The Nielsen, a solution to the manbag problem?

Sometimes you come across a solution to a problem you never realised you had. I wrote about such a problem a few months back, when I reviewed undershirts, and I was then led to realise that the solution actually did prove a problem existed.

In the matter I am looking at today, I am very much less convinced. Is it wrong to start a reviewish post like this by outing myself as a sceptic? Before I even tell you what I’m sceptical about? Yes, I know, I have been quite harsh about bunad ties and pyjama pants before, so my subtly scathing words are nothing new to those of you that follow me.


This time though, I’m stumped. Where to even start? The only possible starting point is to take a look at the typical women’s handbag. I won’t even pretend to speak with any real knowledge about all the mysteries that lurk within such a bag, but keen observation leads me to believe that the range and quantity of items contained is formidable. A case of carrying everything you might find need for during a days activities? I’ll be charitable and pretend this is the case.

So what does a man need to carry with him? Is there a reason we don’t see anywhere near as many men carrying handbags as women, which has to be close to 100%. Looking at my own needs, I never find I need more carrying capacity than my pockets provide, so my phone, wallet and keys need no extra bag. Maybe I travel light though? How about men that want to carry more stuff, and not only that, but they want to have a system for carrying it? Where you know where you have something and can merely reach for it, so much less frustrating than digging around in a bag full of various bits and pieces.


Terje Wiggo Nielsen, inventor of the Nielsen

The solution is available, and it’s Norwegian, it’s leather, and … I don’t get it! Take a look at The Nielsen, brainchild of Norwegian engineer Terje Wiggo Nielsen, it’s been available for over 40 years now and is said to have built up a formidable following among those that do get it. So what is it? Well, to my eyes it could loosely be described as a hybrid between a waistcoat and a shoulder-holster. A collection of variously sized pockets you strap on to your torso, allowing you to carry all the necessary kit you need to save the world, or handle a tough day at the office. A bit like Batman’s utility belt really, but more practical, in quite attractive leather, and wearable under a jacket in a stealthy manner.


Handily, the website includes endorsements by enthusiastic users, with a montage showing the items they carry in their device. This does provide a valuable insight into the sort of person that is likely to understand and adore The Nielsen. The range of items these guys desire to carry around is likely quite very similar to what women end up carrying in a large handbag. Just in case. A touch of the scouting mentality, being prepared?



Looking at The Nielsen Way website, and reading the enthusiastic endorsements by users of the device, I do wonder if I’m missing out on something.

Oddly though, when reading the endorsements and paying special attention to what the wearers describe as their greatest moments while wearing their Nielsen, the consensus appears to be that the highlight of the Nielsen Way experience is being manhandled by burly guards in airport security.

Sometimes, not getting it may be the right option.

What do you think?


  • Daniel 08/12/2017 at 19:20

    ??? I was cramping up with laughter at the end of this piece. I have been considering this accessory for years now unsure if I could pull it off (or if anyone could) it is a fine balance like leathef pants and hats. Personally, Inwould rather avoid being “man handled” and have guns pulled on me because I am wearing an excentric piece of Norwegian man-shoulder-holster-bag…but I am still tempted to try it on for size?

  • Kalense 13/05/2024 at 17:48

    I have worn one for years and never go anywhere without it, but then, I’m 74 and I don’t give a rat’s arse what anyone thinks. Never been manhandled by security – because the thing goes through the scanner with my laptop and whatever else I’m taking on the plane. My phone, credit cards, passport, driver’s license, business cards, pens, pencil, even a small Swiss Army knife in case I run across a horse with a stone in its ear or whatever. During Covid it carried a mask. USB stick, mustn’t forget that. My pockets are free for my Kleenex and my car keys. Oh, yeah, and I wear an Akubra bush hat, so there’s that. And while it doesn’t happen often, every now and then someone asks me where they can get one.


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