Is the new Ultimate-specific bag really The Greatest?

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The Greatest Ultimate Bag made waves this summer when they gave free prototypes to various Frisbee-famous people in order to generate some buzz. We here at the Show Game were somehow deemed to be part of this illustrious crew, so Sean Colfer reviewed the bag to help you make up your mind on whether to support the Kickstarter.

The Ultimate bag market in the UK is largely saturated with camping bags – duffel-type bags by companies like The North Face and Patagonia. The attraction is obvious; Ultimate happens outdoors (mainly) and it rains outdoors (often). They come in various sizes, they have useful shoulder straps to make it easier to carry and they are easy to get your hands on since there are Mountain Warehouses, Blacks and Cotswold Outdoor shops everywhere.

It’s into this market that a new entrant is trying to make a dent. The Greatest Bag, designed by and for Ultimate players specifically for the sport, has several features that the multi-purpose camping bags don’t. However, there are also a couple of areas it’s not quite so impressive in. Here are the pros and cons of the Greatest Bag after using if for three tournaments.

PROS
Pockets within pockets

One of the main gripes with duffel bags (well one of mine anyway) is that everything goes into one big compartment. Everyone’s had the experience of fishing around for your keys or your phone and getting a handful of sweaty under layer. The Greatest Bag avoids this by using a number of pockets, some of them with very innovative and clever features.

There are two side pockets and a pocket on each end. The pocket on one end will fit two pairs of boots (or trainers if you’re wearing boots). It will go into the main compartment a bit, but it does keep them separate from the rest of your stuff which is a nice plus. The other end is an insulated pocket complete with an ice bag that will keep your stuff (water, beer, extra beer) cool. One side pocket is for your dirty kit. There’s an extra zip that opens out and reveals a mesh extension so that the dirty kit can breathe and not get too smelly, a smart feature that’ll come as a welcome relief for the sweaters out there. The final pocket is for your valuables – there’s a hard phone protector that will fit two phones, two mesh compartments for any keys or other valuables, and two more hidden pockets for anything you want to keep out of the way.

The upside of all of these pockets is that the main compartment, which is significantly smaller than in other duffel bags of a similar size (partially due to the boot compartment encroaching in) isn’t required for much more than kit, which will fit easily. The separation of the various items you’ll need for a tournament is remarkably useful, and makes things much easier to find.

The valuables pocket being used to full effect here

The valuables pocket being used to full effect here

Backpack or duffel bag

The bag, like many duffels, has shoulder straps to make it easier and more comfortable to carry around. They’re padded and also come with a waist strap to take some weight off your shoulders. The waist straps have small pockets, too, for change or bus passes or keys, whatever you might need easily to hand when walking around with the bag on your back. The back is also padded and re-enforced, so it’s comfortable to carry.

The shoulder straps are contained within another compartment, and you can zip it shut if you want the bottom of the bag to be waterproof. That means that the handles are on the top side, unlike most duffels. Having the shoulder straps on the opposite side to the handles means that the bag features a disc holder, and that you can have the waterproof cover on while the bag is on your back.

Nottingham-proof

The bag is generally quite waterproof, but the large number of zips will make it vulnerable if you leave it open to the elements. To help combat this, there’s a waterproof cover contained in a small pocket one one end. It works well, and you can also put it over and leave the shoulder straps exposed if you’re carrying it in the rain. I used the bag in Nottingham and my stuff remained dry(ish), which I count as coming through as serious a test as it’ll need.

Price is right

The Kickstarter is promising bags for $99 that ship anywhere in the world. The shipping costs and import taxes from Hong Kong (where the team are based) may well play a factor here in driving the price up, but that’s about £75 before shipping. Considering that similar sized duffel bags are around £100, there’s not going to be too much difference between the two. The Greatest Bag really is useful and you can tell it’s been designed by people that play the sport, so it’s worth the cash.

Yes that's only one pair, but the pocket does fit two

Yes that’s only one pair, but the pocket does fit two

CONS
Groundbound

This bag is too long to be used as hand luggage on most airlines. It’s a fairly minor point, but it also meant that I didn’t risk it for the Golden Cup and went back to a standard duffel. The re-enforced back is great for carrying but it makes it much tougher to cram into one of those hand luggage testers in the airport should you be challenged on whether it’ll fit. If you intend on going to a lot of foreign tournaments, this is something to be wary of. It might fit, but it also might not, and that’s a risk you might have to take.

Rolled up chic

The bottom part, which zips around the shoulder straps to cover them up if the bag is on the ground, rolls up and can be velcroed onto the top of the bag to keep it secure. This rolled up part is something that I’ve had a lot of comments on because, to put it simply, it looks a bit naff. The overall look of the bag is polarising because of how shiny it is – I personally like it! – and the bright colours of the zips. The rolled up part is the only bit that everyone agrees is a bit odd-looking. A minor quibble, admittedly, and one that might be addressed slightly more if the section that rolled up were a part you could stand on while putting on your boots (it doesn’t look quite waterproof enough for that, though I could be wrong).

Nottingham proving an attractive background for those among you who enjoy grey

Nottingham proving an attractive background for those among you who enjoy grey

CONCLUSION

The Greatest Bag is a very good idea, and it’s very well executed. The variety of pockets are very useful indeed, and that it’s waterproof and easy to carry are really the main aspects for any outdoor bag. The hand luggage issue is disappointing since it’s only about four inches too long – something that really could have been picked up in the design stage. Overall, though, I was very impressed with the bag and how it performed at the tournaments I was at, and it’s nice to see more Ultimate-specific merchandise popping up. The Kickstarter started yesterday, and you can find it here. If you can find six friends to make an order with, the discounted rate looks very good at around $75 per person.

RATING: 4 stars out of 5, slightly too long for a 5.

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