Equipment Guide - Bags and Bat Covers
In large part due to the amount of equipment cricketers have carry to and from cricket matches, the dedicated cricket bag has become an unavoidable necessity.
In many cases choosing an appropriate cricket bag simply comes down to your space requirements, but in some cases specific features, build quality and brand allegiance will often help guide your hard earned cash towards a more considered choice. In this simple guide, we’ll look to highlight some of the features you may want to look for with a view to helping you find your perfect cricket bag.
Many larger cricket bags feature wheels at one end which allow you to wheel the bag along the floor rather than carry the cricket bag’s full weight. If your wheelie cricket bag is likely to be carrying a lot of weight we recommend looking for larger PU wheels like those you would see on inline roller skates as these will offer greater durability and will provide greater clearance over lumps and bumps.
Carry Straps / Handles
All cricket bags whether they have wheels or not will feature carry straps of some kind as every bag will need to be lifted off the ground at some point. For wheelie cricket bags, carry straps may not be as important as for carry cricket bags, but in either case we strongly recommend that you ensure that the carry straps are of a suitable size and quality, so that should you need to carry your cricket bag, the experience is not too painful. In the case of holdall, duffle and backpack style carry cricket bags, we recommend taking a close look at the shoulder strap(s) to make sure that it/they offers sufficient padding to minimise discomfort when carry a full load.
Compartments / Pockets
Cricket bags offer a variety of different specialised internal and external compartments designed to help your organise your equipment. You may there consider looking out for some of these features depending on how important you prioritise your requirements:
- Wet/Dry section
- Valuables pocket
- Shoe compartment
- Helmet compartment
- Quick access pocket
A cricket bag’s base should be waterproof to avoid the contents getting wet should the bag be placed on wet ground. In the case of wheelie cricket bags, we recommend taking a close look at the base of the cricket bag to ensure that it is sufficiently durable and stiff to avoid the base sagging after prolonged use or being work through from contact with kerbs and other obstacles. Most cricket bag’s bases will feature reinforced plastic studs and/or runners to offer further protection from daily wear and tear.
To avoid having to carry multiple cricket bags many players prefer their cricket bags to incorporate a dedicated bat pocket. In the vast majority of cases the bat compartment is positioned externally for easy access, but in some cases the bat compartment is integrated into the interior of the cricket bag to offer maximum protection.
A synthetic polymer designed as a replacement for silk, Nylon is a highly durable and waterproof thermoplastic. Nylon fibre is woven into sheets of fabric which in turn form the largest constituent material used in the construction of cricket bags outer shells. Denier is the unit measurement for the mass density of a fibre. Denier is roughly calculated as the weight in grams a length of 9000m of a fibre. The Denier system uses silk as its base unit whereby 9000m of silk weights 1g and is therefore 1 denier. The Denier measurement in Nylon can be a useful indicator in the quality and durability of some cricket bags. Most cricket bags are constructed from 600D Nylon, but in some cases where higher levels of durability are specified, 1200D Nylon is used in its place. To ensure complete waterproofing of the outer material, the Nylon fabric s usually combined with a thin backing layer of PVC (see below) which fills in the gaps between the Nylon fibres.
Canvas was once the material of choice in cricket bag manufacture, but these days in world of widely available inexpensive synthetic fibres, canvas is not really an option for mass production and value-for-money products and is now almost completely absent from cricket bag manufacture. However in some years, a few high class brands or bespoke luggage companies will occasionally offer couture retro-styled cricket bags for those with an eye for style over substance.
In much the same way as canvas, leather has generally been priced out of the market in the construction of cricket bags, but frequently one or more brand will offer up a product with a bit more class with a price tag to match, that can justify the use of more exclusive materials.
PVC is widely used in the construction of cricket bags because it is durable, cheap, easily worked and waterproof. However due to its particularly high durability and resistance to recycling PVC has fallen out of favour, and is therefore used sparingly. In cricket bags PVC is largely used as a backing layer to Nylon and other materials to ensure waterproofing.
PU is a synthetic polymer with can be used on its own to create mouldable thermoplastics which is relatively hard and durable. This particular form of PU is ideal for wheels as well as the studs and runners on the base of cricket bags. Secondly PU can be combined with softeners to create more pliable synthetic materials which offer both flexibility and durability such as piping other features. Finally when mixed with a blowing agent, PU will dry to form High Density foams which can be used for padding.
When selecting a cricket bag, the majority of buyers will simply consider how much kit they’ve got to transport, how much money they to spend and possibly any particular brand allegiance they may have. In the case of cricket bags the more you spend, the more carrying space you are buying. There are a few exceptions to the rule including a few designer cricket bags which make use of exclusive materials and a few products which offer additional features instead of extra space.
It may sometimes be worth considering a cricket bag for a specific purpose. Many duffle-style cricket bags are being used by coaches to carry training equipment. It has also been suggested that some cricketers might have a couple of different cricket bags: one smaller cricket bag for nets, training and home games and another large cricket bag for away games and tours.
We therefore recommend that you carefully read the product descriptions and take a close up look at the product before making a purchase. However we would generally say, more often than not you will get what you pay for and that cricket bags from most recognised cricket brands are generally up to the job.