With all the medical gear we PWDs have to carry around, it can be difficult to find the perfect bag to comfortably tote around all this stuff. (See Wil's rant on the man-purse for PWDs, for example.) At the AADE expo last week, we saw a few new options worth mentioning. All of these companies are also started by entrepreneurs — and we do love supporting small D-businesses here at the 'Mine!
First up is Sugar Medical Supply. Inspired by bags that her mother used to make for her and her sister, Carolyn Jäger launched Sugar Medical Supply with a glucose meter case that comes in seven different patterns.
As Carolyn says, "Sugar Medical Supply was created to bring style into the lives of people living with diabetes. Our supplies allow them to show a little personality, bring in some color, and make it fun!" The bags are a bit bigger than the traditional black bag provided with a glucose meter, giving space to slot in your meter, strip container, lancet, and an insulin pen. It also comes with an inside pocket and a front pocket for little extras. The "Universal Strap System" is flexible, which means that folks with different meters can use the bags with ease. It fits both my OneTouch Ultra and Amy's OmniPod PDA!
Thanks to Carolyn, Amy and I both received our own bags to try out and review.
I like mine. It's pretty and not too big and not too small. The only thing I found a little odd is that it unzips from right to left, instead of left to right as my Lifescan meter bag. Certainly not a deal-breaker, but it was the opposite of what I was used to.
Here's What Amy Had to Say -
"I have to admit that I love, love, love my new case from Sugar Medical Supply! It is the first stylish case I've found that actually fits the OmniPod (due to that clever Velcro-enabled "universal strap"). It's a little smaller than the equally pretty bag I received a while back from StickMeDesigns, and is simpler on the inside, i.e. fewer extra flopping zipper compartments. And to me, less is more! Yet there's still enough room, and just the right straps, to hold a backup insulin vial along with my meter supplies. This is something I should have been carrying around for a long time now — would have circumvented many a mad dash to my car or house for emergency backups!
"In addition, the material is less canvas-y with more of a slick polyester-ish surface, which is much better than it sounds: it's so darn easy to wipe off!
"I picked their blue, black and silver paisley design that matches perfectly with my metallic purse. It just makes me smile now whenever I see my new case. It's so attractive, and so clean and organized on the inside, that I almost feel like I'm sporting a whole brand new meter system.
"The only slightly weird thing, as Allison notes, is the direction of opening. In order to be able to keep the OmniPod strapped in while testing, with my test strip vial still in place, I have to sort of use the case upside-down. So now it opens like a book, unzipping bottom-to-top. This will take some getting used to! I'm also so used to zoning in on that little black square (my old Omnipod case from the manufacturer) that I often think I've forgotten my PDM - yikes! But no, no, there it is in its pretty new house ;)
Another exhibitor was Pak Bara, a company founded by sisters Karen Mucciaccio and Andrea Graham. The name "Pak Bara" is in honor of a small tropical island off the coast of Thailand, where their motto is "no limits, no worries!" Oh, if only diabetes was that easy... But in that spirit, Pak Bara is designed as an alternative to a fanny pack or purse, compact enough to be worn on an arm or waistband, but large and flexible enough to hold the essentials for diabetes, or for anything else you need to schlep around.
Pak Bara wasn't designed specifically for diabetes, but the founders soon realized the bags could be adapted to hold insulin pumps, glucose meters, glucose tabs, and another medical supplies. Purchasing a Pak Bara bag comes with a free strap attachment (arm band, leg band or clip), so the bags look especially useful for exercise, traveling or for anytime you don't want to worry about carrying a huge purse. And listen up, Men: This is an ideal option for anyone hunting for an alternative to the man purse!
Pak Bara is also reasonably priced at $32.95 (plus shipping + handling).
Ever search for an evening bag and come up short, unable to find anything big enough for you to cram your D-supplies into? BellaSoul, founded by the aunt of a type 1, has a line of both classy patent leather evening bags and embroidered shoulder bags that have built-in pockets for your diabetes supplies. Their mission? "Support diabetes management without compromising style and femininity."
The small shoulder bags come with built-in supply pockets, while the larger handbags have space for one of BellaSoul's diabetes organizers, which are sold separately and double as wristlets. However, both the small bags and the diabetes organizers seem to have only generic elastic bands to hold supplies in place, and I had some trouble figuring out how to arrange the various sizes of products without needing to put something large, like a meter, inside one of the inner pockets. That's a drawback, IMHO.
I enjoyed looking over their new line of evening bags, which are not yet available on their website. But I noticed that these bags also didn't seem to have an easily accessible place for the meter and lancet, other than the large inside pocket. There were two elastic bands in the center, but that's not enough to hold a glucose meter, test strip bottle and lancet right up front where you need them. Maybe they need to "beta test" these bags on some real type 1s...
We also find the price to be a bit steep: $80+ for the handbags and shoulder bags, and another $78 just for the organizer/wristlet. But the bags are handcrafted and very pretty, so if you used it every day, instead of just on special occasions, it certainly could be worth the investment.
Now it's your turn, Readers: what do you all use to carry around your D-stuff? Do any of these options look appealing to you?