Back in my club volleyball days, I carried an enormous Blocksport bag to all of our tournaments. It could hold three different uniforms, shoes (court shoes and sandals), knee pads, whistle, rule book, athletic tape, sweats, extra hair stuff, socks, and several varieties of snacks without breaking a zipper. That bag is a beast, but all I had to do was cart it from my parents’ minivan to the gym and then it sat there all day while I scampered back and forth to get things out of it.
Fast forward to today, and I don’t really need to carry a full weekend’s supply of volleyball gear around every time I go to the gym. I also prefer not having to play musical bags with my stuff; moving essentials from purse to gym bag to laptop case and back is a surefire way to lose something. I tried just throwing shoes, water, car keys and wallet into my old Blocksport bag, but it seemed ridiculous to lug it around when one tenth of its space was being used. I tried cramming volleyball gear into my laptop-compatible messenger bag, but that thing was not made to hold shoes, much less stinky kneepads.
So what’s a multi-tasking volleyball player to do? Well, my solution was to find one bag that could do it all. Enter my new Mizuno backpack.
First we have the main compartment, which is large enough for several books or enough clothes to get you through a long day of volleyball. It also includes a padded space for your laptop, a crucial component for me since I work from home and cart my laptop around pretty much everywhere I go. The main compartment also has a mesh pocket, which I’ve found perfect for storing headphones or other small things that tend to get lost at the bottom of larger pockets.
Next let’s talk about the nifty little side pockets. These hold wallet, chapstick, athletic tape/scissors, gum and any other little bits and pieces that you need quick and easy access to. There’s also a shoe pocket down at the base of the backpack that lets you keep shoes, knee pads and/or soiled socks away from things that you don’t want to smell like feet, which is always a plus.
The front pocket is pretty big, and if I were making it I’d have added a few more divisions, or at least a place to hold pens. But overall it’s great for smaller bits of gear like sunglasses, granola bars, chargers and smaller notebooks. It also has a clip inside where you can attack your keys so they don’t get buried at the bottom.
And now two of the smallest bits of the bag, but also some of my favorites: the cell phone holder on the front and the mesh bag carrier. I am an iPhone nut and the cell phone pocket on the strap fits it perfectly. It also makes it easy to listen to the phone via headphones while you’re walking around. And of course you have easy access in case someone calls.
The mesh ball carrier is detachable, but when it’s on it holds a ball outside the bag so you’re not giving up all your storage space whenever you need to bring a volleyball along. So far I haven’t needed to use it because all my indoor games provide volleyballs, but this summer when sand and grass volleyball get going I know it will be very handy to have. The hook can also work with a reusable water bottle in a pinch.
So there you have it, my assessment of my latest volleyball purchase. I highly recommend it for anybody who needs a bag to do double or triple duty. Shop around online, but with several sites that sell it for around $35 it’s a good deal (especially when you see some laptop cases that cost more than three times that much). Enjoy!