Kitbrix is a storage system that is based around rectangular bags that can be zipped together so that you can create a flexible system of storing, transporting and racing with your kit. The bags are available individually, or as a set of three. There are few different colour schemes available, the model that we had on test was finished in ‘kitbrix blue’ with the ‘K’ symbol on one end and their ‘keep it together slogan’ on the side, visible behind the mesh pockets. The first thing that immediately leapt to my attention was the reassuring feeling of rugged quality. Throughout the test period at no point did I feel that I was in any danger of ripping the material, splitting stitching or seams, or jamming the zip. The top handle was tough webbing with a rubber grip and there are 6 attachment points for the long strap around the edge. This initial feeling of robustness got the Kitbrix and I off to a very good start.
The primary premise of the design is that a Kitbrix can be zipped to another Kitbrix, the obvious intent being for the triathlete to have one for each discipline. The bag therefore has to be able to cope with not only an extensive variety of kit of all shapes and sizes, but a range of kit that is potentially in varying stages of damp/muddy/completely soaked condition. This means that the material has to be robust, waterproof and easy to clean and dry quickly.
Kitbrix is the brainchild of an Robert Aldous who used his experience in the military to focus on toughness, durability and flexibility when creating the design, and ‘robust British military design’ is splashed across one of the Kitbrix website pages. It is also interesting to check out the page about the development of the Kitbrix from first ideas, and throughout the design and testing process, until arriving at the product we have now. It even has the first ‘back of an envelope’ sketch.
When using the Kitbrix for swimming (either in the pool or open water) I came up against very few problems. There is plenty of space for wetsuits, goggles, hats and even various training aids such as pull buoys and even the smaller types of kickboard. The base is made of a hardened, slightly rubberised, material and one feels confident plonking it down on most surfaces, and the semi-waterproof construction (I would not immerse it but would not worry if it got left out in the rain) means that your dry gear is kept dry whist you are out swimming (or if you leave the bag in transition) and contains all the moisture as soon as a wet wetsuit and goggles are flung in there. Internally there are some separate, zipped, pockets in the sidewalls which are perfectly adequate for keeping any small items that you want to keep dry, such as a phone or wallet, and still being able to sling wet kit into the main compartment. At a triathlon club swimming session at our local sports centre it took a little bit of effort to jiggle it into the narrow locker, although to be fair to the Kitbrix I had it absolutely stuffed (including my shoes) and the lockers were particularly narrow.
During the test period the bag got the most use transporting my bike kit to and from my daily commute, and its big day out was the specific challenge of getting everything down to the Wiggle Wight Winter Sportive on 30 November 2014. Sadly I did not get the chance to test it in a proper triathlon situation as at this end of the year Tris are a little hard to come by but at least the Kitbrix got some event time.
As I used the Kitbrix I kept finding lots of little plus points that all add up to make a big difference. I got the feeling that someone had really sat down and thought intelligently about the roles that it had to fulfil. The designer is either very fortunate or, at some point, has clearly made sure that the bag can take an average sized 750ml drinks bottle upright. The mesh on the sides is stretchy enough to take stuff that you might want to get at quickly.
The photograph below shows just how much equipment can be got into the main storage compartment. For the WWW Sportive I packed the bag in a very similar way to the photograph below, neatly fitting everything in regimented order, with not a crack or gap between items. This side image was taken at the crack of dawn (following a 5.10am start) as everything was unloaded and put on to get the ferry across from the mainland. At the end of the ride, I simply shovelled everything (now slightly damp, and in the case of the shoes and legwarmers muddy as well) back into the bag and it still fitted. Kitbrix seems to have a tardis-like quality in its capacious main compartment, but zipped up outside never seemed to come across as bulky, and I never thought twice about popping it into the footwell of the passenger seat.
Unfortunately we only had the one test bag, and I would very much have liked to try it zipped to another one. The attachment zips (one on each side of course) seemed as sturdy as the rest of the bag. About the only potentially negative thing that I might have noticed is that the shoulder strap (comfortable and well padded) could perhaps be a little short, if multiple bags are used. At its fullest extent of 120 cm it was the perfect length to go over my shoulder and hang the one bag at a comfortable level, but at 5’9” I am hardly the tallest of people and I can easily see that it would be a bit constrictive and sit fairly high if a taller person were to use it, or if one zipped two bags together and tried to attach the strap along the longer length of a double or triple (or quadruple!) setup. This is the smallest of quibbles however, and the four other sturdy attachment points could aid a lot in getting around this. If a second bag is purchased the attachment points could be used with a second strap to organise a backpack arrangement or even two straps joined together.
In using the bag for running kit, it is, as might by now be expected, comfortably big enough to take shoes (even a couple of pairs if you fancied changing) a hat, jacket, shorts, leggings and basically any running paraphernalia minus a track that you can think of. There is no method of sub-dividing the Kitbrix inside but this would not really work with the whole concept of the storage system.
I found the Kitbrix such a useful bag and I can not give it a much more praise than saying that I will be getting a second one and testing out a least a two compartment setup in next year’s triathlons, so hopefully if you check back in the new year I will be able to give an idea of the flexibility of using the two, separable compartments. This, I suspect, will lead (especially in the rush of T1) to having a wet bag, where the water is contained, and a dry bag, which keeps the water out. With the trends in triathlon seeming to be moving away from hard plastic boxes in transition the Kitbrix provides an excellent middle ground and I suspect that we will be seeing a lot more of them during the coming years’ racing seasons, particularly as a single bag retails at only £39.99.
I want my reviews to be as independent as possible. On that basis, I thought a link to Amazon would provide the most impartial method of you looking at other user comments should you be considering a purchase. At the time of writing Kitbrix are also running an offer for a set of 3 with a small discount here.