Hey gang, Valkor here. This next review is gonna be a rather unique one given the type of item I was given to evaluate. When Jeffrey Wilson over @ 2D-X (site no longer available) pointed out to me the company Koffski and their unique manbags, I was floored at such a design and was quite curious about who would wear such an item. And given the state this country in about guns, gun laws and gun control, it would have been rather risky wearing it outdoors and being mistook for having something other than what it actually was. But I took a chance, got a dialogue going with a Koffski rep. And the end result? In house is the Koffski Set No. 2 Bagwear for men with Shoulder Holster. It’s a unique and elegant design, but is it for everyone?
Before I begin let me tell a brief story concerning a “related” style of product. Last year, CES 2013 in Las Vegas, I wore ThinkGeek’s Grab-It Pack Holster around town, which is a very useful accessory to wear, especially at such an event. As I passed through Harrah’s on my way to an appointment, I was stopped by security. Turns out the holster was considered “suspicious”. And after they searched it and saw nothing wrong with it, they let me go on my way. The experience was a little disturbing, but even the guard who stopped me knew it wasn’t what it was “assumed” to be. However the big question is: would I have gotten that same reception if I wore a Koffski? I’ll save that discussion for later in the review.
If you were to purchase either the Koffski set no. 1 or 2, you’d see they’re both quite similar in design; the only difference between the two is the quality of leather used to make each one. With the Koffski number two, I’ll let the details from their website do the talking:
The Koffski No. 2 is produced by a bag-maker in Solingen. The calfskin used comes from a tannery in the small town of Santa Croce sull’Arno in the heart of Tuscany, between Florence and Pisa. Some of the metal parts are produced in Italy, and some in Germany. A special surface treatment gives them the matt appearance of oxidised silver. Open cut edges and inner leather surfaces with a rough finish characterise the Koffski No. 2. The leather is soft and quickly develops its own patina. The logo is burnt in. The Koffski No. 2 is available in grey-brown.
Koffski No. 2, by itself comes in three pieces – you get the bag, a V-strap and a wallet. The bag comes in a slim gun-like design with a loop at the back for the V-strap. Starting from the front you have a small pouch that can hold either a small mobile phone or business cards if you wish. Behind it is a buttoned main flap that opens to a more open compartment, a small pouch behind that and then two smaller pouches to finish it out. The wallet flows in a similar fashion starting with a small change pouch, moving back into a main area for holding your cash, followed by two smaller pouches which can fit any number of small, thin items. The V-strap (included), allows the bag to worn on a belt or belt loop. The shoulder holster (sold separately) is what will put the Koffski (and you) on people’s radar; placing your arms through the loops, it straps the Koffski under your arm, giving the appearance that you’re carrying a gun holster similar to what a police officer, undercover cop or a detective might wear. You can place the bag under either the left or right side, depending on which hand you favor the most.
Now I get the idea behind the bag; it’s a great way to limit the bulk in your pockets as a manbag should while being non-intrusive. You’re not stuck either holding it or strapping it over your shoulder such as one would do with a purse. Sometimes it can be very frustrating fiddling around each and every pocket on your person (and it gets worse if you add a jacket or a coat to the mix), with a Koffski, you’re only taking the essentials – money, credit cards, breath mints, condoms, keys, lip balm, maybe a pen, business cards and your mobile.
So then the next question is: where are you going to wear such a bag. This isn’t something you’d wear casually say to go grocery shopping, to do laundry, to your job or even to take on a run. Given the elegant design, this is something more for a night out type of bag, to take with you either to go clubbing or dinner with friends. Not a daily bag but a “once in a while” style of bag. But what if you wanted to wear it on a regular trip? Then I’d definitely suggest using the V-Strap. Yes it’s more obvious, but given the design of the bag and the color (other than black), one won’t straight away assume your packing heat as opposed to just carrying a small manbag at your hip.
I had the opportunity to take the Koffski to work, however given the environment I was in, I was unable to wear it like I wanted to without causing a stir. The impression I received from my coworkers was synonymous – they get the idea of it, but completely against wearing it, given the negativity the style of the bag might attract (it looks like you’re carrying a gun). It’s very true and it’s a very scary thought that you could walk outside of your home, thinking you’re wearing an elegant night bag only to wind up taking a bullet for what someone might assume you’re holding. In that sense, I would agree and the company could have gone with something more like a traditional square or rectangular shape. A lot of people might get it and love the look, but it only takes one to completely mess up your night. So going back to my Vegas adventure, I don’t believe the reception I received at that time would have been the same and I do believe it might have been more aggressive. Does that mean that the Koffski is a bad idea? Absolutely not!
The Bang (No pun intended):
Design wise the Koffski with Shoulder Holster is a great idea and I have to say I’m very impressed with it! It looks so cool! I love the rugged appearance and feel of the leather plus it has just enough storage space to hold my essentials. Structure-wise, it’s definitely unique and offers a more masculine approach to men’s bagwear as opposed to the more “European” over the shoulder strap approach (there is a shoulder strap sold separately). With the holster, it’s easy to slip on and off and very discreet if you’re wearing it under a jacket; all of your valuables are nicely tucked away, but not out of reach. The straps are adjustable and come with instructions on how to cut the leather as well to make it even more customizable. Function wise, you can easily reach over and get what you might need from inside the bag with no issue, save for what you put in it that might cause you to fumble around a bit. But if you want even easier access, then you might want to switch to the V-strap, though it’s more obvious. Once filled with all the small items I normally carry on a night out, plus filling the wallet, the bag didn’t feel uncomfortable, though you can definitely feel the added weight. I totally dig the wallet, though it doesn’t give you a lot of pockets to store what you normally would in a traditional wallet (multiple card carriers, you might wanna shell out for something different), but it’s simple and effective. In the end Koffski, I am impressed; I’m not looking at the bag for the shock value that it obviously is, but the functionality that it has to offers. And as an elegant manbag, I think it’s quite suitable for any guy looking for something that’s more formal for a night out.
The design of the Koffski bags isn’t new and with that in mind, they won’t hold the latest cellular smartphones - especially the phablets such the Galaxy Mega. There is a slim model with a traditional square shape, but it looks rather smallish, so I’m not sure it will hold any of the current model phones either. Also the price is pretty hefty – I saw one for sale on eBay for 650 USD!
While the Koffski bags are sold mainly in Europe, Asia and Canada, you’d be hard pressed to find them in the states so look to import if you’re interested; we’re going through a lot of gun controversy here in the states and something like this may not fly well with the populace. However I still believe that given the type of outing you’re gonna partake and if you’ve got the cash, you couldn’t find a more suitable and very unique bag than a Koffski. If you are looking to get one, then my advice to you – wear it responsibly. And out of TOV 5 stars, Koffski No. 2 with Shoulder Holster gets a 4. And it’s been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.