Grab-It Pack is highly versatile, but nerdy

Don't think of it as just for gadgets. It's a versatile tool storage unit for many types of work.

Don't think of it as just for gadgets. It's a versatile tool storage unit for many types of work.

We geeks do love carrying around our tools and toys. Cases, packs, clothing with special pockets, and belt cases are found where ever gadget lovers congregate. Recently, a new wrinkle on the fanny pack/belt case genre has come on the scene – the Grab-It Pack. I was given one to review.

The Grab-It Pack has a belt of 2″ wide black webbing, secured to the narrow top of an L-shaped panel of nylon. From the lower sides of the “L” there is a 1.5″ wide webbing strap to secure the pack to your thigh. Mounted on this panel are three pockets: a thigh-top pocket perfectly sized for an iPhone, Treo, Pre, G1 or similar; a larger, 8″ x 5″ pocket secured with both Velcro® and a 1″ webbing strap and clip; and finally, above the large pocket, a zippered pocket about 6″ x 3″. There are three models available: one for wear on the left and one for wear on the right, each fitting waists up to 42″. There is also a “long” model of the right-side version that fits waists up to 55″. It comes in any color you want, so long as you want black. The back of the panel is a combed, very smooth finish, while the outer pockets are of a rougher finish.

If you buy one for each leg, there is a discount. It's called the "Double-K." I have no idea why.

If you buy one for each leg, there is a discount. It's called the "Double-K." I have no idea why.

All seams appeared tightly stitched, and all edges of fabric are bound with sewn-on fabric seam-binding tape. The ends of the belts and straps are all hot-knife sealed to prevent raveling. Excellent workmanship is very apparent.

This is all stuff I carry in my pants pockets pretty much every day. Except that one-foot ruler.

This is all stuff I carry in my pants pockets pretty much every day. Except that one-foot ruler.

I was able to put everything into the three pockets that I usually carry in my pants pockets. (This is not an easy task.) I carry two small key rings, lip balm, eye drops, and a Victrinox Tinker Swiss Army knife in my left front pocket, along with a Levenger 6″ x 3.5″ Leather Index card envelope. The right front holds a Levenger magnetic money clip and credit card holder and loose change. A comb and a handkerchief are in the back pockets. The card holder, comb, and handkerchief fit the largest pocket with room to spare. Finances go in the zippered pocked, and the keys and stuff go in the thigh-top pocket. (I always wear a shirt with a pocket for my phone and a pen.)

The adjustment of the Grab-It Pack is both easy and complex. Easy, because each strap section has a large, easy to manage buckle, but complex, because bending over to adjust them changes your position, so that it’s wrong when you’re standing upright. A bit of a Schrödinger’s cat problem. But through trial and error, you can get to a place of general comfort for both standing and sitting.

The pockets on the Grab-It Pack, different from many pockets on cases and bags, are generously gusseted, rather than being mere open sections of fabric. When they are empty, they don’t hang loose, but fold against the backing piece out of the way. None of the stitching from the front pierces the back piece, except for one line of stitches alongside the thigh-top pocket, so there is no catch-point on the back, and no irritation from seams if you’re, say, pedaling a bicycle with this on for a long while.

In use, the Grab-It is, pardon the pun, a mixed bag. The pockets all function well enough, but clipping the largest pocket closed is a difficult, if not a two-handed affair. The pockets are, indeed, always available, which is quite handy. Not having access to your right pants pocket (or left, if you get the left-hand model) is a small price to pay for the added storage. Even though the top pocket is a tad difficult to access when seated (it’s right in the bend between leg and body), it’s still not uncomfortable. This pocket is one that I wouldn’t put small pointed objects like jeweler’s screwdrivers or network shears in, since it gets the most wear when sitting, squatting, and bending over.

Accessing the large pocket is fairly easy to do while sitting. The top zipper-close pocket is hidden behind the flap in this photo, and is a little tougher to access while sitting.

Accessing the large pocket is fairly easy to do while sitting. The top zipper-close pocket is hidden behind the flap in this photo, and is a little tougher to access while sitting.

Overall, I had only two real negatives: First, it’s kinda awkward when worn with shorts, and second, it’s a much higher nerd-level bag than even a fanny pack. Depending on the length of the shorts, the thigh strap hits that place where the leg slips out from under the thigh strap when seated, and then needs to be tucked into the strap when you stand back up. Loosening the strap, hiking the waist belt up, and other adjustments never really made a change in this situation. With jeans or other long pants, it fits great, easily allowing your pant leg to slide back down when standing. I don’t have any cargo-type pants to test it with, so that may have been another – um – hitching point.

The last issue, the advanced nerd factor, is one you’re going to have to get over before you even order it. Don’t get me wrong on this – I wore a fanny pack of some type for several years, stuffed with a phone, a Palm, flashlight, wallet, camera, and other bits of gadgetry. When biking, I usually put all my pocket stuff into a belt bag and stick it in a pannier on the rack. I only stopped wearing it when my iPhone brought most of those items together into a single device. I could probably go back without much trouble actually – it’s nice to have everything in one simple gear holder. But this bag is much more noticeable, and would cause much more social distain in most circles. (My entire family, as a testament to this, commented loudly and continually throughout my testing of this bag. I had to retire it just to save my marriage.)

If you’re working in a special field (network techs, stagecraft workers, etc.), or working a table for a yard sale, auction, or street fair, having the organization afforded by the Grab-It Pack on your thigh could be a great thing. If you sit or twist into awkward positions, yet need access to many small tools or parts (office furniture riggers, desktop techs, telephone installers, cyclers, etc.), this bag will prevent losing things out of your pockets.


Product Information

Price:$24.95 for single leg, $44.95 for left and right set
Manufacturer:Grab-it Pack
  • Outstanding workmanship throughout
  • Good sizes and placement of pockets and straps
  • Good range of sizes
  • Difficult to adjust, at least the first time
  • Hard to work around with shorts
  • High nerd factor
Posted in: Gear
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • October 25, 2009, 11:19 pm

    the social issue is the biggest one that keeps coming up in relation to just about any similar product, be it civilian labs harnesses, this, or in some circles even the messenger bag and other cross strap bags/packs (unless your wearing second hand clothes and use the bag to carry a macbook, as then your a hipster, and know your fashion, apparently).

    lets just say that being practical and prepared is of no interest these days, unless being prepared means driving a large car that can double as a entertainment room…

  • Justin October 26, 2009, 12:38 am

    The grab it pack looks very extreme!

    I personally prefer the Hip Bags at for when I am bike riding, walking or working and need my hands-free.

  • October 26, 2009, 8:11 pm

    thanks justin.
    hmm, some of them looks a bit like the stuff is pushing.

  • Michael Gambill October 26, 2009, 8:38 pm

    Another issue might be its resemblance to a pistol holster. Travel abroad or even just wandering into security conscious places (airports, government buildings) in the U.S. with this contraption strapped to your waist might arouse suspicion. I once saw a hapless American that carried a smoking pipe in a case on his belt almost provoke Bolivian police to draw their weapons. What would this thing do?

  • Smythe Richbourg October 26, 2009, 10:40 pm

    Yeah, I’ve switched to using a travel vest or jacket for most of my travels. You can get an awful lot of stuff in a few pockets, but if it’s the height of summer, it can be tough to wear another layer.

  • October 28, 2009, 5:32 am

    i wonder if the issue is a classical chicken and egg thing, in that as the products are unfamiliar, one is more likely to react negatively to them…

  • Justin May 28, 2010, 11:03 am

    I like that people are still hesitant about Hip Bags… it means that i don’t see my favorite accessory being worn by everyone!!!

    I am sure that pretty soon everyone will be wearing a Happy Cow or something similar, it is just so much more comfortable and practical than carrying a bag or filling your pockets and they look so good!!

  • Hieu November 29, 2010, 9:26 pm

    Happy Cow or something similar, edc

  • kyle June 10, 2015, 12:58 am

    I just purchased the grab it back and i absolutely love it, but when it came to purchasing is, is another story, after ordering it i didnt receive my confirmation email that it was shipped until a few days after my item had apparently arrived, not having received it, i sent a friendly email asking the stores owner if he had any information on it. He proceeded to be very rude and aggressive and would not provide any assistance in finding what had happened in shipping. after about two months it finally trickled in my mailbox. If your looking to find a grab it pack, i suggest a cheep online store

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