This isn’t just a sports bag!

Do you struggle when packing a weekend bag or that run commute bag to have enough space and enough compartments to keep everything you need for the day/s ahead?  I always have so when Vincent from Karkoa, a French brand of sporty bags, contacted me to ask if I would try out one of the bags I didn’t hesitate, and after a few weekends away and a few run commutes I am ready to give my feedback.

Ready to take my bag for a run
Ready to take my bag for a run

There are 2 styles of bag available, the duffle bag (The Plume) and the sports backpack (Smartbag) and come in a variety of sizes with the duffle in a 20 or a 45 Litre and the Smartbag in a 25 or 40 Litre.  I opted for the 40 L Smart bag in Dark Blue, steering away from my usual choice of pink for something different, and so my husband, Dion, could also use it if he wanted.  The bag weighs 1.2kg and measures 55x35x25cm so passes as carry on baggage (tested with BA and Ryan Air).

The bag
The bag

The bag looks great, although it’s a ‘sporty’ bag it still looks professional enough that you can use it for travelling to and from work, leisure weekends or anything really without looking like a fool with ‘all the gear and no idea’.  It feels comfortable too, it has wide padded shoulder straps so you can wear it on your back even has a strap across the chest so you can secure it while you are walking/running/cycling to stop the bounce.  An improvement would be to get another strap around the waist which will make it even more comfortable.  Don’t get me wrong it is not to replace your race running rucksack but for small commutes it does reduce enough of the bounce to make it user friendly enough for that purpose.  There is also a strap on the top so you can carry it in your hand like a normal bag, as well as a loop so you can hang it on a hook like in the gym changing room for easy access.  In between the straps (see photo below) there is a little stash pocket which I use for my keys, phone and money for easy access.

Straps on top of the bag, and your little secret money/phone stash pocket.
Straps on top of the bag, and your little secret money/phone stash pocket.

There is a front compartment for your shoes to keep your lovely muddy shoes separated from your clothing and can hold up to a size 12 for footwear.  I not only fitted my running shoes in there but there was enough room for a pair of heels too (I certainly need both when I am away for the weekend).  The base of the bag is waterproof too which is great if you are putting your bag down in wet change rooms or even on the bus/tram/train in between your commutes.  If I could change anything that would be to get a full waterproof casing or a waterproof cover provided as that is absolutely necessary when travelling around the UK.

Not enough room for the cat once I had put my shoes in!
Not enough room for the cat once I had put my shoes in!

There are just so many little pockets and compartments it’s an adventure to discover them all.  Check out the red drawstring bag which is ideal to throw all your dirties into, and the clear little zip up toiletry bag passes through security at the airport so no more having to empty all your items into ‘their’ bags, just pull yours out and into the tray and your away.  There is even a cylinder compartment for your drink bottle which is insulated and holds a bottle up to 1.5L in size.

So many little bags!
So many little bags!

To go with those heels, you also need a spot to put that outfit for the night out, or your work attire if you are running to and from work or the gym of course, so there is a nice flat section with stretchy bands to keep your pressed items pressed!

Keep your pressed items pressed!
Keep your pressed items pressed!

You may also need somewhere padded to keep your technological equipment and Karkoa have got this covered too with a separate compartment at the back, yes another compartment, where you can slide in your laptop/tablet or a magazine/book as well.

Laptop kept safe with extra padded compartment
Laptop kept safe with extra padded compartment.

You can see the bag in action here with a promo video from the guys at Karkoa.

I have to admit I have fallen in love with this bag and actually wish I did have to run commute everyday just so I could use it more, but maybe I will just have to do more weekend breaks instead.  For £63rrp for the 40L or £49 for the 25L I think it represents good value for money.  The quality of the bag feels very good and whilst I have only had it for a short while, I think it will be lasting for a lot longer to come.  Even though they are not based in the UK, delivery is prompt, with deliveries made within 4 working days.

Taking my Karkoa bag for a run
Taking my Karkoa bag for a run