We tried the NOVO duffel bag designed for disinfecting sports and workout clothes

the NOVO sports bag from San Diego FRESH CLOTHING is not for everyone. But why would it be? This is a luxury duffel bag with a suggested MSRP of $500, way beyond the price of your sports tote. The difference between a normal duffel bag and this particular bag is its patented multi-cycle cleaning that takes place within minutes inside the bag.

Cleaning is most accurately described as “refreshing”, a word accurately used by the producer on the bag. Home Page. By the way, this is not a bag that will magically clean your clothes like a portable washing machine. It will not replace a traditional wash either. It is simply a portable and calculated way to vaporize smelly clothes in minutes, which I can only imagine being necessary in very specific circumstances. But if the idea of ​​making foul-smelling clothes look better in a short time sounds appealing, this might be the bag for you.

The duffel, admittedly a creative idea, does everything it is designed to do and nothing more. If your workout clothes are wet, they will be once you take them out of the bag. There is no drying technology here. It’s without a traditional wash cycle either. Your clothes will smell better, at least temporarily, because they will be exposed to a perfume bath in a closed bag. It works like someone staying in a small room with a glowing candle long enough. You’ll feel better afterwards, of course, but that’s no substitute for showering.

But the main selling point of the bag, which should ship in September, is not its ability to clean clothes. On the contrary, its best attributes lie in its portability, durability, and convenience. And for those purposes, the bag holds up. It’s just hard to justify the purchase unless you can see yourself using the bag almost daily.

To install

Checking in the bag and starting a cycle is a seamless process that is done exclusively on a smartphone. You scan the QR code provided on the instruction booklet to download the DRESSFRESH app and once there you create an account and register the bag using a code found on the outside of the box . From what I can tell this code is only on the outside of the box in the corner so don’t tear the box like Dennis Rodman opens a shoebox and be sure to write down the code if you give the bag to someone else and present it to them outside the box.

My bag was partially charged when I took it out of the box, but you may need to charge it with the included cable. Fortunately, they didn’t cut corners with the charger: you’ll find a USB-C to USB-C cable with a suitable brick in one of the bag’s pockets. You can easily load the power module by slipping it into one of the side pockets. Although the company recommends that you don’t open any of the pockets during a cleaning cycle, you can open a ribbon in the pocket to charge the bag mid-cycle. Unfortunately, the battery level will stay pretty much the same for the duration of the cycle, even if you have it plugged in the whole time.

Opposite the pocket that leads to the charging port is another with a similar ribbon that lets you access the scent cartridge. Your best bet for loading and shutting down cartridges is through pockets, as removing and replacing the power module in the bag is a hassle.

Accessing the charging port and scent cartridge through the pocket ribbons is much easier than trying to remove the entire power module from there.
Credit: Riley Eubanks/Mashable

My bag was not installed with a cartridge, but the app falsely showed the battery level of a non-existent cartridge when I first launched it, so be sure to put a square of perfume, otherwise it will do nothing. There are four scents listed on the bag’s Kickstarter page, but mine only comes with its signature scent: rainwater. The post-cycle rainwater smell is good. It’s definitely not a salon scent, but it effectively masks the smell of sweat.


The app gives you four cleaning cycles to choose from:

  • Fast: 15 minutes, guaranteed to spruce up an item

  • Light: 30 minutes, guaranteed to beautify two items

  • Normal: 45 minutes duration, guaranteed to beautify three items or a pair of shoes

  • Heavy: one hour, designed to spruce up “sports equipment or bulkier items”

You can easily track cycle time through the app, which has a continuous timer even if you close the app. A 15 minute ‘refresh’ cycle will follow each cycle, but this part is optional and you can easily complete the cycle as needed from the app or simply by opening the bag and removing the clothes. There is also a color coding system to let you know where the clothes are in the cycle and you can see the color from a lighted button on the top of the bag. The DRESSFRESH app could be improved by setting up push notifications that let you know when the cycle is complete. There were no push notifications options on the iOS app, but that might come in a later update.

Screenshot of the app showing the cleaning cycle timer

Tracking the status of a cycle in the DRESSFRESH app is as easy as tracking the cycle of a laundromat.
Credit: iOS screenshot

Conveniently, my bag arrived at my doorstep while I was away for a workout, so I was able to test out the bag as soon as I received it. The first clothes I tested weren’t my typical workout clothes because I slept at someone else’s house the night before and drove straight from their house to the gym and then back home, so the clothes I exercised in were a mix of what I wore the night before and whatever I could find in my trunk.

As a result, my first charge was on the normal cycle and consisted of the following:

  • 1 off-brand Indiana Pacers zipper

  • 1 white Hanes t-shirt

  • 1 pair of Hanes underwear

  • 1 pair of off-brand Indiana Pacers sweatpants

  • 1 pair of clown red Adidas socks

The bag definitely made the clothes smell better. The underwear and shirt were still damp from all the sweat they had soaked up from my body, but it was cooler, like you took clothes out of the dryer and they weren’t quite dry yet. dry, but that you put them on anyway because you have to get it sorted.

clothes in an open duffel bag

In a normal wash, those red socks would bleed all over that white shirt. But that doesn’t happen in the NOVO Duffel, because it doesn’t wash any of those clothes. It’s just to make them feel better.
Credit: Riley Eubanks/Mashable

To put the bag’s cooling capabilities to the test, I put the clothes back on and took my dogs for a mile walk. I didn’t sweat at all during the walk because it’s still quite cool. But I still felt like I was wearing clothes I had just exercised in, even though I didn’t smell like that.

The normal cycle reduced bag battery life and cartridge charge by about 3%, depending on the application, so theoretically you could use an individual scent for at least a few dozen cycles.

For some reason the heavy cycle used a significant portion of the battery life. I put a large load of clothes in there, like a small load in the washer, all socks and shirts, and it definitely made all those clothes smell better.

I was very satisfied to put a few hats in there, including one that I exercise with occasionally. It made the hats smell better, which is good because there aren’t many right ways to wash a hat.

I also put a pair of shoes in there and it did a good job of making them smell better. I’ve never really had a pair of shoes that I noticed smelled bad, but admittedly I don’t usually walk around smelling shoes.

Screenshot of app showing Bluetooth connectivity status

The bag connects via Bluetooth, although the app even warns that the connection range is relatively small. You usually need to be in the same room as the bag to use it; however, it will not stop mid-cycle if you disconnect from the bag.
Credit: iOS screenshot

Should I buy?

As I said before, I don’t see many reasons why the NOVO duffel bag would be a necessity. Here are a few reasons I can think of where this bag would be slightly handy:

  • If you exercise twice a day frequently and want to wear the same clothes every time without feeling bad

  • If you or your kids play sports and need to spruce up shirts and outfits between games

  • If you travel a lot and want to extend the life of a set of sportswear or don’t want it to stink up your other clothes

The bag itself is of high quality and comes with various straps so you can carry it according to your preference. It certainly performs all its functions well and efficiently. The only question is whether the bag is a necessity. And I would say that for the vast majority of people, that’s not the case.

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