When I learned that iFrogz had stopped producing iBagz, an almost-waterproof pouch for the iPhone and iPod, I was a bit stumped, because while they were a favorite of mine, they don’t last forever—I was going to need a replacement. I would typically run holding my iPod covered in an iBagz, which had a Velcro-closure top, and switch hands every few minutes. Apparently this action created enough friction for the iBagz’ thick plastic to eventually tear along the seams, and despite multiple fixes with tape, the pouch eventually became irreparable.
I found an excellent, though not perfect, replacement in Amphipod’s $22 Beltpod Smartview, one of about a dozen water-resistant pouches the company makes for those who want to take their iPods or iPhones on the run. The pouch differs from the iBagz in several important ways, most of them good. The pouch has a black, cushioned back with a clip that enables you to latch it onto the waistband of your shorts or sweats. The front is thick, clear plastic, which allows access to your iPhone’s screen without having to take it out of the pouch. You close the pouch using a zipper—a traditional metal version—along the top edge. However, unlike the iBagz, there’s is no built-in headphone connector, so you can’t zip the pouch entirely shut—you must leave just a little space for your headphone cord to snake out of the pouch. To be fair, the company makes no claim that the Beltpod Smartview is waterproof, but this ensures it isn’t. The pouch is water-resistant, however, so you don’t have to worry about sweat or light rain damaging your player.
The cable opening is the only shortcoming I’ve found after running about 100 miles with the Beltpod Smartview. I was originally concerned that the extra weight hanging off my shorts would pose a problem, but it’s hardly discernible. In addition, the pouch has an extra padded divider on the inside, allowing you to store a key; a driver’s license or credit card; and a sports gel or two near, but separate from, your iPhone or iPod.
(The company also offers a few other pouch versions, including smaller ones for iPod nanos, and ones that you can wear on your arm or your carry in your hand.)