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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble


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  • Skates
    Bauer Flexlite 4.0 Pro
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    Easton S19
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    Bauer Vapor XXXX Pro

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    Delco, PA
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  1. Thanks to JR, MSH, and GRIT for the opportunity to participate in this long term review for the 34” GRIT HockeyPod. While it arrived a few months back, I wanted to wait until the start of my travel hockey season to break it out, so I could see what effect a full hockey season would have on the bag. Practices started up two weeks ago, so here we go. I had owned and enjoyed using a GRIT Hockey Tower in the past, so I knew it would be a quality bag with a lot of nice features. My only complaint with the Tower was the oversized nature of the bag (which was not compatible with the small car I owned at the time). However, I did enjoy how it sat upright on the locker room, and there was a place/shelf/pocket for everything. I was happy to see that the Pod is a riff on the same design, with shelves and organizing components galore. Fully loaded, here is what my bag looks like, with the suspended pocket overlaying everything: With the jersey/sock/towel pocket swung off to the side, you can see all my gear in place – Happy to say my gear is not stuffed in there, but in fact is nicely loose (which also might be an indicator I could move down to the smaller Pod, but more on that later): My chiropractor had long ago recommended a backpack or wheeled style bag for the health of my back and neck. Having most recently used a backpack style bag, I was excited to give this bag a shot – as long as they had solved my major complaint with back-worn types of bags – the extreme width. I know one of the goals with this design was to create a more vertical orientation to the bag, reducing the wideness problems typically found with backpack bags, and regular bags too for that matter – the inability to walk through a door without crashing into one side of the door frame or the other. You might ask, is that such a big deal, crashing into door frames? I have never really paid attention before but decided to count this weekend how many doors I cross through between leaving my house and entering the locker room – it’s 6 each way, 12 on a roundtrip. That said, on my first trip to practice I did not hit a single door jamb. Was it because I was focused on this particularly? Or did this bag really not get in the way? Time will tell on that one. Overall fit, however, is where I ran into problems with the Pod. I found it pretty uncomfortable to wear. In theory, I understand the concept of the sling style single strap (many people wear backpack bags this way - single strap style - but with the sling the pack stays centered on the carrier’s back). As you can see, the top on the sling, the part that sits closest to the wearer’s neck, is very wide: I think it was designed this way with extra thickness and padding in order to prevent strain and rubbing on the neck and shoulders, but I found for me in the 6 times I have worn it so far, it was the exact opposite. All I felt was the strap digging into my neck. I tried all the adjustments I could think of – swapped right side for left, made sling strap longer, made sling strap shorter. I even tried to make it into a cross-body sling, with the strap on the right shoulder and attached on the lower left of the bag. While the strap was not long enough for me to do this without choking, I do think there is some potential here as I felt the pulling on my neck disappear. Perhaps GRIT will make the strap longer in the future to allow it to be worn this way. Since I like this bag enough to continue to use it, at least for now, I hope the padding in the sling strap begins to soften a bit over time and can perhaps mold a little better to my body. And I will keep playing with the strap length. Also speaking of fit, I did find this pack to be a little long for me. As mentioned, I’m testing the 34” version of this pack and they do also make a 30” version that would likely not hit the top of my hamstrings like this one does. However, this is a bit of nitpicking because with all the back-worn bags I have used over the years, there is always a bit of this. One unexpected feature that I have fallen in serious like (almost love) with is the ventilation panel all along the entire back side (you can see it in the strap photo above). Being too lazy sometimes (frequently) to empty my gear out between back-to-back sessions, I was pleased to find that my gear was quite dry between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon practices. The open panel combined with the shelves that keep all the gear from laying right on top of each other, as well as the "stand-up" design of the bag seems to be the magic here. Was my gear as dry as it would have been if I had taken it all out of the bag and hung it on a drying rack? Of course not, but really close. Having been a prior GRIT customer, I knew this bag comes with an estimated $130-140 retail cost on this bag (similar to the Tower when I bought it several years ago), so for most people it really needs to provide something that could not be found in a regular bag. As you can see from above, there are definitely plusses and minuses for me in this bag. I really like the internal shelving design and ventilation panel. With the primary minus being fit, I’m hoping that with time this will improve some. I’ll check back in on that later.
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