2019 CART BAG BUYERS GUIDE

Are you happy with your current golf bag? How could it be better? Do you wish it had a bigger insulated pocket or a rangefinder pouch? Is there enough storage to carry the basics along with a rain suit, plenty of snacks, and enough water to keep you hydrated all day long? With companies more serious than ever about golf bag engineering, there’s a good chance that a new bag can improve on what you have right now.

While most understand the lines between staff, cart, and stand bags. Even within the confines of each category, there is a tremendous amount of variety. Not all cart bags are created equal. If you’re an avid golfer who plays multiple rounds a year, you want your bag to go the distance. If you’re looking for more features or just more storage (perhaps a larger cooler pocket), we’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new cart bag today, looking for some buying advice, or just want a closer look at what’s on the market right now, this guide will help you find the right cart bag to fit your needs.

How We Test

We're here to help you find the perfect cart bag for your needs.

To do that, we employ a rigorous and fully independent testing process that leaves no zipper un-pulled, no pocket un-explored, and no stone unturned.

The Test Process

Bags are loaded with 14 clubs and two dozen golf balls. Testers are encouraged to load and unload clubs from the bag as they would over the course of a typical round of golf. Consideration is given, the design, accessibility, and usability of the pockets and other features.

Our Metrics

The metrics we consider when rating golf bags include Features (42.5%), Storage Capacity (42.5%), Weight (5%), and Style (10%).

Final Grades

Best Overall is awarded to our highest scoring bag in the test. In addition to an Editor's Choice, Best Value may be awarded to a bag that offers excellent performance at a reasonable price. Finally, Best in Class recognition is given to bags offering features that push the established design envelope.

CART BAG FEATURES THAT MATTER

STORAGE

While the quantity of storage is invariably a consideration, focus on what makes sense for your individual needs. More isn’t always better. For some, a large side pocket might be unnecessary, while others need extra space for their favorite training aids, a full rain suit, a waterproof hat, and rain gloves.

Water bottle pockets should be easily accessible and large enough to accommodate as much water as you need. When it comes to insulated pockets, bigger is usually better, especially if you’re a near constant snacker. Well-designed GPS pockets allow for one less thing to be clipped to the bag, while still allowing for easy access.

Dividers

Typically cart bags offer 14-16 individual slots. Some bags offer multiple putter wells, giving your putter, driver, or perhaps your ball retriever a defined and isolated space. That being said, full length, tight individual liners generally work best and pose fewer problems than partial or saggy liners, which are more prone to snagging. While many divider configurations look similar, some make it much easier to pull clubs in and out of the bag.

Cart Strap Pass-Through

For frequent riders, the cart strap pass-through a necessity. Assuming a competent bag design, it ensures full access to all your pockets when the bag is on a cart. Bags without pass-throughs force the straps to hug the pockets, which almost always limits access rendering some pockets almost entirely non-functional.

EXPERT TIP - Waterproof Bags

If you play in rainy conditions more often than not, you may want to consider a waterproof bag like the Titleist STADRY Deluxe, OUUL Aqua Waterproof, or the Big Max Aqua Sport 2. These bags are built from waterproof materials and feature seam-sealed zippers. From top to bottom, they're designed to ensure that your stuff stays dry even when you don't.

All that weather protection comes at a cost, however. Zippers must be placed where water won't pool and seep. That often means side zippers that limit full access to critical pockets. It's also worth noting that waterproof zippers tend to be less finger friendly. For rainy climates, the trade-offs may be necessary, but if you seldom play in the rain, skip the weather protection in favor of maxing out features and functionality.

2019 Cart Bag Features Chart

 ProductWeight (LBS)DividersPocketsZipper PocketsCart Strap
AFO N7

Check Price
6.315139Y
Bagboy Chiller

Check Price
715129Y
Bagboy Defender

Check Price
8.2141210Y
Bagboy Revolver

Check Price
9.11477Y
Big Max Dri Lite Active

Check Price
5.51599Y
Big Max Aqua Sport 2

Check Price
6.11577Y
Burton XLT

Check Price
6.6151111Y
Cobra UltraLight

Check Price
614139Y
Datrek SGO

Check Price
6.515129Y
Datrek Lite Rider Pro

Check Price
5.91577Y
Datrek Transit

Check Price
7.91488Y
IZZO Gemini

Check Price
6.614109Y
Mizuno Pro Cart

Check Price
6.7141212Y
OGIO Alpha

Check Price
7.3141410Y
OUUL Aqua Waterproof

Check Price
6.11477Y
OUUL Airlight X

Check Price
6.91588Y
OUUL Air Light SC

Check Price
4.61466Y
Ping Pioneer

Check Price
6.8151410Y
Ping DLX

Check Price

7.915157Y
Ping Traverse

Check Price
5.8141310Y
Revelation Commander

Check Price
8.51688Y
Srixon Z85

Check Price
6.214109Y
Stewart Golf Sport Drive

Check Price
6.81599Y
Stewart Golf Staff Pro

Check Price
9.11599Y
Sun Mountain Supercharged C130
Check Price
7.3141010Y
Titleist STADRY Duluxe CB

Check Price
6.71498Y
Tour Edge Extreme 4

Check Price
6.71499Y
Wilson Staff EXO

Check Price
5.51488Y

EXPERT TIP - What to Look For in a Cart Bag Pocket

When it comes to cart bag pockets, there are 3 things you should consider; functionality, placement, and structure. Always think about your needs. Do you want a dedicated GPS pouch, a large insulated pocket, or a quarantine area to keep wet (and often smelly clothes) away from your snacks?

Well-designed bags put the pockets you use most within easy reach. A functional collection of pockets helps you put everything in its own place, while a competent structural design ensures that the functionality of one pocket isn't diminished by the presence of another. When pockets are located close together if you can't use both, what's the point of having two?

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More Tips

  • Don’t just count pockets. Always consider the quality and functionality of the storage space. A pocket with limited accessibility has next to no value. Look for pockets that are easily accessible, and can hold everything you need them to hold.
  • Do you carry a GPS or rangefinder? While many will choose to keep it in the cart with them, thoughtfully placed magnetic pockets provide easy access to your preferred electronic distance measuring device.
  • If you have an oversize putter grip, a separate putter well is beneficial, as they are more accommodating of larger diameter putter grips.
  • If you frequently play courses with limited or no water stations, you may want to focus on bags with dual water bottle pouches or larger insulated pockets.
  • While waterproof bags can help, if your bag gets wet over the course of a round, be sure to empty it completely, put it in a warm, place, and give it adequate time to fully dry before using it again.

2019 Cart Bag Results

 ProductPriceStorageStyleWeightFeaturesTotal
Ping Pioneer

Check Price
$250.003rd1st14th3rd95.5
Cobra Ultralight

Check Price
$209.003rd3rd6th3rd95
Ping DLX

Check Price

$300.003rd2nd24th2nd94.5
Ping Traverse

Check Price
$215.008th3rd2nd5th93
Srixon Z85

Check Price
$199.993rd9th6th5th92.5
Mizuno Pro Cart

Check Price
$280.007th5th14th5th92
OGIO Alpha

Check Price
$299.991st9th20th5th92
IZZO Gemini

Check Price
$224.9914th11th6th1st90.5
Sun Mountain Supercharged C130

Check Price
$244.991st7th20th10th90.5
Wilson Staff EXO

Check Price
$179.9910th7th2nd11th87.5
Titleist STADRY Duluxe CB

Check Price
$310.0017th5th14th9th87
Datrek SGO

Check Price
$189.959th16th6th14th84
Tour Edge Extreme 4

Check Price
$140.0011th11th14th14th83
Stewart Golf Sport Drive

Check Price
$220.0021st11th14th12th81.5
Datrek Lite Rider Pro

Check Price
$169.9511th25th2nd17th80
Datrek Transit

Check Price
$189.9517th18th24th14th79.5
AFO N7

Check Price
$179.9915th16th6th18th79
Stewart Golf Staff Pro

Check Price
$280.0021st11th27th12th79
Burton XLT

Check Price
$229.9511th18th6th20th78
OUUL AQUA Waterproof

Check Price
$249.9915th11th6th23rd76.5
OUUL Alirlight SC

Check Price
$219.9919th28th14th19th75.5
Bagboy Chiller

Check Price
$189.9519th18th20th21st74
Big Max Dri Lite Active

Check Price
$229.9924th18th2nd25th72.5
Bagboy Defender

Check Price
$209.9524th18th20th23rd72.5
Big Max Aqua Sport

Check Price
$299.9926th18th6th25th71.5
Bagboy Revolver

Check Price
$229.9523rd18th27th21st71.5
Revelation Commander

Check Price
$149.9927th25th26th27th64.5
OUUL Air Light X

Check Price
$219.9928th28th1st28th61.5

THE EASY ROLLER - DATREK TRANSIT

No bag drop, no problem. Made by Datrek, the innovative new Transit features integrated wheels and an extending handle that makes getting the bag from the trunk to the cart as easy as rolling your suitcase through the airport at midnight.

Other features include an ample cooler pocket, substantial storage, and wide 15-way dividers to name a few. If you have limitations that make you unable to carry your bag any appreciable distance, the Datatrek Transit could make it easier for you to play more golf.

POWER UP - SUN MOUNTAIN SUPERCHARGED C-130

A solid all-around bag with best-in-class storage, the Sun Mountain Supercharged C-130 also offers a unique mobile charging feature. A built-in USB port offers golfers the opportunity to charge their mobile devices on the course. With the usage of shot-tracking systems and portable launch monitors on the rise, we expect demand for similar features will increase.

Also noteworthy, the C-130 offers a secondary strap that that locks onto the cart's basket for extra security when riding. If either feature appeals to you, the Sun Mountain Supercharged C-130 is one to consider.

FAQ

Q: How much should I spend on a bag? 

A: While there’s no definitive answer for everyone, we’ve found that well-designed, fully featured cart bags for avid golfers generally start at $199, with the majority of our top choices being in the $250-$300 range. Golfers who play just a few times a year may be able to find a suitable offering for a bit less.

Q: Do I need an insulated pocket?

A: You may be able to get by without an insulated pocket, however, you’re on the course for the full 18 and travel with a selection of snacks, an insulated pocket is essential. In general, when it comes to insulated pockets, bigger is better.

Q: Should I buy a bag from one of the big equipment brands?

A: While it’s true that the top performers in our tests often come from names you know, many equipment OEMs source their bags from 3rd parties like Sun Mountain and Vessel. Rarely do these white-label offerings match the performance of the top bags in the supplier’s own lineup.

Q: Does the cart strap pass-through matter?

A: The short answer is yes. Cart strap pass-throughs ensure access to key storage spaces within the bag (assuming the bag is otherwise well designed).