Thursday, November 5, 2015

Choosing the Right School Bag for Primary School - ergobag

Sponsored Review

It’s been three years since I shopped for a school bag for my girls. You can read about how I chose a bag for Joey here.

Background story:
Next year Joey is going to P4 and Jayne will be starting her P1. For Joey, the old school bag is no longer big enough for her and also it’s old (not spoilt). Joey has been asking for something more trendy and suitable for her age. Looking back at the same brand, I was not really able to find something that fits her request. Either I take on a new ergonomic bag but forsake the style or I choose a trendy bag and forsake the ergonomic factor. As for Jayne, it was also a bit of a problem choosing the right bag as she is smaller frame compared to Joey when Joey was P1. And definitely, she is not going to take the 3-years old bag passed down from Joey.

I was all prepared to bring the girls for shopping after Joey’s exams when a surprise email came from ERGOKID. They offered to sponsor both girls with their bestselling school bag: ergobags and Satch! What a joy and blessing!
ERGOKID specializes in ergonomic furniture – desks and chairs – for children and adults, as well as school bags. ergobag is a brand of ergonomic bags, so don’t be confused when you search online for “ergo bag”.

Three things that make ergobag school bags unique – ergonomic, customizable and eco-friendly. Hailing from Cologne Germany, ergobag combines the ergonomic principles of innovative high-end trekking backpacks with all the practical features of the perfect school bag. The flexible backpacks grow along with the kids themselves – they ensure optimum load distribution by sharing the weight evenly between shoulders and the hips. Velcro badges (Kletties) allow children to customize their school bags to suit their individual tastes. The fabric materials used in ergobag are made from 100% recyled PET bottles.

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The company has already received numerous awards and accolades for its unique backpack concept and design, including 2011 Red Dot Design Award, a nomination for the 2012 German New Business Award and a commendation from the “Germany, Land of Ideas” initiative.

And so we went to SCOOL in Marina Square to pick up the girls’ ergobags.

Lesson 1 for choosing the right school bag – bring your children along. There are way too many designs, shapes and colors for you to ensure you have chosen the right one.

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Lesson 2 for choosing the right school bag – try it on yourself. This is important especially if you are choosing a bag for your P1 child. As most kindergarten kids nowadays only carry a small light school bags with a water bottle and a few homework sheets, a K2 child will not be able to gauge how heavy the bag is or how evenly distributed the weight is over the shoulders and hips. Try the bag for yourself and be convinced how good the ergobags are. FYI, I was carrying 3 thick “Yellow Pages” telephone books and 3-4 other books in the bag. Yet, it didn’t feel heavy on my shoulders and back. Quite impressive!

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Lesson 3 for choosing the right bag – know your child’s height and weight. This is not a joke. When the store assistants asked me about Jayne’s height, I was dumbfounded, doesn’t look good as a father. But more than my ego, the main thing here is to know the stats and be able to choose the right bags for their tiny frame like Jayne’s, as well as adjust the school bag to fit her frame. Yes, the school bag is fully adjustable to fit children of all sizes and shapes. The same ergobag can be adjusted for a P1 and a P6 child.

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After the 3 important tips for those buying for P1 kids, the rest is just to understand what ergobag has to offer.

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Jayne Kuan – Primary One – ergobag LITE Basic Pink

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A few key differences in this bag compared to the one Joey has been carrying for the past three years. The ergobag has more straps and buckles to ensure that the positioning of the bag is closest to the body and not leaning away when the bag is filled with books. This is extremely important as it will lessen the child’s tendency to hunch their backs when the school bag load is too heavy (which is the case with Joey’s current school bag).

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The ergonomic principles of ergobag:
1. Ergonomic aluminum rails for back-support and weight redistribution.
2. Waist strap with padded flaps to secure up to 25% on the stronger pelvic area.
3. Height-adjustable chest strap for comfort.
4. Continuous adjustment of shoulder strap according to the length of the back.
5. Breathable back padding.
6. Innovative drawstring to compress the weight closer to the back to reduce gravity and momentum pull.

The innovative back support that is detachable for adjustment of the height of the shoulder strap to suit growing child.

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You see the aluminum rail that supports the bag, besides it is the height guide (110cm to 150cm) for adjustment. This will ensure that Jayne will be able to use the bag for at least 3 years even as she grows taller then. Apparently, some of ergokid’s earlier customers have been using it for 5 years, to P6. The adjustable aluminum frame ensures that the bag is always a good fit even as she grows taller.

For a small child, carrying a school bag of 4-5kg is similar to an adult carrying a backpack of 15-20kg. Thus with this design, the ergobag enables the weight load to be redistributed away from the shoulders to the pelvic area, reducing the load pressure on the spine.

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One of my personal favorite is the hip flaps. It is bigger than normal bags you find outside, providing more support and yet it is also very comfortable. Joey’s old P1 school bag doesn’t even has this feature.
The hip flap can be removed if you prefer to, but it is not advisable.

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Measurements of the ergobag – 25 x 20 x 40cm (W/D/H). Volume is 20 liter. Weight is approximately 1100g.
The ergobag won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2011.

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Some other features of the ergobag.

Magnetic slider clip in the front.

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Each ergobag comes with Velcro badges (Kletties) in different themes. Additional badges can be purchased in packs of six. Or your child can be creative and make your own badges.

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Interior with water-resistant material. The divider is adjustable to allow you to carry bulky items like large A4 folders.

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In line with the proper distribution of weight, the ergobag is designed with the front pouch as a compartment for the lunch box and water bottle. No more carrying water bottles by the side which will create uneven weight on the left and right.

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The bottom of the ergobag is designed to allow the bag to stand upright on its own. With the wide base with anti-slip material, your child can be sure that the bag won’t slip off the school bus seats even when the ride is rough.

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The drawstring helps to compress the bag and pull it closer to the back for better support. It was a bit tough for Jayne to pull the strings initially, probably because it was new, but after a few times it was easier.

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Reflective strips around the bag for safety.

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Optional accessories that to match your ergobag LITE Basic.

Hard pencil case & Attachable Gym Bag

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Joey Kuan – Primary Four – Satch by ergobag Bloomy Petrol Flowers

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The ergonomic principles of satch:
1. Ergonomic aluminum rails for back-support and weight redistribution.
2. Waist strap with padded flaps to secure up to 25% on the stronger pelvic area.
3. Height-adjustable chest strap for comfort.
4. Continuous adjustment of shoulder strap according to the length of the back.
5. Breathable back padding.
6. Innovative drawstring to compress the weight closer to the back to reduce gravity and momentum pull. The satch by ergobag archives compression through side straps.

Again you can see the aluminum rail that supports the bag, and besides it is the height guide (140cm to 180cm) for adjustment. This will ensure that Joey too will be able to use the bag for at least 3 years as she grows taller till she is P6.

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As you can see, the wide hip flaps that make ergobag unique are also present in the teenage series too. With the Satch backpack, Joey is already assuming a good posture when carrying her school backpack. Hopefully this addition will help Joey to slowly correct her standing posture with the bag and no longer have the tendency to lean forward whenever the school bag is too heavy.

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Measurements of the ergobag – 30 x 22 x 48cm (W/D/H). Volume is 30 liter. Weight is approximately 1200g.
The Satch won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2013.

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So basically, Satch by ergobag kept the main essential ergonomic features of ergobag and made it more trendy for older kids like Joey’s age. Actually this bag is quite suitable for traveling too.

The Satch has an intelligent interior organization, with two large compartments to help even the most chaotic kids keep their things in order. The organizer compartment in the front pocket offers functional two zipped compartments, pen holders and a lanyard. The main compartment is designed for books, school folders, notebook and hold school supplies.

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Another similar feature like the ergobag, the base of the satch is also firm and wide. It is stable on the floor and does not topple over.

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Reflective strips. I was quite impressed that the reflective strips really shone so brightly when I took the photos with flash. Now I can be sure the girls are highly visible when they are on the road at night or when they take their school bus in the wee early mornings. Road safety is important.

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This cool feature definitely had Joey crazy for a long while. Cellphone pocket with a headphone outlet accessible from inside. This shows the thoughtful details of the backpack: you can keep your iPod or cellphone inside the bag while listening to music without worrying about pickpockets. I think the next thing on her wish list will be a headphone.

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Last but not the least, the skateboard clips on the front pocket offers what every kids want. But for the time being, Joey will use it to hang her cardigan coolly.

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Accessories for satch by ergobag – pencil case. So colorful!

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Final assessment of the ergobag & satch.

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- Love the designs and effort to reach out to students of different age groups. Both Joey (9) and Jayne (6), were able to find a bag that they like and also suitable for them.
- Matched the requirements of longevity in buying such a bag. As a father, I do not wish to buy a bag that will only last for a year and have to find a replacement again. With the 3-year manufacturer’s warranty serviced locally by ergokid, this is a load off my mind at least till Jayne is P4 and by then Joey is already in Secondary level.
- Impressed by the ergonomic designs and features in both bags. I can be sure the girls will be carrying some heavy books/files in the year or years to come, but no matter what the basic support and weight redistribution will be there. Super support!

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We are ready for the new school year!

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Check out the latest youtube video just released by the German company that explains the ergobag very well.


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