StashBelt: A New Take on the USB Stick Trick

by Nora on March 8, 2014

 

Whenever I’m actively traveling, I swear by my USB Stick Trick; a hidden USB stick that contains all the (encrypted) information I could possibly need should I lose everything abroad.

 

USB Stick pocketUntil now, I’ve always stashed the USB stick – along with some cash and a backup credit card – in a little pocket with a loop I can use to secure and store it underneath my clothing. Admittedly though, this isn’t ideal; I have to hook the loop on to my underwear, and aside from it not being pretty(!), it’s not always as stealthy as I’d like it to be.

 

Enter: The StashBelt.

 

The folks at StashBelt contacted me because they know of my USB stick trick and wanted to give me an alternative to my underclothes pocket (not knowing of my faulty underwear-hooking system).

 

Why would they contact me in particular? Because, in addition to it being a money belt, it has a special pocket for a USB stick.

They’re also a Canadian company (go, Canada!), and they’re about to go on the television show Dragon’s Den with their creation, so they’re drumming up whatever publicity they can.

I’m a sucker for fashion + function on the road (as can be evidenced here and here), so I said they could send me a StashBelt to test out.

 

 

StashBelt – The Product

StashBelts are made of 100% genuine pull-up leather (which, if you know about leather, means it’s good stuff, since not all leather belts are actually all leather). And although the use of leather may not earn many bonus points with vegans, the cows are free-grazed and grass-fed. It has a lifetime warranty.

It’s also versatile; the buckle can easily be removed in case you have your own belt buckle or like to change them up.

There’s a long zipper on the inside revealing a pocket that can hold some precious items, most notably folded up cash.

And of course – the piece de resistance – StashBelt’s slim 4GB USB stick, which slides into a little pocket near the buckle.

 

 

StashBelt – The Company

This is where the story gets even more interesting. StashBelt is a Canadian company working in partnership with African artisans in Kenya. The leather is sourced, treated, and made into belts in Kenya, providing sustainable jobs in a socially-responsible way.

In addition, 10% of all StashBelt profits are used to make “angel investments” in Kenyan startup businesses.

 

 

StashBelt – My Take

modelling my StashBeltI’ve only had my StashBelt a short time, but so far, I like what I see. The belt is extremely well made. The leather is very stiff, but this is good; a sign of something that will last a long time, and mould to my body as I continue to use it.

This also means, however, that initially getting the USB stick in and out of its pocket takes some real effort, and it’s easy to lose the cap. And because of the slim profile of the slot, you can only fit a very slim USB stick into the belt; thus, if you need to replace the USB stick provided by StashBelt, not just any one will do. I expect that over time the pocket will stretch and become more user-friendly.

I’ve never used a money belt, but I appreciate the ability to stash some extra cash, so I think I’ll like using the zippered pocket. I wish it could fit a credit card (in order to make the StashBelt a true replacement for my USB Stick Trick pocket of joy), but that would make the belt way too wide for most belt loops. So, I concede, and will stash my backup credit card elsewhere.

And a note on sizing: pay special attention to the measurement guidelines on the site, since they don’t match up with trouser sizes. I measured according to their directions, and I have a perfect fit, with just enough slack to allow for a wee bit of weight gain/loss.

 

Lastly, a note on fashion + function and the use of a belt as part of a full-time travel entourage. Some hard-core travelers might suggest that not only is a belt not necessary, but neither are jeans. I agree that jeans can be impractical on the road; they’re heavy to pack, slow to dry, yadda yadda yadda. But I also like them, and I wear them a lot. And a nice pair of jeans demands a nice belt. So, I concede. On travel days, I wear my jeans, and my StashBelt (since my carry-on bag is pretty chock-a-block with everything else that I own). The extra 15 seconds required to take off my belt in the airport while clearing security is barely a hardship.

 

So would I recommend StashBelt? If you like belts and want the additional functionality of a money belt while you travel, and you like my USB Stick Trick, and you like the idea of a Canadian-based socially responsible company, that’s enough reasons for me to say: go for it.

 

 Special Discount For You!

Would you like to try out a StashBelt for yourself? Enter the code “prohobo” at checkout to receive 10% off!

 

 

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sheralyn March 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm

This is a super cool idea… debating whether or not to buy one of these 🙂

As you say, the only flaw is the inability to fit a credit card/debit card in there…

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2 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Hi Sheralyn,
Indeed the credit card thing would be nice, but then again the belt would be way too wide. What we really need….are foldable credit cards! 😉

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3 Roger March 8, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Do you need to take the flash drive out of the money belt to make it through the metal detector?

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4 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Roger – You have to take off your belt to clear security anyway, so it’s not an issue. But the flash drive wouldn’t be a problem with a metal detector since its mostly plastic; the belt buckle would set it off first!

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5 Roger March 9, 2014 at 10:50 pm

I’ve been using a money belt with a heavy-duty plastic buckle for a long time. Guess I forgot that lots of people may not know about them. Don’t need to take those off.

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6 Nora Dunn March 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Hi Roger,
Really? I find many security lines in airports – regardless of whether your belt buckle is metal or otherwise – will insist on removing the belt. Then again I just cleared security today without having to remove my belt (or shoes) at all, so airport security is rarely consistent.

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7 StashBelt August 24, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Actually Nora, we use a special alloy buckle that DOESN’T set off the detectors! I just pull my shirt over my belt in the security line and avoid the hassles and headache’s of pulling on and off my belt when I’m running late for a flight!

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8 Nora August 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Great tip, Stashbelt! Indeed – if I have a shirt long enough to disguise my belt, I can often get away with not taking it off.

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9 Tracey - Life Changing Year March 9, 2014 at 4:29 am

This looks pretty cool though I don’t ever wear belts. My hubby does though so this could be something he would go for. We certainly would never, ever use a normal money belt or those stupid things that go around your neck!

I do like a good clever invention and this one looks like someone put a fair bit of effort and thought into it. Interesting!

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10 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Tracey – I agree! I hope they do well on Dragon’s Den.

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11 Heather March 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

What a clever creation … I know that they will be very successful!

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12 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Heather – Me too!

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13 Loretta March 9, 2014 at 11:46 am

I use the 32G Verbatim Tough ‘n’ Tiny which can stash nearly anywhere. If you google it, you’ll see a photo of it next to a penny. It’s not too much bigger than that…!

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14 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Loretta – Aw….it’s so tiny! If my StashBelt USB stick ever bites the dust, I’ll be getting one of those.

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15 Coleen March 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I like that the StashBelt is leather. It looks really nice. I also love jeans while traveling because… i just love wearing jeans, anytime! I used a similar belt from Eagle Creek when I traveled, but it was a synthetic material with a plastic buckle. Not as nice looking. (see here: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/all-terrain-money-belt/d/1122_c_312 ) I would keep 100 USD and copies of my passports in it – I didn’t need a USB.

It did come in handy once – not because I lost my stuff, but because I went over a land border crossing in SE Asia that only accepted US dollars , not local currency (unbeknownst to me beforehand). I had put the money into the belt months earlier and then never took any of it out, so I’d always have some emergency money on me at all times. But that day, I had to dip into my stash! If it hadn’t been for the belt, I would not have had USD on me and would have been turned back.

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16 Nora Dunn March 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Hi Coleen – That’s a great reminder to me on the eve of traveling internationally tomorrow…..to put some USD in my StashBelt! 😉

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17 The Guy March 10, 2014 at 9:33 am

Very good and honest review Nora.

Like you I often use a USB stick for back ups but think I should really start using the cloud. Things are always accessible then.

I’m also like you in often wearing jeans when travelling. They are a casual alternative to my work wear and very durable.

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18 Seth - Team Stashbelt March 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hey Guy,

Seth here, co-founder of the StashBelt.

Yes Nora’s providing some great feedback here – thanks Nora!

Regarding the cloud, the Team here at StashBelt has travelled to a combined 100+ countries… let me tell you, we’ve been in some pretty dicey places. Places where the idea of inputting our passwords and accessing the cloud was a scary one.. We’ve also been to places where hi-speed internet was an unheard of luxury… Have you ever tried to download photo scans of your passport on a 56k modem? Not fun!

That’s why we encourage Stashers to keep both a digital copy on their USB AND a printed copy folded in with their cash.

Want to give StashBelt a try?

Use promocode: PROHOBO at the checkout for a 10% discount – you can thank Nora for that 😉

Soon you’ll be travelling in safety AND style 😉

Happy Trails!

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19 Nora Dunn March 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Hi Guy and Seth,
I agree with both of you(!). I have some things stored in the cloud, but I’m wary of having it as my only backup method, and I’m cognizant of requiring encryption and lots of secure password protection.

Here are some of the backup measures I practice:
http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/07/financial-travel-tip-39-backing-up-your-stuff/

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20 Steve March 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I think I could swing you around above my head with a belt that strong – must try it sometime! 8-D

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21 Nora Dunn March 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Steve – Which are you planning to try? The belt? Or swinging me around your…..never mind! 😉

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22 Cheryl Smyth March 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I added the link to my website too.
-Cheryl aka TC Dog Travels on Facebook

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23 JSparrow March 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I just placed an order with StashBelt and I am so excited about this! I’ve been reluctant to buy things like money belts in the past because they’re so ugly and become something you only wear for travel (not to mention, I always wonder if someone was trying to steal my wallet, wouldn’t they also go for my obvious looking “secret” money belt too?), this looks like it can replace my old belt on an everyday basis as well as be a useful travel tool! I also love how they source their leather and their entire business model.

Additionally, I sent a few emails to the company asking slightly annoying nitty gritty questions to be sure of the $60 investment and the emails back were very helpful and prompt.

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24 Nora Dunn March 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

JSparrow – Awesome! I hope you enjoy your new belt! I use mine for everyday use – which is great because it does add an extra layer of security, all the time.

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25 Barb October 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Hi Nora, 2+ years down the trail I’m wondering if Stashbelt is still working for you?
Love this site, by the way 🙂

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26 Nora October 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Hey Barb,
Well….full disclosure: I don’t have the Stashbelt any more. I ended up giving it to one of my hosts in Colombia, who admired it so much that it was an honour to give him something he’d enjoy. (I had also gained some weight so it didn’t fit well either).
But…if I hadn’t given it away/gained weight, I’m sure I’d still love it! 😉
Also, I don’t have any pants that really require belts any more, since Anatomie made me throw out my jeans: http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2016/08/anatomie-travel-clothing-made-throw-jeans/

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27 StashBelt October 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Nora,

Such a thoughtful gesture deserves another. Send the team an email with your latest color / size preference and your mailing address – we’d like to replace that belt on the house 🙂

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