The first real gear bag I had was a Hayabusa Mesh Gear Bag which lasted me quite a while until I switched over for a smaller, more compact Datsusara LBP. However, Hayabusa’s expansion of their gear bag line to include the Convertible bag has tempted me back to the falcon’s side again.
- Fleece lined valuables storage area
- Earphone/headphone opening
- Water resistant inner pocket
- An insulated water bottle holder
- Heavy duty construction
- Over-sized compartments help keep your gear stowed safely
- Ventilated design will help maximize gear longevity
Hayabusa’s Convertible bag comes in a grey and black colour scheme, accented by some red lines. It’s a simple scheme that still manages to look sharp thanks to the choice use of accents and logos.
Running right down the middle is the Hayabusa word logo, while another word logo is featured on one side when the bag is deployed in duffel mode. Two red Hayabusa kanji are embroided on the left and right pouches. To round it off, the straps in backpack mode has the kanji on one side and the Hayabusa word logo on the other.
If you’re a fan of Hayabusa and don’t mind the logos, this is one good looking bag!
Form & Fit
The bag comes in two modes, backpack and duffel. Like most convertible bags, the mode change is effected by a change in the strap system. Unlike most convertibles, Hayabusa’s also comes with an increased in bag space for the duffel mode. The benefit of this is a smaller backpack for those days you want a light carry around, while still retaining the capacity for a larger load when the need arises.
In backpack mode, the bag fits on just nice for me, coming up slightly taller than the LBP. The shoulder straps are comfortably padded which makes for good carrying for longer durations. The bag shape is on the stiffer side though, and will hold the same shape whether fully loaded or completely empty. Something to take note of if you usually prefer a softer bag.
In duffel mode, the bottom portion of the backpack is unzipped and the extra portion is unfolded out. That portion is about 1/3 the length of the entire bag in duffel mode, though the capacity is slightly more since the bag tapers off on the top of the backpack. The duffel mode isn’t a favourite of mine though, it’s a little too long for my frame to carry comfortably. I feel like I’m lugging a small piece of log and have to watch what I’m bumping into. Also, the unsymmetrical shape of the bag leads to uneven weight distribution in the bag if not packed properly. This is not really an issue if you’re dumping it into the back of your car, but since I walk long distances with my bags, things like these do have a lot more impact on my carry options.
To transform, the backpack straps can be hidden in a compartment or pulled out and clipped into position, while the duffel strap is simply unclipped and does not have a special storage compartment of its own. Do note that the backpack cannot be used as a duffel without unzipping the extra portion, as the attachment loop for one end of the duffel strap is folded into the zipped up compartment as well.
For most part, the backpack’s capacity is sufficient for my daily training needs, so there’s seldom a need for me to deploy duffel mode. For my regular gear of one BJJ gi, rashguard, shorts, change of clothes, boxing gloves, and shinguards, the backpack can take it without breaking sweat. What’s not clear in the photo is the depth of the bag, which allows for another layer of gi or clothes to be placed on top and zipped up. This main compartment can be unzipped right down to the base, which allows proper space management to optimise your carry load.
However, to accommodate the larger duffel mode, the extra space that comes from unfolding the base of the backpack cannot be accessed from the top via the zip. To put things into the extra space, you’ll have to push it in from the backpack’s main compartment. Likewise, things loaded in this way are not as easily accessible. This means you have to manage your space a little more carefully in duffel mode, instead of simply dumping things in. The odd ‘coffin’ shape of the duffel and its stiffness also means you may need to organise things a little better if you want to optimise every nook and cranny in the bag. Though I can’t say why you need to cramp so miserly given how large the duffel size is.
Within the main compartment, there’s a smaller pouch for valuables or music players accessible from the top of the backpack, and the bag has a hole for earphones to come out from.
On the sides are two smaller pouches for small items like mouthguards and the like.
On the right side of the bag, there’s also an insulated compartment for storing of cold drinks or water bottles. Interesting feature, I’d say. My finger points at how deep the pouch goes. When deployed in duffel mode, there’s also a smaller mesh compartment on the top of the extra portion.
To keep the bag ventilated, the top flap of the main compartment has some mesh on either side. The mesh is of the same quality material as the mesh bag, so it should last quite well. However, this also means that the back is susceptible to water during a downpour. Just something to take note if you’re staying in the rainy tropics like me. For light rain, it can still hold its own without getting the contents too wet, but once it pours, you might want to find shelter or you’ll have gear soup.
Construction quality is generally top-notch, my only gripe as usual is the choice of plastic clips and loops instead of metal ones. Sure, the plastic is thick and heavy duty, but I’d feel a lot more reassured with metal since I’ve had plastic snap on me in recent times. I’m surprised they didn’t follow their mesh bag example where they used metal ones instead.
The Hayabusa Convertible Bag costs USD $99.95 (SGD $127) on Budovideos. The only other convertible bag I’m aware of that’s similar is from Jaco, which costs USD $120. Without an actual sample to compare side by side, most of the features look similar, the only difference is the shape and possibly size. At a good USD $20 cheaper, the Hayabusa one comes out tops if you’re looking for a convertible bag. However, if you’re never going to switch between sizes, then it would well be cheaper to simply get a fixed size, non-convertible bag.
The Hayabusa Convertible Bag is a sizeable and versatile bag. If a flexible, 2-in-1 bag is what you’re looking for, then this is definitely worth considering.
All comments in the review are my own personal opinion. Prices provided in brackets are merely for reference and are based on exchange rates at the time of writing.
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