What to transport your jiu-jitsu gis and gear in is a serious dilemma. You could go the cheap route and throw all your gear in a big trash bag, but nobody wants that. You could commingle your gear with the backpack that you might use to carry your laptop and other items in, but who wants to get their sweaty gear in with all that other stuff after a hard training session? Nobody. Instead, we’re constantly in the market for the “perfect” gear bag. One that’s big enough to hold all of our gear and necessary items, yet not too big that we feel like we’re headed to the airport every time we’re on our way to class. The people at Fuji Sports train jiu-jitsu constantly, and that fact shows in their latest creation, the Grapple Pack.
What It Is
These days it’s common for some companies to find an all-purpose backpack somewhere and throw a tag on it and call it a jiu-jitsu specific product. That couldn’t be further from what Fuji’s done with the Grapple Pack. It was designed from a clean sheet of paper to be a specific use it. It’s a backpack with a handle at the top. Being a backpack, most zipper openings go horizontally across the top of the pack. This can sometimes be a tight fit when you’re trying to stuff a large gi through that small opening. For that reason, the Grapple Pack has the zipper opening vertically, closed at the top, open at the bottom. All of the zippers have red nylon tabs attached for easy operation. The red contrasts nicely with the black ballistic nylon that the bag is made of. Along the vertical opening is reflectant gray material that helps keep you safe if you’re out at night The inside of the bag has a bright green interior lining. This helps to make items stand out if you’re digging around searching for something in less than ideal lighting. Along the sides and back are three zippered pockets along with two easy access pockets. The easy access are not zippered and are perfect for water bottles, or things of that nature. Inside the zippered pockets is again the bright green lining along with even more pockets! The zippered pocket along the back is padded and has a padded sleeve that’s perfect for a laptop or other electronic devices. Along the bottom is an additional compartment for your dirty gear such as shoes, sandals or sweaty stuff.
The Gapple pack uses two adjustable straps, again with the reflective tape, to sling itself onto your back. The pack measures 20” tall, 14” wide, and can be packed to extend out to a 12” depth. The Grapple Pack is available on Fuji’s website for $49.
Before writing this review I
lived with the Grapple Pack as my daily training backpack for almost a month. So far it’s shown ZERO signs of premature wear. The quality is first class. The size seems just right. I can jam a full size A3 gi along with rashguards and a couple belts into the main compartment with no problem, or if I take the time to fold my gis, I can snuggly fit two gis in there with no problem. Sometimes I do take my laptop to class, the padded pocket came in handy a couple of times. Later on I got into the routine of keeping my mouth guard and belt in the right side pocket, with my water bottle and Kill Cliff on the left side. I did manage to stuff an entire gi with sweaty rashguard into the bottom storage compartment, it was a tight fit, but that day I had some clean gear that I wanted to keep separate from my stinky gi. My only complaint is the lack of ventilation. If the bag is zipped up and maybe it stays in the car on a hot day a little too long, the resulting odor might tap you out.
Overall, I really like the Grapple Pack, I can see this being my go-to bag for some time to come. It’s the perfect size, designed with a grappler’s needs in mind, made of quality materials, and priced right at less than $50. If you’re in the market for a new bag, or want an upgrade from whatever you’re currently using, definitely check out the Grapple Pack. Guard should be on your list.