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Buddy Pouch: A New Money Belt Alternative

The Buddy Pouch Review

When I first started traveling as a child, my entire family wore matching fanny packs (bum bags for those of you in Australia), all with a little bit of cash and the address of our hotel. These days, such a look would scream “tourist,” so I’ve looked for a better way to carry the essentials without increasing my chances of getting robbed by making myself a target. The bra stash isn’t easy to access, nor is the money belt, so what’s the alternative?

We were recently introduced to the Buddy Pouch, a product made for fitness with as many uses for travel.

Buddy Pouch Diagram from shop
Buddy Pouch how to use diagram from the official website.

About the Buddy Pouch

Running Buddy makes these pouches, which have won awards for their innovation of using magnets to lock over your waistband. They come in two sizes and multiple colors.

  • The standard size fits a smartphone, passport, and other smaller items.
  • The mini is best for just cards, cash and keys.

The Buddy Pouch is made of water resistant fabric lined with magnets that folds over to keep the pouch on your waistband. If you’re wearing the right clothes (like a top with a little length), the pouch can go virtually unnoticed, but it’s also not completely offensive to the eye (unlike a fanny pack) if it doesn’t. The inner pocket can protect your gear from theft and prying hands, as there’s also a velcro flap.

Buddy Pouch on the Go
Caroline with her Buddy Pouch out on a run.

What They’re Best For

If you’re using the Buddy Pouch for fitness, it’s easy to keep your ID, iPod and any medical necessities while on the go. You don’t have to worry about your armband slipping down as you jog. It also stays put much better than a fitness belt, which I typically use.

The company recommends putting the pouch on a spot where it won’t get in the way. Putting it on the back of your shorts may keep it out of the way, but I put mine on the front towards the left. They don’t recommend putting it on your side because it doesn’t sit flat and the magnets could come apart.

The Buddy Pouch is also great for hiking, music festivals and travel. When you’re at a concert, you can put your items in the pouch to avoid having to go through the security line to have your bag screened. It can also serve as an alternative to the money belt when traveling, holding your passport instead of leaving it in your hotel room. When I was in Cambodia, I was concerned about getting robbed, so I stuffed my cash and phone in my bra. If I’d had the Buddy Pouch, I could have saved myself some trouble! Some people use the pouches for epipen storage.

We can see this being really useful for people wearing a daypack or camera bag, but who also want a separate place on their body for carrying cash and cards without the need for a separate purse.

Buddy Pouch in use; image from official site.
Buddy Pouch in use; image from official site.

Pros and Cons

I was impressed at how sturdily put together the Buddy Pouch was, as it stretches a bit for you to put your phone in it. The magnet keeps it onto your clothing without any signs of easy slippage. Having received two sizes to test out, I can say that it’s best to buy both for uses in everyday life as well as travel.

You’re probably also wondering about the security of those magnets and getting robbed, right?

So if someone tugs on it, it’s more likely to pull down your pants than to come off (although it is always possible). The magnets are very strong. And if you’re worried about getting pickpocketed, you can put it with the pocket side inward. Someone could lift the flap, but you can place items within an inner pocket as well.

The main negative was that it pulled down on my running shorts a bit, but it’s not a problem if you don’t put too much in your pouch. There’s also the fact that the Buddy Pouch is worn over the waist of your pants and is therefore not completely hidden like a traditional money belt unless you are wearing the right top.

However, it’s still a great option, especially for people who hate the inaccessibility of the money belt or bra stash.

The Buddy Pouch holding a Reviver freshening wipe.
The Buddy Pouch holding a Reviver freshening wipe.

The Buddy Pouch definitely isn’t an alternative to a purse or daypack since space is limited, and it’s definitely not has hidden and secure as the traditional money belts or bra stashes. However, it’s a safer place to keep your important pieces like your passport, key and phone while walking around than in a standard purse or a pocket.

And since it’s attached to your clothes, you will never leave it behind in a cafe, bar or taxi, which is pretty important when traveling the world.

>> You can grab a Buddy Pouch on Amazon. Please note that we are an Amazon affiliate and will receive a commission if you purchase, but at no extra cost to you.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jess says

    Nice post, I also have found the Baliloca bag pretty useful. It doesn’t seem particularly well known though but I like it for travel. This seems like a much better option for exercise however. How secure is it though? Magnets make me think it. Could easily be snatched from you or is it pretty strong? Thanks 🙂

    • Brooke says

      I actually already emailed that question to Caroline so we could get that in the post, and here’s what she said: “So if someone tugs on it, it’s more likely to pull down your pants than to come off. The magnets are very strong. And if you’re really worried about it, you can put it with the pocket side inward. Someone could lift the flap, but you can place items within an inner pocket as well.”

  2. Jessica Lippe says

    Oh yes, the fanny packs of our youth! I found some old family vacation photos the other day, and I still cringed whenever I saw that bright yellow pouch around my waist!
    I’ve never heard of the Buddy Pouch until now, but I do have a few articles with built-in security. I have a running skirt (great for both dressy and casual occasions) with an inner pocket, an athletic shirt with a hidden zipper pocket in the seam, and a PoppyStock pocket scarf!

  3. Melody says

    What about those strong magnets demagnetizing credit/debit cards or hotel keys? I know chip cards are supposed to be immune to that, but not everything is chipped. I imagine it would set off security alarms in stores too.
    Looks like a good idea, but not perfect. I’d certainly use one when biking.

    • Brooke says

      The website for the product says they haven’t had issues with the demagnetization: “Almost all electronics such as cell phones, iPods, flash drives, calculators and similar devices do not contain magnetic storage media which can be affected by magnets. We have tested the Running Buddy for 2 years with all types of credit cards and hotel keys and we have had no instances of the Running Buddy causing the credit cards or keys to become demagnetized. Is it possible that cards could become demagnetized? Sure it is. However, they can become demagnetized due to friction, heat, age and many other factors.”

      I’m not sure about security alarms. Maybe we can have Caroline go to the shops 🙂

  4. Cindy says

    In the article it was mentioned that you could put an insulin pump in the pouch. I would be very leery of this since strong magnets will interfere with the functioning of the insulin pump.

    • Brooke says

      Hi Cindy- We’d seen a couple mentions of people using them for insulin pumps on reviews, but your comment makes me question having that in the article. I’m going to remove that now. Thanks!

  5. Gisela Madan Trujillo says

    I love that the buddy pouch lays flat and stays secure when I use the ladies room, What I don’t like is I use it to hold my cell phone and have to use 2 hands to pull the Velcro strap and dig for my phone, this takes to long and is not seamless. I was all set to buy one for all the female members of my family for their cell phone but changed my mind. Do you think you will be coming out with one that has a magnetic closure? I would be very interested Gigi

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