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Bolstr Small Carry Review: Gadgeteer

Posted by Koyono Staff on


The Gadgeteer recently reviewed a Bolstr Small Carry bag and did a very thorough job getting into the details and design of the bag. I appreciate the input and will definitely keep suggestions in mind for future iterations.

I also want to take the opportunity to clarify a few points. In general, Bolstr Small Carry was not designed for everyone. It fills an important bag niche for small everyday carry (EDC) items only and is a bag that won’t make men feel like they are carrying a man purse or entering the battlefield. Bolstr intentionally was designed to have limited space; there is only so much room for pocketing.


  1. As mentioned, the overarching goal was to keep Bolstr Small Carry minimal. I wanted a grab-and-go for my smart phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, but not much more, and grew frustrated toting an oversized laptop bag everywhere. Additionally, I wanted the flexibility of having something smaller that could fit inside of other bags or under a jacket.

  2. The Bolstr Small Carry is most definitely large enough to store an iPad mini with a case. In fact, it will almost fit an iPad Air without a case. Above are pictures for reference.

  3. The extra strap can be used around the leg or waist. If adds a little more stability when on the move and up to the user in terms of what is most comfortable for him/her.

  4. The bag is not padded as it is designed to carry smaller, lightweight EDC items versus say a laptop bag. Adding anything extra would have made it larger than necessary and the intention was to keep Bolstr Small Carry minimal. We have not received any complaints from customers about not having padding in the bag.

  5. The side pocket that is referenced we call the front pocket. It is not designed for a smart phone, but dedicated specifically for sunglasses. I often misplace my sunglasses and most larger bags do not offer a safe pocket providing easy access for such items. The dedicated front pocket minimizes the possibility of misplacing your sunglasses and protects them when not in use. Importantly, this pocket needs to expand as sunglasses vary in size when the frame is folded. If the pocket bag on the inside, which is “that bit of fabric that juts into this compartment,” were hidden between the lining and shell, it could not expand to fit very many sunglasses. Bolstr Small Carry has a small format with little room with which to work and the pocketing had to be very carefully considered.

  6. The design of the backside pocket was decisive and made to carry smart phones (fits all phablets). Having it on the backside allows the user to feel their phone vibrate, which is especially useful when in loud environs. The diagonal orientation of the zipper accomplishes two things: 1) It allows for fast and easy access (a vertical zipper permits items to drown towards the back and a top entry zipper is more cumbersome to open and close). 2) Importantly, the backside pocket was designed not to be overstuffed. The more things that can fit into this pocket, the larger the bag will become and the less likely you will be able to feel your phone vibrate. 

  7. Bolstr is made from the highest quality 1680D Nylon which is very robust. I could have made the bag overseas and from lower denier nylon materials, but am not crazy about the idea. I did try to source 1680D overseas and did not feel I could get the same quality at the time.

Once again, thank you for the review, Gadgeteer! I know Bolstr is not for everyone and all situations. If there are specific pocketing design recommendations you might have that do not increase the overall size of the bag, please feel free to send them along. I am looking forward to making Bolstr Small Carry better, but not bigger.

Please be sure to read numerous comments on Koyono.com and Kickstarter from customers and backers to make sure it is the right bag for you.

Thx!

Jay Yoo

Bolstr Creator

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