The ZÜCA is quite possibly the world’s best gamer bag for convention goers. Trask has been asking me to do a review for a while. He even featured it in this year’s ‘10 Christmas Gift Ideas for a Role-Playing Gamer‘ due to all my man-love speech.
So, without further ado, I will begin…
Trask and I first saw the ZÜCA at the Origins 2006 Convention. We were both intrigued, but the $100+ price tag was a turn-off. I almost went back and got one on Sunday; however, I had exhausted my discretionary spending, so took a business card instead…. and never forgot the things I saw that day!
At Origins 2007, I had made up my mind to get one of these things, as I was in need of a new gamer bag. I really liked the look and the concept. Even though they were originally designed for 8-year-old girls who like to ice skate (I hope gamers bypass the sequined pink bag option), it was perfect for gamers on the go. However, ZÜCA did not have a booth at that convention. Foiled again!
But that didn’t stop me. In early 2008, I was gifted with an Amazon.com gift certificate through work. Well that was it, I purchased my ZÜCA. And I have never been more happy with a gaming bag.
I have had the ZÜCA at Origins 2008 as well as local conventions and game days. I find it perfect for my RPG needs. The main compartment is the perfect size for gaming books. And, its many pockets and compartments carry my full complement of gaming accessories (and snacks). And the best part, I always have everything in one place. I set my ZÜCA right next to my desk at home, and all of the stuff I keep in it, stays in it. So when I need to go, I can go in an instant and not have to remember if I have packed everything.
So what sets the ZÜCA apart from a normal bag or backpack?
- Con Shoulder – The worst part about going to a 4-day convention is coming home with both aching feet and aching shoulders. Carrying around gaming supplies and books is a heavy load and four days really takes its toll. You can have two sore shoulders from a backpack or one REALLY sore shoulder from a sling bag. Well with the ZÜCA, there is nothing. You just have to wheel the thing behind you like a piece of luggage. And it has a handle to grab if, for some reason, you hit a space where rolling doesn’t work so well, like a staircase. The ZÜCA actually does stairs really well thanks to it’s secondary wheel; but, for big stairs I have found it easier to just pick up the thing and go.
- Con Feet – The before mentioned sore feet? Well the ZÜCA is built to be able to sit on. That is right, you are wheeling around a portable chair with you too! It is not the most comfortable seat in the world, and you wouldn’t want to sit on it long term, but it works great for something in a pinch. Standing in line waiting for your RPG to start? Sit instead.
- More workspace – And that flat hard top that is designed for sitting, makes great auxiliary table space at the game table. I routinely set books, food, drinks, on top of that instead of being kicked on the floor or knocked over on the table (Note: I am usually the one doing the kicking and knocking). And since it is like a mini locker, I set it next to me, door open, and all my books are within easy reach.
- Rugged – With a durable aluminum frame, this thing can take a beating and keep going. I had to replace my gamer bag every couple of years due to tears, rips, etc. I am going one year strong on the ZÜCA and have no worn areas. Not, even the mesh netting on the side, since it is somewhat protected by the metal frame.
- Replaceable Bag – Part of me wishes that the bag would rip apart and need to be replaced though. Then I would have an excuse to replace it with this cool Flame Job Bag! FYI:The bag is replaceable and you can keep the same frame, which is the expensive part.
The negatives of the ZÜCA are minimal. Part of me wishes that it was slightly larger. But, at least this way it forces me to bring less stuff with me on the airline (a costly thing now). And you can use the ZÜCA as an overhead bin bag on an airplane if you wanted (I haven’t done that yet). Really, the negative most people will cite is the price. The frames for the ZÜCA sport are $100. From there the bags that go in them are around $30 to $45 depending on how pimped out it is (you can get bags that turn the ZÜCA into a pet carrier). But, I found the price to be well worth it, especially over the long haul.
If you do get a ZÜCA, please just do yourself and everyone around you a favor. You aren’t that 8-year-old ice skating girl, so don’t get the wheels with lights that flash as they turn.
That said, here are a couple of pictures of my personal ZÜCA and how I use it. And feel free to post any questions that you have.
Disclosure: I have no relationship with ZÜCA other than being a very satisfied customer.