Nike Xtreme Element
The Nike Xtreme Element is bargain priced (at least for a premium brand bag), and gets the job done. It won’t impress anyone with any of its features, but you won’t be cursing your purchase decision either. Think Kate Jackson in “Charlie’s Angels”. Or, if you prefer the 2000 movie version, think “a bit better than Drew Barrymore”.
Retail price: $160
Availability: Discontinued; replaced by the Nike Extreme Sport Carry
A 5-way top splits the club storage area of the Nike Xtreme Element into 5 sectors. There are two full-length dividers that run the length of the bag, so the club storage space is divided into three major sectors, with the 5-way top splitting two of the major sectors in half. For those who like throwing all of their woods into a single area, this is the perfect set-up. Nice and simple, just the way we like it.
The legs on the Xtreme Element are skinnier than most, and while they are capped with rubber tips, they do not have the wide feet found on some competitors. As a result, even though they generally accomplish the task of propping the bag up, they don’t exactly inspire confidence – when setting the Xtreme Element down, we often found ourselves double-checking the stability of the bag before we would release the bag entirely.
Nike has extended its “Air” technology to the straps on the Xtreme Element, which have visible air bladders that provide extra cushioning on top of the regular padding. There are 4 adjustment points for the backpack-style straps. While the straps were plenty comfortable, we didn’t find a profound difference between these and the more traditional padded straps. One unique feature is that Nike’s “Revolving Strap System” allows the user to completely unclip one of the straps – handy for caddies who are hauling two bags at once.
The Nike Xtreme Element features 7 total pockets.
- 1 large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with 1 small velour-lined valuables pocket along the outside of this garment pocket. One complaint is that the zipper for the garment pocket is tucked under a flap of material running the length of the bag, and the fit is so tight that the zipper is difficult to use. And while the garment pocket is large enough to hold the basics, it is noticeably smaller than the ones found on larger bags.
- Two medium-sized pockets sit to the right of the spine of the bag.
- A medium sized pocket sits to the left of the spine of the bag, with an additional beverage pouch (no insulation lining) along the outside of this pocket. Bonus points for the Xtreme Element for the manly size of its beverage pouch, which is capacious enough to hold even the largest of energy drink bottles.
- 1 small pocket sits on the left side of the bag.
The Xtreme Element includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella and a ring for attaching a towel. There is no dedicated pocket for a pencil/pen, but there are four small tee holders.
A curved metal exoskeleton running down the spine of the bag drives the unique layout of the bag. In the end, it will store your stuff, but because of the unconventional pocket placement, you’ll have to do some experimentation with where you put things.
The rain hood included with the Nike Element Xtreme is nicely done. The hood snaps to four buttons around the perimeter of the bag, and a strap is passed under the two legs, then threaded through a buckle to attach back to itself with Velcro. The snaps are extremely easy to secure, but for some reason, Nike made the strap almost exactly the same width as the buckle through which it must be threaded, requiring the user to show some needle-threading skills (not something you want to deal with if caught in a sudden rain shower). If the strap was an eight of an inch narrower, this would be a breeze.
We generally enjoyed carrying the Nike Xtreme Element through our test rounds.
- Weight. The Xtreme Element is among the lighter bags we tested, coming it at 5.2 pounds (including the rain hood).
- Balance. With a little fidgeting of the straps, we were able to get the bag to balance, although it still had a tendency to feel heavier on the right side. Admittedly, this could be user error, but we didn’t experience the same problem with other bags.
- Padding. Two thin pads are placed where the bag rests against the user’s lower back – this would have been a nice place to add some of that fancy “Air” technology.
Oy vey – in our opinion, the Nike Xtreme Element was the homeliest bag we tested. Some combination of the color schemes and the design just didn’t float our boat. The bag comes in three color combinations:
- Grey, with blue trim
- Black, with grey and red trim
- Silver, with grey, black and neon green trim
As mentioned above, a curved metal bar runs down the spine of the Nike Xtreme Element. We’re not sure if it’s a lightweight solution to providing a little bit of shape to the bag, or if it’s purely cosmetic – in any event, it isn’t really a detriment. We give a few extra points just for trying something different.
The Xtreme Element is a simple lightweight carry bag. At $160, it tied for the least expensive bag we tested, but is relatively bare bones in terms of its feature set. This is a case where low price doesn’t necessarily mean the best value. While it gets the job done, we think there are more intriguing offerings at slightly higher price points.