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Tested: two Ogres Essential-Z Chalk Bag

two ogres essentialz chalk bag

Chalk bags for rock climbing seem like simple accessories; not really a big deal, not life saving, just something to have. A good one is not really appreciated, but if you get a bad one, you’ll know it. It will spill chalk everywhere, or maybe you can’t fit your hand inside it comfortably.

It’s worth thinking about the purchase! Right now I’m using the two Ogres Essential-Z Chalk Bag, a new and improved version of the two Ogres Basique chalk bag I bought last year.

Why did I choose the two Ogres bag in the first place?

It had the three things I wanted:

  • A zippered pocket (to hold nail clippers, ID card, whatever)
  • A low price ($16.50 was about as cheap as you could get)
  • A pretty color (the lime green color is flashy but not obnoxious)

And it had the basics covered:

  • Durable outer material and soft interior lining
  • Adjustable waist belt included
  • Drawstring to keep chalk from spilling
  • Toothbrush holder

Though I thought that was plenty, the new and improved bag kept all the good features and made a few things better.

The drawstring closure was improved to provide a tighter seal, the bag is bigger overall (great for anyone with big hands,) the belt buckle is slimmer, and the top of the bag uses a stiff rim to ensure it stays wide open.

My initial assessment was overwhelmingly positive. The bag looks even better in real life, and everything works. It holds chalk. The drawstring opens and closes. The zipper pocket zippers back and forth. The elastic loop fits a toothbrush. The waist belt holds it around my waist if I so choose.

But… remember how I said this is my second bag from two Ogres? Yeah…

Why I got a warranty replacement

The two Ogres Basique chalk bag, which I purchased in January of 2014, was awesome. I loved it. I didn’t have a single complaint.

Then in the fall, after probably 6 months of actual use (almost exclusively indoor gym use,) I noticed chalk all over my shoes and back seat of my car! Turns out the bag was ripping open on the sides!

Well, not ripping exactly, but wearing out.

See, the material isn’t very flexible, so it creases whenever you shut the drawstring. And over time, the crease was too much for the material to handle. It wore so thin that the chalk puffed out of the side whenever you’d touch the bag!!

It looks like a tough, durable fabric that would hold up against scrapes, but it can’t hold up to itself! If you look closely, you see its a woven material, and the weave sort of comes undone.

So that was a bummer. The bag was wonderful otherwise.

Not wanting to waste the bag, I set out to fix it myself.

My first idea was to sew on a patch. But realistically, that’s too much effort for a chalk bag, especially one that might just crease somewhere else.

So I used some duct tape for a quick fix and it worked like a charm!

Then I remembered I had a can of Flex Seal in the garage. Yes, the “as seen on TV” stuff. It’s legit! Two coats of that and the bag has no more leaks! It basically soaked into the material, but still left a bit of a rubberized coating on the outside.

Satisfied, yet not particularly happy, I emailed the company on a Friday afternoon at about 6:30 pm to let them know about the issue. By 8:00 pm I had a response, thanking me for my feedback and offering to send me a brand new bag for free!

two ogres chalk bag comparison

This new bag was awesome at first. Like I said, it still had everything I liked about the last one, but with improvements.

I actually never had any complaints about the features of the old bag. Far from it.

However, I can see that people with big hands would prefer a bigger bag like this one.

So if you have big hands, yes, definitely choose the newer two Ogres Essential-Z bag. It’s bigger yet still has the same soft material inside (it’s hard to tell from the picture but yes it’s down there.)

Unfortunately, this time it only took a couple months for me to run into the same problem with the durability!

Once again, I found a coating of chalk on the back seat of my car, despite the bag being sealed.

Turns out this bag is leaking on the bottom! Right on the seams.

Whenever I grab the bag and pick it up, or drop it on the floor, a puff of chalk is coming out the sides of the bottom. It’s not ripping or tearing or anything, though. It’s just leaking.

Maybe my chalk is just too fine?

The company assured me the first bag was just an isolated incident, and considering the excellent reviews and ratings I see on Amazon.com, I’m inclined to believe them.

But my own eyes are telling me that these bags let chalk escape!

I try to keep my chalk contained within a chalk sock, but it’s inevitable you end up with a coating of loose chalk at the bottom of the bag. And that doesn’t want to stay put!

The problem might actually be my Bison Designs Competition Chalk. This stuff is so fine, hardly any container can contain it. If you get some slightly heavier, coarse chalk, perhaps Black Diamond White Gold, maybe you’ll have better luck.

My solution is to keep my chalk bag inside of my backpack from now on! Fortunately, this Miu Color backpack works perfectly for the climbing gym.

Are you an artist? It’s a blank canvas.

If you have some artistic talent, or know someone who does, this bag is perfect for customizing!

All you need is a black Sharpie. Check this out:

Are there other good chalk bags?

While I still think this is a beautifully designed chalk bag, I’m becoming wary of the material. If you use super fine chalk, I want to suggest getting a bag made out of a softer, more pliable material.

For a few more dollars, you could get the Evolv Roundtangular Chalkbag. It comes in some nice colors and is $18.95 at Amazon.com.

Then there are some prAna bags which seem to run anywhere from $14-27 each. The plain one and the colorful prAna Geo Chalk Bag that comes in a super cool neon green and blue color combo.

And I have to give a shout out to my hometown chalk bag manufacturer, Organic Climbing. They make beautiful, unique chalk bags!

Unfortunately, all those bags lack the zippered pocket. And I love the zippered pocket!

The only other option is Practical Climbing, since they’ll add a custom zipper pocket if you want.

Personally I still prefer the style, design, and features of the two Ogres bags! I’d rather switch brands of chalk than switch this bag!

My final verdict is…

This is a great looking bag, and I love the design (especially the zippered pocket.) And it’s made by a super cool company that stands behind their products.

But the material just doesn’t keep my chalk inside it! You probably shouldn’t get one of these if you use super fine chalk like Bison Designs competition chalk or the expensive Petzl chalk.

Official website: www.twoOgres.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: two Ogres
Product: two Ogres Essential-Z Chalk Bag
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.7 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-05-16
Obtained Product: Warranty replacement for purchased product.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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1 Comment
  1. Thanks for mentioning Practical in your article! We’re happy to add a pocket to almost any of our bags. Krieg is another company that’s been around for many years and a pocket comes standard on their bags. Happy climbing!

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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Hometown, PA