Friday, 22 January 2016

Karkoa sports bag review

I was recently contacted by the nice people at Karkoa and asked if I would like to review their sports bag.

My first response was 'Karkoa' who are you? Never heard of you and every time I look at your brand name I keep thinking it says Koala and therefore start thinking about Australian marsupials. 

Anyway turns out they are an European sportsbag manufacturer looking to promote their brand on the shores of the United Kingdom.

I checked out their website to see what they were all about and to see if I thought their bag was any good. Checking out their website it looked to me like they are a trendy kind of 'up market' company with a cool type of European style looking to supply busy professional sporty types with a bag that will accommodate all your daily luggage and sport equipment for when your hitting the gym at the start of the day or running after work. 

My first instinct was to opt for the smaller bag in their rucksack range the 25L Smartbag25 purely because one of the bags in this range had an orange trim. A bit superficial as no doubt the larger 40L bag would be far more useful because its bigger and you can fit more in to it which is after all the name of the game, but no my fondness for my favourite colour ruined my judgement. Whoops! 

So how did I get on with the bag?

Slightly mixed reviews if I am honest, it wasn't as spacious as I thought it would be as the website and the marketing promo gave you the impression the bag was going to have magical TARDIS qualities able to amazingly have room to fit everything you could imagine into it. 

Perhaps if I had opted for the larger bag then this would have been more accommodating so please bare that in mind if you are considering your options between the smaller 25L bag or the larger 40L bag.

I also had a concern with the design of the bag, the main design of the back is in the photo below. As I understand it the basic idea seems to be thinking about redesigning the standard concept of a rucksack to give you more internal storage options as well as more ways to access what is in your bag rather than a standard one main way to put things in and get things out.

I felt pretty vulnerable carrying the bag on my back knowing that the front of the bag is basically one big exposed zip running along the bottom of my bag where everything would just fall out onto the street if it was to be opened. 

OK so this never happened but it might be considered a design flaw? Or maybe it's just me just thinking back to being at an all boys secondary school where anybody with this bag would be constantly at the mercy of practical jokers. 

Having all the handy compartments inside is really useful though as its better than having all little things like snacks, deodorant or fruit floating around with everything else in one large compartment. 

Its also really great to have a separate space for used running kit so it doesn't stink out everything else! However my concern is that this compartment bag would itself get rather smelly pretty soon and would need regular washing? I suppose using my current system of a plastic bag is easier but then again using a plastic bag every time I workout is not very environmentally friendly, neither is it very cheap now there is the 5p plastic bag tax. 

My other gripes were that my laptop didn't fit into the bag very easily. By easily I mean I had to rally stretch the bag to squeeze it in and then I didn't have much capacity left for anything else. Again my bag was not the larger 40L bag that Karkoa offer and neither is my laptop the smallest or thinnest laptop going but being able to fit my laptop easily into my bag without engaging in a wrestling match is a mandatory requirement. 

Karkoa were also quick to point out during our correspondence that the bag wasn't really designed for running but more for carrying everything you might need for running or other sport. A big problem because surely as a runner you want a bag for carrying your stuff if you are going running but also you want a bag that can handle a run commute when required? I certainly don't want to have a bag for each. To be honest I didn't try running with the bag as I found it pretty uncomfortable to walk with let alone run with. The bag seems to be designed to sit a bit higher on your back rather than sit down in the small of your back, which is in contrast to bags I am used to, its probably better for posture or something I don't know but I didn't find it very comfortable. 

I have tried to make this post constructive and not too negative but I am not sure it has turned out that way. 

Just because the bag wasn't for me doesn't mean others wouldn't find it a great bag to use. The bag is certainly very well designed and looks super cool especially the orange sunrise design that I went for.  

I have noticed a few other running bloggers have recently reviewed Karkoa bags and got on very well with them. Check out Steve Skinner's review here or The Runners Knees review here both of these guys opted for the 40L though which is perhaps where I went wrong!

In summary Karkoa certainly offer a very stylish and thoroughly well thought out designed bag which will appeal to lot of people I'm sure, it just didn't tick some of my requirement

Disclaimer: Karkoa approached me and provided me with a bag of my choosing free of charge for me to review.