UPDATE: Douchebags have been updated & are now available for sale in our Gear Store:
Douchebag. Bet that got your attention!
Reinvention of the ski bag has been a concept thrust upon me for the last few years. It used to be easy. When I was working as an instructor and travelling between the Aus & US snow fields life was simple. I literally lived out of my ski bag, and thanks to the generous 2x32kg allowances offered for those years on Qantas & United I never had to worry.
I bought an enormous K2 ski bag back in 1998, back when men were men & skis were long. It could comfortably carry the 198cm GS skis that I was on at the time, plus another pair, and pretty much all of my gear. It had separate compartments for the skis, was extremely well padded and rolled well. I would stuff it with as much gear as I could to protect the skis, my clothing and other items would go in a large suitcase and I would be on my way, comfortably living on quite a few less kilos than the 64 I was allowed. That bag has done almost 20 overseas ski trips and served me extremely well.
The world has changed in two ways since then. Firstly skis tend to be quite a bit shorter – as anyone will tell you who has had short skis in a long wheelie bag, you end up with a saggy, baggy, draggy bag. Secondly due to skyrocketing fuel prices baggage allowances have dropped. This has been further compounded on my recent trips to Europe and Japan which have traditionally had lower allowances than US sectors anyway.
I was fortunate enough to spend much of the first part of this year skiing, however on each trip we moved multiple times, 5 beds in three weeks in Japan, and 6 beds in 4 weeks in Europe. Doing the maths there shows that there was much lugging, unpacking and repacking of ski gear. For the bulk of this time my once-loved K2 mega-bag was as much a hindrance as a help. I was also dealing with 23kg luggage allowances, but cheered when I finally hit Silver on Etihad which gave me a much needed extra 10kg.
So when Simon from Bent Square who is the Australian importer of the new Douchebags contacted me and asked if I was interested in doing a review of their product I couldn’t reply fast enough. My ski bag situation was no longer working so I was a perfect candidate to evaluate a potential solution.
Here’s a short video with its features being demonstrated by Jon Olsson, possibly the coolest skier on the planet:
The Douchebag is the result of a collaboration between pro skier Jon Olsson and two Norweigan entrepeneurs, and was developed in conjunction with a Norweigan University and 150 local skiers for testing. It is designed to address the sag issues with variable ski lengths, reducing weight while maintaining adequate protection, hands-free rolling for long walks with your skis, and also compresses to a very compact volume for storage while not being used.
I can confidently report that it addresses all of those factors in a most clever and ingenious way.
Length / Compression:
The key to the concept is a pair of strips along the top & bottom of the bag sewn in 7-8cm intervals. These strips facilitate the handle component, which has a group of four hooks which attach top/bottom, left/right and can be tightened for compression.
So when a pair (or pairs) of skis is placed in the bag, the excess length is simply rolled up, and then held in place by the hooks/handle, and you have a rigid bag. You can also attach the shoulder strap to the handle for handsfree rolling.
When not in use the bag can be completely rolled up for compact storage either at home or in your ski lodge/hotel room.
The Douchebag is lightly padded on the bottom and sides, but instead of using heavy padding to protect your beloved equipment which adds much unwanted weight, there are a series of plastic ribs sewn in to the construction of the bag to provide impact protection and cut down on weight.
This is clearly shown in this photo – you can see the striped stitching – in every second section a plastic rib is contained. The alternate sections are empty, but with light padding, and this facilitates the rolling:
The net result of this arrangement is a bag with adequate protection that tips the scales at a meagre 3kg. A full featured, padded double wheelie ski bag is usually in the 5-7kg range. I hate to think what my K2 sarcophagus weighs.
As you can see here it comfortably fits two pairs of skis with much room for other bits & pieces, Mrs Aussieskier and I tend to put our climbing skins, harnesses, crampons, shovels & probes in our ski bags and I can’t see why we wouldn’t be able to do the same with this bag.
Additionally there is a small zipped compartment on the end of the top flap for storing loose items or the supplied shoulder strap:
On the top of the bag you can see the two padded handles – these are perfectly placed for balance & easy lifting of the bag in & out of cars etc:
There is also a handle on the side, and attachment loops for the included shoulder strap.
The wheels are large which should prevent pesky pebbles jamming and dragging in front of a wheel:
Maximum volume: 120 liters
Minimum storage size: 15 liters
Maximum length: 210cm
Outside and inside garment: Polyester 600D
ABS protection ribs
9.2mm PP Wheels
Silk logo printing
Strong 12.6mm nylon zipper
Polyethylene back-protection plate
PP Protection Spine
The Douchebag has rethought the ski bag concept, and in my opinion has won. It has clearly been conceived by people who travel a lot with skis and understand the various pitfalls of this pursuit. I have used it on one snow trip and also some city driving to pick up/drop off skis for review. This hasn’t allowed me to test how well it is for lugging on long distances via the shoulder strap, and also of course I can’t yet comment on its long term durability.
But what I do know is that I wish I had one in January, one shouldn’t complain about ski travel when you have a lot of fun awaiting you at the other end, but I did a huge amount this year and while the skiing was great my trips were structured that I moved around a lot, and I can think of dozens of occasions where I would have been far better off with a Douchebag.
I’m looking forward to this being part of my equipment arsenal for many years to come.
Any questions? Ask below in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Got a Douchebag? Let us know below what you think.
(Review Disclosure: The Douchebag was supplied at no cost for review purposes by the Australian Importer Bent Square)
Buy now in our Gear Store: