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Verdict: 
Would be a nice idea if it wasn't a bit big, and didn't want to slip out of your pocket and then split
Weight: 
27g
Contact: 
www.wildoo.co.uk/index.php
Velopac Protective Smartphone Case
2 10

The Velopac smartphone case is cheap, light and does what it's supposed to. Unfortunately, it doesn't do it for long.

Now that the phone that you have to have in your pocket costs as much as a bike, um, I mean some wheels, um, I mean a nice pair of cycling shoes, it pays to keep it safe and dry when out and about, especially cycling when it's frequently wet.

Made in the UK by Wildoo the VeloPac Smartphone Case is a semi-flexible PVC sleeve to protect your phone from the rigours of cycling and the weather. It's see-through on one side with a range of bicycle-themed designs to chose from on the other, just to let people know what you do for fun, and to boost your own self-worth.

The VeloPac isn't there just to shelter your device from the damp elements that can bother a cycle-jersey pocket but it's also designed as a useful barrier to the soggy ingress of sweat from the other side, which can be quite corrosive to expensive electronics. Depending on the size of your phone there's room to stuff other valuable things inside the VeloPac Case that you don't want to get damp as well; keys, money, credit card and wotnot. Okay, keys and loose coins really aren't so delicately susceptible to moisture but it keeps all those loose knickknacks in the one safe place.

The clear front panel lets you see your posh phone screen and the material it's made from allows you to do all your social touch screen activity without taking the phone out of the case, which is handy if you need to Twitter and then Facebook and then Instagram your ride just so everyone else knows how Epic you're being riding in the rain, or if you need to instantly see if you KOMed that Strava section.

You can also talk to someone, in real life, to explain why you're going to be late without taking your phone out of the VeloPac but it feels a bit awkward grappling to hold onto a phone inside a semi-rigid plastic bag. If you have an old fashioned phone with actual buttons on it then it can be tricky to punch them accurately through the plastic and you're better off to taking it out of the sleeve to use. But that means it might get wet, and everyone will see it and laugh.

A sturdy press seal closure strip runs along the length of the case which easy to use, even with gloves on, and it snaps firmly in place to keep moisture out.

It's a nice idea, but.

It's a bit big. In order to fit a small yet powerful computer inside it the case is quite wide. The VeloPac will fit round all smartphones up to a 5.5in screen, which, when you've added on the space needed for the closure strip makes it 4in across in old money, and over 7in tall. That extra width means that it won't fit in some cycling pockets without a bit of folding over, which leads to creases and bends in the plastic, and it's tall too, which makes it poke out the top of a pocket, lanky into the rain.

The plastic material of the VeloPac is quite shiny and slippery which means it can sometimes slowly work its way out of a pocket if you're riding with a lot of body movement, standing up out of the saddle, sprinting, getting low in the drops, the sort of thing cyclists do all ride, every ride. All of this motion seemed to be a very effective way of worming the VeloPac slowly up and out of a pocket, leading to the annoying practice of having to continually reach around during a ride to check that the case hadn't crept out of its pocket too far as a prelude to launching itself onto tarmac.

But most critically in compromising the waterproof shelter of your expensive phone is that the VeloPac will split (see test report), turning it into a not very Protective Smartphone Case. Repeated pullings and pushings of the closure strip, especially clumsily with winter gloves on, weakens the side seams. Combine that with the VeloPac's plastic turning a little brittle when it gets a bit cold and those side seams will tear next to the the seal at some point turning it into an expensive useless leaky piece of plastic with a cycling pattern on.

Verdict

Would be a nice idea if it wasn't a bit big, and didn't want to slip out of your pocket and then split. You can buy at least 200 locking sandwich bags for £5.99.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Velopac Protective Smartphone Case

Size tested: up to 5.5'' screen

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

VeloPac say their Protective Smartphone Case is for any active cyclist that carries a smart phone whilst cycling. A jersey back pocket is the natural place to put your phone but this leaves it vulnerable to sweat, rain and road spray damage and with smartphones costing up to £600 to replace one wet ride could prove very expensive. The simplest and cheapest solution is to put the phone is a freezer or food storage zip bag but these offer minimal protection.

That's all true, but the VeloPac case is fatally flawed.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Semi-rigid form factor fits a jersey or jacket rear pocket.

Keeps valuable together without floating around the pocket.

Protects contents against water and corrosive sweat damage

Helps to prevent pocket sag!

Velopac will hold a phone together with bank notes, a credit card, passport etc.

No more soggy bank notes at the café stop!

Fits all makes of Smartphone up to 5.5' screens including I-Phone, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia etc.

Clear front panel allows touch screen can be operated without removing the case.

Phone calls are possible without removal from the case which helps prevents the wind interference often experienced making outdoor calls in exposed conditions.

Soft PVC materials ensure quality & durability is maintained and prevents cracking in cold weather.

Vivid full colour digital printing in striking designs.

Manufactured in the UK by Wildoo.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
1/10

It split.

Rate the product for performance:
 
1/10

It split.

Rate the product for durability:
 
2/10

It was okay for a bit, then it split.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
5/10

It doesn't weigh much, it's just a posh plastic sleeve, but if you're worried about weight you won't be carrying a heavy phone in your pocket.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
3/10

It wasn't uncomfortable per se, but it wanted to slide out of some pockets too easily, which made it irritating.

Rate the product for value:
 
2/10

It's cheap compared to the price of the phone it's protecting, but it can't do that for long. Other cheap and even free plastic bags are available.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It split.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Nothing really, it's an over-engineered plastic bag that broke.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fact that it split, that's on top of it being a bit big for some pockets, and it's incessant attempts to slip out of others.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really, no. It was equal parts a bit useful and quite annoying, then it broke.

Would you consider buying the product? No. While I appreciate the need to keep an expensive phone protected on a ride and the need for some people to use their phone all the time I'm not one that has to continually communicate whilst on a bike ride anyway so a phone hidden in a plastic bag is fine by me.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.

Overall rating: 2/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

61 comments

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bendertherobot [1146 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Tesco do these amazing things called sandwich bags. You can get hundreds of them for less than a quid. Reusable as well, but you can chuck them away. Really effective. No closure strip but simple wrapping assists. Or use two!

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racingcondor [195 posts] 2 years ago
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My fix was heavy duty Zip Lock bags (extra thick and double sealed at the top. Bought 240 of them for £15 and the biggest problem I have now is that they're so tough they each last about 6 months month's. I'm set for at least 100 years...

I've got a handy tip for stopping the bag sliding out of your jersey pocket too. Put it in a soft glasses case (the little towel bag type). Instant friction and you have a handy rag to wipe your hands with if you flat.

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SimonT1971 [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Yup, a nice little sandwich bag in the inside pocket/back pocket of jersey is ideal. I guess if you crash and land on your back, the phone may get damaged, but in reality that would be the least of your worries!

'racingcondor' (lol) maybe you could do a 'reverse freebie' session in Leeds on 4th July and convince the peloton of the merits - only 1g weight per bag... 'marginal gains'!

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fatbastard [24 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Got a brilliant case for my rather large Samsung Note phone from Lakeland Ltd.. Not sure it they still have them....but a complete bargain.

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wildoo [37 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

We extensively tested many samples of Velopac over 12 months before launch and can say firstly that we use a tough welding process to ensure that the product is strong as is possible. We use the softest PVC available but all PVC becomes brittle when cold. If a pack does split we will replace it for free. Of course it will split if mishandled (as will any plastic bag with a welded seam) and clearly that is what you have done. In your own words you clumsily pulled it open clearly with considerable force (had you opened a freezer bag with a phone inside in the same force it would have split all the way resulting in your phone catapulting out onto the ground!). As for falling out of a pocket unless you ride upside down this is highly unlikely as we sized it to fit most pockets snugly to so it does not float and slide around. In fact its no more likely to jump out of a pocket than a phone with no case or indeed a phone in any other bag. The size is so that it will accept most phones on the market and they are geting bigger! We purposely designed it to stick out the pocket slightly so that it is easier to remove.

In summary it is impossible to make an item such as this that will fit every pocket and also take every phone but our product comes close.

Velopac is a handy, quality, attractive and relatively low priced product & without doubt offers more protection than a freezer bag. Customer feedback and our own experiences are very different from yours. I would appreciate that you could return the said item to us that we can inspect it to see if any further improvements can be made. I'm sorry you did not like the product but feel that your review is both harsh and biased based on a personal dislike of the product.

We appreciate that VeloPac is not for everyone and many riders clearly find that alternative products meet their needs but we also have many people using a VeloPac and appreciating the extra level of protection that it offers.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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'Company In Social Media Fail Shocker'

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VeloPeo [309 posts] 2 years ago
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So an experienced cyclist and reviewer has road tested the product, found issues and yet it's the rider's fault, not the product?

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow. Actually wincing and screwing up my eyes like I've just seen a bad crash.

If one of my staff posted a reply like that, I'd saw their hands off with the rough edge of a busted Velopac.

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 2 years ago
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Look, I don't want to be nasty and rub it in, but at the same time, this is gold.

Found this searching for Wildoo on Twitter, to see how they were reacting.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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...I believe the formula goes like this:

Cheap != Good IF (Chance of launching from pocket) > 0.000005%/km AND income < £1,000,000.

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VecchioJo [397 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

hello wildoo,
i am sorry that you disagree with the review, and as it's your product you have every right to do so, but let me explain..

first off, there's no personal dislike of the product. at all. my life is full of little plastic bags that valuable things get poked into when i go cycling, so something potentially more robust and less tatty than an old record store CD sized plastic bag would be quite welcome, especially since i had just destroyed a phone during the course of a very wet ride.

unfortunately after some time, the Velopac split.

next up, i didn't open the case 'clearly with considerable force' (those weren't my own words, so thanks for that), it split in normal use, in the cold, whilst wearing gloves, in the real world, where stuff like this happens. it wasn't ripped apart with malice, it's only a posh plastic bag and undeserving of such spiteful treatment. but as you admit, the PVC does become brittle when cold, combine that with clumsy fumbly gloves and the case could split.

it split.

all other issues raised were actual ones, not conjured up to create a deliberately harsh or biased review.
like in all road.cc reviews the product was used by a real cyclist in the hot and cold and wet and dry and not just kicked around an editorial desk while the press release was copied and pasted

so it split.

i shall return the case so, as suggested, you can see if any further improvements can be made.

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TR McGowran [15 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't think freezer bags split in the cold, do they?

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh my,

I prefer these, both for my lunch, and for keeping things waterproof out on the bike. More importantly, the last lot I got had some french writing on them, so thats pretty cool right?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ziploc-Double-Zipper-Heavy-Freezer/dp/B002GJO6R6...

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
TR McGowran wrote:

I don't think freezer bags split in the cold, do they?

 24

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STATO [509 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a donkey-label phone case, very similar design. It also split due to normal use. Sadly this form of case is always going to fail as you would be opening it regularly and for some reason the designs dont factor this in? you need fingernails of steel to get those seals open in the cold, so they tend to get forced or bent a lot.

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I love my bike [157 posts] 2 years ago
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Freezer bags are made from polyethylene, not pvc.

For £4 a padded cell from Alpkit ( https://www.alpkit.com/products/padded-cell )
does a better job & won't ever have cracking issues, though it is 'just' showerproof and not waterproof, and doesn't have cycling type branding.

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Sniffer [314 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a couple of similar items that have been handed out as freebies at cycling events I have taken part in. Work fine for me. I would not have bought one, but I regularly put a few notes, house key and phone into it. It feels a bit more robust than freezer bags. Mind you if it splits I would replace it with freezer bags rather than pay for a replacement.

On a secondary note, are not all reviews personal opinions? Is that not why we read them to find the personal opinion of someone who has used the product?

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Fixie Girl [125 posts] 2 years ago
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The shocking customer service of Wildoo extends to Portland..

There was also a strong suggestion that said company were sending Di Marchi garments to their Chinese factory and copying patterns. Heard from a colleague in Italy...

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karlowen [65 posts] 2 years ago
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This is well cheap, i keep mine in my waffa essentials case, aka my purse  16

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Sniffer wrote:

On a secondary note, are not all reviews personal opinions? Is that not why we read them to find the personal opinion of someone who has used the product?

Im not saying this is the case here at all, but I do know in many industries products are supplied on the assumption of a positive review, the fashion industry is probably the worst for this, they will send lots of 'freebies' to editors but if they get a bad review the freebies stop and advertising is cut. From reading reviews in cycling publications, I would assume its the same, I don't recall the last time I saw a negative review in print.

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Yennings [237 posts] 2 years ago
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Well I can't knock Wildoo's transparency at least in responding directly to customer/media feedback. Criticising the consumer/reviewer for one of your own products failing is not really on, though...

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 2 years ago
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Fixie Girl wrote:

The shocking customer service of Wildoo extends to Portland..

There was also a strong suggestion that said company were sending Di Marchi garments to their Chinese factory and copying patterns. Heard from a colleague in Italy...

In the spirit of fairness, that is an extremely serious allegation. Potentially libellous. Not to be said lightly.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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Dear Wildoo,

Here's a hand up, in the spirit of we all fsck up sometimes, it's easy to snark and bike brands are generally run by cool folks: send everyone who's commented today a Velopac case to try out themselves, on the basis that we pop back here and post our honest feedback in a week or so's time.

I for one promise to be totally honest.

Cheers

Mike

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Fixie Girl [125 posts] 2 years ago
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Happy to post the jpeg of the letter we have if you like?

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Fixie Girl wrote:

Happy to post the jpeg of the letter we have if you like?

Oh come on, you have to, im getting more and more curious now

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Paul_C [473 posts] 2 years ago
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I keep mine in a case I originally bought for my old Palm Tungsten E... fitted my Galaxy S2 nicely and was touch screen compatible. Case had a fold over flap to protect the screen, was also bouyant enough to keep the case plus phone afloat when it fell overboard last summer. Oh and it had a serious waterproof seal and a lanyard for wearing it around my neck...

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Fixie Girl [125 posts] 2 years ago
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I wouldn't want the thread to go off topic, its too funny to go serious..

We are saving it up for a rainy day!

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ped [230 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh boy, what a thread … and to think I only clicked through to say nay, nay and thrice nay to the unearned WC stripes.

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wildoo [37 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi There

Firstly let me apologise.

I aam passionate about cyling & the bike industry and the products Wildoo sells. I personally was a little shocked at the way the review was written and felt our product was marked down too harshly as the one tested split. Had the product not split the review would have for sure been far more positive. My response came from the heart as i felt the review was a bit harsh as its based on the one tested item and not from what we know. I did not mean to knock the tester but in hindsight apologise if that is how I came across. I replied with heart and not head and have learnt a lesson from this.

We are an honest company that takes pride in the products we sell and strive to offer the quality products with strong value for money and function backed up by a high level of customer service. Our regular customers know this and order again and again for this reason. In the case of this product yes it does have a welded seam and this eventually with age can to split. On the testing we have undertaken the seams have held up as expected and not split. We would be happy to replace any that have split within an unreasonable period

Re-reading the review I feel the product tested split due to the cold temperature and the extra force required to open when the plastic is colder & harder. This is something we will look at to see if the material or design can be improved whilst maintaining what we feel is a value for money price.

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ped [230 posts] 2 years ago
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@wildoo Good on you for responding once again.

I admire anyone who successfully brings a product to market, knowing that in doing so you're laying yourself open to criticism fair or otherwise.

That said, with cycling being a predominately outdoors activity, not ensuring that the product can cope with inclement conditions would seem a major oversight.

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