This past weekend I had the opportunity to test out the new Victory Sportdesign drop bag called the “Bear 1″. I have demoed and gone through so many drop bags since I started running ultras, when I saw this bag in Ultrarunning Magazine I immediately wanted to try it out.
When I run ultras my wife almost always crews for me and she has often talked about finding a bag to make not only my life easier, but also hers. It would be simple if I always knew exactly what I wanted to have at the next aid station before I left the previous one but the reality is that I have no idea what I will want, and what I tell her to have ready for me usually looks awful when I get there leaving me no other option. This is no one’s fault but my own because I am packing based upon how I previously fueled during long runs or races but sometimes we desire some change or some options. The last thing you want to do to your crew is have them lug around the large box full of GU’s, food, drink mixes, first aid kits to every aid station so the goal has been to find a small compact bag to streamline the process and make it easier for my wife and also for me.Last weekend as I prepared for the Speedgoat 50K I had the choice to put an exuberant amount of junk inside a plastic bag, portable nylon cooler or I could get everything I needed inside the Victory Sportdesign bag. Since there is very limited crew access and I would basically be on my own with my drop bag most of the day the obvious choice was to get this bag and use it as my mini aid station for the day.
When the bag arrived in the mail I looked it over pretty closely and was amazed at just how compact it was and how many visible places it had to put my different nutritional items. The bag is designed with the exact Western States 100 drop bag dimensions of 6″ x 8″ x 16″ so I knew it wasn’t going to be too big for the volunteers to carry around. They typically like you to have an easy to carry or small drop bags for ultra events and this item fits the bill.
The first thing you will notice on this bag is the waterproof nylon exterior with a large exterior top and side window which makes it easy for you to personalize your bag and also include your race number so the volunteers can find it easily as you come into the aid station. For those of you out there that like to personalize your items you could put a design or some pictures in the windows to make it easy to identify for you or maybe you like to see a picture of your kids during the down moments of a race. I had my wife and daughter draw up a name plate and put my bib number and the bag was extremely easy to spot from a distance. The bag can be carried with a shoulder strap which is included or you can remove the strap and just use the small handle nylon handle attached to the bag.
The inside of the bag was designed with convenience in mind because again it has the clear windows on the inside flap of the bag. The top flap of the bag folds back to uncover three different window compartments across the inside to store medical supplies, GU’s, Honey Stinger Waffles, etc. Each little compartment will hold at least 4-5 GU’s so variety is never a problem even during a hundred. When you open the bag you will see two insulated bottles holders which are detachable or can be used to store different items. Some people even use the bottle holders as different mini drop bags for other aid stations. The large space between the bottles holders even fit my size 13 shoes for traveling, a rain jacket, and headlamp with plenty of space to spare. Sometimes it is nice to have a change of shoes on the course or socks especially if it’s raining so it’s good to know they will be dry and protected from the elements when you go and grab your bag.If you have additional items such as wipes, first aid kit or items that don’t need to be visible at all times there is also two large inside pockets for storage. All of the zippers are glow in the dark which makes the bag easy to spot at night and you can easily hook a small flashlight on the inside zipper to access the inside of your bag at night.
The bag is $59.90 which is half the price of a pair of shoes and the solid construction of the bag means it will last for years to come. I realize if you need several drop bags for a race it may be costly to pick up a few bags but it is the perfect bag for your crew or to use at selected aid stations when you know you may need more supplies or food. We spend so much money on shoes, headlamps, nutritional products, and gear but we also do the worst job of keeping them nice by putting it in a cheap plastic bag. I highly recommend this bag to anyone that runs ultras or needs a small bag to pack their running gear for a trip. It is time to quit wasting time at aid stations looking for your bag or trying to find an item buried in your bag when you can have everything clearly visible. I personally have not used a better drop bag nor have I found a better way to keep my items clean and organized.
You can find more detailed information and purchase these bags through Victory Sportdesign at http://www.victorysportdesign.com. Right now they are offering 10% off multiple bag purchases on web sales so don’t miss out on this great opportunity.