Gear Review: Saka Pinda Yoga Backpack

This is my new yoga mat bag, the Saka Pinda Yoga Backpack.  As I have blogged about previously, my mat of choice is the Manduka.  Since writing my open letter to The Duke, as he is fondly called, I have grown ever more attached and must bring him wherever my yoga takes me.  This means near-daily trips to the gym, up and down stairs, and all over creation, basically.  The Duke weighs in at roughly seven pounds, which doesn't sound like much until you haul it around in addition to all the other gear that is involved with teaching multiple sweaty vinyasa classes every week.  I needed put an end to me looking like some kind of yoga hobo, stumbling in with my arms full with a half-unrolled mat and myriad of bags.

Anyway, all this toting led me to buy the Saka Pinda, and it is fantastic.  As you can see from the photo, the mat is strapped in by two layers of buckles onto a rubberized pad on the back.  The mat is completely secure, and even if I did a very sloppy job rolling my big Manduka, there is plenty of length on the straps to contain it.  There is also wee nylon cover that you can pull out (concealed in that bottom zippered part) if you'll be setting your mat down on any gross flooring.  Like, say, my studio after aforementioned sweaty vinyasa class.

Notice all those pockets on the side!  LOVE IT!  The envelope holds my iPod classic, and I usually tuck an packet of Emergen-C behind the mesh pocket next to a couple pens.

If you follow the link on the photo, you can see a few more (poorly shot on my iPhone) views of the backpack.  The backpack compartment itself is very compact.  Still, it managed to hold a 10-yard skirt, a 3-yard veil in addition to my notebook and wallet.  Now that is probably not a typical use unless you also happen to be a bellydancer, but due to the magical Mary Poppins nature of the bag, I'm sure a normal person would have no problem throwing in a change of clothes, a towel, or pretty much anything you need in there.  Also, there are more pockets safely concealed for cash, cards, or other small items.

I love the water bottle pocket that zips out of the side, however, after a few weeks of gentle use, the bottom ripped out and dropped my water bottle on the ground.  Oops.  Fortunately, the good people at Saka sent me a replacement bag, no questions asked.  I'm still a little reluctant to put a full bottle in there, though!  Aside from that one small seam blowout, everything seems solidly constructed and the fabric I think will wear well over time.

The only complaint that I have is a minor one. The zipper of the main compartment is a little fussy going around the top because the corners are fairly square.  Usually I don't bother zipping it all the way, unless my pack is full.

All in all, it's a super awesome bag.  It's comfortable to carry, and I think it would be perfect if you are someone who bikes to and from your yoga studio.  Also, I feel a lot less like a crazy yoga hobo coming into teach with my stuff all neatly contained!  Two mudras up!