You know you’re hooked on pickleball when you start looking at bags that are specifically designed for pickleball. That’s what I did and I haven’t looked back. I’ve gone through an entire journey when it comes to how I carry my gear around and I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned along the way.
When you really start getting into pickleball, it’s important to have a decent bag. Some benefits of having a good bag include:
- Most importantly, it protects your pickleball paddles. Paddles are durable, but not invulnerable.
- Keeps everything very organized.
- Allows you to carry more paddles to experiment with.
- Allows you to bring food/water with you to the court
- Great for storing athletic tape, sweatbands or other clothing items of any kind.
As you know, you can use any kind of bag for this. A backpack can work fine, or any other kind of athletic duffel bag. But the great thing about having an actual pickleball bag is that they’re designed specifically for carrying and protecting pickleball paddles. The main compartments of pickleball backpacks are more like insulated cradles than they are pockets.
But even if you don’t want a full-blown backpack, there are some simpler options that will work fine.
Barrett’s #1 Pickleball Bag Pick
Onix Pickleball Backpack (Check prices)
This is the absolute best pickleball bag on the market currently. Nothing else that I’ve seen comes even close. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Has a total of 9 compartments and pockets for different uses.
- Very durable, strong and stable.
- Can hold up to 12-14 paddles.
- Has a shoe compartment at the bottom of the bag (more on that later.)
- Sits perfectly upright so the paddle compartment is always upright.
This bag is just awesome. Unless something much, much better comes around, I can’t imagine myself ever moving away from this one. If you’re looking for the best of the best, then you’ve found it.
This main compartment unzips from the top and opens right up. But as you can see, you have to hold the flap back in order for it to stay open. It does not stay open on its own. This is a nice, but probably unintended feature. This ensures that your paddles stay protected, whether you forgot to zip it up or not. Look at all the paddles you can cram in there!
As I mentioned earlier, you can easily fit over a dozen paddles in here. I take tons of paddles to the courts with me because I constantly have people wanting to try them so it’s perfect for my situation, but if you don’t need to take tons of paddles with you, then a bag like this may be overkill.
However, this space isn’t just for paddles, it’s also for your shoes. As you can see from the picture above, the bottom of the bag actually has a compartment. This is the shoe compartment, but the catch is that it shares space with the paddle compartment. It’s the same space. This is great for people who need to carry their tennis or court shoes, but don’t need the extra space for paddles. You can also fit plenty of others things in there. Water bottles, jackets, pants and anything else you can imagine.
The bag also has four pockets on the sides for extra items like athletic tape, paddle grips and so on. Personally, this is where I put my keys, phone, and wallet. Two of these pockets are normal pockets that you’d expect to see on any backpack. But the other two are different. One of them actually has insulation inside of it. It’s like a mini cooler. If you want to take some apple slices with you then this pocket will come in handy for that.
The other pocket has a felt-like lining inside of it. You can store valuables in here like jewelry or a watch.
Like I said earlier, this is the best bag on the market hands down. It will last a very long time and believe it or not, it’s cheaper than most pickleball paddles. You can’t go wrong with this backpack!
Pickleball backpacks aren’t the only way to go. As I talk about in an article I wrote about pickleball bags, you can use any bag you have laying around. But if you don’t want to go that route either, there are some pickleball-branded bags that are available. And they’re inexpensive too.
Game On Duffel bag (Check Prices)
I used this Pickleball Central duffel bag for a long time. It served me well until I needed to make the upgrade. The great thing about this bag is that its simple. It has one main compartment that you zip and an open pocket on the outside.
The main compartment can hold up to 12 paddles if you cram them in there. But that’s probably not how you’ll use this bag. If you’re someone that carries some clothing items, your tennis shoes, and a few paddles with you to the courts, then this is a great bag for you. With tennis shoes at the bottom, you can fit a water bottle, a few paddles, some miscellaneous items and maybe a jacket inside.
As you can see from the picture above, there are a few pockets on the outside of the bag. Unfortunately, these are far less useful. This is especially true if the main compartment is crammed full of stuff. The reason is that when the inside is full, those outside pockets close shut very easily. This makes it hard to fit things in there and can easily fall out as well.
You can carry this bag via the shoulder strap or the two tote handles. The shoulder strap is thin and isn’t very comfortable. I can’t complain though considering the cost. But the tote handles were great and that was my primary way of carrying this thing around.
Game On Sling Bag (Check Prices)
This is another bag made by Pickleball Central. Shortly after I started playing pickleball, I bought this bag. I loved having my own pickleball bag to sport around, but it satisfied my needs until I started carrying more paddles around.
If you only take a single paddle or maybe two to the courts with you, then this is the bag you want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cheap bag, but that’s the point. The single strap sits over your shoulder and across your chest comfortably. It has a main compartment for 3-4 pickleball paddles and a smaller one for personal items like keys and phones.
Just like the duffel bag, if you fill up the main pocket with too much stuff, then it becomes more difficult to fit items into the smaller front pocket. But if you’re getting to the point where you’re bringing more than three paddles to the courts, then you should upgrade your bag.
If you just need a simple bag to carry a paddle or two then this is definitely the best option.