The Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 is an excellent basic lightweight bag at a reasonable price. A fine example of doing things well, without resorting to using bells and whistles to try to distract the user.
Retail price: $169.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Sun Mountain Three 5
Editor’s note: this review is for the 2011 version of the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5. Manufacturers generally make minor changes to bag models each 1-2 years. We have provided links to check prices for the latest version of the bag.
The Superlight 3.5 has a 6-way top that splits the club area into 6 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 each of those split into two through the 6-way top. In any event, clubs generally don’t run afoul of one another very often. To us, this is pretty close to our ideal club storage setup – not too many sectors, but enough that it’s easy to find clubs.
Great legs! These are Stacey Keibler or Elle Macpherson quality gams we’re talking about on the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5. Wide rubber feet (the Stacey/Elle analogies have now ended) provide excellent stability, and the legs pop out easily upon setting down the bag. There is an element of independent suspension in the legs, in that they don’t both automatically pop out the same amount, which is helpful when dealing with uneven lies.
Like most of its competitors, the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 features 4 adjustment points for the straps. The straps do a good job of keeping the bag snug against the user’s back, but there’s room for improvement, as the padding on the straps is a bit thinner than we would ideally like to see.
The Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 features 7 total pockets.
- 1 large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with 1 medium sized pocket along the outside of this garment pocket.
- A small velour-lined valuables pocket is also on the right side of the bag, but note that it is NOT waterproof.
- One medium-sized and one small pocket rest on the spine of the bag.
- A medium sized ball pocket is on the left side of the bag, with an additional beverage pouch along the outside of this ball pocket.
- There’s an additional pen holder along the spine of the bag, so if it wanted to, Sun Mountain could probably claim 8 pockets.
The Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella and a ring for attaching a towel.
It’s a very standard layout, but one that works well.
The bag stumbles a bit with its rain hood. Securing the hood is a somewhat convoluted process of threading two Velcro straps through anchors on the front of the bag (instead of around the legs, which was our first guess), then snapping two buttons around the straps, and finally threading a final Velcro strap around the handle. Suffice it to say that when we tried this during a sudden spring shower, we got soaked. We think Sun Mountain went a bit overboard with the security levels – we’re not trying to protect Fort Knox– we just want to keep our clubs from getting drenched.
The Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 performed well through our test rounds.
- Weight. You would think this would be obvious, but surprisingly, the Superlight 3.5 was NOT 3.5 pounds – it came in at 4.3 pounds (including the rain hood). Clever marketing ploy by our friends at Sun Mountain! In any event, even at 4.3 pounds, it is still the lightest bag we tested.
- Balance. The bag rested evenly across our shoulders.
- Padding. We would have appreciated a bit more padding where the bag rests against the user’s lower back, although we recognize that would add weight.
- Handles/Straps. One fantastic feature of the Sun Mountain bags is the handle that is integrated into the rim of the bag. The user simply grasps this handle with the right hand to place the bag securely on the ground (and activate the legs) and slide the strap off of the right shoulder in one simple motion. This became such a natural motion for us that we would search in vain for the same handle when testing other bags.
It’s a nice-enough looking bag, but where the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 excels is its number of color combinations – a whopping nine choices! Plus additional lefty versions available only in black or black/red! We know lots of you choose bags based on whether you can show allegiance to your school through your choice of color, so where possible, we’ve noted the potential matches. Options include:
- Navy blue, with white trim (Penn State, BYU)
- Black and red, with white trim (Maryland, North Carolina St., or any school with Cardinals as its mascot)
- Black and purple, with yellow trim (kinda LSU, but with extra black)
- Yellow and black (Iowa)
- White and blue, with red trim (Louisiana Tech)
- Black and dark green, with white trim (WE ARE…MARSHALL)
- Black and white, with red trim
- Black and silver, with orange trim
Like the other Titleist/Sun Mountain bags, the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 gets points for the integrated handle at the top of the bag. In addition, attached to one of the zippers of the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 is a plastic half-sphere with cutaways that allow the users to insert the tip of a Sharpie and draw a straight line as an alignment aid. This probably isn’t going to change anyone’s decision on whether to buy the bag or not, but hey, it’s a nice idea.
The simple design and easy-to-use features (other than the rain hood) make this one of the best bags on the market. Add on the fact that at $169.99, the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 was one of the least expensive bags we tested, and you’ve got yourself a solid value.