All About Kilts

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The New Sporran

I wrote yesterday about how to take care of a normal sporran. Basically, a noraml sporran is not made to carry all the junk that a guy who can pack the truck of his car until the lid just barely closes. You should take a minimualist approach to packing your sporran.

What if you want or need more room? Often the option of getting a fanny pack, but never thought it would look. Sports Kilt offers a "Sport Sporran" which is nothing but a fanny pack with their logo on it.

However, in the last few weeks, I found something that was utterly amazing from the folks at Stillwater Kilts, its their Nylon "Night Stalker Sporran". The sporran has the look of a sporran but the convenience of the world's greatest fanny pack. Here's how Stillwater describes it:

This sporran looks good with any contemporary kilt outfit, and its rugged construction will withstand constant use. It is crafted from heavy-duty black ballistic-weave nylon with genuine leather trim.
We naturally kept the classic flap front and three fringed leather tassels (would it be a proper sporran without it?), but now the leather-trimmed flap has an outer zippered compartment for your cash and ID, and it covers a handy front storage pocket that is perfect for your wallet, sunglasses, PDA or passport. Behind that, you will discover a roomy main zippered compartment, with stiff foam padding in the back (so the sporran keeps its shape) and soft foam padding in the front (to protect the contents). The double-pull zipper extends across the top and far down each side, allowing quick and easy access to its contents. No more fishing blindly thru a small top opening! The padded main compartment can hold nearly anything, like a digital camera, or a thick paperback book or portable CD player, or perhaps a good-sized flask, and it's the perfect place to stow your trusty 9-Millimeter!

I bought a Night Stalker and it is just amazing. It's a great way to organize your stuff. The way I've organized mine is that each of the three pocket areas has a purpose.

The flap above the tassels holds small change and my keys. In the front pocket I put commonly used items like ID and my work badge, along with my gas card. In the back compartment, I put all my rarely used credit cards and rarely used discount cards, along with my cell phone if I'm carrying it. I'm holding this sporran and I realize it could carry a lot more. I don't get any kickbacks from Stillwater Kilts for saying this, but I strongly endorse this product. Its a wonderful sporran.

The only real drawback is I think it would have benefited from including a fabric belt with plastic fasteners. The time I tried to wear it with a metal sporran strap was a bit of an ordeal.

Other than that, its a great product. 4 and a half stars on a 5 star scale. By the way, since I'm giving them free advertising anyway, they are also offering a normal leather sporran for $14.95. The sporran is not the greatest looking in the world, but its a nice starter sporran.

The Proper Care of Sporrans

Sporrans are very important if you wear traditional kilts (which for me is all the time except when I'm wearing my Amerikilt) as they don't have pockets. But how do you take care of one?

My second sporrant just fell apart. It lasted quite a bit longer than the last one, but had long since become somewhat of an eyesore in my wardrobe. The beautiful metal celtic knot on the top had fallen off. It was dusty and damged from 2 years of being worn. The final straw was when the leather hook on the back that holds the hooks for the sporran chain came off, the sporran became utterly unwearable.

There are some lessons I've taken from this sporran and my own lessons on how not to care for one. Here are the following tips that will help your sporrans fair better than mine have:

1) Pack the sporran lightly.

One of my great challenges is that I overfilled the sporran. In a sporran at one time, I had a wallet, a checkbook, my car keys, a cell phone, and a camera. Yikes!

A lot of your less expensive sporrans that have tassels on the outside are attached from the inside, so when you overfill the sporran, it causes problems with your tassels. In addition, sporrans were not made to contain 5 pounds of junk. They have a bad habit of malfunctioning when overfull.

Keep your sporran contents simple. The question you should ask yourself when packing it is, "What do I need?" Hint: Most of the things in your wallet aren't on the list.

With my new sporran, I'm travelling light. So what goes in there? Depends on the day of the week. Going to church on Sunday, all I really need is my car keys, debit card (to buy gas after church), one credit card for emergencies, my driver's license, my keys, and my gas discount card. If I'm going somewhere where I might to make a call, I'll pack my cell phone.

If I'm going to work, I need my badge, my driver's license, and my keys. Simplify your life in the sporran and it will last you longer. You can also carry some items inside jacket or shirt pockets.

2) Have a Nice Sporran and a Kick Around Sporran

If you're a full-time kilt wearer, you should have at least 2 sporrans: one for your everyday wearing and one when you want to dress up.

When all I had was one sporran, I looked at the beat-up one I had on and saw how it detracted from the nice shirt, the tie, and a pressed kilt.

You should have one sporran that stays in the closet except when you're really dressing up: meeting someone important, Easter Sunday, etc.

Now, of course, some people have needs that go beyond limited space of traditional sporrans. For them, there's a number of modern kilt options such as Utilikilts. But what if you want to wear a traditional kilt, but don't like the limitations that a traditional sporran could pose.