Grabit Pack: The Gadget-Friendly Holster

I can consider myself a bag geek. While I don’t have dozens and dozens of bags in my collection (yet!), I’m always on the lookout for cases and bags where I can fit my gadgets into. I usually carry around a digital SLR, an ultraportable (the Asus Eee), and when space permits, a few extra lenses (one prime 50mm and another superzoom 75-300mm), and a speedlite.

I’ve been sent a few samples of the Grabit Pack for review, and I thought to myself this would be an excellent tool for the (wannabe?) photographer in me. You see, lugging along a camera backpack or shoulder bag for extra lenses or flashes sometimes gets cumbersome. My LowePro Micro Trekker 200 is great for long walks, but having to open a backpack to gain access to a lens or flash can be quite cumbersome. Shoulder bags provide easier access, but can be straining on the back.

And yes, you can fit a Canon EF 75-300mm USM III and a 430EX speedlite (perhaps even a 540EX) comfortably on the Grabit Pack’s big compartment.

So I was excited to field test the Grabit Pack. Previously, I’ve been using it to hold my wallet and two mobile phones when I drive the kids to school, as my walking shorts don’t have enough pocket space for my bulky wallet. I recently went out on a food tour for bloggers, where we sampled and critiqued offerings from 24 restaurants around one mall. I thought this would be the perfect time to leave the big bag behind and just use the Grabit Pack to hold one extra accessory of choice, for easy access to a lens or speedlite for attacment.

The Grabit Pack looks like those holsters that SWAT operatives use for their pistols. And this, I think is both its main advantage and disadvantage.

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The Grabit Pack was designed to be worn around the waist and around one thigh. That way, the weight of its contents are focused on your hips, rather than your back or arms. The thigh strap is there to prevent the pack from swinging around when you walk.

This design makes it stable. So you can carry a heavy superzoom lens or speedlite and it won’t get swung around violently when you walk or even when you run.

The disadvantage here, though, is that the pack tends to crease your pants. And especially if you’re fond of wearing loose pants, it might be difficult to get that perfect adjustment (for a good balance of stability and wrinkle-free neatness).

Also, the Grabit Pack does look too much like a pistol holster. I could imagine security personnel eyeing me–they must be thinking I was packing! Lastly, I’ve had some difficulty when going to the restroom. Okay, that should be the same case with any belt bag or fanny pack, anyway!

Gripes aside, I had a wonderful time using the Grabit Pack during the half-day blogger food tour I attended. My Canon Rebel XTi tends to strain the neck and back when carried on the neck strap with speedlite attached. So I simply stuck the flash attachment inside the Grabit Pack whenever we moved to a different establishment. I almost don’t notice the weight of the speedlite! How’s that for giving your back a break?

In all, I’d say the Grabit Pack is a useful accessory for anyone who needs easy access to gadgets or tools, and who needs to take a load off their backs. I believe it’s also useful for hiking, fishing, paintball/airsoft, carpentry and just about any activity where you need easy access to tools or accessories. The Grabit Pack comes in left-worn and right-worn models, and costs $23 via the Grabit Pack online store.

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