Alpaka Hub Pouch vs Utility Pouch

Alpaka Hub Pouch vs Utility Pouch - Storming Gravity

FOREWORD

The notion of the EDC (Every Day Carry) pouch dates way back to the origin of EDC. Alpakaโ€™s offerings are a homage to the pouches that came before it, more refined and polished in some ways, and more technical in others. Specialized pouches often open new ways to segregate and organize your gear, ensuring the right combinations of equipment are in the right places. And with this, switching and navigating between hundreds of bags becomes a walk in the park.

There comes a point in each digital nomadโ€™s life that a dump pocket just simply just wonโ€™t cut it anymore; thereโ€™s only so much a pocket can hold. And hereโ€™s where Alpakaโ€™s gateway drugs make their grand entry - the assortment of EDC tools (knifes, tools, and pens) shall no longer rummage in your pockets. Let us welcome to the stage today, the contenders for the ultimate EDC pouch of 2022 โ€“ Alpaka Hub Pouch and Alpaka Utility pouch.

SPECS

Hub pouch

โ€ข Dimensions: 12cm (4.72") L x 2.9cm (0.98") D x 9cm (3.54") H
โ€ข Weight: 0.06kg
โ€ข Volume: 0.3L
โ€ข Compatible with HUB Keychain

Utility pouch

โ€ข Dimensions: 20 cm (7.87โ€) L x 4.5 cm (1.77โ€) D x 12 cm (4.72โ€) H
โ€ข Weight: 0.19KG
โ€ข Volume: 1L
โ€ข Converts into a sling bag (standard strap included)

WHO ITS FOR

Hub pouch (Hook and Loop)

1. Anyone whoโ€™s invested into utility tools and wants a perfectly designed and constructed storage option for them.

2. If oneโ€™s into morale patches. It provides some added personality or distinction between oneโ€™s arsenal of pouches.

Utility pouch

1. Anyone thatโ€™s into larger-sized multifunctional tools and wants to keep them in a closed, protected casing, thatโ€™s built with innovative and functional materials.

2. Those that are interested in converting a utility tool pouch into a full-fledged sling, making versatility its virtue.

3. One whoโ€™s interested in a trusty travel companion, thatโ€™s able to hold emergency first aid tools, a passport and a phone.

AESTHETICS

Hub pouch

The Hub pouchโ€™s design doesnโ€™t stray too far from the drawing board when it comes to the conventional EDC tool pouch design. It sports a squarish design with curved corners, that just fits right in the palm of your hand. It looks subdued yet packs a punch when it comes to functionality and its interior layout. It may look unassuming to undiscerning eyes, but this is a design that has been tried and tested throughout the years.

The recent version of this pouch comes with two cornerstone features that lend to its popularity: itโ€™s a more minimal and pocketable size, barely larger than the standard flashlight, knife, and tool combo carried within; and an external loop field led to the rise of compact sized patches that offer limitless personalization, to boost your morale, of course.

Utility pouch

The Utility pouch has a more undiscerning look, given that its mainly a plus sized version of the Hub pouch. Streamline and functional, the perfect combination when it comes to pouches. The aesthetics is truly time-tested and I have only praises to sing for it. The version that Iโ€™ve tested sports a sleek vx42 outer shell and Hypalon accents, and it makes for a badass looking utility pouch and sling. Oh, I forgot to mention, it also comes with strap attachments that converts it into a sling with 2 simple hooks.

Materials

OUTER SHELL: VX42 XPAC

The version being reviewed is the VX42 Black, there are other colour/fabric available too.

Right of the bat, the most distinguishing feature is the diamond pattern on the fabric. And whenever thereโ€™s a diamond pattern on a fabric, one name always pops into mind: X-PAC. More specifically, this is VX42 X-PAC, and the both the Hub and Utility pouch look striking in this x-grid textured fabric. To our eyes, black diamonds match the tech pouch theme graciously, like a chain-link fence from the 24th century. Mind you, X-PAC isnโ€™t all style and no substance; itโ€™s been known to be one of the most durable fabric on the market.

The main body of these two pouches are constructed out of VX42, the worldโ€™s most popular variant of the laminated X-PAC fabric. X-PAC fabrics have been slowly creeping into the soft-goods market, more so in high fashion brands such as Nike and Adidas. I see this as a tactical gambit moving forward, since X-PAC fabrics are technically more advance, both in terms of usability and functionality.

VX42 basically means thereโ€™s 420 denier face nylon fabric combined with an innovative four-layer construction thatโ€™s rugged, flexible, waterproof, and features their patented Xโ€‘PLYยฎ fiber reinforcement technology at 22ยฐ, hence the signature diamond shaped pattern. The first layer being the plain weave nylon face, followed by a 0.25 mil polyester film and the polyester X-PLYยฎ.

These 3 layers are backed with a 50 denier lightweight polyester taffeta backing, provides an enhanced stitch-hold, and reduces the chances of delamination, which is something that plagues the X3 (X50,X51) variants of X-PAC fabrics.

So, you have these 4 laminations of material, each serving their own purpose, stacked on top of each other, its sheer level of technicality would baffle the minds of us common folks.

For an outer shell of a pouch, VX42 is probably an overkill, but I love it.

INNER SHELL: 500D KODRA & BLOOD ORANGE HONEYCOMB 200D Ripstop nylon

Even the interior gets some added protection by a combination of exotic materials, namely Dimension Polyantโ€™s VX42, 500D Kodra and 200D Blood Orange Ripstop Nylon. This is a welcome addition, since pointy or edged gadgets have a tendency of snagging on the interior fabrics. And with these durable fabrics in play, ripping the interior fabric is definitely out of the equation. Ripstop helps alleviate that by stopping rips using a reinforced pattern, in this case, a honeycomb one. The Blood Orange naming does have a nice ring to it too!

On the subject of colorways and patterns, there are a few choices available at the time of writing. Thereโ€™s a model using a beefier X-Pac X50 in Black. The X50 is 500 denier like the Kodra, and itโ€™s heavier than the 420 denier of our VX42 model. But if you are set on VX42, thatโ€™s plenty durable with some added weather protection too!

HYPALON

Last but not least, the Hypalon accents are a treat both to the eyes and fingers. Its matte black appearance works in tandem with the black VX42 for a super-sleek look, and gives some variation to the slippery handfeel of VX42. Thereโ€™s a hypalon tab tucked away in the corner, while others are on the zipper pulls. It bears the ALPAKA logo subtly and has a nice rubbery feel. Itโ€™s certainly a tasteful touch to the overall aesthetic of the pouches. A premium and wholesome interaction on every occasion.

HARDWARE

Zippers

Alpaka has recently been utilizing zippers from renowned Japanese manufacturer, YKK, which situated in the highlands of the Toyama Prefecture. They are entrusted internationally for their impeccable production standards and thorough quality control processes for their industrial grade zippers.

The zippers used are of #5 Reversed Coiled YKK "Water-Resistant" Zippers throughout the exteriors of the pack. Beefy #5 YKK zippers are utilized for the main clamshell opening zipper for both the pouches.

ORGANIZATION

Hub pouch

Front pocket โ€“

The front-face compartment of the Hub pouch is safe-guarded by an Aquaguard #5YKK zipper, faring no damage to any terrain nature has to offer. Due to its lay-flat design, this compartment is ideal for flatter EDC tools, mainly smaller pens or a cry-bars. An Apple AirTag also fits snugly in this compartment if one decides to keep their EDC tools extra safe.

Main compartment โ€“

When fillet opened in a clamshell manner, the user shall be greeted with a wide array of cleaver organization which includes sleeves and elastic keepers. The left interior compartment sports two vertical sleeves thatโ€™s able to hold a knife or multifunctional tools. And on top of these sleeves are elastic gussets to hold down bulkier items. An added bonus is that these elastics have some extra VX42 fabric at the bottom to hold the items in.

On the right side, however, thereโ€™s two open ended sleeves thatโ€™s ideal for either cards and extra cash or larger and wider EDC tools. And on top of the inner sleeve, thereโ€™s an elastic band thatโ€™s separated into three compartments by two sturdy vertical bar tags. These bands are only ideal for smaller EDC tools, or maybe an extra pack of gum!

Utility pouch

Front pocket โ€“

Now we move on to the interior aspects of the Utility Pouch where it begins to really shine. First up is the front pocket, and donโ€™t worry, this one gets the Blood Orange Ripstop Nylon liner as well, meaning visibility isnโ€™t too difficult. Itโ€™s a wide and deep pocket that extends all the way to the bottom corners of the pouch. Thereโ€™s fair volume here, thanks to gussets at the bottom corners. Weโ€™re able to fit a pack of wet wipes, a Zippo, and a cleaning cloth for our camera lensโ€”items we generally need access to more frequently. And inside this compartment, thereโ€™s additional organization to satisfy your urge to compartmentalize!

Main compartment โ€“

Guarded by a sturdy #5YKK zipper, the main capacity is truly the star of the show. It sports a horizontally oriented compartment on one side, and three vertical sleeves on the other. The horizontal pocket is open ended, and tremendously spacious. Itโ€™s able to hold Alpakaโ€™s Pocket Notebook or even a passport, with room to spare! Its also ideal for bigger and bulkier EDC tools when the need arises. On this sleeve, thereโ€™s another zipper pocket sewn into the front, and how theyโ€™ve implemented this organization is super smart and thoughtful. This zippered pocket is divided into three sectioned by two vertical bar tags, and they are the perfect size for EDC coins or even SD cards if youโ€™re using it as a make shift camera pouch.

The right compartment has a top wide top pocket, and two lower pockets secured with elastic gaskets, plenty of space for your flashlights and knifes. And in between these two compartments, thereโ€™s an elastic band situated at the spine of the pouch thatโ€™s ideal for your assortment of EDC pens.

Back pocket โ€“

Below the top handle, and two loop webbings thatโ€™s used to attach their detachable strap, thereโ€™s another lay-flat pocket thatโ€™s ideal for some stash of loose cash, cry-bars or any flatter EDC items.

PROS VS CONS

Hub pouch

1. Perfect size for smaller EDC tool and fits right in the palm of your hands!

2. Thoughtful organization, without being too overwhelming.

3. Sturdy built, without a stich out of place.

Utility pouch

1. Functional and versatile, can be converted into a sling just by latching on the straps

2. Ideal capacity for a travel-sized EDC pouch, an added bonus for being able to fit a passport!

END VERDICT

The Hub pouch is a thoughtful offering from Alpaka in the form of a small soft-shell pouch. Itโ€™s the perfect storage solution for your electronics, flashlights, tools, or anything else that gets you ready for the next big adventure.

The Utility pouch, being the elder brother of the two, is made as an easy and spacious solution to organize your tools, cables, and more. Itโ€™s most certainly a must-have in your arsenal of pouches for those who value organization and wants their essentials neatly stored in a grab-and-go kit.

With the utility and customizability of this tried and tested form factor, it has led to crazy popularity amongst brands like Garage Built Gear, Greenroom136, and RoverEDC pushing out releases to meet the immense demand. Alpaka has joined the fray with their own take on the EDC pouch, built with the same technical and minimalist design language theyโ€™re known for, and it seems like they have hit it right on the nail with these two. It fits their futuristic aesthetic, plays well with their modular ecosystem, and offers another versatile option for you to grab a pouch of your own.

Alpaka really knocked it out of the ballpark with these new offerings of EDC pouches, and I am thrilled to see what they have in stored for us in the near future!



Check out Hub Pouch

Check out Utility Pouch

Author

Darren Loh

Raised in the south of Malaysia, I was drawn to spending as much time as possible outdoors. While dwelling in the beauty of nature, it sparked my interest in photography as well as all things carry. My interest in bags have been solidified every since Iโ€™ve stumbled upon my first bag right here in our own backyard, Greenroom136. And I have been on the hunt for the perfect pack ever since.

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