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« Review: Qanba Aegis arcade fight stick bag »

There are arcade sticks of many sizes. Most of them can probably fit in a normal school backpack. But what if your stick is out of the ordinary? It probably won't fit in those bags and even if it can, there is the possibility the bag can damage your stick in some way. When it comes to protection, there are dedicated arcade stick bags that can do that, but size is another story since the bags were were made for specific, mostly normal-sized sticks. Big arcade sticks have been relatively uncommon for years.

With the release of the Dragon stick, Qanba realized that something needed to be done to have people easily carry it to tournaments. The Guardian bag, while good, simply doesn't work with the Dragon. The answer to this beast of a stick is the recently released Aegis bag. If you have a Dragon stick or another large stick, then you might might want to seriously consider this bag.

Instead of taking a similar route found with the Guardian, which was just a newer version of the Defender, the Aegis is a new design. Aside from the hard rubber feet from the bottom end and side drink holder, this bag contains very few aspects of the Defender design.

On first glance, the Aegis has a monochromatic mesh design made of polyester, different from that of the Defender and Guardian's nice hemp-based fabric. The polyester might feel slightly rough to touch, but it won't damage skin. The only color on the bag, outside of black and gray, is the blue Qanba logo found on the front pocket. I would have liked to see the fabric found on the Defender return but it's not much of a big deal.

Designed mainly for the Dragon stick, the Aegis' main pouch is the big draw. By unzipping a line that surrounds the bag, you can unflap the pouch. This will give you a lot of room to properly fit the Dragon with no struggle. In addition, there is a cushioning guard for the lever. I tried a variety of other sticks such as Qanba's Obsidian and Hori's Fighting Edge, both known for their width, and had no issuses inserting them. I would have liked to use one of Hori's Real Arcade Pro VLX sticks but didn't have one at the time for this review. I wouldn't be surprised if it easily fits as well. To those who have normal sticks, they should fit just fine in the pouch, but smaller sticks might move around when inserted and when carrying the bag. While the big space is nice, the ease of putting a stick in the pouch is a better plus. The pouch also has protection foam all around which is a nice touch. For a heavy stick like the Dragon, it makes sense to have protection. 

There is also a big secondary pouch closer toward the rear end. It's not meant to fit arcade sticks but much slimmer items. If you have something like a laptop, a console or a smaller portable monitor, you should be able to fit these inside. This also contains foam padding so the object will be protected from most normal dangers. If you have a Dragon in the main pouch with a laptop in the secondary sack, you will have to try if you want something broken.

The tertiary pouches and pockets are structured differently from that of the Defender and Guardian bags. The front one seems simple at first glance, then when unzipped you will notice that the pouch is bigger than what you might think. This is perfect for putting accessories, a book, a tablet or anything relatively small. There are also small pockets if you want to categorize the items you're carrying. Even the flapped end of the front pouch has its own dedicated small sack. The left and right side pouches can fit things like candy, pens and more minature items. Just the front pouch alone makes this a definite step up over the Defender and Guardian. The only thing lacking is that it only features one side sack for a bottled drink instead of one on each side. I wonder if this was a way to minimize manufacturing costs. For a bag that seems to have a lot of improvements over its predecessors, it's unfortunate to notice this nerf.

At least the rear end does have some buffs. The padding in the shoulder straps are stronger than that of Qanba's other bags. It makes sense since you might be carrying a heavy stick so tougher pads will help. In addition, the Aegis features locks on the straps in case the bag slips from your arms. Back support also improved with a cushion that covers more of the rear. What about actually carrying the bag? When emptied, it's comparable to the light Defender and Guardian bags. When putting a normal-sized stick inside with some accessories, it's not much of an issue to carry around. With the Dragon, a PlayStation 4, cables and more, the bag does its best in keeping the weight as comfortable to my back as possible. However, the reality of carrying that much stuff at once does eventually get overbearing sometimes.

Considering that the Guardian is still available for $59.99, is it worth paying $79.99 for the Aegis then? The Guardian does a good job in carrying most sticks out there and if you are going to only bring a couple of accessories to your local tournament, it can easily do so. The Aegis opens a lot more options and feels like more of a workhorse bag. It's the one to get if your arcade stick is too big for the Guardian. The bigger extra pouches do help if you are bringing a lot of extra stuff like a gaming setup. It's better suited in withstanding heavy items. Being only a $20 difference, it's considerably tempting to go for the higher-end bag.

The Qanba Aegis is available now at Qanba USA and Eightarc! The Aegis was provided by Qanba USA for review purposes.

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