Welcome to Travel Non-Essentials, where T+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd. Today: The Flipbelt.
What It Does: This stretchable money belt from Flipbelt ($28.99) fits around your waist and holds small items like a phone, cash, and keys while you’re on the road or exercising. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.
NE: It looks like the waistband of a pair of fitness pants.
MO: Unlike the old kind of money belts that zipper up or tie around your waist.
NE: Exactly. No zippers. No straps around your waist.
MO: I’m just going to slip this on over my shirt [Mark pulls the stretchable belt over his head and shoulders and down around his waist. It fits him. Snugly.] Now I’m going to embarrass myself and find out it doesn’t fit.
NE: I think there are different sizes. This one I’m holding is a small.
MO: Please tell me the one I’m wearing is a small. It’s a little tight.
NE: It’s a large, Mark!
MO: Not funny, Nikki. At least it’s not going to fall off, all right? And isn’t that the main thing? Kidding aside, it’s comfortable right now. But on a hot day, pressing against your belly and the small of your back, you might start sweating, don’t you think?
NE: I think you probably won‘t be wearing it on your bare skin. This material is polyester and Lycra, like athletic wear and washable. As for the fit, it’s supposed to be “comfortably snug.” I think it’s supposed to fit like a pair of yoga pants would fit.
MO: I don’t wear yoga pants so I don’t know what that means.
NE: There’s a size guide here… Let’s see…
MO: Don’t read the size guide. It would just embarrass me.
NE: Let’s just put it this way: There are sizes from extra-small to extra-large.
MO: My crowd!
NE: And they are unisex.
MO: They’re unisex, but I think most guys would prefer to have a black one.
NE: I’ve got dibs on the neon yellow.
MO: So what goes in here? It says that it is made for your phone, your music—I guess that means an iPod?—and essentials, which would be cash, credit card keys, things like that.
[Nikki squeezes her phone into the pouch.]
NE: Hmm… It’s little bit bulky to wear it with your phone inside this thing. If you’re going to bring your phone and you don’t have pockets, I guess this works, but if I were running I’d rather wear an armband.
MO: I haven’t worn a money belt in many, many years because I found that I never really needed it, and it was a hassle to remove things, especially in public. And this would be the same as that. But it does seem like it’s a little more comfortable than the old-fashioned money belt. But why do they call it a Flipbelt? I’m not sure what the flip part means.
NE: I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing. I think it’s that the opening is in the middle and it flips around your belongings?
MO: Oh, so you put everything in the opening, then flip it over to keep it all safe.
NE: My issue is that once you’ve put your belongings in it, it looks bulky!
MO: That’s true. In fact, the models they show on the packaging, well, they look great. But it doesn’t look like they actually have anything in their Flipbelts except maybe a phone.
NE: If that’s all you can reasonably hold, it’s better for runners than for travelers.
MO: I would agree a hundred percent.
NE: I don’t think my passport would fit in here anyway.