This is the first in a 3-part series looking at racquet bags. The next installment will feature mid-size models.
Babolat Backpack Maxi, $100
The main racquet compartment—which rises taller than most packs—easily fits two racquets and includes a zippered hood to protect the handles, a feature not seen in any of the other packs reviewed. The absolutely giant main compartment includes zippered mesh pockets inside and a Velcro strap on another pouch. Two zippered side external pockets and two external accessory pockets add ample space. A ventilated shoe pouch on the bottom completes to the mix. Pull ties on the zippers and an extra carrying handle on the bottom continue to add to the extras of a larger-than-average tennis backpack. Additional padded straps around the waist allow for support when you pack this bag full. The heft of the pack allows it to almost crossover into a small pack-sized bag and all the extras will mean you can bring more than expected, all in a backpack.
Pro: The size and functionality of this bag is unmatched in the backpack category.
Dunlop Performance Backpack, $60
Comfortable for two racquets in the racquet compartment, the main gear compartment comes roomy and includes a ventilated shoe pouch. Two side mesh pockets fit anything from balls to water bottles and an external accessories pocket comes fleece lined to make it a softer ride for a cell phone, sunglasses or other valuables. A rubber finish on the bottom of the pack also ups the durability, especially with the pack living on hard courts. Expect ample room in the mid-sized backpack size with quality evident in the construction.
Pro: The durable finish on the bottom gives it a nice touch.
Head Tour Team, $40
On the larger side of backpacks reviewed in terms of the number of racquets it can hold, the Head Tour Team allows three racquets to effortlessly slide into the main racquet compartment. The second main gear compartment includes a ventilated shoe pouch with entry on the bottom of the pack. Two water bottle holders adorn the sides with another smaller external zippered compartment. The streamlined backpack has the essentials of a tennis-designed backpack with a bit of extra space. Expect a muted aesthetic that won’t stand out and a quality that should keep the pack ready for wear.
Pro: Able to comfortably hold three racquets and still have space for gear.
NikeCourt Tennis Backpack, $60
With two main compartments, one includes interior sleeves to separate racquets from gear, while the other includes space for additional gear. Another small external zippered pocket and mesh side pockets add a little variety to hold either a water bottle or can of balls. While one of the smallest—and shortest—tennis backpacks in the mix, the NikeCourt version still holds two racquets with enough expandable coverage for extra gear. The coated bottom helps protect the pack. This isn’t the sturdiest pack in the mix and doesn’t have many of the extras others offer, but for something small and lightweight without bulk, the flexibility in the Nike design hits the mark.
Pro: Lightweight, compact design for the small essentials.
Wilson Black Edition Tour V Backpack, $80
Straight from the Series Noir collection, the Wilson Black Edition has a look unlike any other backpack you’ll see on the courts. And practicality to match. The main racquet compartment holds two racquets with a locking zipper to keep them in place (a welcome addition). The main gear compartment comes with a laptop and tablet sleeve, a nice added touch. Extra external accessories pouches include a Thermoguard lining for a water bottle, a fleece-lined option for sunglasses or headphones and another pocket with additional mesh pouches inside. Add in a side entry compartment on the back of the pack and a shoe pocket on the bottom. This all-black design easily crosses over from tennis to lifestyle and has every little extra that takes it to the next level in terms of everyday use.
Pro: To match a sleek design, the functionality and high-end touches add to the overall, everyday use of this pack.
Tim Newcomb covers shoes and apparel for tennis.com Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.