The need to haul your training equipment to and from the gym is essential if you’re a fighting geek like me. Picture yourself showing up for Muay Thai class on a Monday night and forgetting to bring your pads. Or rather, leaving behind your protein shaker at home just because the bottle can’t fit in your training bag.
You’d be bummed, wouldn’t you?
Perhaps some people are only interested in showing up with the essentials but if you’re someone like me, who does not want to look like Losty MC Losterson and intends on doing multiple sessions on a good Monday night, that’s where the Duffel Backpack from GRIPS Athletics comes into play.
WHAT IS THE ‘DUFFEL BACKPACK’?
The term ‘Duffel’ derives from the town of Duffel, Belgium where the classic bags were first manufactured. Now, the best thing going for the Duffel Backpack would be its ability to act as both a Duffel bag and a backpack. For the first week or so, I had no idea that the bag had shoulder straps attached to it, partly because they were neatly tucked away at the bottom. The bottom also contains eyelets, a zipper and a customary hanging loop, so the backpack takes it shape when the user removes the shoulder straps (once unzipped) and latches the forged carabineers onto the eyelets. The straps, then, of course, are fully adjustable to fit the user.
Flip the bag around and it’s now purely a Duffel bag. It starts off with a double-ended zipper orientation, so you don’t have to worry about closing the bag at just a single side. The inside of the bag is outrageously spacious and is made with a cushioned, polyester-fiber like material, while the outer shell is fabricated with ultra durable 600D+1680D Nylon.
At one end of the bag, there’s a zippered pouch which I believe is intended for the user to keep all his/her sweaty gear. The pouch is pretty big and handy but be wary that it isn’t large enough to place something like a Gi or Boxing gloves. It works well, however, with your dirty shorts, towels, rashguard and even your shoes/slippers. Come to think of it, the pouch can serve as a safe spot for your valuables too, that is if you intend to keep everything else in the inside of the bag.
Finally, on either side of the bag, there are outside pockets integrated with a breathable mesh. There’s a velcro feature as well which can be used to bring the handles together, along with a pair of buckles to keep the equipment secure. A large, single shoulder strap with a j-hook is also included.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Well, for starters, the bag has very little limitations. GRIPS Athletics has basically rolled out this 2-in-1 Duffel Backpack in a way that has enabled me to transport my towels, rashguard, fight shorts, shaker bottle, valuables and all other types of gear to training seamlessly. And here’s the catch: you have the option to carry the stylish bag by hand, slung over your shoulder or strapped on your back in backpack mode. Consider how some bags do not have backpack straps, which is a bummer if you are taking a long hike or ride to the gym. Without wheels, these backpack straps can be crucial. Moreover, it is extremely easy to remove the backpack straps. As aforementioned, the Duffle Backpack allows the straps to be tucked away in a nifty manner without needing to remove them entirely.
Just a fortnight ago, ahead of my first fight, I used it as a travel bag by packing my groin guard, three sets of clothes and toiletries (along with my usual training equipment) ahead of a two-night hotel stay. Everything was tucked in rather conveniently, and I reckon its got to do with the large size and versatility of the bag.
GRIPS Athletics’ continued importance on paying attention to detail is promising and impressive. With branding logos on all sides of the bag, I have to admit that the company has delivered on all cylinders with this high end quality product.
There might be some jibber-jabber on the size of the bag and its excessive space but for me, personally, I’d rather have more space than not enough – after all, you never know when the occasion calls for a pair of gloves or shin pads. It’ll be worth it then, eh?
Furthermore, the number of pockets, size and the shape of opening, and getting small/large items in and out is relatively straightforward.
But ultimately, it’s the backpack’s convertibility that stands out. It’s truly a thing of beauty. So why not own something which can do it all?
- Ease of Packing
- Comes in two colors (Black & Camo)
Product Features (adapted from GRIPS’ website):
- Ergonomic Design
- Ultra-Durable 600D+1680D Bag Fabric
- Reinforced Web Handles for Durability and a More Comfortable Grip
- Adjustable Shoulder Straps With Shock Absorption System for a More Comfortable, Custom Fit
- J-Hook Allows You to Hang Your Duffel Safely Almost Anywhere
- Multiple Pockets With Side Pocket Organizer
- Shoe/Laundry Pocket
- Bag Dimensions: 72cm x 32cm x 34cm