What We Like
Proven RFID-blocking technology
Multiple hidden pockets
What We Don't Like
Rustles when walking
Larger than competitors
Uncomfortable for long periods
With bucket-list itineraries and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, travelers book trips to be in the moment—not worry about their belongings. But pickpocketing is a major travel threat, particularly in bigger cities. That’s one reason travelers invest in gear like the Alpine Rivers RFID-Blocking Money Belt before a big trip. The travel money belt promises a variety of features: secure pockets for valuables, an invisible design that fits beneath clothes, and RFID-block technology that’s said to stop hackers from reading credit cards.
At first glance, the Alpine Rivers Money Belt seems almost too good to be true. To determine whether or not it lived up to its promises, I took the travel accessory on a spin through New York City’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side. Read on to see how my trial run went.
Design: Pockets, pockets, and more pockets
When I first clipped on the Alpine Rivers Money Belt, I was shocked by the number of pockets. This little belt packs a big punch! Its main pocket is large enough to fit a passport and a smartphone (I fit my iPhone 7 and still had plenty of room). It has two sewn-in pockets within the main compartment for credit cards, hotel cards, and other valuables. It also has an attached carabiner clip, which I found most useful for a car key.
When I first clipped on the Alpine Rivers Money Belt, I was shocked by the number of pockets.
The second pocket is less spacious but was still roomy enough for my iPhone and other odds and ends. The mesh back also has an opening for storing additional items like airplane tickets, documents, or—for me—an NYC MetroCard (it great for quick access as I navigated the busy NYC Subway!).
In terms of functionality, the Alpine Rivers Money Belt has a water-resistant exterior with ripstop nylon to keep valuables safe no matter the weather. The soft, breathable back kept me from sweating in the scorching summer heat. The zippers are small with pull-tabs for ease of use, and the adjustable elastic belt fits comfortably around my waist (it adjusts from 26 inches to 56 inches).
Portability: Tough to hide
The Alpine Rivers Money Belt is promised as “discreet,” although I found it to be anything but. The nylon material (available in black, graphite, or sand colors) rustled whenever I moved—almost like swishy sweatpants—which made it obviously audible to everyone around me.
Second, given its size—at 5.9 inches wide and 11.8 inches long—it’s more like a fanny pack than a discreet money belt—I could hardly hide it beneath my clothes. (Of course, I could’ve worn baggier clothes instead of my travel leggings and hoodie, but that defeats the purpose!)
The nylon material rustled whenever I moved—almost like swishy sweatpants—which made it obviously audible to everyone around me.
In terms of comfort, it’s actually not that comfortable. The mesh back isn’t padded, so I found the belt got awkward and really noticeable after about an hour walking through town. The adjustable strap did make it easy to fit the belt to my size, which was a big plus.
RFID Blocking: It works!
While many money belts promise—then fail to provide—RFID (radio frequency identification)-blocking technology that keeps hackers from accessing credit card information, the Alpine Rivers Money Belt passed my at-home test. Since I don’t have an RFID-enabled credit card (it’s estimated that less than 5 percent of U.S. credit cards are RFID-enabled), I put my apartment key card into the belt and attempted to open the door.
The Alpine Rivers Money Belt comes with multiple RFID Block credit card holders for extra protection.
Happily, the sensor couldn’t read my card through the money belt. Even better? The Alpine Rivers Money Belt comes with multiple RFID Block credit card holders for extra protection. However, it’s unlikely you’d actually need it; even if you are one of the few people with a card that uses this technology, most experts don’t think this type of anti-theft is necessary; RFID-related crimes have been nonexistent in the past decade.
Price: An affordable option for proven RFID-blocking technology
The Alpine Rivers Money Belt sells for around the $15 to $30 range. Given its proven to block RFID—something most money belts claim to do but can’t actually do—this belt is worth the price for hacking prevention if that’s something you need. Keep in mind, though, that it’s bulkier and less comfortable than competitor options.
Competition: Wins in some categories, lacks in others
Peak Gear Travel Money Belt With RFID Block: The Alpine Rivers belt is about an inch wider than the Peak Gear Travel Money Belt, which I also tested. Although this may not seem like a lot, it’s highly noticeable when trying to hide the belts beneath your clothing. I was drawn to the Peak Gear’s sleeker (and quieter!) design, but the Peak Gear does lack when it comes to RFID-blocking technology. I put the Peak Gear Money Belt through the same apartment-key test as the Alpine Rivers belt, and it didn’t pass. The Alpine Rivers Money Belt also has deeper pockets than the Peak Gear model, but again, that’s due to its larger build. The Peak Gear option runs for about $15, making it on par with the Alpine Rivers Money Belt.
Boxiki RFID Travel Money Belt: The Boxiki RFID Travel Money Belt’s main positive is its comfortable design. Unlike the Alpine Rivers belt, the Boxiki belt—which averages around $24—has a padded mesh backside, which makes for comfortable wear throughout the day (I tested it and can confirm). It’s also about an inch smaller width-wise than the Alpine Rivers Money Belt, which makes it easier to hide. It also doesn’t rustle or make noise when moved—another huge plus. While the Boxiki belt has “RFID” in its name, it also didn’t pass the apartment-key test like the Alpine Rivers Money Belt.
- Product Name RFID-Blocking Money Belt
- Product Brand Alpine Rivers
- MPN AR-RFIDMB0CB
- Price $33.95
- Product Dimensions 5.9 x 11.8 x 0.1 in.
- Color Deluxe Black Premium, Deluxe Graphite, Deluxe Sand Beach
- Material Nylon
- Warranty 365-day money-back guarantee