Pak Bara Review
I love my insulin pump. I really do, and though I make it a point to discuss potential benefits of multiple daily injections w/ other diabetics, to me, the pump always wins out.
That said, the pump does mean you've got something the approximate size of a cell phone attached to you at all times, which means that thing has to go somewhere. But where? That's where Pak Bara comes in.
Pak Bara make a small zip up case, but unlike so many camera cases and cell phone cases that have been adapted for insulin pumps, this one was engineered specifically for insulin pumps (though it would work just as well w/ a cell phone, small camera, etc.). I recently had the opportunity to try one out and this is what I thought:
1) Out of the box, the wrapping was very nice. The case was wrapped in tissue paper and secured by a sticker w/ the Pak Bara logo. Immediately, you don't feel as if the case was made in China at a factory making 1000 similar products.
2) The thing that really grabbed me, however, was the material of the case itself, which is made of Nubuck leather. It feels nice. Really nice and expensive. This is really important when you think about it, because an insulin pump isn't like a camera case; it's an extension of you that is intended to be on you at all times. Why package it in cheap nylon? The material was comfortable enough to keep clipped to you for bed, which I did for a few nights.
3) The key to the Pak Bara are the small slits on the corners, so that you can easily thread the pump tubing through the case, without fear of pinching it in the zipper.
Those are the features of the Pak Bara and I would say that if you are in search of a case, you probably can't do better. That said, my personal uses of the Pak Bara will likely be somewhat limited.
Having an insulin pump for me means that I have a fairly simple wardrobe of jeans and shorts, all of which have pockets, which, to me, is a simpler option for carrying the pump. That said, I'm a 40 year old man. I've seen the "skinny jeans" kids (and some adults) wear now. For them, the Pak Bara would be infinitely better. My wife's wardrobe, too, has many slacks and shorts devoid of pockets, so I can likely assume that I have a much higher percentage of "loose pants w/ pockets" than the average person and even perhaps, the average insulin pump wearer.
How about when I run? Again, I have an option that I prefer better. I have written previously that I am a huge fan of RaceReady shorts. They hold a lot of stuff and do so without zippers, meaning I can get to my pump quicker, which is critical in a race when you want to save every second.
That said, RaceReady shorts are as ugly as they are functional. They don't look good. I know that. Whenever I see them on another runner, I cringe, knowing my butt looks just as silly. But again, I'm a 40 year old guy. Vanity at this point is pointless. A Pak Bara case on a normal pair of shorts would look infinitely better, but wouldn't be as easily accessible for me.
However, I'm now adding some bike riding into my training routine, which means wearing ultra-tight, non-pocketed bike shorts. For THAT, the Pak Bara has been awesome. The belt clip provided by Medtronic is fine for jeans, but slips off my bicycling shorts pretty easily. The belt clip on the Pak Bara, in contrast, is much tighter and held my pump firmly in place during my rides. Previously, I had been removing my pump for cycling rides, but that's not practical for some of the longer rides I have coming in the next few weeks.
In conclusion, the Pak Bara has become a mainstay for me, but only when cycling. For those more fashion inclined, however, I think it provides a superior option to other products in the marketplace and would work great for virtually anything.