During my 15 year volleyball career I must have owned and dragged at least 10-15 different different volleyball bags around various stadiums, courts, and gyms.
Believe me when I say I know exactly what makes for a good volleyball bag.
To the untrained eye, these bags and backpacks may just look like any old sports bag…
But each of the products I’ll be discussing today meet a very specific set of criteria and are on my list for very good reasons.
At the end of the article I’ll explain exactly what things you need to look out for when shopping for a new volleyball bag.
Let’s first take a look at the volleyball bags I recommend.
Best Duffle Bag
Nike Brasilia Duffle Bag
Any serious volleyball player knows that size does matter. The Brasilia is the single best option for volleyballers who like to lug around plenty of gear to training and matches.
Best Volleyball Duffle Bag
The Nike Brasilia is literally everything I love in a volleyball bag.
The large Brasilia bag wins my vote for ‘best overall volleyball bag‘ as well as ‘best volleyball bag for elite athletes‘ for the following reasons.
It’s Big: Ideal For Players With All The Gear
This bag is absolutely perfect if you’re like me and like to lug around your foam roller, massage sticks, ankle guards, trigger point balls, rolls of strapping tape, etc.
High level volleyball players carry around a lot more than just shoes and knee pads in their bag…
At a size of 28x14x14″ with a 95L capacity, you won’t run out of room.
Plain and simple.
Perfect For Going From School To Practice
I used to drive to volleyball training after high school and so I’d often have to cram my uniform and two pairs of shoes into my bag – on top of a huge long list of volleyball equipment!
I cannot count the times my bag would be busting at the seams, and it was a large duffle bag like this one!
That’s why for me size is the single most important factor when choosing a new volleyball bag.
I will always pick a duffle bag over a backpack for this reason.
Extremely Affordable Option
On top of that it’s only $50 making it one of the most affordable bags on the market too!
Passes The Must-Have Feature Check!
- Water resistant coated bottom
- Side compartment for shoes and laundry
- High level volleyballers who have all the equipment in the world and train multiple times a week.
- Athletes traveling from school to training. This is ideal for high school or college students who go directly from the class room to the volleyball court and need somewhere to store their clothes and multiple pairs of shoes.
- Volleyballers traveling for competitions. If you’re traveling out of town for tournaments, you’ll definitely be needing some extra storage space.
UA Contain Backpack
The Under Armour Contain backpack is the perfect mix between size and style.
The shape of this bag is far more suitable for storing a volleyball than any other backpack on the market making it perfect for any volleyballer.
Best Volleyball Backpack
I compared the top 5-6 backpacks on the market and the UA Contain came out on top for a few reasons.
Perfect Dimensions For A Volleyball
For those of you who like to pack a volleyball in your bag, you’ll know that it is virtually impossible to fit one inside a bag when you’ve got shoes, ankle braces, and knee pads already crammed in there.
Most backpacks on the market have 8 or 9″ internal depth meaning you can barely squeeze a ball in when it’s zipped up.
The UA Contain has unique dimensionality at 10x12x21″ in size allowing you to comfortably fit a volleyball in while still having plenty of room for your other gear.
Stylish As Heck & A Much Loved Product
Personally, I’m a massive fan of the way this backpack looks.
It has such a sleek, minimalist vibe, but will still turn some heads at the volleyball court.
This is also one of the highest rated products I’ve ever seen on Amazon and there seems to be endless praise for this bag and raving reviews…
I suggest heading over to the product page and having a look at some of the comments!
Passes The Must-Have Feature Check!
- Highly water resistant
- Large, gusseted laundry/shoe pocket at the bottom of the bag
- Sternum strap for lugging full loads long distances
- Anyone who brings a volleyball to practice/games. This is by far the best option if you want a backpack that’ll fit a volleyball.
- Any volleyballer who travels light. If you’re the kind of player who only packs the essentials: volleyball, knee pads, ankle braces, towel, spare shirt – then this bag will definitely get the job done.
Best Budget Bag
UA Undeniable 5.0 MD Duffle Bag
I personally own one of these bags and it’s ideal for elite level volleyballers who like to bring the kitchen sink with them to training sessions. It’s also the cheapest volleyball bag worth considering, but made by UA so you know it’s solid.
Best Budget Volleyball Bag
I’ve been using one of these for the last year or so as a general purpose gym bag and I’m really pleased with how well it’s holding up.
No issues with straps breaking, material tearing, zippers, etc. Spotless.
It doesn’t smell too bad (miraculously) and has one of the more comfortable shoulder straps I’ve tried.
If the bag is too heavy to wear over one shoulder, I’ll sometimes use the handles to turn it into a backpack.
It’s kind of hard to believe this bag only cost me $45. I’ve paid more for generic state team bags that fall apart within months.
The ‘MD’ or medium size bag is 12x11x24.5″ in size, meaning it’s a little smaller and more practical than the Nike Brasilia, but still plenty big for just about everyone.
Passes The Must-Have Feature Check!
- Highly water-repellent finish
- Large, vented pocket for laundry and shoes
- Volleyballers who need more room. If a backpack simply wasn’t cutting it, this is the next best option. It’s less of an eyesore than the Nike Brasilia too!
- Beginners or ballers on a budget. If you’re relatively new to the sport and aren’t yet willing to invest a ton into a volleyball bag, this is the cheapest option worth even considering.
Mizuno Momentum Backpack
This backpack was specifically designed with elite volleyballer players in mind.
It’s got some cool unique features like special hooks for airing out your sweaty knee pads.
It’s definitely on the pricier end but is really well designed and makes a great gift for someone volleyball crazy.
Best High End Volleyball Backpack
The Mizuno Momentum is a beautifully designed, large volleyball backpack that was designed with hardcore volleyballers in mind.
Outside Knee Pad Storage Clips
It’s a pretty cool idea and definitely a handy feature for athletes competing in day-long tournaments.
Nothing worse than finishing a game and being too afraid to take your knee pads off, knowing that you’ll be putting them back on drenched in sweat just a few hours later!
Is It Worth The Price Tag?
Honestly, I’m not sold on this for a few reasons.
So far as I can tell, the only interesting feature of this bag is the knee pad clips, which certainly don’t justify its price alone.
I don’t like that it doesn’t have a chest strap, but that’s more personal preference than anything.
People rarely use them anyway, but I always found myself with a very full bag walking long distances, so I’d get good use out of a sternum strap.
Mizuno didn’t think to mention the dimensions or capacity of this bag, so I can’t compare it to the UA Contain, but from the reviews I’ve read, it appears to be a decent size.
Mizuno has this bag listed on their website for $110, whereas it’s currently available on Amazon for $85 and elsewhere for $90.
Don’t get me wrong, this by all means appears to be a great backpack, but I’m simply not sure it’s worth paying extra for.
Put it this way, I wouldn’t buy it for $110, but I think it’s very good value at around $85 on Amazon!
Personally, I’d choose the UA Contain over the Mizuno Momentum backpack, but I think they’re both really solid.
Passes The Must-Have Feature Check!
- Underside of the bag is waterproof
- Pocket for shoe storage
- Elite level volleyballers. Plenty of storage room for all the additional equipment high level players like to carry.
- Gifts for volleyball players. This backpack would make a really practical and thoughtful gift for any volleyball player.
Best For Beach
Wilson AVP Beach Volleyball Backpack
For the beach volleyballers out there, you probably can’t go past the Wilson sand proof backpack.
This backpack features a sand trap release/vent which allows you to quickly empty sand from the backpack without emptying all your gear.
Best Beach Volleyball Backpack
This bag was designed for beach volleyball players in mind by official AVP sponsors, Wilson.
Sand Proof Design
One unique feature of the Wilson AVP backpack is the sand trap release/vent which helps keep sand out of your bag.
I briefly played beach volleyball at the state level and I’m sure sand getting absolutely everywhere contributed to me not wanting to pursue the discipline of beach volleyball for very long!
According to users, the sand trap works well, but it needs to be extended to the secondary pockets on the bag, which still attract sand.
Definitely Has Some Design Flaws
Unfortunately this bag isn’t perfect.
One customer mentioned the outside ball holder wasn’t quite up to par…
The ball holder could have some elastic to make it easier to use. I always feel it is either compressing the ball or it’s so loose that the ball may fall.Eduardo, Wilson Website
Apparently one of the zipper pullers only lasted a month as well.
But Still A Solid Backpack With Great Features
Despite the one negative review, the overwhelming majority of users claimed this backpack was excellent with an overall rating of 4.8/5.
It has some other cool features like thermoregulated pockets to help keep cold drinks cold while out in the sun.
Hidden pockets will also keep your belongings safe while you’re busy playing.
It’s also extremely well priced and I think it’s definitely the best current option going for beach volleyballers.
Really sleek design too, bound to get some attention on the beach!
Passes The Must-Have Feature Check!
- Water resistant (and sand resistant!)
- Sternum strap
- No separate pocket for shoe storage, but who needs shoes on the beach!
- Beach volleyball players. Obviously!
What To Look For In A Volleyball Bag Or Backpack
After having played basketball for 10 years and volleyball for 15, I’ve got a really good understanding of what makes a sports/volleyball bag good.
Let’s take a look at the criteria I used to seek out the best volleyball bags on the market.
The way I see it, 95% of picking the right volleyball bag comes down to simply picking a big enough bag!
You can have all the special features you like, but if you can’t zip the bloody thing up because it’s bursting at the seams, those features aren’t worth much.
If you’re only planning on storing your volleyball shoes, knee pads, a small towel, and some personal belongings, then size will be less of an issue.
If you’re in this boat, a backpack is a great option because they’re easier to carry around than a duffle bag.
But if you’re a serious volleyballer, you’re likely going to need the extra space.
There’s nothing worse than having a bag that is in great condition, except for the fact that the zipper’s snapped off, rendering it almost useless…
A broken zipper is almost worse than a completely destroyed bag because the bag is still too good to throw out, but too annoying to actually keep using.
Eventually you end up throwing away a 95% functional bag…
Most well known brands like UA, Adidas, Nike, Mizuno, and Wilson have by now realized and understood our frustrations with poor quality zips and usually come through with decently durable products.
But this is the primary reason I prefer sticking to quality name brands for bags and backpacks.
As soon as you go for the cheaper off-brand bags, you’re immediately in dodgy zipper territory and you’re playing with fire!
There’s a few features that volleyball players simply cannot live without when it comes to bags.
I am unwilling to compromise on these features and not having them is a complete deal breaker for me!
Separate Shoe Compartment
There is nothing more delightful than stinking up the car with the stench of used volleyball shoe.
Most volleyball bags worth their salt nowadays have a separate pocket for smelly shoes. These pockets are great not only for shoes but damp training shirts and towels.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve completely destroyed a sports bag via spontaneously combusting water bottle.
At some stage, your water bottle will leak all over your bag.
At some stage, your bag will be marinating in a puddle somewhere.
These are simple facts of life.
Bags without a waterproof or water-resistant base will end up rotting and eventually falling apart.
Again, most decent brands do a good job of waterproofing nowadays.
This goes back to the thing about smelly shoes and sweaty clothing.
Having some sort of breathable material goes a long way for stench control and also just to control moisture levels within the bag.
You can argue with me all day about how important this is, but you want to pick a bag that looks good.
Luckily for all the parents out there, the 5 bags I discussed above are all really nice looking and whomever you’re buying for definitely won’t have any qualms with design!
Just make sure you check whether they’re into backpacks or duffle bags because hip young volleyballers often care more about looks than practicality!
Duffle Bag Or Backpack?
No really, duffle bag.
As I mentioned several times throughout this article, the single most important thing is size.
The simple reality is that most backpacks (except for the few I recommended) will be too small for any serious volleyballer.
What’s The Verdict?
For elite volleyballers or anyone who lugs around a fair bit of equipment, undoubtedly go for either the Nike Brasilia duffle bag or, if you prefer backpacks, go for a UA Contain.
Beach volleyball players should definitely get the Wilson AVP beach volleyball bag, despite its imperfections.
Of course any of the products I’ve mentioned here today are super solid, but those are my official recommendations.