Best Pickleball Bags (2019): Sling & Duffle Bags, Backpacks, Paddle Covers
Introduction To Pickleball Bag Selection
It’s a relatively simple piece of equipment with a critical role. Technically speaking, you can get the job done with an old plastic bag if you’re willing to improvise, but I know that’s not you. You want something that will be convenient, lightweight. Large enough to hold what you need, compact enough not to be cumbersome as you take it with you on the go.
I’ve put together a list full of products meeting just such requisites. Read on for a list of the best pickleball bags on the market.
Best Pickleball Sling Bag: Franklin Sports Pickleball Sling Bag
Our top pick stands out for several reasons. For one thing (and you probably already noticed this as they weren’t shy about putting it in the tagline) it’s the official bag of the US Open. What this means is really going to depend on the type of buyer you are. If you care about pedigree, that’s a big feature to be on the lookout for.
If not, it really doesn’t matter at all. Still, for what equates to a form of pro memorabilia, it’s fairly reasonably priced, so you aren’t paying through the nose for a feature that you don’t care about.
What does matter is that this is just a good bag. I was particularly partial to how well organized it is. There are compartments for your gear, and then separate sections designated for other essentials. Your keys, your cell phone, and perhaps a snack or two all have their own space in this bag.
I was also pleased with the comfort factor. For one thing, the straps are super easy to adjust which means that regardless of your size, you should enjoy a well-tailored fit.
It’s also made with specialty breathable fabric that will keep your back and shoulders from getting sweaty as you’re out hauling your gear.
It’s not all roses and sunsets though. I was a little disappointed in the size of the pouches. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to have a lot of bonus room for apparel, and larger accessories that a lot of players like to take with them on the go.
This is a fairly common complaint when it comes to sling-style bags, but it is still something you will want to be mindful of. Otherwise, it’s a great bag for players looking for something that is efficient and effective.
Best Pickleball Backpack: Onix Pickleball Backpack Unit
If you weren’t thrilled by the amount of storage space offered by the last option, you may find something to like in our next pick, the Onix Pickleball backpack. It’s attractive, sleek, made to be comfortable, and above all else spacious.
As its spot on our list indicates, this is in the style of a backpack which means exactly what it sounds like. But despite having the potential to be overly cumbersome thanks to the increased size, the bag does several things to keep its users comfortable. One of these things is its simple but effective ergonomic design.
The ergonomic touches are much the same as they were on our previous product. Padded straps that are easy to adjust, and breathable mesh fabric on the front and the back of the bag that will keep you from getting too sweaty.
I also thought that the bag was pretty stylish. The manufacturer makes a special point of highlighting in their description of the product that it features the logo on every single side of the bag. Not so important to me, but if you’re a big brand name kind of person, it might suit your sense of style.
I was more partial to the sleek black, almost glossy fabric that has a very sporting look to it. The most important feature as I saw it was the compartments. You get five here. A staggering number that gives you room both for lots of equipment, and for accessories, and even a change of clothes if you’d like.
The storage factor is probably the biggest selling point in general with this bag. Tons of space segmented into easily organized compartments will be great for players that like o travel with lots of stuff.
The price is a bit of a turnoff. Roughly twice as expensive as some of the other bags on our list. If you like what this bag is selling, you’ll probably be happy to fork over the money. Still, budget buyers may find themselves rightly wary of this choice.
Best Pickleball Duffle Bag: Pickleball Fanatic Duffel Bag
This next choice is aptly named the Fanatic duffle bag. It is fantastic. I was initially attracted to the design concept of the bag. Naturally, it looks much like any other duffel bag but is outfitted with same playful pickleball oriented decals that give it a nice, warm touch.
It’s a large bag but unlike many duffel style bags, it is split up into compartments to ensure that there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place.
The compartments are specially designated both for your gear and for clothes and water bottles. It’s a good all-purpose bag for transporting whatever you need for the average match.
It’s also adjustable, and it features both a handle and straps for your shoulders. In short, it succeeds in most of the key departments making it a great pickleball gear bag.
To ice the cake, this is also one of the more affordable options on our list today. If you are trying to find a sizable bag at an affordable price, this unit will probably give you the most bang for your buck.
My big concern is one of comfort. Unfortunately, this is an issue that just comes with the territory when it comes to duffle style bags. Because all the weight naturally falls onto a single shoulder, it is going to be painful to use over time.
That’s definitely an issue here. You can mitigate the problem somewhat by limiting what you put in the bag, but in that case, you won’t get the most out of all the extra compartments.
In any case, it is an affordable, durable, sizable pickleball paddle bag that most users will like.
Best Pickleball Paddle Cover: Amazin' Aces Paddle Covers Set
Now we end things with a product that takes things in a different direction. The best paddle cover we could find comes in the form of the Amazin Aces. What you get here is very simple: a set of two slipcovers that are designed to go over and protect just about any pickleball paddle that you are likely to come across.
They aren’t going to make your gear any easier to transport—just safer. Pickleball paddles are a little bit fragile. Even if they aren’t likely to break outright, you can easily damage the decals by transporting them the wrong way. As a result, you might want to use this product even if you already have an awesome travel bag.
The covers are durable and easy to fit on—each one featuring a simple zipping mechanism that allows you to slip the paddles in and then secure them tightly with ease.
It even comes with a free ebook that features a few handy pickleball tips that you may or may not be able to use to benefit your game.
The cons are really just built into the nature of the product. As mentioned earlier, these slipcases won’t make the paddles any easier to transport. I personally think that they will work best in cooperation with one of the other bags on the list. The good news here is that this is a very affordable product, so you probably won’t be too bummed out if you have to buy it with one of the bags.
Pickleball Bag Buying Considerations
And now, here are some important buying considerations that will hopefully help to make your decision a little bit easier.
You don’t often think of pedigree when it comes to a bag. At least not a sports bag. No, I’m not talking about big brands like Coach (that’s a purse for the men out there). I just mean that there are some companies that have received some professional recognition.
For example, the Franklin Sports Pickleball Sling Bag is the official pick of the U.S Open Pickleball Championship.
What does that mean? Literally nothing at all. I mean, ok. It means that it is the official U.S open championship bag. But what does it mean for you? Let’s put it this way, it certainly doesn’t mean that you yourself are destined for U.S Open glory.
Pedigree is a bragging rights sort of thing. The bag doesn’t perform any better, and you certainly don’t either. However, if you’d like to tell your partner that you have a fancy brand recognized piece of equipment then go for it. It will probably have a bit of an upcharge, but for many people, the money will be well worth it.
One of the best favors you can do for yourself is to get something that has compartments. It’s a simple feature, it probably won’t cost you anything extra, but it will make your life a whole lot simpler.
Best case scenario you will be able to get something with room for everything: a space for your keys, your cell phone, your racquet, your balls, and maybe some extra room for the miscellaneous. The important thing is that it is split into lots and lots of compartments. Otherwise, your bag will be a constant disorganized mess.
Adjustability is also key. This is especially true if you are taller or shorter than the average person. Typical heights are probably going to be covered by the standard strap, but really great products can be manipulated to suit just about anyone.
It’s a simple feature, but it also will have a big impact on your user experience so be on the lookout, and buy carefully.
For the most part, pickleball bags will be made of some fabric material. There are exceptions. For example, travel bags (as in cases you will take on the road with you) may have some extra fortification.
Fabric is not a problem—a well-built bag will last for a long time, Emphasis on well built. Cheaper products are going to be vulnerable to premature ripping and tears that will render them effectively useless.
You don’t want that, but unfortunately, it is a major con that can be difficult for the consumer to identify without using the product.
There are really only two ways to know how durable a bag is before experimenting with it yourself. The first is to read a review like this one. Naturally, if something is splitting at the seams, I’m going to make mention of that.
However, if you’re curious about a product I haven’t highlighted, you just have to ask around. What do your friends know? It may take a little bit of digging, but it’s worth it to ensure that you don’t get a dud.
You likely saw from the guide above that bags are available at a range of prices. How much you are willing to spend on this purchase is going to depend mostly on who you are and what you look for in a purchase.
However, it goes somewhat without saying that this isn’t something you need to blow your entire pickleball budget on. The bag is a convenience-oriented purchase. Technically speaking, you don’t need one at all. You could show up to your matches looking goofy with all of your gear crumbled up in a cheap bag, or bundled in your arms.
More money just buys you more convenience. Special compartments that separate your gear. Better straps, better overall material, a larger size. So on and so forth.
Size is a little bit tricky. It’s a balance between having enough room to carry all of your equipment without being so large that it is cumbersome or inconvenient to travel with. The good news is that no single piece of pickleball equipment is particularly large. Paddles, balls, etc. are mostly compact.
As a result, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a good bag that fits comfortably over a single shoulder. Just bear in mind that it might be handy to have a little bit more room for extra non-essential stuff. For example, I like to keep my keys, wallet, and a snack in my bag while I play.
There are a couple of different types of pickleball bags that you can choose from. The backpack style unit is going to have lots of room, and it also will have the benefit of not putting too much weight on either of your shoulders. Though technically larger it is actually less painful to use over time because of the weight distributing.
The downside is that it is pretty bulky. A backpack of any orientation is going to take up room in your car and be a little bit awkward to travel with.
Then you have sling style bags. The sling style bag is going to be used primarily over one shoulder. It’s not as large as a backpack unit but it can still reliably fit a couple of paddles and some balls.
And of course, personal sense of style is also important, right? We all have our preference when it comes to how a bag looks. Even if you are a budget buyer there is truly no reason why you wouldn’t be able to get something that looks good, performs well, and is available at a reasonable price.
There is no real rule of thumb when it comes to buying for style. It’s all a matter of determining what you like and settling for nothing less.
Do You Play Other Racquet Sports?
If you are like me, there is a pretty good chance that you are actually a big fan of more than just one racquet oriented sport. If you find yourself with a predilection for tennis, ping pong, etc. you may find it worthwhile to find a bag that can do double duty for your other interests as well. If you can manage this, it will save you some space and money.
Last but not least, ergonomics. Isn’t it peculiar that a word for this feature even exists? To be ergonomic simply means that a product was made with comfort in mind. Everything should be ergonomic, but alas such is not the case.
It’s a specialty feature these days, and though it is one that is fairly ubiquitous, you do need to pay attention to what the manufacturer means when they use it.
It’s very easy to say that something is ergonomic, but there is no single standard dictating what that means.
In the case of pickleball bags, cushioned straps breathable mesh fabric that keeps your shoulders and back from getting heavy, and handles that are designed specifically for use with the human hand.
Again, these features should be standard, but they often are not. The very best way to tell how comfortable a bag is typically is to interact with it. Of course, we all know that this is rarely feasible.
If you can’t preview a bag before buying it, pay attention to the language the manufacturer uses. It will queue you into the nature of the product they are selling.
I don’t care who you are. One of the bags on this list will be right for you if you are a lover of pickleball. Whether you are hoping to get the very best product that you can get, or something a little bit more budget friendly, there is something on this list that will be right for you.
It all comes down to identifying what you are looking for. Whether you want something sleek and stylish that will carry your stuff and look good while doing it or just something that will get the job done, there are options out there. If this guide has made you aware of your choices and how to decide between them, then I will have done my job the right way.