What to Look for in a Basketball Bag

Get all your gear to and from games and practices with an efficient and functional basketball bag.

September 29, 2017
Youth basketball player with basketball bag over their shoulder

Before heading to the basketball court to show off your skills, you need to make sure you have the gear that can help elevate your play. Grab your ball and favorite pair of shoes, find a headband and arm sleeve to stay comfortable during all the action, and keep a water bottle hand to help stay refreshed. And don't forget a pair of headphones to listen to your favorite warm-up jams to get you fired up pregame.


Now that you have everything you need, make sure you have a bag designed to carry these essentials comfortably, efficiently and with a little bit of style.


The right basketball bag should have plenty of space for whatever you might need on the hardwood. It should be able to fit your gear and clothes, offer space for personal belongings like a phone or wallet and have easy access to all of those items whenever you need them.




When you start your search for the perfect basketball bag, there are a few different style variations to consider.




Backpacks usually come with a large center compartment that can store essentials like your basketball, apparel and personal items. Most are designed with other storage areas both inside and outside the bag to hold any smaller items. Some also have wet and dry compartments to separate your gear when needed. This storage space is what makes backpacks so versatile and popular. Some come designed for players to use for both sports and school, with multiple organizational pockets to help athletes stay prepared as they go from the classroom to the court. This can include protective sleeves for laptops or tablets.


Backpacks have shoulder straps designed to distribute weight evenly and often come with padding for a more comfortable fit. You may also see some backpacks with an attached sternum strap to help distribute the weight more evenly.


A back panel is another important part of the backpack. These panels often have padding that can help provide cushioning while adding a layer between you and the gear in the bag. Some bags will even come with mesh ventilation to help reduce back sweat.




Duffel bags can have several similar features to backpacks. Duffel bags are rectangular in shape and usually have a large center compartment for storing equipment and clothing. There are also other smaller compartment areas to help keep your gear organized. Some compartments are even designed with ventilation to store shoes or worn clothing to help keep the bag fresh and odor-free.


Duffel bags are normally carried over a player’s shoulders by the strap, which is often thick and padded. Most also come with handles at the top so you can choose which way you want to carry the bag.




Can’t decide between a backpack and a duffel? There are some basketball bags that can serve as both. Combination bags have straps that allow you to choose whether to wear the bag on your back or over your shoulder. These combination bags offer some of the best features found in both backpacks and duffel bags, including large storage areas, multiple organizational pockets and padded carrying straps.


And, with multiple colors and designs for each type of bag, you'll be able to find the look that matches your own personal style.




Of course, you’ll want to make sure your bag is big enough to hold all the necessary equipment, but there’s also some added features to consider:

  • Wet/dry compartments — These storage areas are specially designed to help keep your bag fresh by separating clothing, shoes or equipment that have gone through the battle of a recent practice or game, from the rest of the bag.
  • Shoe compartment — There are also compartments specially designed to keep your shoes separate from the other areas of the bag. These are often also ventilated.
  • Insulated pocket — This storage area is for your water bottle and designed to help keep your water bottle cool before, during and after your game.
  • Laptop and tablet sleeve — If you plan or using your bag for both basketball and school or work, look for one that has a soft-lined sleeve for your electronic devices. These are designed to keep your computer in place and protect it.
  • Mesh netting — Some bags come with a mesh netting that attaches to the outside of the bag to hold your ball. This will free up the rest of the bag's internal storage space for other items. Some bags allow you to remove the mesh netting altogether.
  • Water-resistant features — Basketball bags are designed to be durable, but some take it to the next level by including a moisture-resistant bottom or a special pocket designed to keep personal items, like a wallet or phone, dry.

You will face several decisions when choosing a basketball bag. But once you find the right model, you might notice that things become a little more organized, on and off the court. Now grab your gear, put it in your bag and get ready to dominate the paint.