All gym bags are not created equal, and that goes double for swimmers, who have to contend with chlorinated water, soggy suits and towels, and all manner of gear from goggles to dive masks and flippers. The best swim bags are constructed from quick-drying synthetic materials that are safe to bring poolside, with dedicated wet compartments and the overall capacity you need to haul your equipment with ease.
What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Swim Bags
Capacity & Dimensions
Swim bags usually indicate their capacity in liters, with an average gym bag sized between 30 to 40 liters. If you plan on shoving the bag in a gym locker or bringing it in on a plane, you'll also want to be mindful of its overall dimensions. If your swim bag will double as your carry-on, it's always a good idea to check the carry-on restrictions of the airline you're flying.
Since a swim bag is likely to see its fair share of wear and tear, look for materials like polyester or nylon that will be water-resistant and durable. You may also want the bag to have a sturdy, reinforced bottom, for keeping the items inside protected and your bag upright.
In terms of the design of your bag, options abound. Swim backpacks are ideal for multifunctional, hands-free hauling. They can be either a full-sized pack with all the typical features, like padded straps and a laptop sleeve, or a lightweight mesh version. Duffels, meanwhile, are the ultimate multitasker for workouts and swimming. You'll need at least one wet compartment, although some souped-up options come with several.
Ahead, take a deep dive into the six best swim bags that can go the distance with every type of swimmer.
Shop The Best Swim Bags
In a hurry? These are the best swim bags:
- A Popular Duffel With 2 Wet Pockets: FocusGear Ultimate Gym Bag
- A Lightweight Mesh Swim Bag: Speedo Deluxe Ventilator Bag
- An Extra-Large Swim Bag: Arena Team 45 Swim Bag
- An Oversized Mesh Tote: Bulex Extra-Large Beach Bag
- A Best-Selling Swim Backpack: Speedo Teamster Backpack
- A Simple Bag At A Budget Price: KIKIGOAL Swim Bag
1. A Wildly Popular Duffel With 2 Wet Pockets
This gym duffel has not one but two wet pockets — one on the bottom for swimsuits and a fairly large, shoe-sized wet pocket on the side — plus eight other pockets to organize all your gear whether you’re swimming or working out. Double bottle holders on one end lets you carry water bottles and a protein shake (or an umbrella), while a wide sleeve pocket on the back keeps little essentials like combination locks and ID cards close at hand. A water-resistant bottom means you can drop it poolside, and the top and side zips completely open for easy access. Inside you'll find a small, zippered pocket for stuff you want close by, plus a super-convenient tab for your keys. Combine with a padded handle and comfy detachable shoulder strap and it's just about everything you could want in a gym bag. While the material isn't specified, reviewers noted that it was sturdy, flexible, and lightweight. Choose from several different colors and two sizes (medium featured here).
A helpful review: “Perfect for my swim and gym workouts. Holds a good variety of gear and then the waterproof pockets are great for wet swim items. Well built. Great value.”
Capacity: 37 liters | Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 10.5 inches
2. The Lightweight Mesh Swim Bag You Can Grab & Go
This no-frills, 100% polyester mesh drawstring backpack combines minimalist construction with pool-worthy features for people who need a lightweight, water-friendly backpack on the affordable side. You'll be trading a contained wet bag for ventilated mesh, but what you lose in storage you gain in versatility. Open air mesh sides help your gear dry off, while a solid front and back ensures water won’t get everywhere. The drawstring top is a cinch to access, while wide backpack-style straps and a hanging loop at the top offer just enough structure to carry and stow it comfortably. There’s a solid zippered pocket on the front for valuables, and a small mesh pocket to carry your water bottle. Take it to the pool, to the gym, or toss it into your suitcase: it's that packable. Choose from more than a dozen vibrant colors so there's no mistaking which one is yours.
A helpful review: “I love this pool bag. It is large enough to fit everything I need, even a kick board. Also has a zip pocket with separated pockets inside so that I can keep my keys and cellphone and kindle separate. Also has a convenient outer sleeve where I keep my pool passes. Great buy.”
Capacity: 33 liters | Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 11 inches
3. This Extra-Large Swim Bag For Packing *Everything*
This super-sized bag has plenty of room for your gear both in and out of the water. The Arena swim bag offers a massive carrying capacity (45 liters) in durable 100% polyamide with a solidly waterproof, reinforced bottom, and heaps of storage to keep everything organized. There's a large mesh exterior compartment flanked by two pairs of zippered pockets on each side as well as double mesh pouches. A couple of carabiners hold on to the extras. Unzip the wide-mouth opening when you need something stashed inside, where you'll find a separate waterproof compartment for your suit so the rest of your stuff stays dry. The back and straps are lined with breathable mesh so no matter how much you cram in, it's easy to carry and cuts down on breaking a sweat.
A helpful review: “This is a great bag, just what I wanted. It’s big enough to hold all my gear which includes kickboard, swim fins [...] training snorkel, leg floats, pull gloves, nose clip and couple pairs of googles. Even with all that I still have plenty of room for a towel, book, drinks, snacks and phone or tablet. Its well made and comfortable even when I'm going to the pool on bike. Love it.”
Capacity: 45 liters | Dimensions: 20.44 x 13.76 x 10.61 inches
4. This Oversized Mesh Tote That Can Hold Gear For 5
For pool parties, beach trips, and lake weekends, an affordable large mesh tote might be just what you need rather than your heavy-duty swim bag. This one can hold towels and flip flops for up to five people with a lightweight construction to minimize weight. It's built from polypropylene mesh with a solid synthetic bottom, and sturdy cotton carrying handles that promise to be soft and durable. Four roomy exterior pockets provide just enough organization, and it zips shut for peace of mind. Plus, there's a secure, waterproof storage pocket hidden inside to protect valuables. And it's machine washable, so sand and chlorine are no problem at all. For toting a lot of specialty gear, consider the brand's mesh duffel bag as well.
A helpful review: “This is the perfect beach bag! I was able to fit 5 large beach towels, sunscreen, snacks, swim diapers, baby wipes, and large water bottles and still had some space to spare. It's light weight and easy to clean.”
Capacity: approximately 61 liters | Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 8.7 inches
5. A Best-Selling Swim Backpack That Laps The Competition
Speedo’s Teamster swim bag is a full-featured backpack with plenty of bells and whistles for the dedicated swimmer — not surprisingly, it's amassed a near-perfect 4.8-star rating on Amazon after more than 5,000 reviews. It comes with a dedicated wet bag, a thick water-resistant base, and tons of exterior storage, with six zippered pockets including breathable mesh pouches for holding wet goods and four D-rings so you can hook on whatever you need. Made from ultra-durable, 900-denier polyester, this pack features a main compartment that zips open wide and makes it easy to access everything. Inside is a padded raised laptop sleeve and two small carabiners for things like keys — and there's even a bleacher seat if you’ll be sitting between rounds. The adjustable padded straps include a sternum and waist belt for comfort and stability on the go.
A helpful review: “I commute to work by train and have been carrying two bags on the days that I swim after work. This bag eliminates the need for two because I can put my laptop and work notebooks in the back pocket (where they put the stadium seat), pens and headset in small front pocket, other work media in top side pocket, toiletry bag, towel, and lunch in large compartment (and anything else I pick up on my way home from work). I use the front mesh pocket for my swimsuit and cap, but keep the dirtbag with me in case I want to use it.”
Capacity: 35 liters | Dimensions: 17.3 x 8.3 x 20.5 inches
6. This Simple Bag At A Budget Price
This backpack-style swim bag provides ample space for wet and dry storage in a simple package. The cinch closure up top opens to reveal a full-length wet pocket, and a separate compartment for everyday essentials for dry land. There’s also a decently sized zip pocket on the outside for quickly accessing must-haves. The straps are adjustable for a comfortable carry, and the bag itself is made from water- and tear-resistant material (the fabric itself isn’t disclosed). Reviewers have reported the bag is surprisingly sturdy — but there’s no reinforced bottom. The capacity isn’t listed, but reviewers have noted it’s “very roomy” and offers “plenty of space.”
A helpful review: “The separation inside the bag kept the dry side from getting wet from the wet suit and towel after swimming each day. The bag is perfectly sized and we were able to fit a swim suit, beach towel, large water bottle, and her lunchbox just fine. The outside pocket was a little small, but we only used it for sun screen and an extra mask so that was ok.”
Capacity: not listed | Dimensions: 14.2 x 15.7 inches
Also Nice: A Versatile Set Of Dry Bags That Are Vetted For Swimming
This dry bag set offers plenty of options whether you're looking for something small to hold your phone or a larger bag to keep your clothes, wallet, and keys safe. The main dry bag is offered in multiple sizes with an optional window, and features a double zip lock seal, with buckles plus two D rings for securing as necessary. Depending on the size — it comes in 5-, 10-, 20-, and 35-liter sizes — you’ll get either an adjustable strap or backpack-style straps with a sternum belt. Coupled with an included waterproof cell phone bag and convenient belt bag for custom carrying, you're always totally covered with this set. Amazon shoppers consistently praised this set for keeping valuables dry; not surprisingly, its amassed nearly 3,000 perfect five-star ratings.
A helpful review: “I used this everywhere when I was in Hawaii. I didn't have to worry about anything getting wet when we were swimming in rivers and waterfalls. Great bag!”
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