ZUCA--The Dark Side
You may see the kids in the rink with their Zuca bags trailing them like faithful dogs. Now look around; Do you see many adults using them? Probably not (your mileage may vary). There's a reason most adults don't go the Zuca route. It's the weight.
Kids love the Zuca so they can pull all their things around the rink. But it's Mommy who's taking the Zuca in and out of the car. Imagine how much stuff you can get in that locker on wheels. Imagine putting it in the trunk, then out. In. Out. Feel the back pain yet? Right. That's why I went another route.
Duffels Can Be Evil
In general hand carried duffels (I'm not talking about the rolling duffels) can be a useful answer for the adult skater. They're anonymous, nothing says 'Skater'. The duffel just says 'athlete'. (Or in my case 'athlete wannabe'.) Duffels come in an amazing variety of sizes, so if you have really big skates you can find something to meet your needs.
But, like a Siren of Greek mythology calling you to a shipwreck, duffles can be beautiful--but evil.
They're widely available, and the quality widely varies too. I've had them that came apart at the seams in a few weeks. The zippers come apart or get stuck in the cheaper varieties. The pockets can be too small, if you don't select carefully. Better quality duffels don't have these problems, but with that big single compartment, even if the bag is well made, all your stuff is mixed higgledy piggledy in there.
As a general rule, duffels come with a soft bottom, and don't have feet, so when you set it on the floor everything just bangs down. The lack of feet means that if there's any water on the floor, it soaks in.
If you're a woman, certain totes can be useful for skating. But there's usually ties or or a flap, designed to hold a mat. These can get in the way. I think yoga totes aren't big enough for men. Also, yoga totes don't often have enough space in them to carry more than a pair of skates and some rags.
I've seen some people bring in suitcases (of varying sizes). Usually these are coaches who carry their lives in there (I've seen a small boom box appear out of one). Ice dancers also seem to accumulate an amazing amount of stuff. These potentially have the weight problem of the Zucas, but if you need the space and the organization, you need it. These are almost always cheaper than Zucas and can carry more stuff.
There's gym bags other than duffels. A lot of sports have specialized bags. I've met one skater who used a bowling bag. So if you have something and it fits, no reason you can't use it. Or explore Amazon, eBags or Zappos and see what's offered there.
Do you need a bag at all?
Actually, no. I've seen a couple of high level skaters (not elite skaters), who just used shopping bags. One woman I met used a reusable grocery bag. Adult skaters are usually more impressed by your skating than by your stuff. Pick what you need.
What I use
I wish I could say I have the magic answer. I'm a 'bag junky' and I want my bag to be perfect. Here's what I want:
Big central area for skates and a light jacket
At least three big pockets for gear
Handles (not shoulder straps)
Feet to keep it off the floor
Is it too much to ask for? Apparently so, as I can't find a bag with everything.
Right now I carry my freestyle boots in a duffel with handles and three big pockets.
My dance boots are in a yoga bag with the mat straps cut off (Not enough pockets) Grr! but it has feet (and a hard floor). Also too small.
I also have a small carry on roller suitcase for when I take my skates on the road. Not enough pockets. Weighty.
I'm eyeing the bowling ball bags now. Someday my skate bag will turn up, like Cinderella's prince.
|No, not Prince Smarming. Prince Charming!|