How to Choose a Swim Bag
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How to Choose a Swim Bag

A bag is an important piece of gear for any athlete, but when it comes to swimmers, water polo players, and divers, it can be even more so. Bags keep equipment organized, give athletes easy storage for food and clothing during competitions, and can even be part of a team's uniform. Because bags serve many purposes, swim brands offer a wide variety of styles with features that cater specifically to aquatic athletes. This guide explains the differences between various swim bag styles and how to choose the one that is right for you.


Swim backpacks are a favorite in the swimming community, and for good reason. Specially-designed bags from Speedo®, TYR®, and Arena® are functional, but they are also status symbols. Anyone who carries one of these recognizable packs is labeling themselves as a proud aquatic athlete.

Swim backpacks offer hands-free convenience and are popular among all types of swimmers, from the youngest age group swimmers to the oldest Masters. Side and mesh pockets are included for wet gear storage, making it possible to let gear dry out and prevent mildew growth. Bigger than traditional school backpacks, swim backpacks are roomy enough to hold gear — fins, pull buoys, paddles, kickboards — as well as towels, after-practice clothes, and shower accessories. Rubberized bottoms and waterproof fabric keeps contents dry in locker rooms and on pool decks. Many swimmers also decorate their backpacks with ribbons, patches, and other decorations to personalize them.

Swim backpacks often come in two sizes: A larger adult size and a slightly smaller scale one designed for young swimmers. Because of their efficient use of space and easy carrying, swim backpacks are a favorite of age group swimmers, serious lap swimmers, and competitive swimmers.

Duffel Bags

Swimmers who don't opt for a backpack — whether because of shoulder or back problems, or because they want something with slightly more room — usually buy a sports duffel bag. Although they look the same as bags designed for other sports, swim duffels still come with lots of water sport-specific features that swimmers should look for.

Large Swim Duffels

Rubberized bottoms and water-resistant materials keep bags and their contents protected from rough pool decks and exposure to chlorine. They also prevent fading, because although a faded bag (like chlorine-bleached hair) can demonstrate your dedication to the sport, it also means that its material is breaking down. A large middle compartment often provides even more storage capacity than that of a swim backpack, and swimmers who use a lot of equipment should make sure that their bag is long enough for their fins, kickboards, and pulling gear. A shoulder and two carrying straps are standard, as are side pockets for keeping smaller accessories like caps, goggles, and shower gear organized. Mesh or ventilated pockets help wet gear dry out.

Small Swim Duffels

Swimmers who use little to no gear and want a more compact bag without all the bells and whistles can also turn to traditional sports duffels; those with one main zippered compartment and two carrying straps. Traditional gym bags and duffels can be great for athletes and coaches. Although these bags are somewhat less durable, their appeal may lie in the fact that standard gym bags also tend to be lower in price than ones designed for use in pool environments.

Swim duffels and traditional gym bags are used by swimmers of all ages and ability levels, but because of their versatility are also popular among recreational swimmers, aqua joggers, water aerobics enthusiasts, and coaches as well.

Mesh Bags

Many swimmers and swim teams use mesh bags for easy equipment storage and transportation. Often used just for the gear that swimmers keep on deck with them — fins, pulling gear, kickboards, snorkels — mesh bags make it easy to keep this gear separate, and then to dry it out between practices. Mesh bags come in traditional drawstring design, as well as backpack styles. Mesh bags make another excellent bag option for minimalists; it doesn't get more basic than a mesh bag. If all you're carrying is a suit, goggles, and a towel, a mesh bag may be the perfect solution.

The Right Bag Can Make a Difference

It may seem like a big purchase, but a bag designed specifically for aquatic athletes is a great investment. Because they're designed to keep gear organized, dry, and protected, a good bag can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Think about your swimming habits and buy the bag — or bags — that make the most sense for your swimming requirements.

Shop Swim Bags and Backpacks

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2 months ago.
What would be a good size for a swimming back pack for a 11 year old
2 months ago.
The Speedo 35L backpack would be the perfect size.
2 months ago.
I'm on a high school swim team and I need a bag. I want one that I can fit school stuff in with my swim stuff or one that's small enough so I can carry my school bag around with it. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
2 months ago.
Hello Kylie,
The TYR 45L should fit both school stuff and swim stuff.
3 months ago.
Looking for a backpack for my 12 year old. Something to carry fins, wet swimwear separately and a couple school books. Nothing pink!
3 months ago.
Hello Liz,
The Speedo 35L Teamster backpack should work great for your needs.
5 months ago.
My daughter is 7 and just started competitive swimming, what type bag would you suggest for her?
5 months ago.
Hi Sara,
Starting out, a mesh bag is more than efficient!
6 months ago.
I have swim practices in the mornings, and directly after, I will go to school. I was wondering what you would suggest to do/what bag to use for wet clothes that would have to sit up to 10 hours. I wouldn't have to carry it around, but it would sit in the back of a classroom.
6 months ago.
Hello Abby!
We suggest a mesh bag. This is going to allow the most dry air to get to your practice gear in order for your gear to dry out during the day.
6 months ago.
hi! im 13 and swim straight after school, i dont want to carry a large swim backpack across town and in school but i need something that can hold school stuff too (usually only a textbook and notebook as its mainly what i have at home that i need in my bag, we can go to our lockers at my school between classes) any suggestions?
6 months ago.
Hi Maya!
The Speedo Large 35L Teamster Backpack (Product Code 7535469) is a great backpack with sufficient space for all of your gear/books. Anything smaller will more than likely be too small.
Charlotte Mitchell
7 months ago.
Hi! I am a 12yr old water polo player, and I was wondering if I should get a Large or Medium Speedo Teamster Swim Backpack or if there is another bag that is recommended
7 months ago.
Hello Charlotte,
We recommend the large Speedo Teamster Swim Backpack, 10 more Liters of space really makes a difference :)
10 months ago.
hello wich backpack do you recomend best? speedo teamster 35 litres or TYr alliance 30 litres?
10 months ago.
They are both very similar in quality and amount of compartment sections offered. I'd suggest the large bag 35L by Speedo in case you need more storage in the future.
Lisa Huerta
1 year ago.
My daughter is a high school water polo player who is very rough with her bags. What bag would you suggest for her to use?
1 year ago.
Hi Lisa,
The Speedo Large 35L Teamster Backpack (Product Code 7535469) is a heavy duty backpack with sufficient space for all her gear.
1 year ago.
Is it ok if I use this for school?
1 year ago.
Hi Andrew, this can also be used for school.
julia bennett
1 year ago.
I would love your opinion on the speedo backpack vs the arena backpack for a first time purchaser given the price difference is $10.00 AUD. Which has the most features my son is into swimming and diving
1 year ago.
Hi Julia,
I believe you are comparing the TYR Small Alliance Backpack and the Speedo Medium 25L Teamster Backpack. The Speedo backpack will provide a little more space and a removable dirt bag which is intended to keep wet and dirty items away from electronics or clean items. The Speedo has that extra feature that can come in handy.
2 years ago.
Hey I have 3 speedo backpacks I use one for swimming and one for travel and I have an extra one I don't know what to do with and maybe thought of using it as a school bag or would that look weird...?
2 years ago.
Hi Kenzie,
It's common for Speedo backpacks to also be used as school bags. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
2 years ago.
Hi, I just got a speedo duffel bag( not teamster ). Is it fine for me to put my wet gear such as hand paddles inside or do I have to dry it first?
2 years ago.
Hi Marc,
Yes, you can carry wet gear in the Speedo Ventilator 40L Duffle. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
2 years ago.
I am looking at the two Speedo duffle bags. What are their sizes in inches?
2 years ago.
Hi Sheilah,
The measurements of the Speedo Ventilator 40L Duffle is: 12" x 21" x 10". The measurements of the Speedo Teamster Duffle is Height: 3" Width: 10.2" Length: 23". I hope this is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
3 years ago.
Hi Diane,

The Speedo teamster bag doesn't have a specific water bottle pocket, but on the right side of the bag, there's a mesh pocket where a small water bottle should be able to fit. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Have a wonderful day!
Diane Hicks-Hughes
3 years ago.
Does the Speedo teamster bag have a water bottle pocket?
1 day ago.
Yup and it's very large! It can fit around 4 or even 5 drinks in it!
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