The gaming-accessory market has been expanding over the past few years, with everything from Kickstarter campaigns for nifty metal coins to custom hand-built gaming tables carrying hefty price tags into the thousands of dollars. From time to time we get the chance to take a sneak peek at some of these accessories, and today is one of those opportunities. We're looking at The Game Canopy, a gaming bag designed by gamers for gamers. So does The Game Canopy carry its weight? Or does papa need a brand new bag? Let's take a look!
Let's start by taking a look at the construction. The Game Canopy has a durable, water-resistant Cordura outer shell, and a non-abrasive nylon inner layer, which sandwiches a 1/4-inch shock-absorbing foam layer. It also features a durable and rugged handle that Velcros together at the top of the bag and is stitched down the sides. The sides also feature 4 "D-rings" on the front and 4 on the back which allow you to attach a strap. (Note: the strap is an optional add-on during the Kickstarter and we didn't get one, so we can't review it.) There are also smaller side handles placed about 2/3 of the way up, along with some deep side pockets.
The most unique feature of The Game Canopy, is the cut of the zipper line. The bag unzips in half, but as the zipper approaches the bottom it angles toward the front of the bag, so when it opens, the back stands straight up, while the front unfolds and lays flat. It makes for super easy access of your games.
The real question is: Is this worth the hefty price tag that comes along with it? The Kickstarter price starts at $79 for a limited number of pledges, and then it moves to $89 for a limited number more. It will go up from there. The strap is optional, but once it hits retail outlets, you'll get the bag with the strap.
There are a few other things to note when determining the value of this item. The bag is being designed and manufactured in conjunction with the folks at Fieldtex. They create custom bags for medical, military, and industrial applications, and they also produced bags for Ralph Lauren that were used by the US Olympic team at the Sochi Olympics, and they're manufactured in the US. That's an impressive pedigree...
It's top quality, and well-designed with the gamer's needs in mind. The idea is that this will be the last gaming bag you'll have to buy. So. Is it?
Jeremiah--I told Amy at Level 3B that I had a bag that I've used for years now. It's a really old bag (like 30-some years old) that used to be a TV/VCR combo bag, for probably the first ever TV/VCR combo unit. I had repurposed it for gaming when my old day job was tossing the combo unit. I can fit a LOT of games in it. So I was interested to compare the Game Canopy against my trusty old bag!
Firestone--I usually carry my games in a giant plastic tub. But I've been bringing the Game Canopy to my game group for a few weeks now, and it always gets attention. People keep asking where they can get one. It's obviously well-made and sturdy, and people see that right away.
Jeremiah--I Packed nearly a dozen games into my old bag, it zipped up, but with some considerable strain on the zipper/seams I was able to pack the same games into the Game Canopy. The only difference was I had to use the outer pockets for a couple of the smaller games but it zipped easily with no strain. I don't usually like to use those for games themselves, and I don't often have a need to bring 10 plus games with me (although I do like to have options!), so the moral of this story is: If you want 11 games on the inside of your gaming bag, scour the dregs of the technological movement for a 30+ year old TV/VCR combo-unit carrying case. Otherwise, consider the Game Canopy.
Firestone--The Game Canopy really holds a lot of games. I've got 11 games in that bag--including a couple of heavy behemoths such as Age of Steam and Argent--and it's handling them just fine. And it does this with a small footprint. My trusty plastic bin holds a lot, but it's unwieldy. I REALLY like that I can just grab the handles of this bag and go. I know that sounds like weird praise, but it's a pain trying to balance a bin of games on your hip while you're fishing around for your car keys in the dark.
Jeremiah--Yeah. I didn't think much of the side handles when I first saw them, but having a firm grip near the center of the bag changes the center of gravity when you go to lift it, and makes so much sense if you're trying to navigate doorways, getting it in and out of the car, or any other tight place. You're holding everything much more closely and in a more controlled manner, instead of swinging a heavyweight pendulum of doom that bangs into everything, ruining the games inside and whatever it crashes into.
Firestone--I'm not gonna lie. The cost on these bags is pretty high. But they really are well made. You can buy one nice bag that will last 15 or more years, or you can buy five cheaper bags in those same years. The one down-side is that it doesn't hold long games. Not many games come in those long boxes anymore, but I've got at least a dozen of them, and if I want to bring them to game night, I have to figure something else out. But that comes with the tradeoff of a small footprint, and I think it's a fine tradeoff.
Jeremiah--Yeah, this is definitely falling into--or at least near--that "boutique" item price-point, but it seriously is very likely the last game bag you'll need. I don't imagine the casual gamer jumping on board, but for the more serious gamer who wants to keep from having games scuffed up, or having the corner dinged, it's a really great option.
Firestone's Final Verdict--I love my Game Canopy. I'll be taking this along to game nights for many years. It's well-made, sturdy, and holds a lot of games--but doesn't take up much space. Thumbs-up from me.
Jeremiah's Final Verdict--I almost hate to say it, but it's definitely time to retire my old game bag. It's served me well, but never was designed for the purpose I've been using it for. It will be a good standby if I need to carry a TON of games somewhere, but the Game Canopy has definitely won the starter position in my game transportation lineup! Extremely well made, very thoughtful design, and great aesthetics! Bravo Level 3B!
Thanks for reading! We'll update this with the Kickstarter link once the campaign goes live.