The first step was to decide on a normal bag or an ergonomic (ergo) bag. There were many reasons supporting either school of thought.
I thought I would want to get a normal bag for these reasons – more funky designs, more sleek as ergo bags tend to be bulky & heavy, children could leave some items in school as it was single session. Most importantly, I had grown up using a normal bag and I turned out fine. I did not want to spend so much on a bag that Z could either destroy or lose easily. I also thought it was really overprotective to get an ergo bag.
I surveyed a few friends who had primary school going kids. Of course, there were 2 sides to a coin and it depended on what appealed. Some said normal bags would do. One of my long time friends explained her switch from a normal sport branded bag to ergo bag. It warranted further shopping.
1. Kiddy Palace Marina Square – Impact (also heard that it was available at Ergoworks, some Popular stores & school bookshops)
2. Scool Marina Square – Totem, Ergobag
To be honest, both brands felt bulky and uncomfortable. However, Z liked the Ergobag which I suspected was for the funky prints.
3. Takashimaya – SPI & Lego (also found at Kinderfun United Square & Centrepoint)
I did not let Z try SPI because I did not like the materials. I had mistaken Lego ergonomic bags to be “SPI X Lego” but it was wrong. Lego ergonomic bags were just another range of ergonomic bags carried by Kinderfun.
Then I put 1.2kg of water in both Lego bags to test. To my surprise, the latter felt lighter on the shoulders. It meant I had to revisit Ergobag but Ergobag’s buckle was not as easy to use as Lego. The Lego Ultimate also came with a better, hard & waterproof base.
It impressed me enough to return for a second test with 2.5kg of “weights”.
Test with 2.5kg weights – very comfortable. Ranked #1 on my list, though Kinderfun explained this was for taller (1.3m) and fleshier kids as the hard base could hit the lower backs when children ran with the bag.
Test with 2.5kg weights – it still felt very heavy and the shoulder straps were uncomfortable.
Test with 2.5kg weights – it felt alright but not amazing. The bag was too big for Z too.
4. Online – Herlitz
I came across this while researching online. It sounded really good but the problem was we would not be able to try. The style seemed similar to the Lego Ultimate and it was also a German brand. The dimensions of 36.5cm – 37.5cm for large size sounded alright.
The base didn’t seem as impressive as Lego Ultimate. I also read on KP forum that the bag weighed 1.3kg and was made in China, according to information listed on Amazon UK. The down side was – I wouldn’t be able to see or try in person. Hence, I would rule this out.
Image from Scool’s website
Based on the dimensions, S size would work better for Z. However, the capacity was surprisingly lower than lego. Deuter Smart S’ capacity was 14 liters but it was taller than Lego Starter which could hold 18 liters.
Test with 2.5kg weights – I could not test the full load because I could not fit in a A4 Hard Plastic file into the S bag. Based on whatever was put in, it did not feel comfortable and I still feel the weight on the shoulders.
5. Ergo kid Wheelock – McMeil, Ergobag Soft Basic, Ergobag 2016 model
Test with 2.5kg weights – It was rather narrow but it was not rigid. We managed to squeeze the wide file in but the bag went out of shape. I could not comment on support since it was hanging oddly on Z.
Ergobag 2016 model -900g, hard case at $258 without accessories. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 40cm H X 28cm W X 22cm D.
Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was acceptable but the bag was too long and shoulder straps placed too close, so it felt rather tight.
Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was exceptional without the use of shoulder belt and waist belt. The buckle was easy to open and straps were easy to adjust. The back cushion was water repellent and would not absorb sweat. It was also the was the easiest bag to lift from the ground to carry because of there were no “complicated” straps. The SA could offer an additional 20% discount too.
Test with 2.5kg weights – with the thick straps, though it was not ergonomic, the bag felt light and comfortable to carry. In fact, it was more comfortable than some of the tested ergo bags. However, the bag could not stand so I was not sure how it would pan out for assembly and classroom’s use.
6. One KM/Changi City Point/JEM – Dr Kong
Test with 2.5kg weights – The weight felt like it was still on the shoulders. I was not really keen to find out more. When Z tried the S size, we realized his shoulder belt was slanted. I thought we did not adjust the shoulder straps equally. Turned out that the stitching of the shoulder belt was lopsided. One side was higher than the other. It casted considerable doubts and I did not like the design. Hence, we left promptly after trying.
Verdict : Yet to buy !!