Mares Cruise Mesh Duffle Bag

If you've been to a tournament with me, you've probably seen this bag. I've had people scoff at it, as it doesn't hold feders, or that it can't be put onto an airline by itself.

I am here to tell you, dear reader, that they aren't paying attention to its true beauty.

In HEMA we have this tendency of thinking that bags need to do everything. Carry all of our gear. Have wheels. Carry someone else's gear. Hold all the source material you study. Make sandwiches. 

However, not every bag is for every situation, and sometimes purpose needs to overlap. I used my hardshell golf case for my day-to-day travel, and you know what happened? It broke. In and our of the car and over curbs and being thrown about took its toll. I wanted to save my hardshell for when I'm flying. 

This bag not only does that, but it has a magic secret - it let's your gear dry.

So much stuff, so much literal breathing room. 

So much stuff, so much literal breathing room. 

Review Methodology

I beat the shit out of two of these bags for 3 years. They've been with me to nearly every training session and every tournament, and only just recently did a small hole develop in one of them.

They were bought on amazing for $33 USD. Amazon was not aware that I was purchasing this product for a HEMA review website.


The bag is made out of a high tensile nylon webbing, with nylon canvas on the ends. The Nylon webbing is big enough to let air flow right through, but small enough that I've never lost anything that I carry in the bag - rubber tips, undergloves, you name it, it stays in there.

But even with smaller items, there's a zipper pocket inside the bag for easy storage, and this pocket is HUGE - you could put Kenny Phan in the pocket and have room for Lauren Hanson.

The pocket can also be used for packing up the bag - this allows me to pack it into a small profile if space is at a premium when I'm packing.

What makes this bag special?

This bag is made for folks into scuba diving. They can take their gear off, toss it in this bag, and then WASH IT DOWN. No, I don't recommend washing your hema gear in this bag.

Hardshell and other closed bags tend to trap moisture, especially when they have a rubberized nylon for durability. This leads to a funk on day 2 that would kill a small kitten, and swords that look like they were painted with rust.

Let's face it - there are some sweaty fucking people in HEMA, myself included. We need all the help we can get.

This bag lets you carry around your sweat-soaked items, such as your jacket / trousers / Mask, without having them near your weaponry. It means you won't have to pack them into a sports tube just to get them back and forth from the venue, and they can stay in the bag and STILL dry out.

The same applies for day-to-day travel to class - this bag will let your equipment breath, rather than development a bacteria culture that would impress your high school science teacher.

This bag is $30 bucks.

($33 USD, but $30 bucks sounds better in a headline.)

Interestingly enough, one of the complaints that divers have about the bag is that *it's too long*, which is actually perfect for HEMA folks.

I'm fine with not using a single bag for everything. Even when I do own an all-in-one bag, I still use this bag for general travel to lug the sweaty bits around. It's easy to store, easy to clean, and easy to use.

You can purchase the bag here: