Guys have a real dilemma when looking for compact carriers for money, change and small odds and ends. Beyond the traditional wallet or money clip, there aren't too many options beyond throwing the stuff in a messenger bag or a backpack. Sure, we've seen the introduction of "man bags," but a lot of guys are way too self-conscious to wear them -- especially after they were mocked in a "Seinfeld" TV episode a few years ago.
The Kanga Tek personal holder, a simple shoulder sling with zippered pockets, gives people another choice. Of course, it can be worn by men and women, but for this review we thought it would be especially interesting to get feedback from male testers. After all, women have no reservations about wearing shoulder-slung carriers, while most dudes rarely stray beyond the traditional wallet.
Our male testers did agree on one thing: the Kanga Tek holder is preferable to a fanny pack, which doesn't look nearly as cool and screams tacky tourist. The Kanga Tek holder is at least inspired by the bandoleer, and cool guys wear bandoleers -- like soldiers and outlaws. Yeah, that's cool.
Our testers did have some reservation about wearing the sling out in public, because the orange colored sling we used definitely drew plenty of looks. (The official color is "copper," but it's really orange.) Not only did the color make it stand out, but the sling also measures 4 inches to 4.5 inches wide and is constructed of neoprene, so it's not very sleek and always stood out against shirts worn by our testers. Plus, the holder turns heads because it simply looks unusual. One tester wore it to the gym, and a young woman at the check-in counter said it looked like a shoulder bag missing the actual bag portion. “It makes me wonder where the rest of it is,” she said. When asked for an honest opinion on the holder's looks, another woman behind the counter said, “I'm not loving it, but I'm not hating it.” A third said she thought it looked pretty cool.
For a guy, one positive message can wipe out a slew of rejections (that's how we keep our egos intact in the dating world), so out testers considered this a very positive development.
Granted, these women were of college age, a demographic that is more likely to accept cutting-edge fashion. However, when one tester wore his personal holder in a truck stop, a burly 40-something man in a greasy John Deere cap stared at him with a look that said, “You ain't from around here are you?”…and stared…and stared. It was kind of scary actually.
Aside from this uncomfortable moment, the Kanga Tek personal carrier is pretty comfortable when used for a range of activities. The neoprene allows it to move with the body, and we thought it rode well while hiking, biking and just walking the dog. The portion of the holder that lies near the neck is made of 2-inch-wide nylon webbing, which can be adjusted to fit a wide range of body sizes. This webbing is a bit rough, which provides some friction to keep the holder from sliding around. However, the webbing has rough edges and occasionally rubbed the necks of testers. Kanga Tek might want to use material that's not as wide or has softer edges.
The sling has two small compartments that sit high, and two large ones that sit lower. We found that we mostly used the small ones and placed money and credit cards in the up-most compartment, and a cell phone in the one below it. It's pretty convenient to have items high on the chest because you can get to them quickly and easily. When we carried things in the larger, lower compartments, we could simply rotate the holder to place them at the chest area for easy access. We did observe that when we stuffed a windbreaker into a lower compartment it ballooned into a sort of sausage shape and didn't hug the body as well. But the large compartments were great places to store poo bags while walking dogs (uhh…just remember, you place them in the holder before picking up the poo, not afterward -- gross).
The one drawback to the compartments is that they are smooth, empty spaces with no organizational pouches. If there were a few dividers and internal, zippered pouches, a person could separate items such as credit cards, dollar bills and coins. Plus, internal pouches would help to prevent things from tumbling out accidentally. A clip for keys would be helpful too.
With a few tweaks, the Kanga Tek holder would be much improved. Of course, the key for Kanga Tek's success is making people feel like it's a cool thing to wear. It shouldn't be a big problem to attract younger folks or people who live in hip areas. But American males who live in more traditional areas might need some coaxing.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $39.99
For more information:www.kangatek.com