I like to carry a digital point and shoot camera in a shoulder strap pocket because I take better photos when it’s easily accessible. I also use the same pocket to carry my smartphone, which has some navigation apps that I like to use when I hike. I’ve found that carrying electronics in my shoulder strap pockets provides more protection for them than if they’re carried my hip belt, especially when I’m plowing through dense foliage. The advantage of an accessory pocket over the mesh pockets that come sewn to the outside of some backpacks is better portability, fit (sizing), durability, and water-resistance.
Gossamer Gear’s Shoulder Strap Accessory Pocket (available in two sizes) is easy to attach to all of the backpacks I use. You’d think this would be easy, but there’s wide variability in the types of external attachment points that backpacks provide on their shoulder straps. Some backpacks have daisy chains sewn onto the outside of their shoulder straps while others only have hydration hose keeper loops.
The Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Accessory Pocket ($15, 1.5 oz) is compatible with both orientations because it has three velcro straps on the back, one vertical strap and two horizontal, which are long enough to reach around an attachment point and hook back onto themselves. This also provides a lot more security, so the pocket doesn’t get accidentally ripped off. In addition to the velcro straps, each shoulder strap pocket comes with a short loop of cord sewn into the side seam that you can run an additional cord through if you want an additional “keeper” attachment.
The other nice thing about this Shoulder Strap Pocket is its compatibility with a wide array of different backpacks. It’s not just an accessory pocket for Gossamer Gear packs, but is compatible with just about any backpack. I can’t even remember all the packs I’ve used it with, but they include packs made by Granite Gear, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Seek Outside, CamelBak, Elemental Horizons, Gregory Packs, and the list goes on. It’s nice to find a piece of gear that only costs $15 and has this much utility.
Disclosure: Gossamer Gear gave me a sample pocket but I was not under any obligation to review it. It works well and I thought people would want to know about it.