Dr Kong School Bag vs Ergoworks IMPACT School Bag

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Joy started Primary School last year and, by now, I have learnt much on how to pick the school bag and accessories she needs.

School Bag

Joy’s school bag weighs a ton, even when we have tried our best to work with teachers to minimising her burden. On a daily basis, she has lessons in Math, English and Mother Tongue and some days she also has periods for CCE. At the start of the school year, what she is likely to have to bring to school (some for keeping in class of course) are as follows:

Primary School Bag Contents

  1. Textbooks and activity books for all subjects
  2. A story book for reading during assembly ( I make her pick a light book each day)
  3. A snack box (and another lunch box if I pack her a lunch)
  4. A pencil case
  5. A box of color pencil
  6. A file for any paperwork she needs to bring to and from school (not in picture)
  7. A packet of nonsense some things she would like to share with her friends (Random, changes from day to day)

It is a heavy load. Even for me.

Last year, we invested in an ergonomic school bag from Dr Kong because, while I did not want to carry her school bag for her, I want to do my best to protect her posture and maximise comfort. However, I realised that the weight of her books and accessories causes her bag straps to redjust on their own. The bag then drags her whole frame backwards when she walks. It requires frequent re-adjustments and that was difficult for her to do on her own.

Here are photos of how she stands when she wears her Dr Kong school bag:

Dr Kong School Bag

I have 3 different lunch boxes to use for her, depending on what I decide to pack for the day. She requests a packet of wet wipes for using after snack break, which makes sense.

Primary School Lunch Boxes
Left: Holds a piece of bread and some fruits. Middle: Double layer. Can pack rice, fruits and a side dish Right: Fits 3 onigiris and a side dish. Used on days when she has a longer day.

Her Dr Kong bag has only a small pouch where she could barely fit a lunch box and some wet wipes in. It doesn’t work for days when I pack some other food for her that requires a bigger container. In addition, we prefer a school bag that has appropriate compartments for things like her lunch box for snack breaks in school and her pencil case, for ease of retrieval, which converts to less time wastage. This is not available in the Dr Kong bag, and she just has to fish her pencil case from the other spaces in the bag.

Here’s how her Dr Kong bag looks like with everything packed in and with the different lunch boxes we use:

Primary school Dr Kong Bag Packed

I can only pack one (1) lunch box a day for her due to space constraints. She has to hold any other lunch box I may pack with her hands.

With these experiences in mind, these are what we now look out for in a school bag for primary school:

  1. Weight – the bag itself must not be heavy to begin with. However that is relative to the size of the bag, which will undoubtedly increase as she grows up.
  2. Size – the size of the bag must not be overwhelming for Joy’s tiny frame.
  3. Compartments – we need compartments for lunch box, water bottles and preferably pencil case.
  4. Ease of re-adjustments – I want to be assured that Joy can re-adjust her bag by herself if she feels uncomfortable.

This year, we picked an IMPACT school bag from Ergoworks because I found that they check off all the boxes for us. I liked it that they are endorsed by The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) and Singapore Physiotherapy Association and there are a number of designs that feature well sized compartments we require. Having had an earlier experience of an ergonomic school bag, I was particularly happy to note the highlighted features in IMPACT school bags:

  • Patented Airy Light Back-Care System to Reduce Stress on Spine and Back
  • Stress-free Backpack Straps / Comfy U Neck Fit Back straps
  • USA 3M Scotchlite Reflective Safety Materials
  • Multiple Organizer Compartments with Elastic Strap
  • Patented Chest Stabilization Belt
  • Parachute Pull Rings
  • 100% Made in Korea High Quality Ballistic Nylon
  • Air Breathable Ventilation System
  • Anti UV, Dust and Water Resistant Materials
  • The lightest weight of Truly Ergonomic bags in its class / category
  • Feather-light weight design with Sturdy Structure
  • High Quality Self Repairing Recoilless Zipper with Loop Lock Design

Design wise, we looked through the website before heading down to the showroom, because I know that there are more than 50 designs to choose from and I wanted to shortlist some to save time. To be honest, my impression of IMPACT school bags were that the designs were unattractive, but I was surprised to find some pretty nice ones, like these.

Ergoworks IMPACT Primary School Bag
Left to right:IMPACT IM-00501, IMPACT IM-00337, IMPACT IM-00502 and IMPACT IPEG-223

I like IMPACT IM-00337 (2nd from left above) the best, because it looks animae-ish and it has this additional entertaining function, which will suit Joy well if and when she has to wait for me.

Joy was adamant though about picking the dark purple version of IPEG-135 because she is currently into “dark side” (gothic) colors. We went with her choice in the end since its her school bag and her choice does seem to have more suitable compartments for our specific needs.

Here’s how her IMPACT bag looks like with everything packed in and with the different lunch boxes we use:

Between the Dr Kong bag and the IMPACT bag, I prefer the IMPACT bag for how it retains its shape and seem to have much better weight distribution, judging by the way it stands on its own, instead of being weighed down by its contents.

It is also attractive to me that the IMPACT bag has a designated pouch Joy could use to contain her pencil case. It fits their Multi-compartment Stationery Pouch exactly and when zipped up, the bag remains sleek and nice. I’m especially pleased that the location of the lunch box pouch and the pencil case pouch seem to help with weight distribution of the items that Joy has to carry.

IMPACT School Bag Stationary Pouch

If you’re buying IMPACT school bags for the first time, I would highly recommend you head down to the showroom (locations here) with your child instead of buying online. At the showroom, there will be trained staff who can assist to pick the right sized school bag for your child.

They can also show your child how to store contents in the school bag to reduce stress on your child. All hard cover books and files needs to be stored in the primary compartment (far back). The remaining books may be stored in the secondary compartment, but all content MUST be placed within the elastic straps, so that it can hold them vertically upright to reduce the instability pullback force due to shift of centre of gravity.

The same concept appears to also apply to Dr Kong bags (judging from the make of the bag, we didn’t get the same advise when we were at the specialty shop in Hong Kong). I like that the structure of the Dr Kong bag allows Joy to be able to see and reach for the specific book she wants easily while the IMPACT school bag does not. However, in terms of keeping weight distribution, I believe the IMPACT school bag does a better job, since it holds the books securely, preventing them from weighing Joy down at the back.

Dr Kong and IMPACT School Bag weight distribution

Here are videos of how Joy wears her Dr Kong school bag versus how she wears her IMPACT school bag.

For her Dr Kong bag Joy does not bother to adjust it, even though it hangs wrong on her body because of it’s weight and causes her to try and lean forward to compensate. This is because she has tried to adjust the bag many times before and is unable to because the weight of the school bag makes it hard to adjust.

At the Ergoworks showroom, Joy learnt how to loosen the straps before wearing her bag to prevent injury. She not only knows how to tighten it but also knows how to adjust it if it feels uncomfortable. I think it’s really important for her to learn from the staff at Ergoworks, as opposed to me showing her, because I might not be able to spot where she went wrong so I’m sure glad we visited the showroom. Here’s a video I took when she was being coached:

Here’s a comparison of how Joy stands when wearing her Dr Kong school bag vs her IMPACT school bag. You’ll be able to observe how the Dr Kong bag pulls her back with its weight and she tries to compensate for it. On the other hand the IMPACT school bag does well to keep the weight distributed and she maintains a good posture comfortably.

For the record, I didn’t give her any instructions on how to stand. I merely asked her to stand up wearing her bags. The straight outlines of my balcony doors should show you that no tilting has been done on any of the photos too.

Overall, I am very satisfied with Joy’s new school bag, as you can tell. Between Dr Kong and IMPACT, my choice is obvious.

Water Bottle

In the last year, we tried a variety of bottles from different brands and at the end of the day, I feel that any BPA free bottle between 500ml to 700ml will do, so long as the parts are easy to take apart to clean. However, like all mothers, if I can make her water healthier, I will. Hence, this year, we also got Joy an IMPACT Nano Ion healthy water bottle.

Heres what the nano ionizer bottles does:

These water bottle comes in various designs and the nano ionizing function works forever as long as the bottle exists. However, when you start seeing scratches on the inside of the bottle or it is no longer a clear looking, it is time to change. The lifespan of an IMPACT water bottle is about a year.

We have already started using the bottles and are very pleased with it. The clasp is easy to open up for Joy and yet the bottles remain water proof when it is locked. Parts in the bottle can be cleaned easily.

I am aware that the hole in the picture above hole is to relieve the pressure and regulate the water flow better. Ergoworks has also informed me that the water will not leak unless the children angles the bottle to almost upright, but both Joy and I (I bought a bigger bottle for myself) experienced the situation where we were doused with water when drinking, and that’s my only gripe about it.

Carry Bag & Pencil Case

A primary school going child will have to bring pieces of work to and from home. You can provide an A4 sized clear file for them to slot in the papers and receive school work, or you could provide a carry bag for them to contain these. Occasionally, Joy has had to carry a white board for learning purposes and some art work as well hence, this year, we opt to provide her with a supplementary bag. Just a basic, simple one from IMPACT will do!

We also got a new stationary pouch for Joy from IMPACT because it is roomy and the color matches all her school going bags.

Ergoworks has a Purchase with Purchase promotion now, where for every school bag purchase of $90 and above, you can opt to top up just $9.90 (Usual price $46.80) for the Back to School bundle to receive a supplementary carry bag + stationery case on top of your school bag. Its a really good deal in my opinion.

Ergonomic Furniture

NEGATIVE DEMOSTRATIONS Left: If a child’s table is too tall for them they tend to maintain this position when learning. Right: If a child is sitting at 90°, check out how the eyes would have to look to learn.

While we were at the showroom, I saw the IMPACT ergonomic desk and chair furniture which were displayed right beside the bags and were intrigued. Anthony, the staff who assisted us throughout, explained how the tables could be adjusted and why it is ideal for children to write on a slanted table.

When reading or writing at the desk, Joy often contorts her body into a hunched position with her head hanging over her work. In the long run, it is definitely not good for her posture and spine health. If the table could be tilted an a comfortable angle (approx. 30°), this could be avoided and she would be able to learn with an erect body posture and you could also avoid headaches and backaches in this position.

Here are the Ergoworks’ ongoing promotions for your information:

  1. 20% trade in offer for any condition of IMPACT bags
  2. 15% discount with SAFRA membership card & Cordlife Circle membership card ( regular priced bags only)
  3. $9.90 Back to School special set consisting of a supplementary carry bag and a stationary pouch, with a minimum of $90 bag purchase.

If you would like to visit Ergoworks, here’s how to get in touch with them!

Locations | Website | Facebook | Instagram

Other than Ergoworks’ ongoing promotions, I’m giving away Two (2) IMPACT Ergonomic Air Light Spinal Protection Backpack Model No.IPEG-226 worth S$169 each (your choice of Pink, Purple or Blue), one on Facebook and one on Instagram.

Follow the steps below to win. Best of luck!

Facebook Giveaway

Mandatory

  1. Like Simplified by Estella Facebook page, EG Facebook page , and ErgoWorks Facebook page
  2. Comment on this Facebook post on which feature you like about IMPACT backpacks and school accessories or any queries you may have with Ergoworks ergonomic products. Tag 3 friends who might want to win too and #SimplifiedxGiveaway

Bonus

For a bonus chance to win, share this post with your family and friends and tag Simplified by Estella Facebook page.

Instagram Giveaway

Mandatory

  1. Comment on this blog post on which feature you like about IMPACT backpacks and school accessories or any queries you may have with Ergoworks ergonomic products.
  2. Follow @estellagoh, @simplified.sg and @ergoworkssingapore on Instagram
  3. Like this Instagram post
  4. Tag as many friends as you can, one in each comment. The more you tag, the higher your chances of winning.
  5. This giveaway is by no means endorsed, administered or affiliated with Facebook or Instagram.

Bonus

For a bonus chance to win, repost my post, tag @simplified.sg and #SimplifiedxGiveaway

Terms & Conditions

  1. This giveaway will be held on Facebook and Instagram, you can choose to enter one or both giveaways.
  2. All mandatory steps indicated must be completed.
  3. Giveaway is open to Singapore residents, aged 18 and above.
  4. Both giveaways ends 26 December 2018 at 2359 hours and winners will be contacted in private and announced on my social media platforms.

Disclosure

The Dr Kong school bag was purchased by ourselves from Hong Kong and the IMPACT school bags and accessories were provided by Ergoworks for the purposes of this post.

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18 Replies to “Dr Kong School Bag vs Ergoworks IMPACT School Bag”

  1. Thanks for the excellent review! Love the way you showed the effect on the posture. I like the compartments of the impact bag and the way all the contents don’t make the bag bulge. My girl is also in p1 and I find the bag way too heavy for her.

    1. I’m also particularly fond of the compartments and their strategic locations! Agree that their bags are way too heavy!

  2. This is a very detailed reviews. I like the better weight distribution and multiple good size compartments of IMPACT bag .

    1. Me too! Good luck!!

  3. My child is also using Dr Kong and I noticed that her posture when she carries the bag is the same as Joy’s! Forward and slightly hunched. I’m convinced after reading your review that Impact school bags have a better weight distribution and hence, helps in achieving the right posture for my child. This is very important to me as right posture is the primary reason I bought an ergonomic bag for my child in the first place.

    I also really like that Imapct school bags can be easily readjusted by my child herself since I can’t be with her all the time when she’s carrying the bag.

    1. Yes! I noticed the posture for a while too 😞 Good luck!!

  4. Thanks for the detailed post! Good to see a comparison between two brands and to see how different bags can be.
    I really like Impact’s weight distribution so kids can maintain a good posture comfortably. Important for them to get a good posture from young!

    1. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 best of luck!

  5. Good reading of your reviews and comparisons of bags. I like the compartments and size of bags suitable for different age group of kids and most importantly is lightweight. Carry case is also a convenient bag for bringing along additional artwork and put in of files.

  6. Learnt lots of useful info about bags n posture from your blog post. I’ve never given much thought about it coz I grew up in Malaysia where I could carry very much less n my daughter has been attending school in the US where they don’t carry any school books!!! Now I’m getting nervous as my daughter will be starting P1 in spore in a few days time. Love how the placement of items/weight makes a huge difference n the height of the chair too! The impact bag looks very sturdy n can last a long time. Good investment. Hope to win this to give my daughter a good start to Singapore education 🙂

  7. Thanks for th detailed descriptions which comes in handy for us to get a bag for our going to primary school daughter in the following year. This is one of the few brands that we are considering because of the awesome weight distribution design that can help to lighten her load.
    Looking forward to bringing my girl to Ergoworks to try out the school bags 🤗!

  8. Thank you for the detailed descriptions.
    This is one of the few brands that we are looking at for our going-to-primary-school Daughter in the following year because of the awesome weight distribution design that can help lighten her load.
    Looking forward to bringing her to Ergoworks showroom to try out their school bags 🤗.

    Liked all pages!

  9. Very detailed comparsion. Useful information to us as a parent who always look for bags which help them to keep their posture correct and back impact to the lowest. And the timing is just nice, going to get a new bag for my eldest boy since he going to Primary 2.

  10. 1) Just curious, how fair is this post since the IMPACT bags are sponsored for? IMPACT bags are also more costlier, does the difference in carrying experience justify the difference in price?

    2) May I ask why the bag for Dr Kong is so low? At this height (of the bag), any load will be uncomfortable for the bag wearer. Due to the centre of gravity, the wearer will naturally lean forward because the bag is too low.

    3) The waist belt of Dr Kong is almost at the hip, another indication of improper carrying technique. Is there something about Dr Kong’s strap that you might kindly share with us that I might have missed out? Is this already the shortest length of the strap and thus, the waist belt is worn as a hip belt now?

    1. 1) Well, photos and videos don’t lie do they?

      2) The Dr Kong bag was left as is, after my daughter used it for a year in school. We adjust it regularly, but it slips back to this level after a while.

      3) This is just related to 2. The straps slip on their own and are difficult to adjust. You may read other parents’ comments, if you are not one yourself who have understood how the Dr Kong bag works.

      If you look at my disclosure of what was sponsored, you might understand the actual value of the sponsorship is not a large amount. Besides, if you browse my earlier site at http://www.estella.sg, you would be able to read a mixture of comments on products I am sponsored for. My opinion is not for sale, if I may put it bluntly. I have a strict honesty policy on my site which you can read here: https://simplified.sg/disclosure/. It is communicated to each and every partner I work with, even to the extent of calling off the partnership.

      Hope this helps.

      The other alternative is to brush this off as untrue just because it is sponsored to some extent.

  11. I appreciate that the bag on its own is not heavy, so it doesn’t add onto the weight of its contents. Too many so-called ergonomic bags in the market have so much padding and other ‘bells and whistles’ that they already weigh a lot even without any books inside!

    IG: robertsim77
    FB: Robert Sim

    1. This one has a certain weight too. But I think it comes from the structured contents. If they can make it lighter, it would be great!

  12. Carol Mei Mei Lim says: Reply

    I like that Impact’s bag keeps the books firmly within the elastic banded compartment, so it keeps the centre of gravity stable and avoids the contents weighing down and pulling back the child.
    IG: cmeilim
    FB: Carol Mei Mei Lim

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