Looking for a swim bag to haul your swim gear? Here are my top picks for the best bags on the market for swimmers.
Swimmers lug a lot of gear around in their swim bags over the course of the day. Gone are the days when all we needed was a suit and swimming googles—now we have paddles, fins, swim snorkels, and all the rest.
Swim bags need to be able to carry a lot of gear, and they need to be able to take a beating—they get soaked, dropped, thrown, and stepped on daily, while also being water-resistant and spacious enough for all our stuff.
In this guide, we will look at the best swim bags on the pool deck, including key features, how much gear they can hold, and much more.
Let’s jump right in!
Why Trust Us
We are competitive and former competitive swimmers who take our swim gear seriously.
After testing and researching countless swim bags and having a healthy debate with our fellow swimmers and swim coaches about the merits of each, we’ve put together the most comprehensive guide there is on swim bags.
We know that each swimmer has different needs, tastes, training preferences, and budgets, and the breakdown of our selections reflects that.
The Best Swim Bags for Swimmers
1. The Speedo Teamster 2.0 Swim Bag
⭐ Top pick for best swim backpack
How do you improve on the best?
The Speedo Teamster 2.0 Swim Backpack took a lot of what made the original Teamster swim backpack such a staple for countless swimmers and made a handful of improvements and adjustments.
Most noticeably, the Teamster 2.0 features a “stiffer” and more narrow construction, meaning that the swim bag stands up better when you place it on the front. The Teamster 2.0 also has a cleaner and sleeker look, with less paneling while retaining all of the storage and water-repellant features of the O.G.
The top flap of the waterproof bag for swimming is customizable, which makes things easy to organize, from your swim goggles to earplugs to your favorite swimming caps.
Like its predecessor, the Teamster 2.0 has a lot of the same water-proofing and water-draining features, including an unlined main compartment at the bottom of the backpack, a large side pocket for separating wet and damp swim gear, and another side pocket for stashing your water bottle.
While the Teamster 2.0 swimming bag looks smaller, it has the same volume as the original, just with a more streamlined (ha–swim pun!) construction and look.
Available in a wide range of colors and bright prints, the Speedo Teamster 2.0 is an excellent update on a classic swim bag and continues to rule the pool when it comes to swimming bags.
While both Amazon and Swim Outlet carry the Speedo Teamster 2.0 bag, Swim Outlet has a significantly larger range of colors and prints for swimmers, which you can view here.
Things We Like:
- 35L capacity
- Lots of extra pockets for storage
- Removable compartment for separating dry/wet gear
- Unlined main compartment to promote air flow
- Available in tons of different colors and prints
- Sleeve for storing tablet or laptop
2. Arena Team Swim Bag
⭐ Best large swim bag
Arena’s contribution to the (large) swim bag market is the clean-looking and feature-rich Arena Team 45L Swim Bag. It has a reinforced bottom, enough pockets for all your swim gear, including your smartphones and GoPros.
It is made of mostly nylon, is water-resistant, and has ventilation, which comes in handy on those days where you leave your wet, sopping swim gear in your bag overnight.
Handy features like carabiners make latching your keys and/or swim goggles for easy retrieval and a waterproof top compartment for soggy swim gear helps your swim stuff stay organized.
The bag has tons of mesh pockets on the sides and front for storing even more stuff away from dry clothing and electronics, and the Arena Team 45L Bag also comes with a separate bag that you can store wet garments and swimsuits.
In other words, if you got a ton of wet stuff to haul home after a big swim, the Arena Team 45L will handle it like a boss.
Things We Like About the Bag:
- A wild amount of space in the bag for gear (45L)
- Nylon construction to resist water soaking
- Excellent ventilation to help gear dry fast
- Heaps of pockets for storing goggles, earplugs, keys, wallet etc.
- Carabiners for making
3. TYR Big Mesh Mummy Swim Backpack
⭐ Best swim bag + mesh bag combo
Many swimmers have both a waterproof backpack or duffel bag as well as a mesh bag for carrying their swim fins, paddles, kickboard, and so on.
The TYR Mesh Mummy Backpack combines these two bags into a mesh swim backpack. Made with polyester, which stands up to harsh pool chemicals like chlorine and bromine, the TYR Big Mesh combines a lot of the best features of both a traditional swimmer’s backpack and a mesh swim bag.
For starters, the mesh venting means your gear has a chance to “breathe” between workouts, drying naturally. Side mesh pockets also allow your goggles and other smaller items a chance to dry on their own. A drawstring closure keeps your items inside between workouts, two shoulder straps make carrying your stuff simple and the bag can fit a surprisingly large amount of gear.
TYR offers the Big Mesh Mummy Mesh Backpack in a variety of bright colors and the swim mesh backpack is affordable, retailing for around $25, making it a cost-effective way to dry and store your swim gear between swim workouts.
Things We Like:
- Hybrid mesh bag and swim bag
- Very breathable to allow equipment to dry fast
- Budget-friendly at around $25
- Lots of bright and vibrant color options
4. Arena Spiky III Swim Bag
⭐ Best swim bag for prints and vibrant colors
The latest iteration in the Arena Spiky line of backpacks for swimmers, the Arena Spiky 3 has a larger top compartment for easy access to your swim gear compared to the Spiky II.
Additionally, the Spiky III kicks it up in terms of overall volume, with an optional 45L size or the standard 35L bag.
Besides volume and accessibility, the Spiky III has everything you need to compartmentalize your swim gear and belongings, with side mesh pockets, a large front pocket for electronics and valuables like keys/wallet, etc, and adjustable shoulder straps for a comfortable fit.
The Spiky III comes in a whole bunch of vibrant colors and patterns (the Tropics print is my top choice!).
- Reinforced bottom for carrying lots of water-logged (heavy) gear
- Adjustable shoulder straps for a comfy packing experience
- Tons of pockets and compartments to separate gear
- Made of nylon and polyester
- Lots of fun prints and colors to choose from
5. Sporti Waterproof Backpack for Swimmers
⭐ Top pick: Best budget-friendly swim bag
Sporti is a low-cost brand (that is exclusive to Swim Outlet) that makes quality gear for recreational and competitive swimmers. I’ve had a chance to try out plenty of their stuff over the years, from your basic men’s swim brief to pull buoys, and found their gear holds their own against the bigger swim brands in the market.
The Sport Waterproof Backpack for Swimmers is a no-frills, water-resistant bag for swimmers that has all of the key features of pricier swim bags on the market. Padded shoulder pads make carrying your swim stuff easy. The bag has a large, expandable wet pocket for your wet and damp swim gear, and the bag is lined with mesh panels for easy water drainage.
The Sporti Waterproof Backpack is also surprisingly large, with a 38L capacity. Made of 100% polyester, this bag is durable, carries a ton of stuff, and is priced super competitively.
+ Best budget-friendly swim bag for swimmers
6. Dolfin Ready Room Swim Backpack
The Dolfin Ready Room swim bag is the least expensive on this little list. But that doesn’t mean it is cheap on features.
One of the things I like most about this bag is that it has a separate padded compartment for laptops/tablets, making it perfect for swimmers who want to protect their electronics while at the pool.
It is also easily accessible from the top with a 180-degree top-loading panel, making it easy to get in and out of the bag when in cramped spaces, like on a crowded coach bus on the way to the big meet, or in the stands between races.
Swim bag specifications: 12″ wide x 18″ tall x 7″ deep
7. TYR Alliance Backpack
This bad boy is one of the largest in terms of volume, coming in at 45L (they also have a 30L version of the bag). TYR is one of the big names in the swim gear space, adn this bag reflects their understanding of the needs of swimmers.
Like the Dolfin bag it has a padded sleeve to slide a laptop or tablet in and out of, a waist strap to help secure the bag around your waist (helpful when it’s full of heavy, wet swim gear).
The TYR Alliance bags have carabiners on the outside for hang-drying swim goggles or clipping your keys, mesh pockets for storing sopping-wet swim gear like swimsuits, and the Alliance backpack is available in over 20 different colors.
How to Choose the Right Swim Bag for You
Here are the key things to keep your eye on when trying to choose the right bag or backpack for you and your swimming:
✅ Bag Size.
Swim bags and backpacks are measured by volume. The most popular ones on this list are in the neighborhood of 25-35L, which represent the swim bags you see most often on the pool deck.
There are some XL swim bags for swimmers who want to carry everything (and then some) in their bag.
The Arena Team 45 Backpack has a 45L capacity, and Speedo has a “Pro” version of their Teamster swim backpack that is 40L.
✅ Bag type.
Most swim bags come in backpack form. This means they have padded shoulder straps for extended wear and are balanced to store most of their weight horizontally across the bottom of the bag.
Adjustable shoulder straps ensure that the bag doesn’t sag too hard on a swimmer’s back—handy especially when the bag is full of sopping swim gear.
Backpacks are also best as they free up your hands to hold your mesh bag (more on that in a few moments).
While there are not too many duffel bags that are made for swimmers, there are some quality options on the market, including the Speedo Ventilator Duffel Bag (40L).
When you are in the water, you want somewhere to store your valuables. Things like keys, smartphone, wallet, and so on.
Quality swim bags have numerous pockets and compartments for storing smaller items so that they don’t get lost in the bottom of the bag.
As well, look for a bag that has multiple large compartments so that you can separate wet and dry gear when you are done at the poo.
Swim bags get wet—a lot! Look for materials that are water-resistant and won’t absorb tons of water and moisture. Polyester and nylon are the big ones to look for.
The right material won’t soak with water, becoming a hotbed for bacteria and fungal growth.
That said, you still should make an effort to empty your swim bag each night when you get home and to wash it every few months to zap any bacteria and fungi that are hiding in the corners and creases of the bag.
Swim bags and swim backpacks cost in the range of $25 to $80. Larger bags, in the 40-45L range, cost around $70-80 while the most common swimmer bags retail for around $40.
What’s the difference between a swim bag vs. mesh bag?
Although they generally have the same function—carrying soggy stuff to and from the pool—these two types of bags differ quite a bit.
Mesh bags are designed specifically for your swim equipment, things like swim fins, pull buoy, kickboard, swim paddles, and so on.
(If you are looking for a mesh bag, read this roundup of the best mesh bags for swimmers.)
The mesh bag is usually brought to the end of your lane while you swim, easily accessible and keeps equipment organized, something that is VERY handy when there are multiple swimmers (and multiple mesh bags) in a lane.
After the workout is done, the mesh bag allows your gear to “breathe” and dry when you leave the pool.
Swim bags are for storing everything else.
Things like your towel, keys, smartphone, and clothing while you are in the water.
Swim bags have multiple pockets (mesh bags are just one big “pocket”) so that you can keep things organized.
They also usually have multiple compartments to keep your wet and dry stuff from intermingling.
What’s the best way to store a wet swimsuit in my swim bag?
One of my go-to moves for hauling my wet swimsuit home after a long day at swim practice is to wrap it up inside my towel.
Of course, wringing it out and letting it dry before heading home is another option, for those pressed for time, making a swimsuit burrito with your swim towel is a way to keep your dry stuff from getting wet in your swim bag.
What should you put in a swim bag?
For hitting the pool, all you really need are the essentials, including a swimsuit, swim towel, and swim goggles.
But if you want to level up your swimming, there are tons of other swim accessories, to include, from a swimming cap, swimmer’s earplugs, kickboard, pull-buoy, paddles, swim fins, and so on.
In reality, there is a LOT of stuff you could, well, stuff into a swim bag, but the most important is your swim goggles and suit!
Where is the best place to buy swimming bags?
SwimOutlet is the top website for swimming bags and backpacks. You can shop their full selection of the best swimming backpacks and bags here.
The Final Lap: Best Swim Bag
The swim bag you end up choosing will depend on how much stuff you need to carry, how serious you are about your swimming, and how much punishment you plan on putting the bag through.
⭐ The Speedo Teamster 2.0 Bag, the original swimmer’s backpack, is an excellent choice for most competitive and recreational swimmers for carrying all of their swim stuff. Its water-resistant linings, separate wet bag, mesh pockets, sizable volume, and color options land it at the top of our little roundup yet again.
⭐ The TYR Mesh Swim Backpack is also a great choice for swimmers who want the quick-drying properties of a mesh swimming bag combined with the easy-carry functionality and space of a swimmer’s backpack.
More Swim Gear Guides:
7 Pieces of Swimming Gear Every Serious Swimmer Needs. Want to take your swimming to the next level? Of course you do–this little list of swim gear will help you do just that.
The Best Underwater and Waterproof MP3 Players for Swimming. Ready to level up your swim workouts with music? Here’s a breakdown of the most popular underwater and waterproof iPod/mp3 players on the market today.
The 8 Best Swim Caps for Swimmers. Looking for the best swim cap for training and competition? Here’s your ultimate guide to picking out the best swimming cap for you.