Kit Review: The i-Stay Strap
When I am travelling I often have a laptop or iPad bag hanging off one shoulder possibly a camera bag on the other. Add to that my ticket/passport/book/newspaper/other documents in one hand and a coffee in the other. It’s at that point that the laptop bag invariably starts to slide off my shoulder. I then have a choice let it continue to slide and eventually hit the floor with the resulting damage or hoist it up with a gigantic shrug of the shoulder. The latter action resulting in a fountain of coffee all over the clothes I will be spending the next eight hours travelling in.
Sound familiar? Even if it hasn’t happened to you you probably know someone who has suffered in a similar way
To keep everything from sliding I find I am constantly forcing my shoulder up and end up with a pain in the neck and a trip to my chiropractor. Does anyone make a truly non-slip bag strap that can be worn on one shoulder?
Apparently I am not the only one who has suffered this series of mishaps when carrying things on the shoulder. Anneka Chauhan, a business woman, was running for a train with a laptop on one shoulder and a coffee cup in her hand when her laptop slipped from the shoulder and crashed on to the platform. Determined to address the problem she developed the i-Stay shoulder strap.
The i-Stay at first glance looks like any other shouder strap. The clips are well made and sturdy metal rather and does not open up under loading. They also swivel which prevents the strap from twisting. The webbing of the strap is 3cm wide and the length is adustable from both ends. This is an important consideration as the shoulder pad itself is fixed with two rivets at each end and does not slide along the strap.
It is the shoulder pad that is the innovative part. Constructed of soft flexible polymer plastic it feels soft to wear and does not feel like it is cutting into the shoulder or cutting off the blood supply. On top it is a matt surface while underneath it is shiny and glossy and almost non-slip. The pad is not solid but cut out in a pattern that I presume is calculated to provide maximum grip with maximum lateral flexibility. It is this lateral flexibility that sets it apart from the run of the mill shoulder pads on most other straps. The flexibility absorbs the lateral forces that would otherwise cause the strap to slip off the shoulder. It is also wider in the middle than at the ends with this middle part designed to have much reduced lateral flexibility.
The less flexible, wider part of the shoulder pad sits comfortably in the “dip” between the neck and the shoulder joint. Being wider it distributes the weight more evenly. The more flexible parts mould much more easily in to the contours of the shoulder region. I don’t pretend to understand the physics of it all but it seems that this ability to compress or expand holds the strap firmly in place and prevents it slipping up and over the shoulder joint. Whatever the physics of it, it works.
The two strong clips enable the strap to be clipped to any number of bags with O-rings or D-rings of some sort or another.
I used the i-Stay first on my laptop bag, replacing the one that was supplied with it that constantly slipped. I noticed the difference immediately and ended the day without the usual neck pain. I did however experience a little shoulder strain and after a couple of further outings realised I was still raising my shoulder, unecessarily, to prevent it from sliding off. I had to learn to relax my shoulder and allow it to drop to its more natural position. No longer did I walk around slightly lopsided which was better for my skeletal posture. I can see now why the i-Stay shoulder strap is approved by the Royal College of Chiropractors.
I was also able to run to catch a train or plane without the fear of dropping the laptop or iPad bag and could concentrate on not spilling the coffee or running down other passengers in my haste.
I decided to purchase a second one to attach to my camera as I often have both with me. I had to buy two rings for the camera for a few pence to enable the strap to clip to my Nikon. The camera, a heavy DSLR, was constantly slipping off my shoulder. It was a real issue when out hiking; either I put up with it or buried the camera in the rucksac and missed photo opportunities. The camera stays firmy in place in all but the most energetic of activities and is available for that quick grab shot when needed.
Regardless of what is attached to the strap it stays put on most materials. However, I did find that there was some slipping with a my bulky ski jacket. I think this was less to do with the type of material as with the bulkiness of the jacket that did not allow the pad to sit snuggly on my shoulder.
The strap comes in several colours; purple, red, black, white, and slate grey. There are also a number of bags and cases made by the same company that come with an i-Stay shoulder strap as standard. I will be reviewing one of these in a post in the near future.
At £14.99 the iStay non-slip bag strap is excellent value for money. Just one less visit to the chiropractor and I have saved the cost of it. My musculoskeletal health has improved as a result of regularly using the i-Stay. I will be using it on any bag or case I carry on my shoulder from now on.
Declaration: I purchased both the i-Stay non-slip straps for this review and the company had no input into anything I wrote in this post. I will always retain my editorial independence whether the item under review is purchased by me or is a review sample provided by the company.