Monday, October 29, 2012

BJJ Bag - Dakine Mission Pack Review

If you're looking for a highly functional yet practically sized bag for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the Dakine Mission Pack may be the bag for you. Whether going to and from the gym or traveling to tournaments, this pack allows me to carry everything I need to train / compete in a comfortable, efficient manner. The pack is intended for skaters, yet I find the design intentions transfer very well to accommodate BJJ gear. 

Dakine Mission Pack | Back View with BJJ GiThe Dakine Mission Pack comes in various color options categorized by Men's & Women's; although, many designs seem unisex so I'd recommend checking both out. The specs are the same for all color options: Volume - 1500 cu. in. [ 25L ], Size - 21 x 11 x 8" [ 53 x 28 x 20cm ], Weight - 2 lbs. [ .9kg ]. 


'Board Carry' Straps - Gi Carry Straps

This is my favorite feature. As you can see, these straps work very well for carrying a gi. I'm sure you've encountered your gi taking up the majority of the room in your bag, but securing your gi to the outside of the pack really frees up space on the inside and allows for efficient packing.  

Large pocket w/laptop sleeve

2 Main Storage Pockets w/ Laptop Sleeve and Internal Organization Pockets

The pack has two main storage pockets, one large zippered pocket with a padded laptop sleeve and one smaller zippered pocket with an internal organization area. Both pockets are of pretty good size; I typically fit extra training clothes / hoodie, lots of snacks, an iPad, headphones, a travel scale (I put it in the laptop sleeve), and other small miscellaneous items in the main 2 pockets. 

Additional Exterior Pockets

The pack has 4 exterior pockets all with zippered closures and fleece lining on the interior. Three of the pockets are on the sides of the pack and are very useful for storing smaller items in a organized, accessible manner. The 4th pocket is on the back of the pack and expands into the main storage pocket. I use this pocket for my camera as it has a padded cover for protection and is relatively hidden. 

Dakine Mission Pack | Side View with Gi

Look and Feel:

Organization Area w/Printed Liner
Stylish Design Options

Dakine offers highly varied yet consistently stylish color options. Most styles have one color scheme on the outside of the pack and an accent color / print on the inside. I have the 'Houndstooth Grey and Yellow' option. 

Support Straps & Padding - Comfort

The pack has 2 sets of adjustable support straps, one set that clips over the chest and one padded set that clip over the hips. I've found that when utilizing all the support straps, this bag is very comfortable to wear even when packed full.

Overall Thoughts: 

The Dakine Mission Pack is very well made and designed for functionality, comfort, and style. The main appeal for a BJJ practitioner in my opinion is the 'Board Straps' (intended for a skate board) on the back of the pack as they easily double as gi straps. This allows you to utilize the internal pockets for other items instead of your gi taking up an entire pocket. The pack also offers plenty of additional smaller pockets that allow for added organization and accessibility. I love this backpack and use it every time I travel for BJJ tournaments. 

I would highly recommend this bag for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purposes due to the quality, comfort, and highly functional yet efficient design the Dakine Mission Pack offers.

Here are the Women's color options currently offered on the Dakine website for the Mission Pack; although, you can always find additional (usually past season) color options on other sites too if these don't suit your fancy. I would also recommend checking out the Men's (Unisex...) options too.

Dakine Mission Pack - Women's DesignsDakine Mission Pack | Women's Summer Designs

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Not the dreaded cauliflower ear! Headgear for Women in BJJ

If you're a woman in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I'm sure you've sometimes worried about getting the DREADED Cauliflower ear....well, after about 2 1/2 years of training BJJ, I finally started to get it. Of course, I was freaked out...I definitely didn't want to have a mangled looking ear the rest of my life. LUCKILY, With my Mother's help (a licensed and practicing nurse), I was able to get my ear back to normal in about a week or so. I f you don't have a highly knowledgeable resource to help you, just go to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to assist with the treatment / draining as it needs to be addressed quickly and properly.

Despite our success in getting my ear back to normal, I definitely wanted to make sure it didn't come back...BUT, at the same time, I also had zero intentions of training BJJ any less. So, finding the right headgear was crucial. 

I'd seen many of the guys' headgear at the gym before, but they all appeared to be much too large for me. I knew if I ended up with something cumbersome or uncomfortable, it was pretty unlikely that I would actually wear it. So, I turned to the all-knowing internet for answers, but despite a thorough search, it became apparent that there just weren't that many headgear options out there for women... 

I wanted something comfortable and low profile that provided sufficient protection without being excessive. 
Asics Junior Headgear for Women in Brazilian Jiu JitsuWith these attributes in mind, I finally decided to purchase the Asics Unisex Gel Headgear Junior. 

I LOVE it. 

For only about $18, this headgear is a steal. It's meant for teens, so as a 5'1" ~118 lb female, this headgear is perfect for me.  

The Look

The Asics Junior headgear has 2 sets of adjustable straps, one set fitting behind the head and the other set fitting over the top. The headgear has a slim look from the front and back (for headgear) and covers just as much of the ear as needed without being over-sized. 

Asics Junior Headgear for Women in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The straps are made out of a tough, woven, canvas-like fabric that's smooth to the touch. The straps loop through the edges of the hard plastic ear cups that are covered in a blue (or red / black) slightly stretchy fabric that has a soft yet durable feel.

The simple design not only minimizes bulk, but also allows for easy cleaning. I hand wash / soak the headgear in hot soapy water (pulling back the stretchy blue fabric to clean all parts of the ear cup) then dry with a towel and hang in front of a floor fan for complete drying.

I've worn this headgear for about 4 months now and  it's held up pretty well despite frequent training. There's some noticeable wear on the fabric, but nothing too significant and nothing effecting the functionality of the headgear. 

The Feel

The chin strap has an adjustable hook and loop closure and a cushioned chin cup for added comfort and fit. (*Just be sure you line up the velcro on the strap correctly as it can scratch if drastically misaligned. If aligned properly, this isn't a problem at all.)

Asics Junior Headgear for Women in Brazilian Jiu JitsuThe inside of the ear cup has a gel lining for padding and shock absorption and ventilation holes on the outside allowing for breath-ability and relatively unobstructed hearing. 

The straps behind and over the head fit snugly and slide minimally. It takes a few tries to get it right, but, when fitted properly, this headgear stays in place very well. AND, as an added bonus, I've found it actually helps to keep my hair back and out of the way as well (I expected the opposite!).

When I originally purchased this headgear, I only intended to wear it when my ears were sore; but since wearing it really doesn't bother me at all, I never train without it.  I'd much rather prevent cauliflower ear than try and get rid of it. This headgear provides complete protection while maximizing comfort and minimizing the 'I look stupid' feeling wearing headgear can often cause.  :-) Check it out ladies!
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