Product Review – Kiefer Team Backpack

Doran | July 16th, 2013 - 4:32 pm

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Product Review – Kiefer Team Backpack

Early this year, I made contact with a representative from Kiefer, a well-known provider of swimming clothing and equipment.  While I had definitely heard of Kiefer, and recognized their easily identifiable seahorse branding, I had never used their products.  When I checked out their website, I found that they offer a whole range of aquatic products, from the competitive swimwear, goggles, and bags (which I was familiar with), to lifeguard and water rescue equipment, and even pool equipment such as starting blocks and flags.  After a few emails, he offered me my choice of equipment to test out and review on here.  At the time, I was using an old beat up back pack for swimming/gym trips and was hoping to upgrade.  For this reason, I selected the Kiefer Team Backpack, and planned on really putting it through its paces.

First Thoughts

Early this spring, the backpack arrived.  I was immediately impressed with the quality of this product.  At a price of only $24.95, I was not expecting a whole lot, to be honest.  But this pack seemed every bit as durable and sturdy as any Northface, Jansport, or Patagonia bag (all of which I have in my closet currently).  Swimming in high school, I had seen many similar bags, but never used one myself.  Right from the get go, I could see that Keifer had also considered many of the small details to make trips to the pool or gym even easier and more convenient.

Detailed Review

The most basic requirement of a bag is that it holds all your stuff, obviously.  Well, this bag does that and more.  It’s a great size; it can easily hold one towel, and even a second towel (or pull buoy), in addition to several other small items, like swimsuits, goggles and shampoo.  The bag is well designed so the main compartment is big enough, but the overall size of bag isn’t so much that it is awkward or uncomfortable to carry on your back.  What separates it from a traditional backpack meant for school books, is the larger flat bottom, so that a folded towel or two can rest on the bottom horizontally, rather than vertically. I dont have to stuff it in and hope the towel doesn’t stick out of the top.  Items in the main compartment can be organized, thanks to a netted compartment on either side.  I tend to keep my swimsuits in one, and deodorant and shampoo in the other.   A third mesh compartment, this one with a zipper, is under the top flap of the backpack.  I keep my goggles in this one, but it could easily also hold keys (a key ring is attached and can be seen in the picture below), and ID, or other small items.  A forth divided storage area is in the back of the main compartment, and I find it perfect for hand paddles.

A look down into the spacious and well laid out main compartment

A look down into the spacious and well laid out main compartment. Side and front pockets unzipped are as well.

The backpack easily holds a towel & pull buoy.  Also showing the internal zipped mesh pocket.

The backpack easily holds a towel & pull buoy. Also showing the internal zipped mesh pocket.

The exterior also offers a multitude of smaller storage compartments, all of which are pretty well thought out.  There are two side zip pockets, each with additional external mesh pockets which can hold either wet clothes or a waterbottle.  The side zip pockets are 7”x9” – plenty of room to store shampoo bottles, cell phones, or any other small items you don’t want to get mixed up in the main compartment.  Also, there is a front zipped pocket (the Kiefer logo is printed on it) which is completely separated and meant for wet gear.  This can accommodate a wet swimsuit or even stinky shoes/socks. For us triathletes, it’s not quite big enough for a wetsuit, unfortunately.  However, you can easily fit a wetsuit and towel in the main compartment.  Finally, there is one last zippered pocket on the size, towards the top of the bag, which offers a port for headphones, so you can store your phone or ipod in there and be listening to music with no problems.  By my count, this is the 11th distinct pocket/storage area in this bag… not bad!

This view shows side zip and mesh pocket, as well as audio/phone pocket with headphone port.

This view shows side zip and mesh pocket, as well as audio/phone pocket with headphone port.

If I had one area for improvement, it is that the straps are a bit stiff.  They still have sufficient padding, but aren’t the most comfortable I’ve used.  I do, however, like the top handle, which is perfect for grabbing the bag with your hand or hanging it up in a locker or closet.

The straps aren't great, but the top handle is really nice.

The straps aren’t great, but the top handle is really nice.

Overall

I’ve now been using the bag several times a week for the past few months.  It has n0t shown any signs of wear, confirming my initial impression that this was a well-made product.  I take it to the gym for swimming or other workouts, but I’ve also been using it for other things.  Whether it’s a quick overnight stay, or a day trip to the beach, I find myself grabbing this as my bag of choice.  It could certainly serve as a triathlon/transition backpack for race day.  In some cases, I like it more than my triathlon bag, but ultimately I’d rather just use it for every day stuff and keep my triathlon bag for race day (given all the unique race day equipment, it’s easier to just leave it all in one bag).  Especially when you consider the price, this is a versatile bag that you will use every day and not be disappointed.  So if you are looking to ditch that old backpack (like I did) and pick up a daily gym/swimming/triathlon bag, I’d definitely recommend the Kiefer Team Backpack.  I’m so impressed with the value this bag offers, I will probably start to look at other Kiefer products.  In particular, my suits are getting a bit thin in the butt, so that may be my next purchase!  Looking at prices of Kiefer’s men’s swimwear, its only $17 for a drag suit and $13 for a ‘racing brief’, so you really cant lose.

Which would you rather take to the pool???  That's what I thought.

Which would you rather take to the pool??? That’s what I thought.