This is definitely the most attention that I have ever paid to a bag, but after this experience I am definitely going to be paying a lot of attention to the bags I buy in the future. There is a lot more to designing a good bag than I thought. Writing about bag design is not something I thought I would be doing, but I am pretty sure I am going to be able to help you guys out next time you need a new sack for your skates, let’s go.
Why does your skating bag need to be waterproof?
I had in the past owned the predecessor to this bag and I am glad to report that it has the design feature that I believe to be supremely important for any skating bag, it is made of a canvas like material making it waterproof. Why does your skating bag need to be waterproof? For ice skating; having rust on your blade is the worst, you can essentially cut the life of your blades in half if they get rust in them. If you ride home in the rain after training, in Holland let’s be honest will be a-LOT, you want to have the peace of mind that your skates won’t be rusty next time you take them out to go skating. (This actually happened to me once, and I only noticed once I had stepped on the ice, that my blades looked like the kind of metal you find in the ocean.) For inline skating, rusty bearings don’t roll… simple as that, you’re going to have a bad time. The waterproof feature does however have one drawback, it makes the bag airtight, which also means smell-tight. But someone kindly thought of this and added a neat little venting pocket on the front to prevent you from marinating your lunch with skating suit smell.
I am going to keep on the nostalgia track here and talk about the bag capacity, which is another legacy feature carried over from older version of this bag that I am very glad remains. This bag seemingly defies the laws of physics, in terms of capacity it is massive. I used to use the old version of this bag to do my weekly shop, no joke, and it used to handle it like a champ, sometimes with skating gear already deposited inside after a training. My room-mate and I contemplated doing a test to see just how much you can fit in this thing, but I chickened out because I honestly didn’t want to pick this thing up at full capacity… it would be heavy. The main reason the bag can handle so much is the fish-mouth shaped opening at the top meaning that you can put items in that are longer than the bag itself, I suppose this is more of a sack than a bag. The strength of the canvas type material doesn’t hurt either.
In a flash you can transform the bag to suit your immediate needs
When I first glanced at the bag honestly I felt like I was looking at a pair of cargo-shorts turned up to 11, luckily that was mostly the fact that it was wrapped up to be delivered. But this bag does have a lot of pockets and straps adorning it. In summary, and in no particular order you have; on the front sleeves for both your helmet and skates, on the top a couple of zip pockets for your valuables, on the bottom an extra compartment for dirty items and some clip on attachments for holding your water bottles. In addition to that there is a healthy compliment of hanging and carrying straps. One thing I like about all this is that many items are attachable or zippable, which means that in a flash you can transform the bag to suit your immediate needs. I think of the bag as having three modes;
In minimalist mode the helmet pocket is zipped away, the extra compartment on the bottom is removed and the drink bottle holders are left at home. I would use the bag in this configuration to go to an ice skating training or to the gym. When you don’t have too much stuff, you can keep everything on the inside of the main pocket where is it nice and safe, protected from the elements.
In normal mode the bottom compartment is reintroduced and you might start strapping things on to the outside. The main advantage of this is the bottom pocket is completely vented and completely separate from the rest of the bag. This setup is ideal if you have some dirty road wheels or some appropriately ripe used skating suits that you would rather not mix with the rest of your gear. This is how I would use the bag going to an inline session where I might take a couple of sets of wheels.
In the full complement mode you strap on all of the extras and open up all of the compartments. This is how I would use the bag if I was going to a race day. You can throw caution for space to the wind and pack like you are preparing for the apocalypse, take everything you might need without worry that you might ever run out of space… that is just not going to happen.
I will take a moment to talk about the design features that I never noticed.
Why would I talk about the things that never occurred to me? It is because they were designed well that they never entered my mind, they were doing their job and I took them for granted. First of all the shoulder straps, the fact that I never noticed them means that they were doing their job and spreading the load evenly over my shoulders, not digging in. The various straps, on many bags you are forever readjusting the straps because they loosen over during use, it didn’t happen to me once while using the bag. The zips never irritated me by unclipping themselves or giving me a hard time while zipping up.
In all I think I would buy this bag for myself and you should not have any hesitations about the quality. The process of reviewing this bag showed me that there really is quite a bit of thinking that goes into a product that you take for granted on a daily basis. I am generally a pretty frugal person when it comes to buying these kinds of items, but I would encourage you to go and get yourself a good bag. I can give this one a tick of approval.