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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.

Backpacks

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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Julia
8 months ago.
Join the discussion...
Andric
1 year ago.
Hi I am a competitive swimmer looking to hold my fins pool bout and hand pedals do you have any suggestions to which bag I should buy
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Andric!

We recommend the "TYR Big Mesh Mummy Backpack III" for you. https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-big-mesh-mummy-backpack-iii-8118725/?color=44119
Kat
1 year ago.
Hi, my boyfriend is looking for a backpack with separate wet/dry compartments, that he can also ‘hang up’ or at least store his suit (smart office working suit - he wants to swim/gym in the morning before work meetings) in neatly. He wants to go to the pool/gym in sports clothes with the suit in the bag until after the swimming/gym. I know bags such as the Arena Fastpack are built in ‘wardrobe style’ - would they allow for this? He doesn’t want his suit to be crumpled and creased whilst transporting + leaving it in the bag. Any ideas are appreciated!
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Kat!

These backpacks would be your choice:

TYR Alliance 30L Backpack
Arena Solid Spiky 2 Large Backpack
Speedo Team Rucksack III
Anna
2 years ago.
Hi I’ve been looking for a backpack everywhere that will fit all my stuff: kickboard fins snorkel and pool buoy and my wet stuff which backpack to you suggest the 35l or the 45l
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Anna!

Please copy-paste this link to view our 35L and 45L backpacks - https://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-backpacks-c10051/

You may try the Speedo Large 35L Teamster Backpack as our betseller. Thanks!
isabelle
2 years ago.
Hi I am a beginner swimmer and 12 years old i need a swim bag that holds a towel, cap, goggles, clothes, and shampoo and conditioner should I get a 25l speedo bag or 35l thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hi Isabelle,

If you would not be needing a pair of fins to put inside the bag, we suggest you just get a 25L Speedo bag. Otherwise, get the 35L to have enough space if you need to bring more.
Karen
2 years ago.
I need a bag to hold a towel, clothing, swim snorkel, mask, water bottle, a bag with liquids ( shampoo, conditioner, soap, wash cloth, body lotion and face cream), flip flops, ipod and earbuds, . I have a travel back pack but feel the swim snorkel will get broken when I stuff the towel etc. into the pack. Got any suggestions, please.
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Karen,
Something like the Speedo 35L backpack would work perfect for your needs!
Peggy
2 years ago.
I am looking for a duffel swim bag for my husband. The one he has now has a zipper on top. The inside has waterproof lining which is deteriorating. What do you suggest?
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Peggy,
Something like this https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-teamster-duffle-7535471/?color=9343 would work great!
Janet
2 years ago.
My grandson has joined a swim program in prep for HS swim team. IT, FOR SURE, DOES NOT NEED TO BE A STATUS SYMBOL!!! I am just looking for a sturdy swim bag that will maybe last a couple of seasons. It has to be large enough to hold swim fins, goggles, other needed swim supplies & swimwear comfortably. Any suggestions that will fulfill these needs, will be very helpful for this Grandma. Thank You.
.
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Janet! We would recommend the "TYR Big Mesh Mummy Backpack III".
https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-big-mesh-mummy-backpack-iii-8118725/?color=10119
James
2 years ago.
Hi, was thinking of either getting the TYR 45L or 30L alliance backpack. It has to contain my school stuff and swim stuff which are basically: Lecture books, pencil case, fins, buoy, hand paddles, towel, slippers, a change of clothes, trunks and goggles. Which would be more suitable? I want to make my money worth it. Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello James,
In order to fit everything you need, we recommend going with the larger bag.
mel
2 years ago.
Pricewise the arena spiky 2 is close to the speedo teamster 35L so what are some noticeable differences? would you recommend 1 over the other? I have a speedo but am curious about the spiky 2 since I've never owned anything arena. THAnks
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi,
The Spiky 2 Large Backpack from Arena comes in 4 great colours with fluorescent zips and branding and is a 40L backpack which is larger than the Speedo Teamster 35L. The item is ideal for taking swimming kit and training aids to the pool. This bag has a large main compartment with a separate zipped bottom compartment for shoes. Smaller pockets will hold valuables and swim accessories like goggles and water bottles. It is comfortable to carry with a padded and breathable back panel and padded, adjustable straps.
Steph
2 years ago.
I was thinking of getting the TYR Pinnacle 27L wet/dry backpack, but I can't tell if it is big enough to fit a buoy, fins, snorkel, and a towel in it at once? Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Steph,
Yes, this bag will fit all the items you mentioned.
Alex
2 years ago.
What backpack would be better and why. Tyr Alliance 45l or Speedo Teamster 35l? I would use it for school, swimming and sometimes I would put a separate PE bag.
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Alex,
Both of these bags are great and very comparable in quality. Some customers feel the 45L is too big and the 35L is just right in size but if you want as much space as possible then the TYR would be the best option for you.
Alex
2 years ago.
Can you compare them 2 bags for me? What are the pros and cons of them 2? Please help me as this will be a present for my son.
Lwo
3 years ago.
What would be a good size for a swimming back pack for a 11 year old
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello,
The Speedo 35L backpack would be the perfect size.
Kylie
3 years 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.
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Kylie,
The TYR 45L should fit both school stuff and swim stuff.
Liz
3 years ago.
Looking for a backpack for my 12 year old. Something to carry fins, wet swimwear separately and a couple school books. Nothing pink!
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Liz,
The Speedo 35L Teamster backpack should work great for your needs.
Sara
3 years ago.
My daughter is 7 and just started competitive swimming, what type bag would you suggest for her?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Sara,
Starting out, a mesh bag is more than efficient!
Abby
3 years 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.
Swimoutlet.com
3 years 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.
Maya
3 years 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?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years 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
3 years 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
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Charlotte,
We recommend the large Speedo Teamster Swim Backpack, 10 more Liters of space really makes a difference :)
natalia
3 years ago.
hello wich backpack do you recomend best? speedo teamster 35 litres or TYr alliance 30 litres?
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello!
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
4 years 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?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Lisa,
The Speedo Large 35L Teamster Backpack (Product Code 7535469) is a heavy duty backpack with sufficient space for all her gear.
Andrew
4 years ago.
Is it ok if I use this for school?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Andrew, this can also be used for school.
julia bennett
5 years 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
swimoutlet.com
5 years 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.
Kenzie
5 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...?
swimoutlet.com
5 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!
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