If you often experience type-two fun due to weather conditions, like mind melting heat in the desert or beard freezing winds in the mountains, you should consider adding this insulated pouch to your kit. Born from the frustrations of dead batteries and frozen/melted bars, Cold Case has created a water resistant, insulated pouch that keeps items cool when it’s hot out and warm when it’s cold. The company does make phone and fuel canister specific items, but today we will be looking at The Pouch.
The Pouch is a 1.5L toiletry-shaped insulated bag for storing temperature sensitive items such as electronics or water filters. The pouch achieves this insulation with Aerogel created by NASA, which is 96% air, giving the pouch an R value of 2.5, which is above the R value of the Thermarest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad, at 2.0. The pouch is made with high-quality stain and water resistant material.
Weight: 3.7oz (+/-)
R Value: 2.5
Things I Like:
Versatility- This pouch can be used year-round for activities such as river trips down the Grand Canyon in the summer to snowboarding in the winter. Few things are worse than backpacking through an exposed section of trail, with the sun beating down on your pack, and dreaming about that delicious Snickers bar in the back mesh of your pack. You finally get to a shady spot to take a break to eat it, and most of the chocolate comes off with the wrapper. As you try to lick the melted chocolate from the wrapper your beard becomes a snack for mice and ants later at camp. The reverse is also bad: when that Clif bar you've been building up the courage to try and get down all day and unwrap, but its phase changed to an actual chunk of a cliff. This pouch keeps your snack from turning into soups or jawbreakers, and stops your phone from dying or overheating.
Peace of Mind- Like many of us going out for more than a day, I use a Sawyer water filter to clean my water. A big worry with a filter is that if it freezes, the filter membrane can crack. . Using The Pouch to store my filter at night relieves my worry and makes it so that I don't need to keep the filter inside my sleeping bag with me. It’s nice to not roll over onto my filter in the middle of the night now. The pouch does need to be inside the tent and near enough to you, however, so that it can receive some of your warmth through the night.
High Quality- This item is built to last with high quality materials. This item could be used for tug-of-war between two puppies and it would last longer than any toy you've brought home to them yet. Kidding aside, the material and construction on this pouch is very strong and the guys at Cold Case Gear didn’t cut corners on quality.
Things to Note:
Strap Placement: While strong and pleasant in color, the straps on this pouch have odd placements for practical use. Like I said earlier, it somewhat looks and feels like a toiletry bag, which isn't always a good thing. I wanted to take this snowboarding with me since my phone always dies, but it was hard to use the pouch without a pack to throw it in. I ended up putting clips onto the top pull tabs and clipping them to my coat zippers, which wasn't an ideal solution, but allowed me to easily access my phone. I would like to see this concept put into a fanny pack that could be placed into a pack, strapped to the outside, or worn around the waist.
Insulating Effectiveness: While the pouch does offer insulation from the elements, during my tests it doesn't work as well away from the body’s warmth. I took two snickers bars and placed them into a snowbank with an air temperature of 23˚ with one inside the pouch and one directly in the snow. After 4 hours covered in the snow with no sunlight or body warmth both snickers were equally frozen and teeth shattering. Along with that, while snowboarding, my phone didn’t have particularly noticeable battery life improvements when tested in 15 degree weather. It seems like it does a much better job of keeping cold things cold in warm weather than items from freezing in extreme cold. Possibly adding a hot hand in the pouch with electronics would help it act like a thermos and extend the heat for a longer period of time saving your battery.
Size: While only weighing 3.7oz, the thick material and watertight zipper make the pouch hard to compress. I don't like items hanging off my pack while I am backpacking, so It needs to fit well inside with the rest of my gear. Because it is hard to squeeze out air and keep it out, the pouch resumes its original shape soon after packing taking up valuable space.
The Pouch by Cold Case is an insulated, water resistant storage unit for temperature-sensitive gear. Although built for the extremes, my verdict is that the temperature range is narrower than I initially hoped. I believe it would work well in temperatures ranging from around 40˚F to 100˚F. The pouch needs another heat source to keep items from freezing whether it’s from your body, the sun, or a hot hand in cold weather.