Accessories: Ogio Straight Jacket Travel Bag Review
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By Erik J. Barzeski via TheSandTrap.comThe Ogio Straight Jacket: a $99 travel bag that protects your sticks while looking stylish to boot.
The tales of a golfer on the go's woes often begin with "airline baggage handlers" and ends with "broken clubs." It's a sad tale, yet one that needlessly plays itself out time and time again across the airports of the world. A golfer arrives, waits anxiously at the baggage claim, pulls his clubs off the track, and opens the zipper to his rain hood with trepidation. Have his favorite clubs survived or met an ugly fate?
The frequent golf traveler has no doubt invested in a golf travel bag. Travel bags fit over your standard bag - be it a cart or a stand bag - and offer additional storage and protection to your collection of sticks. Ogio, makers of some fine stand and carry bags, makes two travel bags: the Monster and the Straight Jacket.
I've spent some time recently lugging my clubs through airports in a Straight Jacket, and here's what I think.
The primary purpose of a travel bag is to protect your golf bag, and the Straight Jacket offers a reasonably roomy 50" x 15" x 15" to fit tour, cart, and carry/stand bags. An internal strap locks the bag into place in the large main compartment. The top third of the bag is padded to reduce the likelihood of dings or dents to your clubheads. Two cinch-down straps on the exterior further lock down the bag's contents.
The Straight Jacket, weighing only 7.25 pounds, is made of heavy-grade materials. The bottom portion consists of a waterproof rubberized material while the rest of the bag is made of a heavy nylon punctuated by metal "breathing" holes. Two urethane inline skate wheels on a sturdy outer frame provide the rolling functionality, and twin outer pockets allow for additional storage.
Performance and Usability
I chose a "Fire" red Straight Jacket for better visibility and easier recognition at airport baggage claim conveyor belts. Also available in indigo and black, the Straight Jacket was more than roomy enough to hold either of my two stand bags or my cart bag (an Ogio Atlas). If your stand bag has a larger stand mechanisms, you may want to put your bag in sideways.
The Straight Jacket provided what I would call adequate but not exceptional padding. I've always inserted a broomstick into my golf bag to provide further protection (the broomstick is longer than my driver), put iron headcovers on my irons, and wrapped towels around the shafts sticking out the top of my bag prior to packing my clubs into a travel bag, and I recommend that golfers do the same with the Straight Jacket. It's not a hard-side travel bag, after all, and it will take some abuse from the underpaid baggage jockeys.
The inline skate wheels are soft enough to offer some shock absorption and the plastic frame provides adequate support.
External storage is limited to two trapezoid-shaped pockets. They're large enough to hold a pair of shoes each. Given the limited protection offered by these pockets, I recommend you store only non-valuable, sturdy items in these external pockets. Only the primary zipper offers lock rings, too, making these side pockets easy pickings for unscrupulous baggage handlers.
The inline skate wheels performed admirably. They're a softer wheel, so they provided a little built-in shock absorption unlike many of the harder (or even plastic) wheels found on rolling luggage. The plastic frame adequately supports the bag and provides a little protection for those times you drag the Straight Jacket up a curb or a few steps.
The zippers are strong, but the main zipper is the only one with lock rings.
The material is sturdy and rugged, as are the zippers. I wish the included fabric handle were placed lower so that the clubs rode in a more upright position - I felt as if I was practically dragging the Straight Jacket around horizontally when using the existing handle, which made navigating airport terminals a trickier proposition than necessary.
When you're not rolling the Straight Jacket, a velcro-equipped handle provides easy carrying. A large padded shoulder strap can be used if you wish to carry your bag over your shoulder. It's adjustable, with several clips located at the top and bottom of the bag, though I don't recommend you carry your bag for long distances if you pack as heavily as I do.
The Ogio Straight Jacket is available in Black, Fire, and Indigo.
At only $99, a few of the Straight Jacket's misgivings are acceptable. For three times the price, you can purchase a Club Glove, or for twice the price, the Ogio Monster. For less than a hundred dollars, the Straight Jacket offers convenient, quick storage, a rugged cover, sturdy and smooth-rolling wheels, and even a little bit of style.
The Straight Jacket offers three modes of transportation: you can roll it, use the center handles to carry it, or throw it over your shoulder.
$99 is the least you can spend if you travel with your golf clubs.
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