* Prices may differ from that shown
My daughter began swimming lessons a few months ago and needed a nice new swim bag for the occasion! By coincidence a fantastic swim bag popped up on Amazon Vine around the same time, so I was quick to snap it up. The bag was a Trunki Paddlepak.
The Trunki brand started by making fun children's suitcases (after appearing on Dragons Den) but have now begun to make backpacks too. My daughter already had a bright pink Trunki suitcase and now has the exact same colour Trunki Paddlepak to match! It's a great looking bag. It's a nice bright colour and has a unique design. It has the shape and appearance of a fish, with green 'fins' on either side of the bag and a green 'tail' on the bottom. It has silver gills printed on it, along with eyes at the top and the name 'Trunki' printed in the middle of the bag. The top of the bag (which opens up) is made to look like the fish's mouth. There are lots of other Paddlepak designs available which include sharks, whales, frogs and octopuses!
My daughter (who recently turned 6) has been using her Trunki Paddlepak weekly, for a few months. It's just the right size for her and she's happy enough to wear it on her back. The straps are padded for comfort (the part that rests on her back is also padded) and they can also be adjusted as she grows. The bag isn't huge but there is sufficient space for everything she needs to put in to it - costume, towel, googles etc. It opens up really wide at the top so she can easily put things in/take things out. The bag is made from a waterproof material (80% polyester, 20% neoprene) that ensures no water or dampness leaks out of the bag. The bag is easy to wipe clean but can also be hand washed up to 30 degrees.
The bag closes up in quite a strange way. Instead of having a drawstring or velcro, you are required to roll the bag over 3 times and secure it with a clip. This has its upsides and downsides. The downsides are that it's a bit fiddly for young children to do up (undoing is easy enough). The upsides are that is offers extra security and it also seals the bag shut so no air can get inside the bag - this ensures that swimming stuff doesn't start to smell damp. I actually forgot about my daughters swimming bag which was left in the boot of my car for about 3 days, I was dreading opening the bag, but to my surprise her swimming stuff didn't smell damp at all.
The green 'tail' on the bottom of the bag has a zip on it and doubles up in to a small pocket. This is useful for safety storing away small items. We use the small pocket to store jewellery, hair bands and money etc. There is also a space to write your childs details inside of the bag and a hook on the back to hang the bag up.
The bag is very robust and durable. It's showing no signs of wear and tear. My daughter loves it and I have no complaints.
Trunki Paddlepak's are widely available and generally cost between £10.00 - £15.00, which may be a little overpriced but I wouldn't really consider it expensive. I'm happy to recommend it.
I suspect, as a parent, I'm not alone in having always found trips to go swimming with small children a bit of a palaver. I was, then, delighted to be sent the Trunki Paddlepak to try and keep, rrp £19.99. Trunki make a range of items for children to make transporting their various bits and bobs easier, and I've always found their items well designed and high on child appeal. This bag was to prove to be the same in terms of being instantly loved by my child and having some nifty and different features.
The Paddlepak, which is also available in blue makes for a very cute and aptly fish-shaped swimming bag, and would I think be ideal too for use as a preschool bag. It's only 7.5 litres in capacity but you can, we have found, easily fit a kids' towel, costume and a snack in the bag which is made of a quite thick waterproof material (80% polyester and 20% neoprene according to the label). My daughter, aged 6, is probably at the upper age limit of the bag - there is a slightly larger 10 litre version available for age 6+ in a fun shark design, this particular bag is definitely designed with the smaller child in mind. My little swimmer likes the fish design and finds it easy to put the adjustable straps over her shoulder and to carry her things herself, we've tried it on a 3 year old on whom it was also a very good fit.
When in use you start to find out the other good points about the bag, apart from it being the right size for small children to carry and appealing to them. The bag has a wide opening that is a very good idea as it makes all the contents visible and accessible easily. The straps as well as being very adjustable are nicely padded, (there's a little bit of padding that you can't see on the photo on the fish's back that also makes for a comfortable fit). I also like the reflective details, always a good feature on a child's bag on dark evenings and nicely incorporated into the design. The little hidden pocket, complete with zipper, in the fish's tail is of great appeal to my child too. She also likes the trunki grip (tm) on the strap - a little circular grip (a bit like those you find on kitchen cupboards for hanging up t-towels) which you can hang googles or sun glasses from for easy access. There's a small hoop between the straps that is actually quite useful for hanging the bag from a peg - all the details have, in my opinion, been thought through by someone who understands the needs of children. The bag is well made and, even after having been used quite a lot, seems to not attract dirt - in any case it's fully washable should the need arise.
My one criticism is that the fastening at the top, albeit clever; it folds down three times so any wet items are well contained, is a bit of a faff to open and close and is not intuitive to use, and can't easily be opened by a child. It's just a bit clumsy to close in a way that you don't need when trying to get children and their things organised. I'm really not sure why the closing is as complex as it is, though it does make for a bag that looks nice in use, as you can see above the top of the bag looks like the fish's mouth when it's folded down and the opener is discretely hidden.
Overall, I do like this bag though I am not sure if I would have paid the full rrp for it, well made and cute as it is, but I can't deny that it's a nice bag to own for swimming and that it makes the getting ready for swimming and organising of things to take to the pool or beach ever so slightly easier. My daughter loves her paddlepak, even if I do think she will grow out of it pretty quickly. Recommended - a "nice to have" rather than a "must have" but recommended all the same.