5 Best Swim Bags for Competitive Swimmers

The best swim bags should be able to store all your gear comfortably, while keeping your wet things separate from your dry clothes. While also being tough enough to withstand being roughly thrown about, stepped on and constantly being wet.

Swimmer’s used to be able to show up with a swimsuit and goggles in a plastic shopping bag and get by, but those days are long past. Now you need to lug around snorkels, fins, a change of clothes and enough snacks to feed a small army.

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Here are what we feel are the 6 best swim bags every competitive swimmer should consider to help you make an informed choice.

ImageProduct InformationFeaturesPrice

Speedo Teamster Swim Backpack

  • 35 Liters of storage space
  • Measures: 20” X 17”
  • Stylish shape and rugged exterior materials stand up to abuse

  • Removable bleacher seat for those times you have to sit on cold or hard surfaces
  • Laptop compartment with extra padding
  • Dirt bag for storing wet & dirty items separate
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TYR Big Mesh Mummy

  • 45 Liters of storage space
  • Measures: 25.19” X 19”
  • Lightweight with lots of storage pockets

  • Mesh venting means faster drying of wet clothes and gear
  • Enough room for towels, swim & shower gear and everything else you can think of
  • Straps are double cross stitched and everything is built to last
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Arena Spiky 2 Swim Bag

  • Classic backpack styling made from water resistant material
  • Measures: 14” x 19” with 40 Liters of storage
  • Built to withstand abuse and look good doing it
  • Super lightweight at only 825g
  • Easy to load and unload your gear into
  • Built to withstand abuse and look good doing it
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Athletico Swim Backpack

  • Classic backpack styling with all the mesh pockets you could ask for
  • Measures: 22” X 15”
  • External bungee straps for extra storage

  • Large mouth opening makes it easy to load/unload
  • Waterproof bottom keeps your stuff dry
  • 100% money back guarantee if you don’t like it
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TYR Alliance Swim Backpack

  • Available in 30 & 45 liter models
  • Unique molded back support panel
  • Available in a wide range of color combinations

  • Visually appealing swim bag for those on a budget
  • Many internal pouches for fitting shoes or wet items inside
  • Lightweight and fits nicely inside a locker
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Speedo Deluxe Ventilator Mesh Swim Bag

  • Made of 100% polyester
  • Strong open weave material keeps things dry
  • Practical lightweight design with 33 Liters of storage

  • Wide straps to spread the load
  • Big enough to carry all the essentials
  • Zippered pocket for things you want to stay hidden
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Swimming backpacks serve as a secure storage solution for your gear away from the torrents of the surf or chlorinated water of the pool. To be considered the “best swim bag,” a bag must offer a lot of space, have different compartments and pockets for swimming equipment, and be versatile, capable of use for regular practice, swim meets, and other sports.

The Speedo Teamster 35-Liter is a backpack that allows you to carry a change of clothes, shampoo, and other bathing necessities, without running out of space for snacks. It has all the marks we’re looking for in a swim bag. If you don’t want to show up to swimming practice carrying your towel, water jug, or your extra goggles by hand, this could be the swim bag for you.

The Teamster 35-Liter is made by Speedo, a company known for using modern, high-grade materials on their products while keeping their prices affordable. There is a 25- and 35-liter model, the 25-liter being a great option for people just starting in the sport, and the 35-liter being perfect for competitive swimmers or an all-day trip to the beach—regardless of size, both sport the same quality.

The Teamster has the same reliable design of the Speedo Pro Backpack but with materials modified for swimming with a large center section that includes a pouch for your phone or iPod, a slot for your water bottle, and an organizer for your shower necessities.

What I really appreciated was the removable bleacher seat, sitting on hard concrete floors waiting for your event or even as a parent watching in the uncomfortable stands. You never know when or how it will come in handy but it does.

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The third and latest iteration of the TYR Big Mesh Mummy Backpack is 20 percent bigger than its previous version. Yet, it’s still one of the best swim bags, offering a large mesh compartment that’s perfect for lugging around your wet clothes while they dry.

The Mesh Mummy has thick, flat shoulder straps that will sit comfortably on your shoulders and chest, setting it apart from other mesh bags with round, rope-like strings that can get more uncomfortable if you are carrying heavier loads.

The bag has a barrel-lock mechanism, so your clothes and towels will never get caught on a zipper, which is always a hassle when handling thin fabrics optimized for swimming. There is a small side zipper pocket designed to hold small swimming gear like shades, extra goggles, or sunblock, as well as a mesh water bottle holder, so condensation is never a problem.

The Tyr Big Mesh Mummy isn’t a specialist bag, its not perfect at any one thing but its a great overall package. The 45L of storage truly fits everything, the workmanship is top-notch and the price is affordable for everyone. But mesh bags aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing.

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The Arena Spiky 2 might look basic at first, but it’s specially designed to easily transport wet clothes and swimming equipment without sacrificing versatility for other sports. While it’s easy to tell this backpack is for swimmers, it can be used for biking, running, and walking. It can fit big shoes and big water containers with relative ease.

It has a large square profile that will sit comfortably on most people’s backs. A spacious center compartment and a water-resistant fabric shell on the bottom protect your gear when the bag is placed on wet surfaces. It’s one of the very few swimming bags that offer a shoe compartment in the lower section, which you can fill with wet clothes or used towels when you’re not using it for sports that require shoes.

The Spiky 2 is comfortable to wear, too, with flat, padded straps that reduce fatigue on your chest and shoulders. The mesh inserts on its back offer breathability, so your sweat doesn’t seep into the compartments if it accumulates on your back.

Trying to load my gear into the Arena Spiky 2 I immediately appreciated not only how roomy it was, but also how easy it was to open/close and put gear into. The separate bottom shoe compartment is really handy and the mesh inserts ensure air is flowing so wet clothes and swimsuits will dry quickly.

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The Athletico Swim Backpack features one of the most robust designs out there, especially where aesthetics are concerned. Its pure black color almost looks like a military bag with zebra ropes that crisscross on its front panel. It’s great for swimming but is versatile enough to be used for other sports or work.

Athletico is known for making equipment that’s crafted with care and attention down to the last detail. Their swimming backpacks are no exception, and this one feels far higher quality than many in the $30 price point. The backpack’s skillful construction and heavy-duty materials ensure that it will last for years, even when not handled with the best care, making it the best swim bag for kids and teenagers that aren’t gentle with equipment.

Its versatility comes from its large central compartment that can fit towels, kickboards, a change of clothes, and even shoes, making it an ideal backpack for surfing, swim meets, and tennis courts. It features a waterproof bottom made with tarpaulin, making sure the interior won’t get wet when placed on pool decks and wet bleachers.

The Athletico swim backpack has most of the features found in the Arena Spiky 2 but at a significantly lower price. While I didn’t find the design as appealing visually you definitely get more bang for your buck. Weighing in at only 800g it’s light as a feather to boot.

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The TYR Alliance Backpack comes in 45- and 30-liter versions that offer a clever twist on their classic backpack design. The most recent version is for athletes and hobbyists who have busy lives outside the pool and the gym. Its sleek design saves space by maximizing its central compartment to fit a wide range of athletic equipment without increasing the bag’s footprint.

It has contoured padding on its straps and an ergonomically designed back panel so you can wear it for hours without discomfort. The latest iteration includes additional side and front pockets that provide a place for your glasses, sunblock, keys, or extra goggles. The mesh front pocket is easily expandable, providing you ample room for things that you want to dry as you go about your day.

The TYR Alliance bag doesn’t feel as premium as other backpacks, but it’s one of the most efficient and lightweight. Even after utilizing its pockets, placing a full bottle in its mesh bottle holder, and filling its large protective space with electronics, it still feels better on the chest and shoulders than many other swimming bags.

The Tyr Alliance backpack is a no nonsense swim bag that shows up and does the job at a price thats completely reasonable

I found a lot to like about the Tyr Alliance swim bag. It follows a very traditional design without lots of fancy doodads but this causes some tradeoffs. The top compartment isn’t as easy to fit larger things into and the zipper has to make some sharp turns that are likely to be a failure point over time.

I would say it compares well with the Athletico swim bag above, but visually looks much better.

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The Speedo Deluxe Ventilator has been overhauled with new materials and a modern aesthetic but is still the same classic bag that will hold all your swimming equipment. Featuring an open weave construction all the way around, it can dry more than just your goggles, earplugs, and snorkeling gear—it’s so breathable it can dry small bath towels when left in the open air for the right amount of time.

The Speedo Ventilator comes in many colors, which is perfect because it’s a looker. The classic shape of its original design has been upgraded with new materials, making for a more durable mesh that’s harder to rip and run. It features two shoulder straps with quality insertions, ensuring that the bag is never damaged, even when packed with heavier loads.

The Ventilator has pockets with zippers and several compartments that can hold everything, from your wet clothes to your iPad. Its zippers are YKK-branded, which makes them one of the strongest in the industry. The straps are not uncomfortable on your chest and shoulders, even if you carry the bag for an extended period. They round out into a drawstring enclosure that can add some carrying capacity to the bag.

I recently replaced my old mesh swim bag with the Speedo Ventilator and I have to say the designers who worked on this bag nailed almost everything spot on. It’s just a great swim bag and the design is just beautiful to see in person.

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Best Swim Bag FAQS

Can I wash my swim bag in a washing machine?
It really depends on the material your swim bag is made of. You can wash most swim bags at home using any washing machine and laundry detergent, however some will need to be cleaned by hand using very gentle cleaning products.

How do you get mold out of a swim bag?
Start by emptying the contents of your swim bag, then use a gentle cleaning product like makeup remover or vinegar, mixed with water, and brush at the mold with a soft brush or cloth until the mold spot is removed from your swim bag.