problem of how to carry my "necessities" around. What is necessary is of course different for everyone, but at a minimum I typically do not go anywhere without all of this on my person, whether I am walking or riding.
- Breath freshener
- Checkbook - I know, hard to believe in the digital age - but my maintainance fees can only be paid by check and in the checkbook are also stamps and various coupons.
- Business card holder, which includes cards, my "CharlieCard" (rechargable subway card) and my electronic access card for work.
- A bandana, because they are just awesome, practical, and have saved me more times than I can count.
- Pen, I hate using other pens that tons of people have touched - I am a slight germophobe.
- Extra mobile phone battery (take that Apple)
- My mobile phone, which was used to take the picture
Some might think I am crazy, but I find all of this stuff necessary for me and I am not a big fan of jamming all sorts of stuff into my pant pockets, especially when I am riding, and also do not like wearing riding jerseys to commute in. One would think I would carry around a murse, but I am all about easy access and bags are just one more thing to carry. My "A Ha" moment came years ago while at an Army surplus store . . . Voila!
I have found that a vest is a great way to carry around all of the stuff I need, and I can wear it anywhere. I also don't need to dump stuff out and reload the vest every day. I just hang the vest up when I get home and it's ready to go the next day.
The main body of the vest is mesh which helps with "heat" issues. I do want to avoid looking like a confused fisherman (not that there's anything wrong with fisherman) so I simply put a button up shirt on over the vest and I am good to go.
I might carry a little more than the average person would like to, and when I first started wearing the vest I found that my shoulders did get a little tired. I adjusted over time and don't notice it anymore.
Another possible solution to carrying personal necessities comes in the form a product called Quivvers. The fine folks who produce the product sent me a sample.
The tagline on the Quivvers site is "Technical. Minimal. Intelligent." The one word that jumps out based on my review is "minimal." This product is not meant to do what my vest does. Quivvers are meant to only carry the basics - let's say a standard sized mobile phone, cash, credit/bank cards, and a few keys. An S-biner also comes with it to attach other items like keys, like this photo from their website shows.
When it comes to what I could not cannot carry, here is a picture of my wallet - which did not fit. I carry about 8-10 different cards (library card, bank card, insurance card, etc.) some cash, and my drivers license.
My HTC Thunderbolt and my wife's iPhone 4 fit fine in the main pocket, but a friend at work has the Galaxy Note II and if you have a "phablet" you are out of luck.
The thing that suprised me the most was this.
The Quivver would seem like superior option than a moneybelt for traveling since the pockets are much easier to access, and if you were to wear a shirt, hoodie, jacket, whatever over the top your valuables would be secure. However, you can see in the picture above that the main pocket does not accomodate my passport. It is shoved all the way in but it still peeks out of the pocket.
How about the commuter test. At a minimum a multi-tool, extra tube, tire levers, and patch kit should be on your person when riding.
However I was out of luck when I tried to fit these things into the Quivver.
The tube fit in the front pocket, but since the tube is thick it stretched the fabric and my multi-tool would not zip into the back pocket. Without the multi-tool the levers did fit.
Overall I think Quivvers are a great concept, but at present there only seems to be one size option. If you are looking for something that is indeed minimal, the current line meets a need. It would work well for example if you were going for a run and wanted to carry some cash, a credit card, some keys, and your phone. They have many different styles and the owners of the company seem to want the product to serve as a fashion statement - this photo is from the website.
However, if you are looking for something for extended travel, until a model with a passport sized pocket is made available, it would not be a suitable option to replace a money belt type product. And as far as bike commuting, some larger pockets would be needed as well to hold basic equipment for field repairs.