Along with the release of the Salient Discs Prometheus, Salient Discs released their first disc golf backpack called the Catalyst. The Salient Discs Catalyst has been described as a very affordable disc golf backpack with great storage for gear and discs. The folks at Salient Discs sent us one a while back and we wanted to get some quality rounds in with it in order to provide a complete and honest review of it.
Price is normally the first thing people notice when they are shopping for a big ticket disc golf item. You want to make sure you’re not breaking the bank, but still getting enough value for the price. The Salient Discs Catalyst can be purchased for just $110 plus shipping on the Salient Discs website. Compared to other disc golf backpacks on the market and to ones we’ve used ourselves, it is tough to beat the “bang for your buck” factor when it comes to the Catalyst.
They advertise 20-25 discs for the Catalyst. In our most recent round we filled it with two putters in the front slot (more on that in a moment) along with three putters, five midranges, and seven drivers in the main compartment. That brought us up to 17 total and we didn’t even use the side compartments. You could easily fit another 2-3 drivers in each side compartment to bring it up to that 20-25 disc level. With the 15 discs in the main compartment, it was a little hard at times to get the ones all the way to the side. Could we do it? Of course, but the curved opening was a little sharper of an angle than we’d like. We could have thrown a few in the side pockets and this wouldn’t have been a problem. It is all up to your personal preference as to how you like to use the side storage. We should note, discs in the middle part of the main compartment come out with ease.
Right above the main compartment, you’ll find what they refer to as the “Go and Get It” slot. This is designed to be where you put the discs you reach for the most. For us, it was our putters, but you could easily put a few drivers in there too. It does come with a divider/insert that we actually took out. We found the fit with the insert in there to be a little too tight. By removing it, it opened up a little more space and allowed the putters to sit a little deeper in the slot. We could easily reach down and pull out a putter to use while the bag was firmly planted on the ground. It is a nice change on the quiver style you see in the Grip Equipment bag and a nice alternative to the putter pockets that are lower on the bag.
One drawback of the Go and Get It slot is the flap cannot be closed with the putters in there. You’d have to pull them out and put in a different slot in the bag for storage. The main compartment can be fully zippered shut with discs in there.
We’ll continue to go up on the bag and touch on the top part of the bag. The front has a zippered pocket for a mini or scorecard flanked by two pencil/pen holders on each side. While it can hold a mini, it can be zippered shut with one in there, but that isn’t a deal breaker by any means. Above this pocket is another zippered pocket. At first glance, it appears as if this unzips to reveal a nice size storage area that is similar to that found on the Dynamic Discs Ranger bag. Unfortunately, it is quite small. While it is the same width of the bag, you don’t get any depth. Think of this like the inside of a wallet. You can spread it open and store the basics (like minis, scorecards, pencils, small towels, etc…), but that is about it. We’d love to see this space opened up and deliver even more storage than is already available.
Speaking of storage, you’ll get two large pockets and two small pockets on each side of the bag. The large pockets have a zipper that follow the front edge of the bag that go about halfway down the side. These pockets are big enough to put a water bladder in, store a hoodie, light jacket, towels or other similar products. It is also tall enough to put in an umbrella for those rainy rounds too. The large pockets actually seemed deeper than we expected. You can fit quite a bit in there. Halfway down the side of the bag you’ll find two more pockets that can be used for accessories, but can easily hold discs too. this is where you can hit that 20-25 disc capacity. If you don’t need the added storage, they sit very flush against the bag and don’t add a lot of bulk.
There are a few other features of the Salient Discs Catalyst worth mentioning. As strange as it sounds, we really liked the top handle. It is a thicker plastic grip wrapped around the top handle which almost seems like a “premium” item and something we’d love to see on other bags. The cup holders aren’t mind blowing, but we aren’t sure what a mind blowing cup holder looks like. They are on the large size and can easily hold a larger drink. If you have a smaller size, they might bounce around a little bit in there. Salient also advertises the four rubber molded feet on the bottom of the bag. Honestly, if they weren’t there, we wouldn’t miss it. If you have a fully loaded bag and sit it on pavement or any other hard surface, the middle of the bottom of the bag will still be on the ground. If you have some soggy fairways, it might get a little wet. They aren’t tall enough to really keep things off the ground. To us, it isn’t a big notable feature.
While carrying the bag around on the course, not one time did we think “gosh, this is uncomfortable.” The straps are padded enough to provide some comfort, but aren’t overly padded to make things bulky. The back is also padded a touch to keep the discs themselves off of your back and keeps some of the pressure off of your lower back. Once you get the straps adjusted properly to you, the bag should fit easily on your back. The bag isn’t that wide which makes it feel smaller than you’d expect too when you carry it. Even loaded up with 17 discs, the weight was quite acceptable.
If you’re in the market for a disc golf backpack and don’t feel like shelling out top dollar, but still want a product that can perform at a top level, the Salient Discs Catalyst is worth a look. You can easily fit 15-16 discs in the main compartment with added storage in the top slot and side pockets. Any combination you go with should yield nice results. While the storage at the top could be a little better, the side compartments make up for it. For $110 plus shipping, the Catalyst can fill the needs of many disc golfers. It will be hard to find a better bang for your buck on the market.