Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Crumpler Thirsty Al (xs) pouch

Making my way back to one of the pouches I lug around everywhere, every day, I wanted to show you the Crumpler Thirsty Al (xs) accessory pouch. I was fortunate enough to have won this in a competition Crumpler put on to "send in photos of yourself with your bags" and one day it arrived in my mailbox to my delight. I affix it to my main Messenger Bag and if you look at the photos there, you may see it peeking around the sides. I have it looped to the main belt-strap of that bag where it is both out of the way, accessible and  blends in quite nicely. That's a big plus for me and something that Crumpler does quite well.  It's snug enough to slip the to corner of the strap and wedge against the main bag without disappearing entirely, and whilst the colours are slightly different, the schema fits in very nicely. Perfect for my kind of EDC. I do enjoy the "WTH did that come from?" effect, when I pull something from seemingly thin air.
It follows the same general lines as another pouch of theirs I have, the John Thursday 100 so there was no conceptual difficulty in integrating it into my collection. The construction is the same1000d Cordura outer,  ripstop 300 Codura inner as other Crumpler products, and it shares the John Thursday neoprene "body". Again the happy Kokopelli looking icon graces its front flap.
 The attachment system is the same double-hook-and-loop sandwich as well, which makes a surprisingly good connection, and I can't recall any time that it has failed me. It fits around the 50mm webbing used as the main strap of my messenger bag and also through MOLLE loops. As well as the sandwich-flap method, there is also a lanyard loop at the top, which I haven't yet felt the need to use for anything. 
 Again, in keeping with the John Thursday / Thirsty Al comparison, behind the hook-and-loop loopy spot of the inside of the front flap there is a "secret" hidey-hole, which in this case, I have filled with a USB thumb-drive, (which you can see just poking out) but could also fit some small change, folded bills, spare keys or camera-cards, amongst the options.As with the John Thursday, the front flap does not quite cover the top of the neoprene sides, leaving the top a little exposed. Something to be aware of, but not a big deal in this case.

I found that the pouch was a little too small to accommodate my iPhone, or current camera, but would be perfect for a lot of the more moderns, slimline cameras or non-iPhone members of the iPod family. It could also fit some more useful preparedness kit, like a small stash of mask, gloves & dressings, compass and firestarters or any number of stow and wait items. I chose to fill mine with a 8m long hank of paracord I happened to have laying around. This fits in neatly (after tying it fast-rope style, with thanks to Craig Guest) and gives me a high density source of good cord pretty much at the flick of a wrist. I'm a firm believer in having rope on hand in the event of a disaster or emergency, and this was a great means to keep some close by, squared-away and discreetly.
Sadly this pouch seems to be discontinued, but I'm very pleased to say that this one looks like it will be in my collection, and in my EDC, for years to come. Rugged, useful, unobtrusive.

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