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Dakota Watch Versa Pack : Get Your Gear On

Watch. Key chain. Cell phone holder. Flashlight. Man purse? Not quite. Convenient? Definitely.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've stuffed my pants pockets full of...well, stuff. Some nights, as I empty their contents onto the kitchen counter, it's laughable at how much junk I've managed to collect throughout the day: spare change, keys, various notes and business cards, a wallet, and more. Then there's my PDA, cell phone, and MP3 player to schlep around all day.

The folks at the Dakota Watch Company must have had me in mind when they designed their "Versa Pack" watch. Although a durable, attractive analog watch is a prominent part of the package, the Versa Pack is not really a watch, per se. It's more of a small carrying case, perfect for the traveler or just the busy urban professional who doesn't need a backpack or bag, but still wants help organizing a few small daily essentials.

At 4" tall by 3" wide, and just less than 2" thick when fully loaded, the Versa Pack offers a number of interesting features. The watch, as noted, is a nice timepiece. Nothing fancy, mind you, but extremely functional and easy to operate, with a brilliant back-lighting feature that makes reading the time a snap when it's dark. The single LED flashlight feature (built into the body of the watch face) gives just enough light for detailed tasks in the dark.

A retractable key ring mechanism holds a number of keys that are at my command in an instant. Remember your school janitor's honking-huge metal key ring? This one is just like your janitor's, but a miniaturized, black plastic version, with the attractive Dakota logo embossed in silver on its side. A very cool collapsible ballpoint pen fits snugly in a side pocket, although the writing quality is best only for quick notes.

The main pocket of the Versa Pack gives you space for some models of cell phones and smaller digital cameras. My admittedly old-school model cell phone was a bit tall to fit well inside the pocket--its height prevented the top flap of the pack from closing tightly. But I tried a friend's (newer) phone, and it fit perfectly. Same with a small digital camera I own and a number of different MP3 players, including the larger, older generation iPods.

The Versa Pack's heavy Cordura nylon construction and large Velcro closure ensures that it's a piece of gear that can stand just about any rough treatment you can throw its way. A belt loop on the back keeps the Versa Pack securely fastened to my side. If you already carry a belt-mounted cell-phone holder, you owe it to yourself to give the Versa Pack a try for its additional carrying capacity.

A bonus for athletes: you can free up space on your wrist, normally occupied by a wristwatch, for a heart rate monitor or wrist-mounted GPS unit.

Available in black, olive green, khaki, and pink

Bottom Line: The Dakota Versa Pack is a great tool for people who have a tough time keeping it all together...the tools of the modern world, that is. With its key retractor, watch, collapsible pen, LED flashlight, and durable nylon sheath that can hold a phone, all of your everyday accoutrements are all packaged together in one convenient (small) carrying case. -G.P. (May '07)

Price: $39.95

Manufacturer's Site: www.buydakotawatches.com

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Worldwide there are more than 12,000 species of ferns. In New Zealand, the silver fern is the national symbol. According to Maori culture,the unfurling tip of the fern, called a "koru," represents the cycle of life and death. This image is often used in art and jewelry.

Source: 100% New Zealand, The Official Site for New Zealand Travel

 
 
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