28 Mar 2011

Gear Review: Datsusara Pro Gear Bag (PGB-03)

Ginormous bag made from hemp fibres which are a zillion times stronger* than puny cotton, this bag can fit two small children and three quarters of me. Pros: good for smuggling small children. Cons: not so good for smuggling adults. Oh and handy for transporting your fight gear when out and about.

This bag was sent to me for review by Europe's most awesome MMA store: Made4Fighters.

When word got out on the forums that a new fight wear brand were marketing products made from hemp, everyone's ears pricked up. Hemp, as the publicity machine would have us believe, is much much stronger than cotton and is naturally microbial resistant. Their prototype BJJ gis have been floating around for a few months now and the full production models of their gis are currently just arriving at those who have pre-ordered. Hemp is cool, thin, light and very expensive to mass produce. That's why this bag costs a whopping £95!!

(* exaggerated for comic effect, actual strength factor is x4)

Arrives flat-packed

Here is a list of what this bag features (taken from the Datsusara website):

• Body made of heavy duty 100% hemp canvas (Why Hemp?)
• Large size for all your gear (28x14x13 inches, 72x36x34 cm)
• Main compartment (23x14x13 inches, 58x36x34 cm)
• Zip end pockets (13x14x2.75 inches, 34x36x7 cm)
• Side velcro pockets (6x8x2 inches, 16x21x5 cm)
• Middle velcro pockets (3.5x3x2 inches, 9x8x5 cm & 2x3x2 inches, 5.5x8x5 cm)
• Middle zip pocket (6x6x2 inches, 15x16x5 cm)
• Mesh pockets that will fit up to 4 large water bottles, towels, etc.
• Neoprene handles and detachable, adjustable shoulder strap
• New Removable front side logo with velcro patch, customizable
• YKK® self healing zippers
• Meets or exceeds U.S. Mil Spec standards
• Comes with a large polyester "nasty bag" for wet gear separation (13x22 inches, 33x56 cm)

Includes a synthetic gi bag

Design and style
Interestingly, the website product features a greyed out front name tag, but the version I have incorporates red wording. Apart from the few small red logos and branding, the overall feel and look of this product is of black, black and...more black!

This baby is all about massive space and millions of pockets. I managed top stuff six folded up BJJ gis into the main compartment and all my other accessories (towel, ear guard, groin guard, rash guard etc etc) into the side pockets. This is the bag that keeps on giving. I carried on stuffing more and more items into the various compartments and still it would not get full. I ran out of stuff in the end (true!)

Numbers correspond to pockets and compartments

Side and mesh compartments are very handy

I must admit that by the time I had stuffed it full to the brim with gear, I could barely lift it up. I wanted to test the strength of the shoulder straps and hand holds - as clearly these would be the weakest parts of the bag. So cue my two kids, who were only happy to jump into Daddy's new 'spaceship'...

Fits one sleeping child very easily

Two kids and a toy cat? No problem.

Unfortunately I did not take photos of me carrying my two kids around whilst they were inside the bag. But I really did swing them around and plop the bag onto my shoulder as they giggled, squirmed and generally acted as handy weights to test the straps. There was not even a creak of the belt clip nor did the handle holds distort under the strain of 35 odd kilos of giggling weight.

I wouldn't recommend carrying young children around in the item as prams are available for such purposes but it did prove to me that the straps were durable and strong enough to take a considerable degree of strain.

It is certainly hard to justify spending nearly £100 on a rather plain looking gear bag. A quick scan through Argos (online and high street goods seller) reveals that their big sports bag holdalls cost a mere £20-£25. But it is my estimation that the Datsusara PGB-03 is built to last a lifetime...really! If one considers how many pathetically broken and ripped up sports holdalls litter landfills up and down the country then £100 for a bag made from eco-friendly materials (apart from the synthetic inner bag) and is made to outlast mass produced bags by a huge order of magnitude, then £100 for such an item could actually be considered good value for money!

I would write more on this bag but my kids are calling me...they want daddy to play one more game of 'spaceship'...crumbs, what have I started???!!!

Thanks to www.made4fighters.com for sending my this bag for review. Please visit and 'like' my Facebook page for more follow-up details and reactions to this product, general gear gossip, giveaways and general BJJ related chit chat.

This review represents my own opinions. I am not an expert in textiles or clothing etc, just a regular BJJ student who likes a few BJJ gis (okay a lot). I consider myself independent and impartial - I am not sponsored by any one company nor do I endorse any one brand. I have a close dialogue with a large number of gi makers and sellers, some of whom I collaborate with on various projects that are unconnected with this review. If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to email me (see About Me) or post a comment below. I hope this review was helpful.


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Andy.B. said...

Another awesome review.... however i call "Fibs" on your "Features" statement, as we KNOW you have more than 6 Gi's ;)

Meerkatsu said...

Busted! Ok so I was lazy and I could not be bothered to unfold and fit in more gis from my archive of gis :P

Keatonmask said...

I have one of these bags and they are awesome, well worth the cash.

Also I have now have my issue of JJ style! thanks for giving me the right contact details.


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