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  • Jul

    Top Swim Backpacks Compared by Zach Kent

    By Zach Kent, @iSwimWithIssues

    He’s back! Following up on a terrific waterproof MP3 review this winter, the swimming world’s funniest twitter account @iSwimWithIssues is back at it again reviewing one of the most important items for any swimmer: your swim backpack.

    Zach Kent breaks down our top-selling styles with his signature wit and insight. Remember, all reviews and opinions are his own! Check out more humor @iSwimWithIssues.

    SPEEDO LARGE 35L TEAMSTER (starts at $48.95)

    The Speedo Teamster 35L is a great backpack that is not only packed with great features (and towels, perhaps), but this backpack will also ensure that you look fantastic when you show up to the pool.

    The Teamster backpack is the “luxury vehicle” of swim backpacks. In other words, it has all the bells and whistles a swimmer could ask for. I’ve compiled a few feature points in bullet points below.

    • Laptop Sleeve (where most goggles and caps end up).
    • Bleacher Sleeve. This is a neat feature. If you don’t want to sit on a wet seat, you can whip out your handy-dandy bleacher seat! Additionally, this compartment would also be a handy place to store the kickboard you borrowed from the facility.
    • Yellow, blue, orange, black, green, navy, camouflage… Which color will you choose? There seems to be an option for everyone here. (If you don’t want to stand out, the “neon green” color option is probably not your best bet).
    • Dirt Bag! Included inside is a removable pouch to place your 

    wet swimsuits. It clips onto the front of the backpack and keeps all other items inside dry! (Let’s be honest, though—everything in that bag is still wet from last weeks swim practices.)

    As I said above, this is a feature-packed bag. The only downside to the bag is the small pocket. Its counterpart, the Speedo Large Pro, which I also reviewed below, has a padded phone pocket. Though a trivial feature, this bag does not have the padded phone pocket.

    Towel Count: You can fit 5-6 towels in this bag along with your cap, goggles and suits.


    The Speedo large pro backpack is spacious, simple and to the point. Looking for a backpack that holds everything you could possibly imagine? Get this bag! Here are a few top features that this spaciously made bag for your back contains.

    • Did I say it was spacious yet?
    • Two large pockets on the side, one on the front, and a sleeve inside.
    • Padded side pocket for your phone.
    • Front straps to hang wet towels or suits.
    • Thick, strong shoulder straps and heavy-duty handle.

    I would be careful, though. You may find a banana (or two) in the bottom of the bag during your yearly bag cleanup. Things can get lost -- it’s that big. The phone pocket could use a little protein—it’s small. If you’re a larger phone user you will not be able to fit your phone into the phone compartment. If you like colors, go with another backpack. This only offers a few different color options.

    Towel Count: 8

    TYR ALLIANCE TEAM BACKPACK II (starts at $47.99)

    The TYR Alliance backpack has achieved my attention with its vivid colors, spacious interior and thoughtful design. Though much of the swim bag designs are similar, TYR has done a great job with the side pockets. They are large, half mesh/half PVC coated polyester and perfect for water bottles, suits, caps or goggles. Here is an overview of a few of the features:

    • Large inside with a back sleeve.
    • Carabineers on the front for wet gear or goggles.
    • Comfortable shoulder straps.
    • Simple design and it does what it’s supposed to do!
    • Colors – a great alternative to the Speedo Large Pro if you are looking for more color options!

    This is a fantastic backpack with not too many cons. It’s simple, well-designed, well made and ready to party!

    Towel Count: 8 (maybe 9, but we ran out of towels)

    ARENA NAVIGATOR LARGE (starts at $49.98)

    Arena is well known for their high quality swimwear products and this bag lives up to that expectation. If you’re a simple person and don’t need all of the bells and whistles, this bag is for you.  I like it’s clean lines and rectangular shape along with the simply arena brand name with no other logo. Here’s the top features in my book:

    • Large interior
    • Side pockets with mesh panels to hold your bottles or wet suits.
    • Two front pockets for phone, keys and gum. Also snacks. (yum!)
    • Four simple color options.

    While the zippers stick sometimes and could use a little improvement, the Arena Navigator is a well-built bag for the swimmer that needs something simple to hold their gear. If you like a clean, rectangular shape, this is a terrific bag.

    Towel Count: 6


    The Sporti Large backpack will suit all of your needs and for a great price. This is another well-made bag for your back that is perfect for the simple swimmer. It features large mesh side pockets, a zippered front pocket and front towel straps. The highlights from my POV:

    • Soft, padded straps.
    • Waterproof compartment.
    • Very large.
    • Durable feel.
    • Price!

    For the price and value, you cannot go wrong with the Sport Large Performance swim backpack.  There is one con -- unless you have an old flip phone, the “phone pocket” on the right strap is not really a viable place to put your phone. I was also bummed to only see a few standard color options.

    Towel Count: 6


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