The ulimate guide to buying a catchers bag in 2020
When it comes to playing baseball or softball, you need to have the right gear to perform at your peak. For today's baseball and softball catchers, it can be a huge hassle when it comes to transporting player equipment to practice or even from field to field during tournaments. Needless to say, every catcher needs the right bag to carry all that gear.
While there are a lot of baseball and softball bat bags, there is only a handful of manufacturers that cater to the catcher position. We took a hard look at the critical elements needed in a catchers bag to satisfy today's catchers fully.
Plenty of storage is an absolute must.
The biggest issue with most bags today is that they do not provide enough room to store all the equipment used by a catcher. The equipment gear used can vary in size due to the age of the player. One of the most challenging items to fit in a player's bag is the shin guards. Shin guards can range from 8" to 16" to cover the shin but then will have additional protection that will cover the knee along with extra protection for the boot (foot) area.
These bulky items are often combined with Knee Savers that can eat up some storage room in a player's bag. We found the NO E2 catchers bag from No Errors provided a catchers bag that has plenty of room for any size shin guard and is expandable to give even more room if the player chooses to use Knee Savers. The NO E2 bag by No Errors is designed by catchers for catchers.
One additional piece of equipment that can take up some real estate in a player's bag is both the catcher's helmet along with the players batting helmet. If you are a softball player, your batting helmet is required to have a facemask attached, which will consume even more space in your bag.
The ideal catcher's bag will have organized areas that provide the catcher to dedicate space to both their batting helmet and the catcher's helmet. We found there are a handful of bags that offer organized shelves within the bag to help separate and organize the player's equipment. The NO E2 catchers bag, along with a few other bags, do provide this type of dedicated space to the player's helmet.
If you are serious about playing baseball or softball, then you more than likely have a few different bats. The bat is generally the most expensive item in your bag. It is not uncommon a bat for either baseball or fastpitch softball sells for more than $300. It is not unusual that today's players carry two or three bats in their bag.
If you are a player who plays in a competitive men's league, you may even carry up to six or eight bats when traveling. Every player wants to make sure they have a dedicated place to store their bats no matter how many they carry. Be sure to look over this area, so you not only have ample storage but padded protection to extend the life of your bat.
One item that often gets overlooked by bag manufactures is the need to store your cleats, in particular spikes. Players spiked shoes should be kept in an area away from other items that the spike could cause damage and is well ventilated. If you're looking for a catchers bag, search for a dedicated area within the bag that will protect the player's cleats.
Lastly, make sure the overall size of the bag will fit all your equipment along with any personal items you may want to take for a full day. Catchers often get stuck carrying two bags because one bag is not enough room to store everything. When it comes to size, we found the NO E2 bag to have plenty of room and maybe a little to spare.
Never buy a wheeled bag catcher bag without sufficient wheels.
The one issue just about every large bag on the market is the size of the wheels. Be cautious, spending money on a bag that has smaller inline skate wheels may not be money well spent. These inline wheels will tend to cause significant damage to the bottom of your bag when it travels over natural terrain. Inline skate wheels were designed to be used on hard surfaces such as cement, pavement, etc.
The issue is when these wheels are pulled over gravel, dirt, or other natural surfaces, the wheel will generally dig into the natural surface, causing the bottom of the bag to drag on the ground possibly. This dragging can cause damage to the bag and will void the warranty. We found if you purchase a bag that has a larger wheel, you will have fewer problems with the bag tearing up on the bottom.
Again, we found that the NO E2 bag seemed to have solved this issue with their FatBoy Wheel Technology. The company claims the wheel can withstand up to 500 lbs of stress. The larger rubber made wheel combined with its structural strength makes for an almost indestructible wheel and provides enough ground clearance to keep the bag elevated and prohibits dragging. The FatBoy Wheel technology is used on a variety of military-grade bags, mainly because the same advantages it provides to baseball bags it will contribute to bags used by military personnel.
If you elect to purchase a bag made with FatBoy Wheel Technology, you will notice one distinct advantage right away. The technology provides a very smooth pull making it easy to go over all types of surfaces. The FatBoy Wheel technology is used on a variety of No Errors bags, but we especially like it on the NO E2 catchers bag.
Make sure your bag is manufactured with durable materials.
Let's face it when it comes to material what are you suppose to believe and how would we ever honestly know the difference. You need to do a lot of research to understand what fabric is better than the next. We recommend bags that are made of nylon, which is typically better. Some polyesters are suitable, but usually, you can trust nylon to be better.
One of the biggest issues with bags are the zippers. Here are some challenges that you may not think of when buy a bag with zippers. Zippers need to stay lubricated to work effectively. Most players buy the bag and then never think about applying a little oil, wax or another lubricant to help the zipper train travel. These types of bags tend to sit out in the sun, which is hard on zippers.
These types of bags are often laid on a dugout floor and then stepped on by metal cleats, which can cause severe damage to any zipper and will void the warranty. We recommend finding bags that have zippers that are #10 and most likely lubricated. An oversized zipper will help extend the life of the zipper and the overall life of the bag. You will need to take care of the zipper no different than you take care of your equipment if you want a bag to last. We recommend keeping some zipper wax in your bag and using it from time to time to keep your zippers working properly.
Do they have your team color
The most popular color sold in bat bags is black. Players often think black will show the dirt the least, and since it is a somewhat neutral color, they can use it with a few different teams they may play with throughout the year. One of the second best selling colors is grey or sometimes referred to as graphite.
Again, grey is a bit of neutral color and generally goes well with any color of the uniform. If you are a player that wants to have a bag that matches their team colors, then we would look for a brand that gives you many choices in color. There are roughly 92 color combinations that have used at the college and high school level. However, ten primary colors are used within the 92 color combination.
If you can find a brand that will offer ten primary colors for a specific bag like a catcher bag, you will be lucky. We found No Errors to have ten great looking colors for a specially designed catchers bag. Most of these primary colors are trimmed with a neutral color such as grey or black. These bags will go nicely with any player's uniform.
Would you like your bag customized
Another factor to consider when choosing a bag is if the bag can be customized to display a logo, team name, player name, or player number. You may want a combination of all these items, or you may wish to have a player name and number.
No matter what you choose, you may want to find a brand that can do all the embroidery work in house to save you the trouble of finding an embroidery facility and paying all the upfront costs to have the job done. The benefits of having the manufacture embroider your bag is that they may be more experienced to level of volume they do on a everyday basis and they may be willing to reduce the price on the embroidery since you are buying bags from them as well.
Staying organized when you have so much equipment can be difficult. Many catchers bags are just big oversized duffle bags. The best catchers bags are designed with an idea of keeping the player organized. Catchers have to get in and out of the dugout quickly. They need to warm up their pitcher, so they do not have time to be looking around for their gear.
Find a catcher bag that has specialized compartments for each item so that way a player knows exactly where to look for that item. The best catcher bags have a designated place for their shin guards, their helmet, batting helmet, bats, cleats, and mitt. Make sure there are some additional pockets for items such as eye black, seeds, athletic tape, etc. so these items can be easily found when needed. You may also want to make sure there are mesh pockets with zippers to place your batting gloves after use so they stay protected and can dry quickly.
Backed by a Warranty
Most bags have some type of warranty. These warranties range from 3 months to a year and have several disclaimers that could void the warranty if the manufacture feels the product has been abused. Players are generally very hard on bags. Even if you are a player that typically takes good care of your equipment, the task of hauling all that gear over rocks, grass, and other types of terrain is hard on the bag.
When you buy a bag with a warranty, you are purchasing a bag based on the company behind standing behind it. We would recommend looking at the reviews and the numerous comments about the product from other users just like you. It would help if you kept in mind that you will always find someone who is not happy with their purchase as it is very tough for any brand that is in business for any length of time to keep 100% of their customers happy all the time.
However, if you find a majority of the reviews are positive on the product, there is a good chance the company stands behind that product when a challenge occurs. You may also read reviews that illustrate an issue and see how the company dealt with the matter. Again, we may find a customer now and then who is not happy, but if the consensus is that most are satisfied, then you will most likely have found a company that is willing to stand behind their work and their product.
Friendly and knowledgeable customer service.
Much like the warranty we prefer to purchase from companies who are knowledgeable about the industry and the categories they have products represented. We also like the idea of buying from companies who are friendly and are willing to help the consumer making an educated purchase.
There are so many ways to attain information these days that it can be challenging for some brands to answer every comment, question form submission, or other means of communicating with an immediate response. However, the companies who can respond and get you the information you need within a reasonable amount of time will most likely be there for you when you need them in the future.