Over the last several years I've been dealing with various stages of disability thanks to ALS. My goal is to share solutions and review various products/tools/devices that I have found particularly helpful.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Hauling my Stuff…

For the next couple of posts, I thought I would talk about something that I'm sure we all have to do, which is periodically getting out of the house to run certain errands, visit the doctor and attend various appointments. One of the difficulties this poses us is bringing our  essentials with us. Things like your wallet, car keys, cell phone and so forth…

The problem I am often confronted with is:
  1. how do I bring my stuff with me without too much difficulty.
  2. once I get to my destination, how do I access it.
In the case of accessing I have very limited dexterity to access whatever is in the bag and my range of motion is also compromised, both of which make it near impossible to access regular pockets. This set me on a quest to try various products and homemade solutions. Some, more successful than others…

My current favorite solution is the Grab-it pack. I was a little unsure of it at first as I've never seen one in person and it does look kind of paramilitary/geeky. But I have to admit, I'm very pleased with… But the wife hates it…read "are you really going to wear that" ...LOL.

Essentially, it's a different take on the fanny pack. I like to think of it as a strap on  drop/cargo pocket, but with big difference being that it is reasonably secure to your leg and doesn't bang around. This is something that always drives me nuts when I'm walking is having things bumping up against me as I take a step. Even without the leg straps secured, it doesn't swing around that much.


As you can see from the image, it has three pockets. The narrow pocket on top of the large main pocket is zippered and due to my mobility restrictions I have not been able to find much use for it yet. It does however fit keys, loose change, hands-free Bluetooth easily. I also had to attach is a zipper pull. The large main pocket is great and is designed to fit the clinch wallet perfectly (which I'll discuss later) and being made of nylon anything placed in the pocket slides easily in and out.

But by far the third smaller pocket is my favorite and what made me actually decide to try the grabbed it pack. Its size fits an iPhone perfectly and when you are wearing it sits on top of your thigh, thus remaining accessible at all times.

This is quite important for reasons of safety, I had an incident before buying the grab it pack where I was walking the dog late one evening, and she pulled me over leaving me somewhat like the poor turtle shown here. I had fallen into a soft patch of grass on a very slight slope, I was unhurt but I had considerable difficulty in getting back up. I actually struggled for a few minutes…

Not having my phone with me scared me quite a bit as if I had not finally been able to get up, I could've been there for some time calling for help.  If I had been wearing the grab it pack, I simply would've had to roll onto my back or side, and because of the placement of the third pocket my phone would've been very accessible for me to call for help.

Because of this incident, I almost never go out by myself not wearing it or without some other option of accessing my phone.

There's a couple options for purchasing the grab it pack. You can order for the left or right side depending on your preference and you can also order the ultra version which is made from ballistic nylon and has a few more clips, but the same number of pockets and storage space.

Myself I bought the standard right side grab it pack bundled with the clinch wallet. I strongly recommend doing this. You will save a few dollars on shipping and as I mentioned above, the clinch wallet is designed for the grab it pack and fits perfectly. More on the wallet later...

Even though my dexterity limitations make it a little bit tricky at times to put on, I really do appreciate this product. It is most definitely helping me stay mobile.

You can also read more about it on Think Geek

  • the pocket on top of the thigh ensures your phone remains accessible at all times.
  • the large main pocket provides lots of storage, remains more ergonomically accessible and well secured to the leg.
  • Large 2 inch slide clip used to attach around the waist is quite flexible and reasonably easy to undo, even with my significant dexterity and strength limitations
  • it looks cool, kind of paramilitary
  • being made of nylon, it doesn't breathe very well and consequently can be a little bit warm on the leg. I don't find this to be too much of a problem.
  • The other two slide clips on it are smaller and I find it much more difficult to undo. Fortunately the one on the leg can be left to done up and you can just step into it.
  • It looks kind and paramilitary, and the wife might not like it ;-)
Cost: Between US$24 for the standard and US$40 for the ultra.

Recommendation: if you can spare the cash, it's well worth trying. I highly recommend including the  clinch wallet in your order as above only cost you about US5$ extra.

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