The Karkoa Smartbag
The Karkoa Smartbag
– I haven’t actually reviewed a sports bag yet which is pretty much a fundamental bit of kit if you’re into your training and fitness. A great sports bag is hard to find, i’ve tried a few over the years from North Face to Nike and although they’ve been good they haven’t been great. Now enters the Karkoa Smartbag.
Karkoa is a small French brand launching in the U.K. for the first time. There a couple of things I like about this already, one is that the French know a little something about good design & style and the second is that this is a small company starting up with a product that deserves your attention, especially when it is competing for that attention against the likes of Nike, Reebok & Adidas.
First things first, this is an extremely well thought out sports bag. I’ve been road testing it for a few weeks now and it’s very hard to fault it. At some point during the design phase of creating this bag some serious research and development was carried out.
Let’s start from the top.
First of all the bag has two handles, one at the back for putting on a hook so that you can still open the bag and get everything out that you need to. The second is a padded handle for picking up the rucksack without pulling on the shoulder straps.
There’s a small hidden zip compartment at the top of the bag for coins, cards & keys – or your phone – it’s soft lined so ideal for pretty much anything precious or valuable.
The back of the Smartbag is padded for comfort and the shoulder straps are adjustable, padded and come with a cross-over chest clasp.
The first main compartment features an elastic crossover fitted to one side to hold a shirt in comfortably and prevent it from creasing. The other side has a small loop with a pop-stud to fasten your sports racquet so it doesn’t fall out (yes, this much thought and detail has gone into this). For me, I used this compartment for my shirt and my 13 inch Macbook – both fitted perfectly with room for my notebook.
The second main compartment has a large pocket, two removable bags – one for toiletries and the other for used sweaty gym kit. This second compartment the front zips all the way down allowing full access to it and can best be described as a shelf with in the bag that you can fit trousers, belt, toiletries, protein shaker and even a small hand towel into. The base of this shelf is formed by a zipped partition which leads on to the third compartment.
This third section is for your footwear, for me that’s my work shoes before training and sweaty running shoes after training. I’m a UK 9 and both types of footwear fitted fine, Karkoa state that up to a UK 12 can fit into this section. If you don’t want to use this third section, that zip shelf base unzips and flaps down to create a much larger storage space with the second compartment.
Last, but certainly not least is the round pocket on the side of the bag which unzips to reveal an insulated section able to hold up to a 1.5 water bottle, which during our brief spell of summer came in very handy.
The zips are quite heavy duty, with textured plastic toggles to easily grip. The stitching on the bag is impeccable, plenty of detailing which I really like and even the Karkoa logo is understated and elegant. The fabric is thick, rigid and waterproof with a lining on the inside.
Everything about this bag says well-made. You’l be able to throw it around the gym, back of the car, bike to work, whatever you need it to do without so much as a complaint. Like I said it’s pretty hard to fault.
Verdict: Excuse my French but the Karkoa Smartbag is incroyable! – Sorry, had to be done! Cheesy puns aside this is a fantastic bit of kit, it’s extremely well put together and offers excellent value for money. Compared against the mass-produced alternatives out there i’ll be sticking with this pretty little French number.
The Karkoa Smartbag comes in two different sizes, 25Litre (£50) and the 40L (£65) as reviewed here and comes with free shipping to the U.K. Available from Karkoa
Promo video supplied for the review:
Disclosure: This product has been gifted to me by Karkoa, however please be assured my reviews are always honest, unbiased and trusted – your respect and trust is of the utmost importance. Whether I love it or hate it, i’ll let you know.