Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ultimate Ball Bag versus Dry-Lo Ball Bag

Today’s post looks at two exceptional ball bags: The Ultimate Ball Bag from Ump-Attire and the Dry-Lo Ball Bag sold by Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring. Click on the images for a closer look at the front, rear, and inside of the bags.

Ultimate Ball Bag
Price: $17.95
Dimensions: H: 12 ¾” Bottom: 10 ¾” Top 10 ¾”
Pocket Depth: 5 ½”
Pocket Width: 3 ½”, 4 ½” and one pencil pocket
Large Zippered Rear Pocket: H: 9 ¾” W: 8 ¾”

The Ultimate Ball Bag is not tapered. The Ump-Attire website states that the Ultimate Ball Bag is “Handmade by Amish craftsmen in Kentucky, U.S.A.” How cool is that? The bag is made from twill fabric with a nylon interior on the pant side to prevent the transfer of moisture. Most seams are double stitched where you need it most.

Dry-Lo Ball Bag
Price: $14.95 (two for $24.95)
Dimensions: H: 12 ¾” Bottom:12” Top: 11 ¼”
Pocket Depth: 5”
Pocket Width: 4”, 4” and one pencil pocket

The Dry-Lo Ball Bag is slightly tapered and made from 100% polyester fabric. The back side is made from a different polyester fabric and is water resistant. The entire bag is single stitched and “is bonded with a special high strength glue under more than a ton of pressure” according to the Jim Evan’s website.

These are both great quality bags. The Ultimate Ball Bag is slightly smaller than the Dry-Lo Ball Bag and the Dry-Lo is slightly tapered. Does it matter? I really can’t say because I’ve only used tapered ball bags in the past (most recently from Honig’s). I have never had a problem with losing baseballs.

My plate brush fit snugly in both 4” pockets of the Dry-Lo bag, but it was accommodated better in the 4 1/2” Ultimate Ball Bag pocket. My plate brush would not fit in the Ultimate’s 3 ½” pocket, so the brush goes either right-hand front or left-hand rear on the second bag. I also did not like the deeper pen pocket in the Ultimate. I grabbed five pens out of my desk drawer and all of them were 5 ½” or shorter. I absolutely hate fishing for a pen in my ball bag. That is really a small complaint and easily overcome (longer pen, stuff the pocket, etc.), but it is something that I recognized, so I’ll pass along the observation.

The Ultimate Ball Bag has a rear zippered pocket and the Dry-Lo does not. However, the water resistant fabric is not between your leg and the bag, so paper could potentially get wet by rain or perspiration. I also wonder what I would put in there. . . a rule book? Old School Mattel Electronics Baseball? Tic Tacs?

Which is better? Both are super. The Ultimate appears better made, although I prefer the features of the Dry-Lo (two 4” wide pockets, waterproof shell between my pant leg and the bag, tapered design). I guess the bottom line is that, for me, it is a coin-flip.
I have used the Dry-Lo exclusively for the past few weeks and will be using the Ultimate exclusively for the next few weeks. My experience with the Dry-Lo has been less-than-positive:
1. the corners curl outward when holding balls;
2. the single stitching on one of the belt loops has began pulling away and unraveling after only a few games; and
3. the inside pockets are too narrow and I find it difficult to remove my plate brush.
As I said, I will be field testing the Ultimate over the next few weeks and then I will post my "field test" impressions of the Ultimate.
O.K. I have field tested the Ultimate during several games and now conclude it is absolutely superior to the Dry-Lo. Honestly, I still have not found a use for the zipper compartment, but it is nice to know it is there if needed. The untapered design does not seem to be an issue and baseballs stay in place. I especially like the increased size of the inside pocket for my plate brush for easy access. I worked in rain last night and the baseballs remained dry in the bag.
The Ultimate Ball Bag from Ump-Attire looks good, is durable, and keeps contents dry. The highest praise I can give this bag is that I don't think about it at all while working the plate. It is dependable and functions flawlessly - like a great piece of gear should.


Jim Kirk said...

I see you are at again, reviewing products. Good stuff.

Just wanted to add something. You mentioned you were not sure what you'd put in the pocket. Here are things our customers have told us they use it for:
-Electronic Car Key
-Coin for flipping at summer tourneys
-Extra pen or pencils
-A watch for timed games

Also, our goal in providing the waterproof lining was to keep moisture away from baseballs or softballs, not necessarily from the bag itself.

Thanks for noticing all the other details and keep up the good work.

Jim Kirk

Pete Reiser said...


Thank you very much for the opportunity to review this product. The pocket is a terrific idea, however I'd rather have a waterproof pocket to carry a small rulebook onto the field and not have to worry about it coming in contact with moisture.

Thanks for your comments. The Ultimate Ball Bag is certainly a quality product.


Anonymous said...

Rule book on the field!!??

Arik said...

I use the zipper for my keys while I am working the plate on HS games and below. College games and such I dont use the zipper but like you said. Its there just in case I need it.

Anonymous said...

Jim has made some upgrades to their bag. It is bigger and they greatly improved their stitching. Maybe you can call Jason at the Academy and see if he will send you the newest version. Hands down the best bag produced!

Anonymous said...

Oh... and Pete, leave the rulebook in the car!! ha ha

Anonymous said...
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