Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Finally Use My 'Previously Owned' Zuca

Earlier this year I bought a Zuca frame and insert for $25 at my club's semi-annual used equipment sale. I didn't know if I would ever use it, but really, for $25 it was a steal. So I bought a new insert for it, and it sat in  my  'figure skating room' (second guest room) for a few weeks.

I just started using it because LTS is so crowded, that it's hard to find a place to sit. The women in freestyle want me to join them in the 'ADULT FREESTYLE CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE'. But they all have Zuca's and (again with the crowding) I have to find a spot on the bench to sit where the CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE is seated on their Zucas.

So, this week I packed my skates and gear in the Zuca bag and started hauling it around to practices.

Below is a picture of my review:

Reason 1: It doesn't support my Pack It As You Take It Off Philosophy. I don't like the fact that it's natural to put the skates in first (on the bottom) and the other stuff I want to put in the main compartment goes on top of my skates. So I have to be careful not to put too much stuff in the main compartment so there's a lot of wasted space above my skates.
Temp Fix for this: I have to leave my skates out, pack all my other stuff in their vented bags, pile them on the bottom and then put the skates in on top of them. This means I have stuff spread out all over the place, rather than the natural method of 'pack it as you take it off'.
Real Fix to This: I'm going to find one of those locker shelves that fits the main compartment, and set it up so that I can put my skates right in on top of the shelf, and then pile the other stuff under the shelf. This way, I can pack it as I take it off.

Reason 2. The side mesh areas look as flimsy as hell. I have a vented bag for my knee and hip pads and I'm afraid all that's going to tear the side mesh off one of these days

Reason 3: Those extra deep pockets are pretty worthless to me. Everything settles to the bottom, so if I'm looking for something I have to root around the deep pockets to find stuff. I guess they work okay for CDs and stuff, but its easier to find CDs etc in a  classic suitcase.

Reason 4: The thing is H.E.A.V.Y. Hell, I'm in my 60's I practically need a man to get it out of the car.

I don't want to criticize Zuca in a way that implies it's a badly made product. It's a well made product and maybe those mesh sides are stronger than I think they are. If it rocks your boat, that's fine.

On the other hand,  I want to sit with my sisters in the CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE, so I'll put up with it.'

You guy's know I made up all that CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE shit don't you? It's not like we go out in the wilderness and dance around a fire and chant Patrick Chan's highest COP and GOE scores or anything.
"Patrick Chan? I thought it was Jason Brown's this week."


  1. I KNEW IT! Zuca's are for kids! :-) Seriously though, they do seem well-made, but the design looks awfully bulky and your comment about it being heavy speaks volumes. Although, if it guarantees you a seat at "The Circle" then it must be used. There's no circle at my rink (but man, I'd love to start one), so I can continue to carry my itty bitty, super-light shoulder bag.

    1. All adult skaters should have a Circle of Sacred Fire--with badges!

  2. I was managing quite nicely with an old roller bag when a friend bought me a Zuca for my birthday. It was such a thoughtful gift (and way too expensive!) It really is hard to fit adult skates and accompanying gear in a Zuca. And I second the comment on everything falling to the bottom in those side pockets. The mesh pockets are more durable than they look but be careful about snagging them. I've successfully mended mine. I put mg blade drying cloth in one mesh pocket, and a few pairs of gloves, hair scrunchies, an energy bar in the other mesh pocket. The tiny zippered pockets are good for car keys and a cheap watch. Inside, I have my skates, music, a bag with miscellaneous (pain relief, safety pins, bandaids, spare laces, comb, etc.) I can fit my jacket on top if I stuff it in, or a change of clothes, but I need a separate tote bag for my notebook. It IS heavy to lift into/out of car. I have used the seat many times, though. I love my Zuca because it was a gift from a dear friend, but the suitcase held more stuff!

    1. I have size 6 1/2 feet. My boots seem to be the max size that can fit the Zuca front to back. My old skating buddy had size 13 men's boots. I don't think you could fit *one* of them in there!

  3. Cool, so I'm going to stick with my rolling suitcase and backpack. Your review = exactly what I thought my experience would be like when I first saw a Zuca. No need wonder about it any longer!

  4. Ugh, I wrote a comment but the internet ate it (the mobile version of Blogger sucks).

    I like mine more than you do but putting stuff into it is like playing a game of Tetris. Also, because it's so expensive (and pretty!) I have to be really careful with it. That's difficult when I have to walk 20 minutes, take a train, then a tram to the rink.

    A word of warning though, when you haul everything around, stuff tends to fall to the back. The fabric at the back is very flimsy (why they haven't reinforced this yet is beyond me), so blades and stuff can end up making holes. Lean a thick piece of cardboard against the back to stop this. You'll never even know it's there and your insert should last longer. :)

  5. Oh, sorry for commenting twice, but I have an annoying story about those really deep pockets at the side.

    I usually put my public transport ticket in the really small pocket on one of the sides. I scanned it on (therefore paying my fee). I was very exhausted and accidentally slipped it into the huge, deep side pocket. I got off the train and there were some gates at the train station exit. I had to scan my ticket for the gate to open so I could leave the station.

    I looked all over for the ticket but couldn't find it! I had to get an official train guy to open it. I told him that I had paid my fee but I couldn't find my ticket.

    He fined me around $200 AUD.

    I found my ticket when I got home. I ended up getting my fine retracted and an official warning instead, but boy, was I annoyed! My mum yelled at me for hours for being so careless and I was forbidden from skating before work. Also $200 is a lot of money for someone who works in fast food and has to pay for skating.

    Grrr, stupid Zuca bag.