TaylorMade offers up its Microlite carry bag to compete in the burgeoning featherweight/superlight/sub-4 category. Despite weighing in at under 4 pounds, the Microliteoffers a reasonable set of carry bag features, including five zippered pockets, an insulated drink pouch, towel clip and pen holder. There is a 4-way top with two full-length dividers. The bag offers good but not great padding, and has a foot that slightly protrudes from the base to extend the legs.
The Microlite offers a good blend of a reasonable price and the functionality that most players will want. If you are okay with a bit less pocket space and fewer accessories, add the TaylorMade Microlite to the list of bags to seriously consider.
Retail price: $149.95
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Model year: 2013
The TaylorMade Microlite has a 7″ x 8″ 4-way top, which is the least number of storage sections we’ve seen among carry bags with legs, but which makes sense in a bag that is looking to shed weight. Somewhat surprising, however, is that there are two full-length dividers to keep clubs sorted. Looking from the top of the bag, the opening is split into thirds horizontally across the top by two main dividers, each of which runs the full length of the bag. The middle section is further split vertically into two sections, though it does not have a full-length divider. If there are some clubs you like to put in a full-length section, and some you don’t, you’ve got a choice with this bag.
The legs draw in and remain tight against the bag when it’s being carried, and release well when set down on the course. The mechanism to release the feet is outside of the base, slightly protruding from the back. We prefer carry bags with this mechanism “inside” the base so the “foot” can’t get caught on a cart, but so it is. The legs swing out far enough to provide a nice wide base.
The Microlite does not have a system to strap down the legs when traveling on a cart. Aw c’mon…would a velcro or elastic strap have added that much weight?
The Microlite shoulder straps don’t have the plethora of padding found on some of the larger and heavier bags, but they are reasonably comfortable. A main strap pad sits on the middle back and attaches to separate adjustable shoulder straps on each side of the bag. The straps are easy to fine-tune to reach the optimal balance for carrying.
The TaylorMade Microlite features 6 total pockets, each of which is zippered other than the beverage sleeve.
- One good-sized garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with a smaller Velour (ahh, Velour!) valuables pocket along the outside of the garment pocket. The garment pocket isn’t as large as some of the biggest bags, so those who like to bring the kitchen sink may find it to be on the smaller size, but it’s certainly large enough to fit the minimum amount of foul weather gear you might bring along. From a security standpoint, we consider it a curious choice to make the valuables pocket accessible from the outside of the bag, rather than nesting it inside the main garment pocket. The valuables pocket is on the larger side among the bags we’ve tested.
- One medium-sized and one fairly small pocket on the spine of the bag. The medium-sized pocket has netting at the bottom edges to prevent golf balls or other items from spilling out of the sides. The smaller pocket located just above the opening for the larger pouch is likely intended primarily for balls and tees, and can hold more than we can lose in a round (read: a lot).
- One medium sized pocket on the lower left side of the bag, with an insulated sleeve for holding beverage bottles that sits on top of it. The pocket is roughly the standard size found on competing bags, a nd has netting on the side to keep everything corralled – we used it for gloves, scorecards, course guides, and so forth.
- Not included in the pocket count is a pen holder set just off the spine on the top third of the bag.
The TaylorMade Microlite also features an adjustable cord and loop on the right side of the bag to secure an umbrella and a plastic ring for attaching a towel, laser rangefinder and/or GPS device. There is no tee holder(s), scorecard slot or Velcro patch to secure a glove.
The Microlite comes with a rain hood that is attached via four snap buttons – two on the top of the bag above the handle on the spine, and one on each side of the legs on the back of the bag. We would have appreciated a bit more space on the rain hood at the back of the bag.
Although the TaylorMade Microlite pares down to keep the weight off, we didn’t notice a marked detriment in our carrying impressions. The amount of padding for both the lower back and shoulders were reasonable, if not over-the-top, and the ability to adjust the straps all made for a positive experience.
- Weight. At only 3.9 pounds, the Microlite does indeed compete with the lightest bags we tested, and as of the time of this review was the second lightest bag tested, with only the simple Original Jones Bag weighing less. Our shoulders and back thank you, TaylorMade!
- Padding. To keep the weight down there isn’t quite as much padding as on some other carry bags, but we still found the amount was just fine. There are three separate pieces of padding stitched onto the bag for the lower back, presumably separate pieces to both save weight and allow for ventilation. The padding on the shoulder straps was reasonable as well.
- Handles/Straps. The Microlite features a plastic grip molded into the rim of the bag. This handle makes it easy to pick up the bag for short distances, or when stowing or removing it from a car or cart. There is also a standard handle on the spine of the bag made of nylon, with a surrounding rubber grip. Lastly, there is also a nylon trunk strap at the bottom of the bag, which again makes things easier when pulling it out of or placing it into a car trunk.
The design is up-to-date without being flashy (though you can sport bright orange or lime green), and features solid trim color choices on the bag as well as the straps. We withhold comment only on the royal blue/white/green color combination.
The TaylorMade Microlite comes in seven different color combinations:
- White with black trim
- Lime green with black trim
- Black, with red, white and gray trim
- Orange with black trim
- Royal blue with white trim and green highlight
- Black with black trim
- Navy with white trim
The features list in TaylorMade marketing materials for the bag doesn’t exclaim anything cutting edge about the Microlite, though there are more references to the benefits of the removable bottom pocket, to help with customization of the bag, than we might have thought necessary. Other than this, the bag provides the latest features in a lightweight bag: low weight, integrated carry handle, and comfortable and easy-to-use shoulder straps.
The TaylorMade Microlite is, at $149.95 retail, priced in line with its feature set. It’s priced below most of the carry bag competition, with slightly fewer features than some, but still including what the majority of what customers will likely need. If you are looking for a something on the lighter side, give the Microlite a look.
Model year: 2013