Everyone knows that longboard dancing is awesome, but if there is one aspect of it that can really suck, it’s carrying our gear around. It’s here where I can become somewhat envious of people who ride with a traditional skateboard, because they can easily strap them into their backpack straps, bring them as carry on luggage in a plane, and the list goes on and on. I mean, even for daily commutes to and from the skate spot in Leipzig, that even required me to develop my own DIY longboard carrying system! I’m currently on my way to Paris to attend the 360 Longboard Open, so I found it a fitting time to write about travel gear for a longboard.
Anyways, a lot of people are on the search for good bags to carry their stuff around when they travel. I’ve recently gotten my hands on the Sector 9 Field Bag in camouflage. Between my personal use with the bag, and inputs from our Stockholm Ambassador Robin who also uses this bag, I’ve drawn some pretty good conclusions on where it excels, and where it falls short.
At a glance, the Sector 9 Field Bag
- Extremely lightweight. The bag itself is very light, which is a definite plus because the weight of longboard gear can add up fairly quickly.
- Massive. There aren’t many boards that won’t fit in this bag. As most of you already know I ride a Bastl Boards Walzer which comes in at a massive 124cm. I believe the overall dimension of the Sector 9 comes in at 130cm for length, so the Walzer fits in it fully assembled with a bit of space to spare. The bag claims to be able to hold two boards, so I tested this with my aforementioned Walzer, and my Bastl Boards Bolero, which was also fully assembled with trucks, and measures 108cm. Both boards fit in the bag without issue (no other gear was in the bag, other than the boards).
- Compact. The bag itself can be folded into the size of about a normal backpack (more on this later lol). Which is nice when it is not in use, makes it easier to throw into a closet or under a bed.
- Affordable (Location Dependent). As of writing this, ordering the bag directly from Sector 9 in the United States costs $67.50 which I consider to be an absolute steal for this bag. In Europe, the costs seem to be almost double, in some cases even more. I managed to get a pretty good deal on the bag on eBay (even though I hate that it is camoflauge).
- Designed weirdly. I say this lovingly, but it is seriously like the Sector 9 Team had a bunch of great ideas to implement on the bag here, and then ran out of time and/or budget to implement them and just released it kind of “half finished.” I’ll get more into this later.
- Questionable Durability. The bags materials feel lighter than some other bags I’ve owned. They seem that they may be one level tougher than the materials found on a normal everyday backpack. Robin even had one of her clasps that attach the straps to the D Rings break on her just as she was carrying the bag around on the way to the airport. So I’m not sure how this bag will stand up to extended periods of time.
Digging deeper into weird design flaws with the Sector 9 Field Bag
1. Weird large mesh bag compartment
At one of the bag is a large mesh compartment. I saw some video reviews on the bag and some people have coined this as a helmet holder. I mean it makes perfect, sense – why not have the helmet in a nice big bag, in an area that is easily accessible?
The problem is, if you actually have a board that eats up most of the bag, the bag won’t be able to close if you keep a helmet here. It didn’t matter how I tried to fit my helmet in this mesh area, the helmet would land on my trucks and the bag would just not close.
I mean sure, you could use that mesh area for something else like dirty laundry or something, which is also quite useful. But is just weird that they put such a GIGANTIC mesh carrier thing here, right where the trucks of the board would be. (Yes I’m aware one could just take the trucks off, but I am too lazy to do that most of the time).
2. Impossible strap system
This is really one weird part of the bag. It has this super weird strap system, that does’t really know what it wants to be. It comes with two detachable cross body style straps, that supposedly can be used to carry the bag as a backpack or as a normal cross body bag when it is fully loaded.
- Backpack mode makes 0 sense. If the bag is fully loaded, especially with two boards, wearing it in backpack mode serves basically 0 purpose. You’ll just have the ends of the board smashing into your knees as you walk. Completely impractical.
- Cross body mode only makes slightly more sense. I personally found the padding on the strap to be insufficient to carry the bag in cross body mode. The weight of the entire bag just dug in way too intensely into my shoulder, and I had to keep moving it around just to keep circulation going to my shoulder. Also as mentioned the bag material is fairly thin, which means if you’re wearing this in cross body mode you’ll have the wood and the weight of your boards going into your ribs the entire time, which definitely sucks. Would not recommend cross body mode for an extended period of walking.
My best recommendation here is to just use one of the straps, and just have it on one shoulder, not as a cross body, supported with your hand underneath it. This keeps the weight supported on your shoulder with your hand, and keeps the wooden edge of the board in the bag from killing your ribs.
3. Theoretical outer bag board attachment system
There’s two big velcro straps on the outside of the bag that supposedly act as a “third board carrier” which can help transport the bag if it’s too heavy. Sounds logical right? Bag too heavy, just strap an extra board to the bottom and use the wheels to conquer physics! Well yeah, in theory haha. But we all know that boards need weight shifting to the right and left to steer them. If the weight is just centered in the middle, the board will only go straight ahead. Well same applies to a bag, if you like luggage that can only go directly backwards and forwards, then by all means go nuts here lol.
4. Briefcase thing which got me excited and immediately disappointed me
The Sector 9 Field Bag comes with a briefcase thing that attaches via buckles to the inside center of the bag. I actually really like this idea, to kind of have this “safe zone” inside of the bag to protect maybe things like fresh clothes from dirty longboard wheels that have maybe recently ran over dog crap. The problem with this briefcase though, is that they made it split into 4 weird ass parts, which almost makes the entire thing unusable. I really have no idea what they were thinking here…
One part of the bag as like a harder/rubbery backing to it, which maybe indicates it was meant for tools, or trucks, or any other type of hardware that could damage more sensitive cloth. But the other three parts? I have no idea, look at this monstrosity:
Like, gimme SOMETHING here! One large compartment for clothes, maybe a laptop sleeve, or maybe make the part for tools and then just one big compartment for everything else. I’ve yet to bring this inner bag on a trip yet, because as of right now it is seriously just a waste of space.
5. It folds into a “backpack” for easy transport
Ok, straight from the Sector 9 website is this text:
”The Field Travel Bag folds nicely into a backpack as soon as you need to pack it away to go into a museum, coffee shop, or local watering hole.”
I have YET to figure out how to turn this damn thing into a backpack, get it to stay that way, and have it be somehow comfortable to wear…You’ve seen the million strap attachment points that are on the bag…It doesn’t come with any sort of official instruction from Sector 9, so you’re just kind of left to figure out yourself how this works.
I mean that’s not so tragic, I mean I bought the thing to carry my longboards. Even if I could figure out how to turn it into a backpack, I seriously doubt I ever would.
Summing it up, the Sector 9 Field Bag, yay or nay?
If you ride a big board like I do, the Sector 9 Field Bag may literally be your only choice. In this case, the Sector 9 Field Bag for me was more a purchase out of necessity, I could not find anything else big enough that could hold my Walzer.
If your board is smaller, and you’re considering other options, I’d say the Sector 9 Field Bag is still a good bag, but I would pay at most 100€ for it. Why some online shops in Europe sell this thing for about 140-170€ is beyond me, but if you’ve got a trip to the States happening soon and can order it directly from Sector 9 for their current price of $67.50, that’s a really great deal for a pretty good bag. I have checked with Sector 9 on this, and unfortunately as of August 2019, they only ship within the United States.
Overall, get the Sector 9 Field Bag to do the thing it was mainly made to do, carry longboards. It does this well, but don’t get lured in by the other “features” Sector 9 promises, as basically none of them work haha. But for a bag that can fit big longboards and carry them around, well for that it is just perfect.
Sector 9 Field Bag Video Review
In case you need more visuals, Zeke’s Nice Industries did a review video on YouTube on a couple different longboard bags and carrying systems, one of them being the Sector 9 Field Bag. Check out the video below for his synopsis, it’s very well made.