Code of Bell Annex Case

It’s not good, it’s not bad, but I don’t want to use it again.

Traveling internationally as a family has a lot of small pitfalls. Being the organizational and bag nerd I am, I take on the responsibility of covering all the little bases. One of those bases involves cash, passports, and vaccination cards.

All three of those are something that you probably, likely, need when you travel internationally. And all three suck if you lose them or do not have ready access to them. So, I carry those items for the family when we travel, and I search for new things to carry them in.

Hence, Code of Bell’s Annex Case, which seemed fit for purpose:

The ANNEX CASE was designed for those that need just their minimal essentials on the go. A compact wallet/travel case that can also fit your smartphone too. A compact all-in-one case for the modern lifestyle.

I bought, checked it out, took it with me, and shall never use it again. It’s not bad, but it’s what I label tier 2 good: not bad enough that you actively work to replace it before use is even over (tier 3); not good enough that you’ll use it again (tier 1); it’s not bad enough to bother trying to replace right away, but not good enough to ever use again (tier 2).

I’ll explain. But my tier 2 can easily be someone’s tier 3 or tier 1. (Whereas my tier 1 would surprise me if it were someone’s tier 3.)

Anyways, let’s dive in.

Specs And Such

I like this sizing; it’s a little longer than needed but solid at 8” x 4.3” x 0.8”, giving it a volume of 0.5L and coming in at 8oz. It’s not slim, you’ll notice it, but it is designed to be a wallet or a potential sling/purse if wanted. Because of that, the sizing makes a little more sense.

It’s faster to copy and paste from the website feature list for you (truncated by me)

  • Waterproof fabric
  • YKK water repellent zippers
  • Two independent compartments
  • Reflective front panel for visibility at night
  • Removable shoulder strap to use it as a travel case
  • Main compartment as a cash slot x1, zippered pocket x2, card slots x3, mini pocket x1
  • RFID protected in the main compartment
  • Shoulder strap clips x2 (plus x1 on loose end of strap)

It’s pretty weird, and I don’t know how else to describe it.

In Use

As I mentioned already, I found it not great in use. It held my stuff fine and protected it, but it was clunky and cumbersome for the intended purpose. Some of that is my fault/specific to me — most of it is that this isn’t the right tool for the job I was doing.

Let’s start with what I view as the biggest positives:

  • It’s rigid, so anything you put in it will be protected well.
  • The outside front zipper pocket is nice and can hold much more than you suspect. It has a nice bit of depth, and I found it a neat little spot.
  • There’s a cash pocket in the very back, which holds a considerable amount of bills in a way where it’s not obvious the cash is there. This means you can open the wallet/case in front of someone without flashing how much cash you might be carrying.
  • The orange interior is nice here and not overwhelming.
  • There’s a mesh pocket that holds an SD card perfectly.
  • The mount points on the back of the case are nice, discreet, and don’t get in the way. It’s very nice to have — I had mine tethered to a large pouch in my bag, making it cumbersome for someone to lift out of the bag without my knowing.

Alright, but what about the issues?

  • I think this is rather silly to wear. I am not one to judge others, but I don’t know about this tiny little Multicam black wallet thing as a sling.
  • I am not certain what minimal essentials mean for Code of Bell, but I don’t see how this would carry much beyond what would fit in my wallet.
  • The RFID blocking means that the AirTag was hit and miss inside the case but fine in the outer pocket — this seems like something bag companies need to consider these days.
  • With four passports and other gear in the case, often the passports would get pushed up enough that they would catch on the zipper when undoing or zipping the case. That’s not great.
  • When putting my international driving permit in with the passports, it barely fit and constantly got in the way of the zipper. Completely annoying.
  • The biggest issue, though: it is far bulkier than what it holds. I don’t know what I have that is this small which needs this level of protection. So it’s a ton of bulk and weight for not much gear carry. I don’t love that at all.

I took this with me at all times on our trip. It was in my Filson Small Carryon (not a small bag), and it was constantly in the way with the gear in the bag or trying to get it in and out of the bag. That’s the death of this for me: annoying to carry, getting in and out of my bag, and getting gear in and out of.


I am certain this would be great for someone, but I don’t know who that person is. As with all Code of Bell gear, it is very well made. Unlike other Code of Bell gear, this doesn’t seem as clever or magical as the brand’s other stuff I have seen and tried.

It’s not bad, but I’d rather not use it again.

Buy here, $99.

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