KarmaRu Review: A 3-in-1 Fitness Solution

What Do You Get When You Combine a Foam Roller, Locker and Gym Bag?


I'm a bit of a foam rolling and self-massage freak. As someone with chronic low back pain and a propensity to push myself hard during tough workouts, I'm no stranger to tight muscles and knot-like muscle adhesions. I'm also someone who tends to take an arsenal of fitness equipment with me wherever I go:

  • Crossrope? Check.
  • Massage Blocks? Check.
  • Foam roller? Check.
  • Yoga mat? Double check (as in, I probably have two of them).

    You get the picture.

    The challenge is keeping all that gear, plus my phone, keys and credit cards, safe and protected while exercising outside.

    I have to admit I was pretty stoked to learn about GoRoll - the brand that recently introduced the first-ever portable, lockable foam roller that doubles as a gym bag.

    This thing is amazing. There are a couple minor tweaks where I think future versions could be improved, but overall, I have to give it a rave review.

    And while I'll readily admit I received a complimentary KarmaRu for review purposes, I'd happily spend the $89 to buy my own.

    GoRoll Benefits:

    There's a lot to love about the GoRoll:

    • Foam Rolling. First, it's a lightweight, portable foam roller with an increasing depth foam pattern, so you can increase or decrease the pressure of your self-massage as you roll across the equipment.
    • Removable, Multi-Function Strap. The roller comes with a removable carry strap that can be worn cross-body, on both shoulders like a backpack or over one arm. When the strap is removed, you can use it as a stretch strap, or you can loop it around a bench or tree before reattaching it to your GoRoll. This enables you to lock your GoRoll, like you would lock a bike to a bike rack, reducing the likelihood that someone might steal it.
    • Lots of Storage. That brings me to the storage and locking mechanism. The hollow interior of the GoRoll works like a locker. And while the cylindrical space is too narrow for some things (for instance, I tried to fit my Kindle in it, but it was too wide), there's sufficient capacity to carry the necessities. I took my KarmaRu GoRoll to a waterpark recently and was able to stuff it full with a towel, two bottles of sunscreen, my phone, a few snacks, keys and a change of clothes.
    • Waterproof. The interior is also waterproof, so if you get caught in a rain storm or if you're heading to the lake, you don't have to worry about your possessions getting soaked.
    • Lockable. Finally, and possibly best of all, the end-cap on one side of the GoRoll is removable and lockable. You simply follow the instructions to set your own 3-number combination, then lock your goods inside. This is perfect if you exercise outside, at a facility without lockers, or if you spend lots of time at kids' sporting events or the swimming pool. You can keep your goods secure without worrying about them walking away if you turn your back for a moment.

    A Few Minor Drawbacks

    There are only a couple things about the GoRoll's design that stood out to me as possible drawbacks:

    • Strap Could Be Cut Off. The cotton carry strap is sturdy, but it wouldn't hold up against a good pair of scissors or a knife. If you're using the strap to secure the locker to a picnic table or tree, you must realize it's not 100% safe from a motivated thief. It would be nice if there were an option for a strap with some sort of metal cording inside to help further prevent thievery.
    • Foam Roll Cylinder Is Wider Than Standard Rolls. As a foam roller's diameter increases in size, the rolling surface becomes wider and less pronounced - in other words, the curved angle you roll across is larger, so the point of massage is broader, resulting in a "softer" roll. To be fair, many people might actually see this as a good thing. Foam rolling's purpose is to dig into knots and muscle adhesions to loosen them up. Sometimes, this hurts. A foam roller with a bigger diameter will offer a lighter massage, perfect for those who are extra tight or those who are new to foam rolling. Personally, I like the more "aggressive" massage experienced with a narrower foam roller. It was harder for me to really dig into my tight spots with the GoRoll. 

    Who It's For

    All-in-all, I can't say enough nice things about the GoRoll. If you spend a lot of time exercising outside or spending time with family at parks or camp grounds, I'd highly recommend looking into the purchase of a GoRoll or two. There are times you want to keep your phone, keys and wallet nearby, but you don't want to leave them just sitting on a bench. The GoRoll provides peace of mind that your necessities are secure, while doubling as a bag and an important piece of recovery equipment.

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