For adventurers who don’t want to trek miles into the woods but enjoy smaller, minimalist-style day trips into the wilderness, carrying a gun can sometimes prove challenging as day hikers often must turn to alternatives in order to successful pack a gun. Ukoala, a holster maker with an unconventional approach to concealed carry, has just the option for minimalistic hikers and even urbanites searching for a more discreet mode of off-body carry.
What is Ukoala?
Ukoala, pronounced you-koala, brings an innovative approach to the concealed carry conundrum, offering an off-body carry mode… of sorts. A compact bag meets thigh rig, the Ukoala hooks around the hips of the carriers as well as the thigh, securing to the wearer. The bag features a compartment specifically meant for firearms with Velcro lining allowing a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex shell to rest inside. The firearm slips into the holster, riding securely.
The bag also benefits from converting from a thigh style into normal bag. Slipping around the body, cross-body style, this option opens the door for gun owners not keen on the thigh rig setup. In addition to a firearm pocket, the Ukoala offers multiple pockets for storing other accessories and necessities like a wallet, keys, spare mags and a tourniquet.
The bag itself comes in different styles and colors, giving concealed carriers plenty of options when it comes to the “look” of the Ukoala. The bags also come in standard sizing or compact, depending on how much room you need to stow carry guns and gear. The standard measures 10-inches by 12-inches while the compact comes in at 9-inches by 11-inches. For this review I checked out the Yukon style.
Carrying with Ukoala
I’ll admit, I didn’t quite know what to make of the Ukoala when I first encountered the brand. Suffering from what sounded like an identity crisis, the Ukoala blends off-body with on-body using a bag-like design that attaches to wearers. Realistically, how well would this wannabe thigh rig work in real life?
Surprisingly, well, as I found out. As usual, I paired the Ukoala with my Glock 19 – a hefty midsize gun that isn’t always the easiest to conceal due to its larger size. Equipped with a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex Shell, the holster attached to hook-and-loop on an interior pocket of the Ukoala. The hook-and-loop offered a sturdy enough platform that the gun did not flop around and paired with the Kydex shell, I felt the semi-automatic handgun was both well retained and protected inside the bag.
Perfect for short jaunts into the woods or even adventures in urban areas, the Ukoala’s unique blend of off-body carry meets thigh rig is its greatest advantage. Attaching the bag to the gun owners ensures the bag does not leave the owner’s sight and wards off potential accidents due to carelessness or forgetfulness. It does some getting used to as I, personally, am not accustomed to carrying bags or really anything around my thigh; but the design is comfortable and doesn’t rub or irritiate the thighs.
The Ukoala’s design also lends itself to function offering multiple pockets, on top of the firearm pocket, to stow other accessories. It also has spots to place IDs and cash, turning it into a full-blown purse for those that need it – all the while keeping the gun securely and safely stowed.
With any off-body solution the trade-off is access and the Ukoala is no different in this department. To get to the gun, the exterior flap must be raised, and zippers undone before the grip is exposed. Of course, if you feel a need you can stage the bag with zippers already opened so that the exterior flap is the only barrier. With this setup, as with any, it’s important to practice and train so you know how to efficiently use it.
The Ukoala benefits from its versatile design and non-gender specific looks. Capable of packing nearly any sized handgun, the Ukoala brings a unique means of concealed carry to day hikers that can’t always pack a gun IWB. With its ability to effortlessly flow into any other concealed carry activity, the Ukoala is a must have for gun owners in frequent need of non-belted carry options. Well worth its price tag, the Ukoala starts at $128.