Sun Mountain may be a lesser-known golf brand, but they have been around for more than 30 years and have slowly been making a name for themselves with their bags. I got a chance to try out their latest bag, the new H2NO Lite.
Whilst this is the fourth generation H2NO bag, it is the first Lite version. As the H2NO name suggests, the range of bags are all waterproof. It may seem strange to market a golf bag purely on the fact that it is waterproof, but firstly that's a pretty useful feature, especially if you live in the UK, and secondly this bag is far more than 'just a waterproof bag'.
In foreign climates rain can be harsh and short lived, however in the UK it is typically more gentle and longer lasting. I often find myself starting, playing and finishing a round in the rain. Being able to keep your clubs, your gear and your valuables dry on days like that is a nice luxury to have. Just ask anyone who has tried to pay for a 19th hole drink, wearing a rain-soaked sweater, with a soggy £10 note!
The secret behind the H2NO Lite's water resistance is a lightweight, nylon Sun Mountain have used, that features a 2000mm coating designed to keep all contents of the bag completely dry come rain or shine.
Now 2000mm doesn’t mean the bag is 2 metres deep. The industry standard for waterproof fabric is 1000mm, meaning it will take 1000mm of rain before water will seep through the fabric. To ensure the H2NO bags are "heavy duty waterproof", Sun Mountain have doubled the standard level of protection by using a 2000mm coating.
To further ensure things stay dry, Sun Mountain have uses specifically-designed YKK zippers and taped-over seams that offer complete waterproof protection. So whether it's a valuable, new mobile phone or an expensive cashmere sweater, fear not, Sun Mountain has you covered.
Having used the H2NO Lite in light rain, it was clear to see the protection it offered. The zips felt very secure and water-tight and unlike other bags, there are no open pockets or pouches that could potentially hold water. The hood, provided with the bag, was easy to attach using a couple of velcro straps and helped keep my clubs dry for the remainder of the round.
Beyond its resistance to rain, what else can the H2NO offer?
A lot to be fair. The bag itself weighs just 2kg (or 4.5 pounds), which is remarkably light and didn't go unnoticed the first time I picked it up. Of course adding 14 clubs, balls and clothes will weigh it down, but it still felt light, yet stable, throughout the rounds I played with it.
The 9.5-inch divider atop the bag features four generously sized compartments for your clubs. Often the material around the divider is the first to go on a golf bag, but Sun Mountain have added a soft, netted material to help protect your clubs, specifically the shafts.
One feature that might be overlooked, but shouldn't be underestimated, is the white grip-handle on the top of the bag. This is common feature on modern golf bags, designed to be used when you're carry the clubs to or from your car, or moving it small distances.
It may look rather insignificant, but I can tell you that you will use this more than you think. Slip the bag off your shoulder, and you hand naturally reaches for the handle. It is comfortable, large and creates a simple, balanced way to carry you bag.
As great as the handle is, I didn't use it to carry the bag the majority of the rounds. For that, I strapped the back on my back using Sun Mountains's latest "E-Z Fit Dual Strap System".
The shoulder straps are padded, possible overly padded, and can be adjusted to fit your size and preferences. Each strap can be adjusted on either the front or back side, so if you are like me, it may take you a few minutes and attempts to get the settings right. But when you do, the bag will sit comfortably and snug.
One thing I did miss from other bags I've used was accessibility.
Don't get me wrong, the H2NO bag has plenty of features and storage. However, during the rounds I played I found myself reaching for a drink, a ball or my phone and not being able to reach them as easily as I expected.
To me modern bags have adapted much like the dashboard in modern cars, laying out a host of features conveniently where the driver needs them most. Maybe it is a personal thing, but I like an easy-to-reach water bottle pocket.
However, as I said, the bag has tonnes of storage space, more than enough for anything you may need to store during the round. It has five pockets all together and was easily able to store all of the gear below into the main clothing pocket.
One last feature I thought was cool, that might go unnoticed by many, is the leglock. In basic terms it is just a velcro strap that prevents the stand from expanding, but what it means is the H2NO Lite bag can be used in an electric trolley or golf cart, without the stand getting in the way.
It's not a new feature or unique to Sun Mountain, but nonetheless if you ever play aboard or don't fancy carrying your bag, it is something you'll appreciate.
Overall, I enjoyed my time playing with the Sun Mountain H2NO Lite. In the words of a famous UK TV advert "it does exactly what it says on the tin". It is lightweight, comfortable and waterproof. Whilst I used the orange coloured model, there are six other colours to choose from.
For all that it offers in terms of features, weight, storage and cross-over (stand or trolley) performance, the Sun Mountain H2NO Lite sells for a rather heavy price, around £180. That may seem a little high, but accounts for the added waterproofing. From my experience I doubt any new owner will be disappointed with what they get with the H2NO Lite.