Bowling Bag Features You Want to Pay Extra For


A lot of consumers out there go shopping for a new bag and simply pick out a bag that "looks good" to their eye. No doubt that cosmetics are probably the number one factor in bag sales. But there are a lot of features that you might never think about that create higher quality (and usually higher priced) bags. When I worked on the very first Hammer black/orange triple tote, I was determined to build one of the toughest bags in the industry. I was amazed what I learned when we started testing samples and features. Here's a look at three things I ALWAYS look for when picking bags out for myself.

If you're in the market for a heavy-duty rolling bag with a retractable handle, I'd recommend looking for one with a two-stage retractable handle that collapses all the way in to the base. You can see a picture of the difference between the two in the pictures above. The bag on the left has a fully retractable handle, whereas the one on the right has a handle that closes down just above the top of the bag. Why does it matter? If you're not going to fly with the bag, it probably doesn't. But if you ever check this bag on an airline, you've got a far higher likelihood of the handle design on the left getting to your destination unharmed. The handles that don't retract fully in to the base tend to get hit in handling and are damaged much more often.

My next two tips are related to the very popular "triple tote" style bag. These have become the best selling bag design to league and tournament bowlers out there. The first thing you should take a look at is the wheel structure. There are two basic designs in the marketplace.

The bag on the left has a narrow urethane wheel built on an axle. The bag on the right uses two independent wheels supported by a riveted c-cup base design. My experience developing (and warrantying) bag lines over the years says that the design on the right is far superior. It's not actually due to the wheel itself. The most common problem with the design on the left occurs when a bowler lifts the bag from both ends, and then drops the wheel end to the ground level to roll their bag. Remember, at least half the time you drop it, you're doing it on a hard concrete surface. Over time that repetitive dropping weakens the structure of the axle running through the bag, and it eventually snaps, causing the wheel to sink up inside the bag. Could you be gentler on your bag? Sure. But we're all not so happy when we end the night on a pocket 7-10, or were late showing up to bowling.

Finally, one small feature that everyone finds a difference in and almost no one asks for is a molded pull handle. You can see the difference in the bags here. The bag on the top has a sewn pull strap, while the bag on the bottom has a molded PVC pull handle.

If you've ever wheeled your bag from the Tri-Properties in Reno to the National Bowling Stadium, or through a Las Vegas casino to one of the centers, you know the value of a molded handle. The strap designs are cheaper to produce, but they cut in to your hand as the pressure from the weight builds. Wheel one of each of these through an airport and you'll know the difference immediately. It's worth making sure your next bag has one!

If you'd like more advice on bags, or have any questions about any of your bowling gear, contact us today at 913-258-8333 or totalbowlinggear@gmail.com.

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