Price From
Price to
Search product descriptions

Sports Bags buying guide

Share this article on Twit Facebook

Sports Bags Guide - An Introduction

Sports Bags – This One’s for You!

A special bag for sports gear is not a luxury, but a necessity, since damp clothes tend to spoil other bags and their contents, when not specifically designed for the purpose. Items in an ordinary holdall can suffer from the moisture contained in damp gear, as all forms of portable electronics such as notebooks, cell phones, small digital cameras and music players are commonly carried in one duffel grip for trips to the gym and track.

Sport Bag styles have come a long way from the single-compartment zipped plastic shoulder bag, now that high tech materials and good designs are featured, such as special vented pockets for damp clothing and shoes, insulated sports drinks fit into vertical pockets with spill-proof liners, anti-microbial materials prevent locker room odours and great styling comes in any colour you like. Not only will you smell good, coming straight from the gym or field, but you’ll look great, too.

Sports bag fabrics have evolved, as well as styles, with more of the models of Gym Bag made from durable fabric than the traditional vinyl, with rip-stop nylon and leather varieties in all colours imaginable, from bright neon to more conservative earth tones. Traditional models are still available, like the Puma gym bag the Oxford Wedge and the Adidas Originals Record bag

This guide will help any sports fan buy the perfect bag by giving examples and explaining any jargon. Whether you need a small travel pouch canvas style bag, a sling bag, a huge duffle, a Medium Reebok Bag or the Cadillac of sports bags with wheels, such as the Adidas Airline bag the options and varieties are as endless and individual as the players themselves.

Tips to consider before Buying Sports Bags

  • Prices vary from cheap, costing under £10 to over £100, so Price Inspector investigates all the best deals in the UK stores to find deals.
  • A smaller bag that allows the exterior attachment of a cased badminton or tennis racquet might suit those who like to travel light better than a larger duffle or hand grip bag, opening up the possibilities of buying sling bags, for a greater choice.
  • If you regularly carry water bottles and sports drinks, look for spill proof compartments (typically in end pockets) that keep your electronics, such as phones, laptops, music players and ID safe and dry.
  • When travelling further than from the park car to a gym, consider buying a Sports Holdall with both hand grips and a shoulder strap, or choose a wheeled bag with a collapsible handle that can also function as checkable or carry on luggage. Recently spotted examples offer all of these options for the most versatile sports bags  around
  • For bags that sit in the sun, on tennis courts and in cars, for example, higher end bags offer reflective materials that prevent heat damaging and warping racquets. The extra money could be well worth preventing a more expensive accident.
  • Extendable bags featuring a zip-out bottom area are versatile for days when other unexpected activities such as shopping follows right after sports sessions.
  • Consider other styles of bags as adoption for use in sports. These include messenger and back packer’s bags, which can offer precisely the same features as sports bags, with many having a more rugged construction, such as a light metal frame, 100% water proof fabric and padded laptop or notebook pockets.
  • When buying famous names in sports bags, try shopping at the time when new models are announced to benefit from any discounts or reductions when the store is making warehouse space for the new stock. There may be only small differences between this year’s and last year’s models, such as colour and logo changes. As no one will know for sure exactly when the bag was purchased, it may stretch the budget to include a wider choice of models.

Types of Sports Bags

  • Slings are easy to use on and off the shoulder bags with room for the basics and not a lot else. They suit users who do not need to carry the larger gear such as footballs or attach racquets, as their capacity is less than most duffle bags
  • Duffle bags are the first type of sports bags most shoppers consider, such as the Adidas Original Duffel Bag, since they are very familiar and offer a large capacity with few internal restrictions such as dividers. The main zip opening usually reveals the whole of the storage area, making it easy to find items and clean the interior with a damp cloth.
  •  Hand grip style sports bags include the Adidas Airline Bag as well as the kind that bowler’s carry, which fit a bowling ball and a soft pair of shoes. These stylish bags have been adopted by other sports as the strength of these bags is legendary, since they must be able to hold a bowling ball
  • Back pack style sports bags are amongst the most versatile around, because they tend to have one central pocket with a drawstring closure, under a top flap, offering double protection for the contents, and many small pockets on the front and sides. Some specialized pockets are spill proof drinks compartments, lockable security stashes and padded music player pockets with a small hole for the earphones to plug into the player.
  • A wheeled Sport Bag is very useful for longer trips, if flying is planned, especially with heavier gym equipment. Some offer the option of straps and wheels, which is probably the best of both worlds, since where a bag cannot be wheeled, wearing it as a back pack will leave the hands free.


Brands and Sizes of Sports Bags

With the exception of seasonal sales and discounts, those from branded names such as the Adidas bag and medium Reebok bag or the Dunlop gym bag are slightly more expensive than unknown or unbranded bags. The quality from branded names is consistent, so if the difference in price is a small one, it may be worth while opting for a household name, rather than risking a cheaper bag who’s performance is not known.

Warranties that come with known brands of sports bags, like Nike, are worth paying the extra for, especially for intense and extreme sportsmen, who expect their gear to be as tough as they are. Casual users with smaller amounts of gear, such as one set of shoes, one change of clothing and a drinking bottle may be totally satisfied with buying a basic smaller sports back pack, sling or duffle. Sports bags that are toting serious amounts of weight will need stronger straps, more carrying options and even an internal framework. These heavier sports bags cost more and have a longer life, but reduce the need to replace them every year.

Buying a slightly larger named brand Gym Bag will allow for those few extra items, while a smaller one may lead to frustration and strained straps. Bundle your gear up on a flat surface to decide how big you need the bag to be before hitting the stores, or take along an old one, remembering what you liked and hated about it.

If a premium branded sports bag, such as an Adidas boot football, a Just Do It bag, or the bag Nike is a must, check the Price Inspector latest updates for any discounts and special offers.

Best buys in Sports Bags

The old saying, you get what you pay for, is true to a degree when buying sports bags, but here at Price Inspector we do the leg work for you, to find those special offers. Here are a few especially good deals we investigated.

  • Our favourites include the Nike Brasilia 4 Duffle Grip, because of the huge amount of space, low cost at £32.00 and general rugged design. This bag is a keeper because of its ability to stand alone, even when lightly loaded, something lesser bags we tested did not offer, and the strong fabric featuring quality stitching in special rot-proof thread to ensure the straps never fail in normal use.
  • Another winner was the exclusive small items bag from Adidas Originals at £17.99 for its multi-pocket arrangement and the log strap for wearing across the body, over the shoulder or tying down on a bicycle. As it is very lightweight, this bag can be kept close and even worn while jogging, to keep valuables safe on the move.
  •  The Pink Gym Kit caught our eye as the perfect sub-bag, or addition to the main one, carrying everything for looking good, straight from an exercise session. The price was right at £11.49 from The Pink Toolbox co, which includes a drinking bottle with insulation to keep beverages hot or cold.
  • An honourable mention goes to the Nike Gym Club Women’s bag for stylish retro good looks as well as quality construction. At £60.00 it is a little more expensive than the others we reviewed, but the tough fabric and strong zippers and straps made it a good buy for years of use.

Jargon Explained

Anti-microbialAnti-microbial fabric is used in sports bags to kill bacteria, fungus, mould, and algae, and is used to line the parts of sports bags where damp clothing may be stored. This is a big advantage where it may be several hours until the bags contents can be emptied out and prevents the typical locker room smell from developing.
In-LineIn-line skate wheels are used underneath larger sports bags to ensure the bag travels smoothly and to reduce jarring from uneven flooring
Rip Stop NylonRip Stop Nylon is the most common fabric sports bags are made from, and the minimum standard for a bag that will take a decent amount of wear. When looking for a Holdall to use over a period of years, this is the material to look for. This does mean a slightly higher cost, and the quality of stitching needs to be higher, since the fabric is much heavier. A quick test by pulling on the straps will let you know if this has been done satisfactorily, or not. Any salesman who is nervous about this process is probably selling an inferior bag, so consider going elsewhere, if he insists it's a tough a item. Cheaper bags are often better options for casual users and those carrying light loads of sports gear, just one outfit and a pair of shoes, for example.
Ballistic Nylon Ballistic Nylon is the strongest kind available, and more expensive than rip stop nylon. A bag made from this fabric should last through years of even the toughest use. This fabric is also used in clothing and packs for the military.
The denierThe denier measurement of any nylon fabric is its strength. Typically, the best sports bags are made from 600 denier nylon, for a long life.

Buying Guide to Sports Bags
Search options