What sets the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian apart from all other travel bags is the integrated leg set that, when extended, supports the entire weight of the bag and its contents, making it incredibly easy to navigate through airports, hotels and parking lots. The unique design regularly elicited stares – but given how much easier the Meridian makes traveling with your clubs, we think you’ll be seeing far more of these in the future.
The wheels roll smoothly (no resistance here!) and the pivoting front wheels on the legs make it quite maneuverable. This bag saves you from tired arms, shoulders and backs from pulling it behind you, and you don’t have to deal with picking up and putting the bag down again over and over as you snake through the check-in line. Pop the retractable legs out and you’re ready to roll (pun intended). Our only minor quibble on the legs is that you have to snap them back into place when getting on an escalator, and then pop them back out when you’ve reached the top.
We had such a pleasant experience traveling with the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian travel bag that our overall assessment is just, “Why the heck didn’t we think of that first?”
Retail price: $279
Amazon.com price: Check price now
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian is primarily made of nylon, with a hard plastic tray covering the bottom back 2 feet of the case into which the legs retract. There are two in-line skate wheels at the base of the case that allow it to be pulled even when the legs aren’t extended, in the event you’re going over large curbs or using an escalator. The legs don’t extend past the molded plastic tray when they are folded in, and a relatively strong internal spring holds the legs firmly in place, so they aren’t likely to be accidentally extended out and damaged during travel.
There is thin padding throughout the bag, with additional foam padding at the top to protect the clubheads where they extend from your golf carry bag. There is a two-way zipper that runs the length of the bag. With internal dimensions of 52″ x 14″ x 12″, the bag easily accommodated our set of clubs, including our longest woods.
We haven’t experienced damage to any parts of the Meridian from travel, though the exterior nylon material, along with the various handles, zippers and rivets, don’t seem to be quite as durable as some other bags featuring Cordura or hard plastic exteriors.
The design of the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian also includes:
- a covered slot with a snap button to hold a business card (in case your Meridian hops a flight in a different direction)
- two internal straps to secure your golf bag (adjustable to accommodate any size bag), including one that fits around the top of the bag and one at the base
- three handle positions: two straps that snap together at the top of the bag and form the primary handle used when pulling the bag, two straps that attach and form a handle at the middle, and one handle at the base of the bag that is helpful for lifting the bag into and out of vehicles
- two in-line skate wheels that extend slightly beyond the base of the case, that can be used on their own when pulling the bag, or combined with the wheels on the legs for four-wheeled travel
- a reasonable set of four color options: all black, or black with lava (aka orange), baltic (blue), or red.
Sun Mountain does not offer a stiff arm insert to further protect the clubs while traveling. The Club Glove Stiff Arm should fit, though we didn’t test it (nor was it designed for use in non-Club Glove bags).
We tested the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian with a standard sized carry bag, tossing in some additional clothes and shoes, and were pleased with the interior capacity. For those looking for even smaller bags, or one that accommodates staff or multiple carry bags, there are other Sun Mountain ClubGlider versions to consider:
- Sun Mountain ClubGlider Journey: A streamlined version of the Meridian. Two pockets (interior access only). 12.8 pounds. Check price for the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Journey Travel Cover at Golfsmith
- Sun Mountain ClubGlider Cascade: Smaller than the Meridian. Four pockets (interior access only). 13.2 pounds.
- Sun Mountain ClubGlider Pro: The largest of the ClubGlider line, built to carry a staff bag or two carry bags. Four pockets (interior access only). 15.6 pounds. Check price for the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Pro Travel Cover at Golfsmith.
If you couldn’t tell from our introduction, we are huge fans of traveling with the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian. While it isn’t the lightest travel bag we tested (the case weighed in at 14.6 pounds), the additional weight doesn’t matter much when you’re rolling it through the airport. On the other hand, your back might complain a bit more when you’re hoisting it into and out of the trunk of your car. The legs extend to support the weight of the case for easy rolling while traveling .The legs can be extended by pulling them down and then out away from the bag in one motion – it’s easy and quick, and can be done while holding the bag vertically with the other hand. As mentioned above, the legs have a spring-loaded system, so if they are not fully engaged they will retract back into their molded tray. To retract the legs you need to pull the legs out away from the bag, and then push them down back into the molded tray. You’ll generally need to use two hands for this, with one steadying the bag as the other pulls the legs away.
The wheels rolled easily and smoothly…it required so little effort to guide the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian through the airport that we wondered why all travel bags don’t have this feature. It is possible to push the bag, but the pivoting wheels on the legs make it much easier to pull the bag instead. And when we say “pull”…it really requires so little effort that you can’t compare it to pulling normal travel bags, where you must support a significant portion of the 40+ pound weight of the case and its contents.
The Meridian had ample capacity for our set of clubs and carry bag, with room left over for some additional clothing. There isn’t as much interior space as in some comparable bags (such as the Club Glove Last Bag), but there’s enough to fit the basics. The dual pockets on either side of the bag sit relatively flush and extend primarily to the interior of the case when filled, so you don’t really gain storage space by packing items here. The pockets are accessible either from the outside or inside of the bag, so if you need to grab something out of the pockets when you’re at the airport, you don’t need to unzip and open the entire bag.
Unlike the Club Glove Last Bag, which tapers at the top to be more snug around the clubheads and provide more packing space around the body, the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian has a uniform shape. The bag is easy to stand on end (vertically) even though it lacks a plastic base. As a soft bag, it benefits from having some give to it when you’re trying to wedge it into the trunk of your car, and can be folded over for more compact storage when not in use.
The only suggestion we can think of would be for Sun Mountain to add clips or carabiners by the center handles to allow travelers to attach additional baggage to the ClubGlider and offload the weight of those bags on to the rolling case as well. It’s such a benefit to have the case support 100% of the weight that it would be great to be able to leverage this for anything else you might be carrying.
The Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian retails for $339, placing it among the more expensive travel cases in our tests. At this price, what you are paying for beyond all else are the legs that support 100% of your clubs and case and allow you to easily wheel the case as you travel. The warranty covers any damage to the bag itself for one year – there isn’t any warranty covering damage to the clubs inside of the bag (of the bags we tested, the SKB Deluxe is the only one with that additional warranty). The Meridian doesn’t have a hard exterior shell or Cordura fabric to protect your clubs that other travel bags do, but then again, that isn’t the focus of this bag.
You can find other bags for much less than the Meridian, of course, but you just have to ask yourself…what is the value of a bag that supports 100% of its own weight? For us, quite a bit.
Retail price: $279
Amazon.com price: Check price now