Review: Karkoa Smartbag 40

Recently I was contacted by Karkoa via Twitter and asked “Hi Steve do you want to try our innovative bag?” I checked out their website ( and decided to try the Smartbag 40.  
For clarity I was given the bag for free to trial and review. The bag is described as “the sportspersons locker room”. This is the main reason I decided on the 40L version instead of the 25L, I needed a big bag. I have a pretty big collection of bags varying in size for different running needs but nothing quite like the Karkoa Smartbag.This year, as a lot of you will know, I’ve raced a fair bit. The races have varied from 1 mile to 100k including 24 hour team relays, trail races and fell races where I’ve needed to take a lot of running kit. On a number of occasions I’ve travelled a fair way from London to do these races and have often ended up taking a couple of bags. I tend to take one for casual clothes and one for running kit etc. To add to that I take carrier bags/bin bags for after the race to put sweaty smelly running stuff in. One of the bags I tend to use is my Salomon Trail 20. I love this bag as it is really comfortable for running in, I tend to wear it to and from work. However due to its size I can only carry so much and it doesn’t have separate compartments for different clothing. My other running bags include a small asics one and a Salomon Race Vest for long runs when hydration etc is needed. The Smartbag 40 is obviously a much bigger bag and therefore is never going to be as comfortable to wear and run in compared to the Salomon Vest etc, they are two completely different things. 

 I have found the Smartbag great for weekends away. There are compartments for smart clothes, sportswear, running trainers (other shoes are available ha), phone and charger and a 1.5L drinks bottle. 


In one of the compartments there is also a toiletry bag and a waterproof bag for dirty clothes which is really handy.  

 I’m going to use this bag a lot for weekend trips and exploring, it’s that big I’ll probably take one of my other smaller lightweight running bags in it. Yesterday, I ended up having this bag on me and had to take it to track after work. I was in two minds as to whether it would be ok for running or whether I should get the tube. I decided to test it out on the run. It was pretty full with casual clothes and other things so not ideal. I was running with a couple of colleagues and a friend to track, we had two miles to do and we ran at about 7 min/mile pace. With the large heavy bag I wasn’t very nimble and agile but it’s good to know that if I have to run with it on again I can and it’ll be bearable. It’s good that the bag has a strap across the chest and the shoulder straps are well padded.

If you are travelling around a lot and like to keep your things clean and tidy I would definitely recommend this bag. The sportspersons locker room is definitely a good way of describing it. Here’s a link to a video of the bag in action:

If anyone else has trialled this bag it would be interesting to see how you found it. If you find a specific brand of running bag great it would be good to hear from you, just message on here or on Twitter &/or Instagram @StephenSkinner6

See a lot of you soon




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