I accidentally stumbled upon the UkoalaBag a few years ago, and it’s probably one of the best “accidents” ever. I have a fondness for Steampunk gear, and I happened to notice a post on Facebook about a very cool, hand-sewn bag with a variety of pockets and pouches. The eye-catching, multi-tasking design (which resembles a koala bear holding on to a tree) enables the user to carry the bag in several unique ways — from a backpack or a cross-body purse to a fun and hands-free around-the-waist or around-the-thigh setup. I thought the bag had such a unique look, so I clicked on the image to learn more. Then I discovered how exquisitely developed and meticulously crafted these bags are, with cozy, durable compartments throughout, made specifically for just about everything … even a firearm.
I immediately reached out to the company (which officially registered in 2013) and was put in touch with the designer and creator herself, Mayan. We chatted about some ideas and thoughts, and I expressed how great an idea her design is for concealed carriers. At the time I first spotted Ukoala, they indeed had bags with compartments that could work for firearms. But the original intent of the Ukoala was not as a holster. Mayan shared with me that her inspiration for the overall design came from her love for travel — and from her talent for “losing stuff all the time.” And the idea for Ukoala actually sparked when, worried about her purse being unguarded during an overnight flight, she used shoelaces to secure her bag to her thigh.
“That thought stayed with me until I saw a koala bear in Australia,” Mayan recalls. “How did this heavy animal stay so secure, way up in the trees? A hugging koala … THAT’S IT! I flattened the koala’s anatomical shape to make the bag’s base, and I used a simple mathematical calculation to tweak the angle of the curve to create absolute balance and apply it to our weight distribution system.”
Mayan is not only very thoughtful, curious, passionate and innovative, she’s also very quick to absorb feedback and to make improvements and updates to her handcrafted offerings. And people quickly recognized the Ukoala’s versatile, durable design as an ideal option for carrying a firearm, hands-free and virtually on-body.
“I always collect customer’s comments at different shows,” Mayan explains. “Since many requests were for concealed carry, in 2014, I started to design the concealed carry bag. I went to the gun store to study the guns. I watched a lot of videos online to see how people hold the weapon and what’s the first reaction when a person faces danger. I also researched concealed carry on the market. But I was not impressed by the already existing concealed carry purses with their style and functionality.”
It’s amazing how much UkoalaBag cares about its customers and how far the company has come since with so many efficient new styles and solutions. Nowadays, many of Mayan’s amazing creations are created specifically with handguns in mind.
“The holster insert and quick-draw design actually went through five generations,” Mayan states. “With CEO PJ Powell’s contribution and a lot of customer’s generosity, the design gradually matured.”
So, thanks to the great feedback — and to the listening ears at Ukoala — you can select your favorite bag from a variety of different colors, sizes, materials and designs and also choose different accessories or inserts to customize the bag to you … and to your gun.
I love to wear my Phoenix bag. It’s the best ON-BODY, off-body holster I have! (Best of both worlds: hands-free, yet still so accessible and on my body at all times.) I find that it’s a durable, sturdy and secure holster option at an easily accessible height and angle for quickly retrieving my Glock 43 … and for toting a lot of my other “everyday” gear, like my phone, knife, wallet, flashlight, sunglasses and keys. I am currently using Nate Squared Tactical’s Bag Holster, but you can purchase one of Ukoala’s adjustable nylon holsters or velcro-backed Kydex inserts that secures right into the designated pocket.
I’m sure you can see how the UkoalaBag is attractive to men and women of all ages, from those who love biking, hiking, fishing, traveling and being in the outdoors to those who just like being organized with the items they take with them when they’re out and about. From baby gear to survival gear, whatever your need or your reason, there’s a whole lot of love — and a whole lot of ingenuity — in the comfortable, customizable concealed carry Ukoalabag.