Upper Park Designs entered the disc golf backpack scene in 2012 with their Focus and Shift bags. Since then some improvements have been made to both versions while a third bag was also developed. The Upper Park Designs Rebel takes some of the features found on the Focus and Shift along with a new layout and structure to form Upper Park Designs’ top level backpack.
Upper Park Designs says this about their latest addition:
The Rebel has been in development for over a year and from the design to the choice of materials, our obsessive attention to detail can be seen with every stitch. Weighing in at only 3lb 11oz it sports the classic Upper Park style with the same focus on comfort and build quality. We paired our vertical storage with the common lower-level horizontal storage so capacity is an easy 25 discs. To keep the space flexible each bag includes two adjustable dividers that allow custom separation in the lower compartment. We’ve innovated on the classic mini pocket with our Quick-draw slot directly on the top of the bag. A flap access rain-fly with taped seams (as they should be) comes standard, the over-sized pockets on each side are perfect for accessories, and there is a strap to hold a chair or umbrella when needed. Bottom line, there were no corners cut when making this bag.
Upper Park Designs sent us a Rebel to review and we’ve spent the last few weeks with the bag to really get a feel for what the hype was all about. At first glance the Rebel actually looks a little small and when you pick it up you really can feel how light it is. Don’t take the small appearance and light weight for granted though. This bag can actually hold quite a bit and even with the light frame it doesn’t back down on the course.
When you first unzip the front of the Rebel and roll down the front flap into the pocket at the bottom of the bag, you’ll instantly notice the three vertical slots for disc storage. We initially used the top pocket to hold three putters and added two midranges in the pocket in the middle. We loaded up the main storage on the bottom with the rest of our discs and found the total number we had in there was more than we expected. In all we had five putters, six midranges, and 10 drivers in the bag.
Once we had all our discs in the bag we noticed we didn’t put any discs in the final vertical slot. The fit was pretty tight and we didn’t have a lot of room in that final slot, even for a driver. Even though we lost this storage slot, we never felt like we were in need of it. The five discs we kept at the top were enough for us and the rest of the main compartment did the heavy lifting.
Now, if you’re someone who has the desire to carry a few more discs, there are a few other options for you with the Rebel. There are two removable dividers in the main compartment that can be taken out for a few extra discs. Another option you have is to use the large side pockets.
The two zippered pockets that take up the each side of the Rebel are surprisingly deep. They can easily hold a rolled up sweatshirt, countless towels, snacks, and just about any additional item you might need during a round or tournament. Along with some of our typical storage needs, we were able to put in another 2-3 discs in each side and keep things zipped up. We actually shoved two putters in one on top of some towels and easily kept the side pockets closed. This can easily add storage for those utility discs you don’t reach for that often, yet still want to keep in the bag.
Both zippered pockets have two internal pockets with one shaped with mesh and elastic. These can hold wallets, keys, phones, etc…. There is plenty of space for any little disc golf trinkets you might have. The outside of the side pockets have small pockets for pencils, pens, markers, or your writing utility of choice along with larger slots for clip boards, towels, or even a stool. The one side has a small velcro loop to help secure a stool or umbrella on that side of the bag. Of course, you can also use this loop for bag tags or a small D-ring too.
We already mentioned how you can use the side pockets as added storage, but there is one other option for added storage that is very useful. By not using the top vertical pocket for our putters and rearranging all the discs in the bag, we opened up a lot of storage options. The Upper Park Designs Rebel is very versatile and can adapt to any user’s needs. We moved the putters to the main section and added four drivers in the top slot along with two midranges in the middle and then two drivers in the bottom slot (the bottom slot opened up a little when we removed the putters from the top). As you can see in the bottom of the photo there is actually room for quite a few more discs too. Take some time with the Rebel to find the right combination for you. The possibilities are nearly endless.
The Rebel has a lot of padding on the back of the bag and rides on your back very comfortably. We never felt like the bag was digging into us or was too heavy to carry. The vertical storage does help take some of the weight from the bottom of the bag and translate it to the top which rides a lot higher on your back. The Rebel’s straps are a little wider than some other bags and have a decent amount of padding. They weren’t the most padded straps available, but we never felt like we were wanting more. The frame of the Rebel isn’t very wide which also helps the comfort level when lugging it around the course.
There are three other features on the Rebel worth noting: the rainfly, cup holders, and mini pocket. Upper Park does include a rainfly that can be attached to the bag while still allowing access to your discs. This can be a deal breaker for some when looking for a bag. We tried it on once to see how it fit, but never had a chance to use it in the rain. Even without testing it with mother nature, it does look like it would do an adequate job.
Cup holders is another feature on a disc golf bag that tends to be a deal breaker for potential customers. The Rebel comes with a pair of cup holders that flank each side of the back of the bag. They are relatively deep and are insulated. Upper Park says they can hold a 32 oz bottle. We were using the taller water 1-liter water bottles and had no problem at all.
The final feature of the Rebel is their new mini pocket. On the top of the bag, behind the handle and inbetween the two shoulder straps there is a little slot that is wide enough and deep enough for a few minis. At first, we’ll admit that we thought the mini pocket was more of a gimmick than a feature we’d actually want to use. We put a few minis in there to see what it was all about. After a handful of rounds with the Rebel and using the mini pocket, we have to say that it is actually a useful feature. Typically mini pockets are left toward the bottom of the bag and require you to reach all the way down to grab a mini if you aren’t carrying one. Being able to easily reach the mini pocket was nice during long rounds and is actually a nice use of what is typically wasted space at the top of the bag between the shoulder straps. It’s a feature we’d actually like to see on other bags too.
The Upper Park Designs Rebel is a nice addition to their lineup of bags. It is clearly at the top of their product line and is one of the most adaptable bags we’ve used. You can try many different layouts with your discs and can easily fit between 20-28 discs in the bag. Don’t let the light weight scare you away. The Rebel’s frame will always keep it upright and when fully loaded with discs is quite sturdy. The lightweight frame and vertical storage helps take some of the weight off the bottom of the bag and lets it ride higher on your back which also makes the Rebel feel lighter than expected.
The Rebel might not be made of the strongest materials available, but we never thought the Rebel felt cheaply made. The strong and sturdy construction feels very solid and we never once felt like we had to be delicate with the bag. When you add in a 10 year warranty on manufacturing defects, you have some protection on your side as well.
The Rebel comes in five different color combinations all being accented by their grey color. Regardless of color the Rebel is currently available for $220 at their online store. Upper Park Designs has also sent us a promo code for their Rebel bag to be used at their store. Use the promo code ATDG10 at UpperParkDesigns.com to save 10% on the Rebel bag. The promo code is only valid on the Rebel.
With the ability to layout your bag in multiple ways with the use of the vertical storage, surprisingly large side storage pockets, comfortably padded back, and lightweight design, the Rebel is quite the entry into the disc golf backpack market. It can hold up to the toughest of tests and produce some high quality results. You’d be hard pressed to find a bag as light and strong as the Rebel that also packs in as many features.