Like racquets, strings, and shoes, there is an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to tennis bags.
All of the big brands offer multiple bags, from simple tote bags to full-on pro-level racquet bags capable of holding fifteen racquets. Most of which follow the design language of their flagship racquets.
As tennis fans, we all tend to want the products we see the players using on TV. Don't believe me? How else can you explain why the Wilson Prostaff RF 97 Autograph racquet is one of the best selling racquets on the market despite being far too heavy for most players to use effectively?
Tennis bags are no different; we continually see the pros taking to the court with huge bags, filled with 9 racquets, multiple pairs of shoes, clothing, snacks, and drinks; so those are invariably the type of tennis bag people gravitate towards and end up buying. But do they need that Wilson Federer DNA 15 Pack?
After almost 10 years of high-level research on the subject, I discovered that 95% of the time, the size of a tennis bag a person owns is inversely proportional to the level they play at. Of course, I am joking, but I have lost count of the times I have seen people turn up at the courts with a bag for 12 racquets, only to fish out the one racquet they own and then proceed to play for 20 minutes before heading off home.
While I don't blame anyone for wanting to look the part, do you really need a bag that holds 12 racquets if you play a few times over summer?
The answer is clearly no, so in this post, I will be looking at the different types of tennis bag available, the advantages and disadvantages of each, my recommendations for which bag type makes sense for most players, and some of the best tennis bags that you can get right now.
Let's take a look.
The Different Types of Tennis Bags
There are five different types of tennis bags. Some can only be used for tennis; others can also be used for other sports or even travel. Let's take a look.
Pro Racquet Bags
This is the style of bag widely used on the Pro Tour as they come in configurations to hold anywhere between 9 and 15 racquets. They have multiple compartments, with the outermost ones being thermally insulated to keep racquets away from the elements.
Other common features will be a shoe tunnel, a waterproof pouch for clothes/towels, and various accessories pockets.
Who should use this type of bag?
The only type of player this bag makes sense for are serious players who are playing tournaments and carry a lot of gear.
This is complete overkill for most players, and you will be paying for storage space you won't really need.
Subsequently, people often pack to fill, rather than pack what they need, so they end up with all sorts of random equipment in there that never sees the light of day.
A large pro-style bag can also make sense for a full-time tennis coach who carries around a few racquets, training aids, food, etc. for a full day at the courts.
- Huge amounts of storage space for racquets
- Can be carried like a backpack
- Makes you look like a pro (at least before you hit a ball)
- Hard to store as it's an odd shape that takes up so much room
- Overkill for most players
Smaller Racquet Bags
Alongside the racquet bag widely seen on the professional tour is the scaled-down version that holds either 3 or 6 racquets.
Who should use this bag?
This bag style is ideal for your typical club player who needs space for 2/3 racquets, shoes, clothes, and a few other bits of gear.
The downside of this type of bag is that they are not that easy to carry on foot. Unlike the larger racquet bags, they don't usually have backpack-like straps so have to be carried using the carry handle or over the shoulder.
If you drive to the courts and walk 100m from the car park, that's no problem. But biking or walking? This style of bag is not ideal.
- Almost identical in design to the flagship pro endorsed bags
- Easy access to racquets
- Fits nicely in a car boot
- Not easy to carry
- The shape isn't the most efficient for storing plenty of gear
- Not freestanding so usually has to be propped up or lay flat on the ground
The majority of mainstream tennis brands now have tennis bags in a traditional style backpack. Most are designed to hold racquets but leave the handles sticking out of the top. However, Babolat does some cool designs that cover the racquets full length.
For example, the Babolat Evo 3 x 3 pictured above has a roll-up section that you can undo to cover the racquet's full length.
While they lack some of the bells and whistles you find on the larger, more premium bags, I think the practicality aspect makes them a better buy. For example, while there isn't a dedicated shoe tunnel, most of them come with a removable shoe bag.
Who should use this bag?
This is my preferred style of bag as I think it's the most utilitarian. If you bike or walk to the courts, a backpack is by far the best.
- Easy to carry
- Can be used for non-tennis
- Many of them have chest straps so ideal for biking
- Less space than a pro-style racquet bag
- Don't always cover the racquet fully (but if you have sweaty hands that soak grips, this can be a positive)
- Often lack dedicated shoe tunnels or wet pouches
Duffel Tennis Bags
You'll no doubt have seen the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic walking on the court with their main racquet bag strapped to their backs, but they're often also carrying a duffel bag.
While pro players tend to use only use a smaller duffel bag for storing drinks and clothes, they are also available in larger sizes as standalone tennis bags.
Who should use this bag?
Multidisciplinary sportsmen and women who want a bag they can use for other sports are best suited to a tennis duffel bag.
Some players also prefer one big main divided compartment where they can see everything (see image below of the Tecnifibre Rackpack), so a duffel-style tennis bag works well for that type of person.
Duffel bags generally look less impressive (or tennis specific) from the outside, but when you actually open them up, they are often well thought out designs. That's why I prefer them compared to the traditional racquet shape bag as they are more practical for accessing your gear.
- Divided padded sections useful for separating gear
- Can be used for several sports, not just tennis
- Many of them now have backpack straps rather than needing to be carried over the shoulder.
- Quite bulky in design
- Not all duffel bags are long enough to cover an entire racquet so that the handles will stick out
- Don't tend to have the ‘Thermoguard' to protect against the elements
The final type of bag is the Tote. This style is for the female players out there, and they tend to be more fashion-driven than anything else, but most of the big tennis brands carry at least one in their lineup.
As a male, I'd never buy a tote tennis bag, but they can hold quite a lot of gear and be used daily. For example, the Wilson Tote bag pictured below wouldn't look out of place as a travel bag or in a cafe to take a laptop.
Who should use this bag?
Girls who like tote bags and don't want to be dragging around a full-size racquet bag.
- Stylish designs
- Can be used for all sorts, not just tennis
- Of late, brands have added more tennis-specific features like shoe compartments
- Don't really fit a racquet well
- Can get quite pricey
The Tennis Bag I Use
The bag I use at the moment is the Babolat Pure Strike Backpack. It's a backpack that has been elongated to accommodate a tennis racquet.
When no racquet is stored in the bag, the compartment folds over on itself to become a standard looking backpack as you can see in the image below.
I think the Babolat Pure Strike Backpack is the perfect type of bag for the recreational tennis player. I previously owned a Wilson 9 pack tennis bag, but when I realised that I have two racquets in it, I figured, do I really need a bag this size?
The answer was no, so I ditched it for a backpack, and I won't be switching back. It's far less cumbersome, more transportable, and with space at a relative premium, you don't end up putting any old crap in there just to make use of all the compartments.
With this backpack, I store two racquets in the insulated section. Babolat advertises it as holding three, which it does but I find that a little tight.
In the main compartment, I keep a pair of tennis shoes, two cans of balls, a drinks bottle and a tripod. In the small front compartment, I keep some accessories such as a spare overgrip, vibration dampener, plasters, tape, and it also stores my phone, wallet, and keys when I am on the court. The bag also has a laptop compartment which I have used to store a folded towel.
Finally, the zip is also a bottle opener if you fancy a beer at the change of ends! Novelty? 10/10. Real-world usefulness? 2/10.
- Cool design
- The chest strap helps with biking
- The bag covers the racquet in full
- White colour can get dirty quick
- Not suitable for those who need clothes changes, 10 racquets, 3 pairs of shoes, etc.
As you can see in the images below, White isn't the best colour for keeping the bag clean, and if you bike on a wet day, you'll get plenty of spray marks up the back of it.
After I bought it, Babolat launched their new Pure Drive racquet with an accompanying bag that I think is a slightly better design with a different fold-over fastening. I'd recommend that one over the Pure Strike if this type of design is what you are after.
The Best Tennis Bags For 2021
Below are what I consider the ten best tennis bags you can get right now.
I've included at least one from each bag type but have erred more towards the recreational player who hits twice a week rather than the aspiring pro travelling around playing local tournaments or Futures.
|Bag||Size (Length x Width x Height)||Racquet Capacity|
|Babolat Pure Drive 3-Pack
|32 x 200 x 75cm||3||CHECK PRICE|
|Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Rackpack
|70 x 33 x 33cm||4||CHECK PRICE|
|Head Radical 12 Pack Monstercombi
|79 x 44 x 34cm||12||CHECK PRICE|
|Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack
|32 x 20 x 50cm||2||CHECK PRICE|
|Geau Sport Axiom Racket Bag
|71 x 30 x 32cm||4||CHECK PRICE|
|Babolat Pure Drive 6 Pack Bag
|75 x 32 x 32cm||6||CHECK PRICE|
|Yonex Pro Racquet 9 Pack Bag
|79 x 38 x 38cm||9||CHECK PRICE|
|Head Women's Tote Bag
|38 x 18 x 35cm||2||CHECK PRICE|
|Wilson Super Tour 15 Pack Pro Staff Bag
|74 x 40 x 33cm||15||CHECK PRICE|
|Dunlop FX Performance 8 Pack Bag
|77 x 35 x 34cm||8||CHECK PRICE|
Babolat Pure Drive 3-Pack Backpack
The Babolat Pure Drive 3 Pack is similar to the Pure Strike backpack I use but has a slightly different design and the colours match the blue of the 2020 Pure Drive racquet.
This bag is my top pick, as I find it highly practical. Do you walk or cycle to the courts? This style of bag is perfect.
It also holds plenty of gear and covers the full length of the racquet which also has the Babolat isothermal stuff to protect it from the climate.
- Innovative design with a main compartment that holds 3 racquets
- Two compartments for more gear
- Removable shoe sack
- Accessory pocket for smaller items
- Ability to fold over the top of the large compartment when there are no racquets in the bag
- Practical design
- Easy to carry, and has a useful side handle
- Has a chest strap for those who bike to tennis
- Only holds 3 racquets so if you carry more than that, it's no good
- No dedicated area for wet clothing
- No shoe tunnel but does come with a removable bag
Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Rackpack
The Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Rackpack is the bag I would use if I felt like I needed a larger bag than I currently have.
It's technically a duffle bag, but in the spirit of branding, Tecnifibre renamed it the Rackpack. It comes in two sizes, L and XL. I think L is a slightly better buy, but if you travel around playing tennis or have a ton of gear, the XL model is for you.
The shiny black (used for ease of cleaning) does make the bag look cheap in my opinion, but Tecnifibre bags are well made from durable materials, so in this case, looks are deceiving.
- The main compartment has ample storage for gear
- The middle of the bag will hold up to 4 rackets
- The sides of the bag can hold more racquets or be set up into compartments to divide items
- Two mesh pockets on the top of the inside compartment for overgrips etc.
- Exterior large shoe tunnel can hold 2 pairs of shoes or sweaty clothes
- Easy to access all your gear at once
- Can be carried like a backpack
- Shoe tunnel is a clever design
- On the larger size at 70 x 33 x 33cm
- Not everyone will like the shiny tarpaulin but it is durable / scratch proof
Head Radical 12 Pack Monstercombi Bag
The largest bag on this list is the Head Radical 12 Pack Monstercombi Tennis Bag which has a new design to coincide with Head's new Radical racquet paintjob.
While this bag is too big for most players, as it carries 12 racquets, it's my top pick in this category as Head make decent quality bags. I like the scalene triangular design with sharper edges rather than the rounded bags we normally see too.
One compartment for rackets has Head's Climate Control Technology designed to keep your strings protected from extreme temperatures. The middle has a U style opening, along with a shoe tunnel and it can be carried like a backpack which makes it somewhat easier to lug around.
- Three main compartments
- Holds up 12 racquets; one section has Head's Climate Control Technology
- Shoe tunnel located on the end of the bag
- Accessory pockets on both sides
- Adjustable, padded backpack straps
- Padded grab handles at the top of the bag
- Cool colours and square shape rather than rounded
- Can be carried like a backpack
- U style pocket is easy to access drinks, snacks etc. at the change of ends
- Shoe compartment not aerated
- Hard to maximise storage space with this style of bag
- It's a big old bag so not the easiest to carry or to store
Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack
The Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack has the same colourway as the Tecnifibre duffel bag I listed above. It is made of a tarpaulin material means this bag is much easier to clean than the typical polyester that most bags use.
I nearly bought this bag instead of the Babolat one, but I prefer the fully enclosed cover for the racquets rather than the handle sticking out and a cover velcro-ing around it.
Still, this is my second favourite tennis bag in the ‘backpack' category, and I like the dedicated shoe tunnel even if it does eat into the main compartment somewhat.
- Back compartment with padding will hold up to 2 racquets
- Front main compartment for more gear
- Accessory pocket in front
- Small, side accessory pocket
- Padded and adjustable backpack straps; quick grab handle
- Shoe compartment on the bottom
- Made from tarpaulin which is durable and waterproof
- Durable tarpaulin material
- Shoe tunnel which is rare for a backpack style tennis bag
- Racquet handle covers one racket to protect it from the elements
- No side carry handle like the Pure Drive Backpack
- Would be good if the racquet handle cover could accommodate two racquets
- No chest strap which makes it less secure when biking
Geau Sport Axiom Tennis Racket Bag
The one bag I haven't actually seen up close in this list is the Geau Sport Axiom Tennis Racket Bag. It's an American brand not many people will be familiar with, including myself. I saw this bag crop up on my YouTube suggestions and instantly became a fan of the design.
I'm usually reluctant to recommend products I haven't tested or physically touched, but I've read a couple of reviews, and the bag has received decent feedback so far.
You don't see many tennis bags in this upright free-standing style. Nike used to sell the Nike Court 1, which was unfortunately discontinued a while ago. If that bag were still on sale, it would be in this list, and the Axiom looks to be a worthy replacement.
The Axiom is designed to hold four racquets and has a clever adjustable shelving system in the middle compartment so you can organise it how you want. You can learn more about it in the video below.
The sticking point for most people will be the price which is $169.99. That's a hefty price tag compared to the rest of the market, but this is a small, and I believe a relatively new company that doesn't benefit from economies of scale like the big tennis brands. Ultimately this is billed as a premium tennis bag, so naturally carries a premium price tag.
- Two padded side panel sleeves hold two standard sized racquets each
- Main storage compartment stores larger items and features two internal shelves that are removable and adjustable
- Waterproof top pocket isolates wet gear
- Several exterior pockets for smaller items
- Main body fabric 420D polyester ripstop
- Bottom fabric 500D Cordura for durability against abrasion
- Freestanding, upright design
- Modular shelving
- Durable fabric
- Hefty price tag
- No chest strap which is always useful especially on a larger backpack style bag
Babolat Pure Drive 6 Pack Bag
The Babolat Pure Drive 6 Pack Bag offers storage for 6 racquets and is a scaled-down version of the larger bags you see the Pros taking on the court.
To coincide with the new Pure Drive racquet launch, the bag has been slightly redesigned for 2021. It has two main compartments, one of which has Babolat's Isothermal Protection to keep your racquet and strings safe from extreme elements.
There is also a tunnel made of clear plastic with ventilation, so it is designed to carry shoes or dirty gear. One side has a large exterior accessory pocket, and the other a smaller firmer pocket for your wallet, keys and phone.
The adjustable backpack straps, which are also removable, make lugging it around easier and there are grab handles on the top and middle of the bag making it easier to take out of the car, etc.
- Two main compartments, one with having Isothermal Protection to protect strings from the elements
- Exterior, ventilated tunnel pocket ideal for shoes or dirty gear
- Large, side accessory pocket
- Smaller firm side accessory pocket for smaller items
- Attached, padded and adjustable backpack straps
- Grab handles
- Holds 6 racquets
- The clear plastic shoe tunnel is easy to clean and also easy to see what's in there
- Plenty of smaller pockets
- Not a huge update from the previous Pure Drive bag line, so if you can get that cheaper, then snap it up
- Only one pocket has the thermal protection (3 racquets) if that bothers you
Yonex Pro Racquet 9 Pack Bag
The Yonex Pro Series 9 Pack Bag is a high-quality tennis bag with three large racquet compartments.
One of the main compartments features climate protective lining inside to protect your racquets from extreme temperatures.
The middle pocket has a top entry opening, and a shoe tunnel is also at one end of the back. I find the middle pocket a bit of a faff to open, but once fully opened, there is plenty of room in there, and the neon green lining makes it easy to spot smaller items.
While not the cheapest 9 pack bag, Yonex bags are very well made and feel very durable. The straps and their fastenings, in particular, feel heavy duty.
The backpack straps are padded and adjustable and can be removed for international travel, so they don't get caught on other luggage, luggage belts, etc.
- Three large racquet compartments (one of which has climate protection technology)
- Large exterior accessory pocket
- Shoe compartment accessed from the end of the bag
- Heavy-duty materials
- Adjustable backpack straps
- Grab handle at the end of the bag
- Premium materials
- The neon lining makes it easy to see inside
- Well-padded shoulder straps
- Only 1 grab handle
- The middle pocket is a bit faffy to open
- On the pricier side, but you are paying for good quality
Head Women's Tote Bag
The Head Women's Tote is for the female player who wants a stylish tote bag to carry their gear in.
Although bags like this are more style over substance, the Head Tote is quite well thought out, and while it lacks all the dedicated tennis features you see on the 12 pack bags, it's roomy inside and will fit two racquets.
There are also two accessory pockets on the front, and a removable shoe bag is included. The main compartment has three sections, one of which is felt-lined for your phone, tablet or laptop.
So clearly not one for the guys, but if you're a girl who commutes and wants to play tennis after work, this is a decent option.
- Two small accessory pockets on the front
- The main compartment is separated into 3 sections
- The middle of the bag features a zipped, felt-lined pocket
- Interior accessory pocket
- Good grab handles
- Removable, adjustable shoulder strap
- Stylish design
- Removable shoe bag
- Durable material on the underside so it won't wear
- Not really for tennis racquets
Wilson Super Tour 15 Pack Pro Staff Bag
The joint largest bag on my list is the Wilson Super Tour 15 Pack Pro Staff Bag, and it's a real behemoth of a tennis bag.
While it's too big for me, and I would argue the vast majority of players out there, if you subscribe to the philosophy of ‘buy the biggest bag possible' then this is the bag for you.
I think this is the best looking bag available right now. That mixture of matte black, shiny black, and the hint of colour like the 85 Pro Staff racquets really looks the part. That doesn't mean it's the best made one, but it is the most stylish.
As for storage, you get three main compartments, two of which feature Wilson's Thermogaurd technology and will keep up to 4 racquets protected from extreme temperatures.
The middle compartment is large and has a vented shoe tunnel accessible from the end of the bag. Each side of the bag features two very roomy accessory pockets with a divider within and firm moulding outside to help keep the bag's shape.
- Three main racquet compartments, two with Thermoguard technology.
- Vented shoe tunnel at one end
- Two large moulded accessory pockets on both sides feature a divider within
- Adjustable padded backpack straps can be velcroed together to create one shoulder strap
- Grab handle on the end and top
- Super cool design
- Firm side pockets offer storage and protection
- Ample storage room
- Wilson bags aren't the most durable
Dunlop FX Performance 8 Pack Bag
The Dunlop SX Performance 8 Pack Bag is a mid-size bag that has plenty of storage space. Moreover, it's well made and feels similar in durability to the Yonex 9 pack I recommended above.
The bag has three main compartments for racquets, one with thermo lining to keep racquets protected from extreme temperatures.
There is a shoe pocket on the end of the bag which is vented, and the middle of the bag is also vented which you don't see on many bags.
My favourite part of the bag is the accessory pocket on the sides that is from a more rigid material to help the bag keep its shape.
- Three main compartments, one compartment with thermal lining
- The middle compartment has venting and can be divided up to create three smaller compartments
- Two accessory pockets on the front
- Large grab handle on the end
- Adjustable, padded, attached shoulder straps
- Cool dividing system to keep gear separated
- Firm side pocket offers storage and protection
- The vented main compartment is a good idea
- None that come to mind, other than the Tecnifibre Rackpack, this is the bag I would buy if I needed a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which brands make the best tennis bags?
This boils down to personal preference, but in terms of quality, I find that Babolat, Yonex, Tecnifibre, Gosen and Dunlop make the best quality tennis bags on the market. Gosen especially makes some real premium tennis gear (their strings are great) and the G/Armor Racket Backpack is a very stylish tennis bag. The only problem is they are not easy to get hold of outside of Japan.
What is the best value tennis bag?
I think the Dunlop FX Performance line offers a good price: performance ratio. However, if you can find any of last season's bags from Yonex, Dunlop, Babolat, and Tecnifibre in the sale, then they are all good buys. There's no such thing as an out of date tennis bag.
How important is thermal or climate protection in a tennis bag?
Brands use this as a key selling point for their bags, and while it is nice to have, it's not a deal-breaker if they don't.
If you live in a very warm or cold climate, then the insulation does affect the temperature in the bag, but I think the effect is negligible. I actually think the padding that the insulation provides is more of a selling point as added protection.
If you live somewhere like Florida and use natural gut, then climate protection will probably help your strings. If you live in West London, then I don't think it's too much of a concern and not worth paying a premium for.
Should my tennis bag match my tennis racquet?
I know many people want the bag that matches their racquet, but it makes zero difference. I'm currently using a Wilson Pro Staff 97 racquet and storing it in a Babolat Pure Strike bag. I wear Asics Court FF 2 shoes with Uniqlo socks. Despite all that mismatching gear, I still hit an ok ball 🙂
My Opinion on Tennis Bags In General
Finally, I want to talk about the tennis bag market as a whole. While there's an overwhelming amount of choice in terms of colours and sizing, I don't think the tennis bag market is all that great.
I've given you my top picks, but overall, I don't think any of the brands are really doing anything interesting or coming up with something unique.
All of them seem to follow the same trend, and it's almost like “Ah we have got a new racquet, better churn out a new bag to match the paint job”. All their resources go into marketing racquets and strings, so it feels like bags have been left behind.
Quality-wise, it's so so. Yonex probably makes the most durable tennis bags, and like their racquets, they are good quality, but I don't think their designs are all that inspiring.
Tecnifibre Rackpack's are probably my favourite big bag design in terms of layout, and the thought process behind the adjustable compartments is smart. Their quality is also good.
Babolat's bags are also decent enough quality and I like their backpacks more than the racquet bags but the rest of the offerings out there, it's all a bit meh.
I think more brands should look into new designs and ways of doing it. Rather than just saying “Oh our new Pure Drive is blue, we also want people to walk around with a matching bag let's refresh this bag in blue and add on one more pocket. Job done”.
While I appreciate there is only so much you can do as racquets are an odd shape, I would personally like to see some more free-standing, upright bags with adjustable compartments or shelves.
For example, Dunlop did a pretty good looking Commuter tennis bag a few years ago that has since been discontinued. Maybe they just don't sell? Who knows but I think bags that look a bit more like luggage than the racquet shaped bags would be a cool addition to the market.
What do you think of the tennis bag market? Are there any bags you think I should have included on this list? Have you used any of the tennis bags I have recommended long term? Let me know in the comments.