Saturday, 9 March 2013

A look at the KNOG BIG DOG

Up next in my series of messenger bag reviews:  the Knog Big Dog

I must not be understanding the dimensions given on websites very well, as yet again here is a bag that is just so much bigger than I had visualised, so much so that I struggle to get my head round it.

(For what it's worth, I think the colour here is "stone".)

Here's what the manufacturer says about the Big Dog... and what I found for myself.
"Fat and roomy". In other words, HUGE. Alarm bells should have been ringing at the outset.

The strap is described as "extra wide".
Indeed it is TOO wide. Too wide to manage with my size hands, at least. Too wide, too thick, too heavy to adjust easily (much less on the go). Which makes it unfit for purpose. And very uncomfortable. 

And then there's the "waist strap".

Somehow, in my world, this should have translated to "anti-swing" (or stability) - in practice if not by description. Instead, there is something that does indeed (or is intended to) "go round one's middle" but it'll hit your waist only if you're King Kong.  I can't even call this "going round my hips". Which means it is totally useless.

The bag also apparently has "easy access pockets".  From all my 'window shopping', I believe this is supposed to mean that you can get (in)to it while you're cyling, i.e. while moving. Tell me how you're supposed to get into the top one here.  And I can't find the side ones with my hands, with the bag on my bag either. In fact, I'm not sure they aren't total figments of a marketeer's imagination.

To flesh out the picture, here are close-ups of various features, illustrating, at the very least, that the bag is robustly made.

The velcro and "locks" fastening the outer flap down are strong. The downside is, while you can close/secure it in a hurry, getting it open is a big pain. Impossible while on the move.

The inside of the bag is largely un-reconstructed, with for a laptop sleeve at the back, a full-length slip pocket in front of it, and then two half-length slip pockets in front of that. The rest is open space.

This bag retails at $125 on Knog's own website. I've found it in the UK at £53.38 to £79.88. Some retailers indicate that the Big Dog bag has been discontinued (in this mutation at least) in the UK market but I haven't been able to find 'officially' confirmation of this.


Cycling-specific design features: 6 / 10
   [I'm awarding points more for thought/effort than anything - see next point!]
Usefulness e.g. accessibility and comfort: 2 / 10 
   [Even worse than the Ortlieb Zip City S that I reviewed here!]
Durability:  8 / 10
Attractiveness:  7 / 10 
   [Assuming this is your cup of tea. That pale colour will get filthy quickly.]
Value for money: 8 / 10 
   {Assuming you're otherwise happy e.g. with size etc.]

Overall:  31 / 50

Meanwhile, I'm still gobsmacked that the way manufacturers describe their product do not give potential buyers the information they need to formulate reasonable expectations before purchase.


My reviews of other messenger bags can be found: 
  • Michaux Commuter here
  • Ortlieb Zip City S here and here
  • Timbuk2 Classic Messenger XS (custom) here

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