In this article, I cover a series of excellent basketball bags and backpacks that are perfect for carrying your accessories out to the court.
I am a serious basketball junkie who has played at multiple levels over the years. I have gone through numerous bags and backpacks in that time. That experience allowed me to conduct the research necessary to properly review the items outlined below.
The Nike Elite Max Air is my top pick because it’s durable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of room.
Where many bags only excel in one area, the Max Air is incredibly well rounded. There’s plenty of cushion thanks to the Max Air Units, it’s tough enough to withstand outdoor use, and it comes with a water-resistant bottom. There are plenty of pockets for extra storage too.
The following sections cover the excellent item, as well as other top basketball backpacks, in greater detail.
- Best Overall: Nike Elite Max Air
- Most Durable: MIER Basketball Backpack
- Most Comfortable: SC30 Undeniable
- Best Duffle Bag: Nike Brasilia
- Best Internal Storage: Point 3 Road Trip 2
- Best Budget: Under Armour Sackpack
Who Should Get This
All players at all levels, from young youth leagues to professionals, can make use of a good basketball bag. Not only do they hold equipment, but they’re a great place to store snacks or other miscellaneous items you might need before or after game time.
The only players who won’t actively benefit from a good bag are those who travel light and don’t want to carry an extra accessory around. If you do need to take a ball, shoes, or clothing with you, however, every item in this article will benefit you in one way or another.
Top Basketball Backpacks and Bags
The bags and backpacks in this section are all exceptional products that excel for a variety of different reasons.
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Tight closure. Water-resistant bottom. Comfortable padding. Roomy interior. Max Air units. Plenty of pockets.
- Closure: Nike Quad Zip
- Pockets: Six
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
Outfitted with a strong construction, ample pockets, and an intuitive Nike Quad Zip system, the Elite Max Air is one of the best basketball backpacks on the market. It’s incredibly comfortable on your shoulders and allows you to store a multitude of different items throughout its pockets.
The zipper closure is easy to operate and incredibly tight. That perfectly complements the water-resistant bottom to ensure nothing gets damaged if you play outside or in rough weather. The pack will last a long time and is incredibly easy to carry for extended periods of time.
If there’s one thing not to love about this backpack is that the drink pouches on the side aren’t the deepest. That can cause your water bottles to spill out from time to time. This is also on the more expensive side. It’s worth it, but not everyone will like the higher price tag.
- Best for: Durability
- Key Features: Ventilated front compartment. Padded, water-resistant bottom. Ample pockets. Tough stitching. Grab handle.
- Closure: Zipper
- Pockets: Five
- Weight: 2.64 pounds
This basketball backpack from MIER is a strong, well-made model with plenty of interior space and lots of external pockets. There’s a velvet option for sunglasses, three side pockets (including an elastic mesh one), and one zipper pocket complete with an organizer.
Another big storage bonus is the front mesh laundry pouch that allows you to store sweaty clothes without stinking up your other items. The entire item is also durable and extremely well built. There’s plenty of strong abrasion resistance too.
The only downside to the bag is that, as it’s so tough, it’s a bit heavier and bulkier than other models. The zippers also don’t quite hold up to the same as the rest of the bag. You may see some wear and tear on them after extended use.
- Best for: Comfort
- Key Features:
- Shoulder Drop: 18 inches
- Closure: Zipper
- Weight: 1.44 pounds
Steph Curry is known for his shoes, but his line has some excellent bags as well. This model, which comes from Under Armour, is incredibly comfortable. The lightweight materials never weigh you down, while the back padding and foam reinforcements make it easy to wear.
On top of that, the bag is surprisingly tough for a simpler model. The abrasion resistant bottom panel will hold up over time, even if you use it outside, and the water repellent front pocket keeps your stuff safe in a range of different elements.
The only true downside to the pack is the straps. They don’t match the durability of the rest of the bag, which can be a bit of a bummer. The shoe compartment, while functional, can be a tight fit for those with larger footwear.
- Best for: Duffle Bag
- Key Features: Water resistant bottom. Polyester construction. Plenty of storage compartments. Adjustable shoulder strap. Multiple color choices.
- Closure: Zipper
- Strap: 8.5 inches
- Weight: 1.54 pounds
Though there are many good basketball backpacks on the market, players who want extra space or who prefer to carry their equipment will enjoy the Nike Brasilia. This larger bag contains a range of storage compartments as well as a handy adjustment shoulder strap.
Another reason this gets such high marks is that it’s extremely durable. The bottom comes with a special water-resistant barrier and the material has a certain hardiness other options can’t match. That makes it a great choice for players who spend their time shooting outside.
The only issue some people might have with this bag is the main compartment. There’s plenty of room for smaller items, but it might be a tighter fit if you need to keep larger shoes or a ball inside.
- Best for: Storage
- Key Features: Huge main pocket. Extremely tough. Sleek design. Ventilated mesh compartment for sweaty gear. Padded shoulder straps.
- Closure: Zip
- Dimensions: 21 x 17 x 2 inches
- Weight: 1.9 ounces
If you need room, the Point 3 Road Trip 2 is the backpack for you. While it’s much sleeker than bigger bags, it comes with ample internal space that can hold everything from your shoes to water bottles to a basketball. If you need it when you play, it can fit inside.
The model also has special pockets, including a ventilated compartment made to hold your sweaty clothes after a game. There are also padded shoulder straps and everything is crafted from strong, heavy-duty materials. This will stick around for a long time.
Extra internal space is great, but it does come with a downside. The Road Trip 2 is definitely weightier than most other basketball bags, which can be a bit of an issue for those who like to pack light. If you need the space, however, it’s hard to get something with a better balance.
- Best for: Budget
- Key Features: Durable build. Front pockets provide extra organization. Single cord adjustment system. Great sizing. Plenty of color choices.
- Closure: Single cord
- Pockets: Two
- Weight: 8 ounces
Equipped with two front pockets and an adjustable single cord, the Under Armour Sackpack is a great budget way to bring a pack to the court. It’s a bit basic, but has more than enough space to hold your essential items. You can easily pick it up and go without any hassle.
Though it’s definitely on the basic side, the Sackpack has a surprising amount of durability. It’s well made and can be used for extended periods of time without ripping or tearing.
The only issue some players might have with this model is that it doesn’t have any water bottle pocket. That means you have to store your liquid inside with your other items. There’s no lining either, but those who play in a gym or in nice weather won’t have to worry about such issues.
How to Choose Backpacks and Bags for Basketball
When getting a basketball bag, it’s important to keep the following traits in mind.
Most bags and backpacks are made to be worn, which is why their comfort is so important. When getting your model, look for straps and padding that help give your back a bit more support. Proper sizing and good weight distribution are vital as well.
Many basketball bags are expensive. They get handled quite a bit as well. As such, you want something that will stand the test of time. Don’t be afraid to pay a bit more for a well-rounded model with premium materials. Also look for good stitching, as well as trusted brands.
There are many bags on today’s market, and they all come in different sizes or fits. Understand your needs and get one that fits your style. People with lots of accessories will need something with plenty of internal space, while more casual players can settle for a lighter pack.
There are many backpacks on the market, which can make choosing one tough. The questions in this guide will make that process much easier.
How Much Does a Basketball Gym Bag Cost?
As with any item, their prices vary wildly. Many reliable bags are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but there are plenty of more expensive options too. You can pay what you want.
What Should I Put in my Basketball Backpack?
You want to put in any accessories you might need during a game. That includes snacks, bands, extra socks, or even your game shoes. If you have a larger model, you can keep a ball in it as well.
What Bags do Basketball Players Use?
Beyond the above models, professional players tend to use bags provided to them by their team or organization.
How Big is a Nike Elite Backpack?
The Nike Elite Backpack measures 17 x 16 x 1 inches and measures an impressive 38 liters.
Useful Tips and Resources
Not every backpack on the current market comes with waterproofing. However, if you need a little bit of extra protection, don’t worry. There are several great products on the market that help you take it up a notch.
Forcefield Protector Waterproof and Stain Resistant Spray gives your bag (as well as your shoes and hats) more strength so you don’t have to worry if your pack sits outside. One coat is all you need.
You should also clean your bag regularly. If you want to know how to properly care for it so it will last a long time, check out this handy video tutorial.
The Nike Elite Max Air gets my pick for the best basketball bag or backpack on the market. It excels in a wide range of different areas and has the toughness needed to hold up both inside in the gym and out.
The padding is comfortable, the bottom is water-resistant, and the Max Air units make it easy to wear. There are plenty of pockets as well. No matter what you like to bring to play basketball, you’ll be able to store it in the Max Air.