By Jason Wilson
Every year, there seems to be a need for new investments by parents in baseball equipment to support your child and the game they love. You buy your child the hottest new bat (or two), new shiny cleats, batting gloves, a helmet, new fielding glove(s)... the list goes on and on.
What type of thought do you put into getting the best baseball bag possible?
The Perfect Baseball Bag
Once you realize that the baseball bag will be hauling around an average of $750 in equipment for a minimally equipped player, you might re-think buying the cheapest baseball bag you can find and perform research on what your player really needs. When looking, think how to best secure the equipment on his travels to and from the baseball field as he does battle throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. The below information can lead you down the right path to choose wisely and make a purchase that fits the needs.
What's In My Bag?
Baseball Bag Types and Sizes
Standard Bat/Equipment Bag
Before backpacks, rolling bags and the like were even thought of, the go-to bag was the standard large equipment bag that swung over the shoulder. These are still made today by some vendors, but they have mostly been replaced by much more compact and advanced carrying bags. You might have to search a little to find them, but they are out there.
- Big bag with a lot of room
- Area for multiple bats
- Everything is hidden and well protected from the elements
- Inexpensive for the most part
- Typically heavy and awkward to carry on one shoulder
- Not meant to be hung from the dugout fence so a player can have his equipment ready during the game
- Very minimal amount of pockets for organizing within the bag
- Minimal protection for your bats in the bat section of the bag. The bats are typically carried on the bottom of the bag that is usually laid on the ground. Also have to note there will typically be a lot of clanking around of your bats. Remember, bats are usually a large investment!
- Limited brand selection
These style of equipment transportation is the gold standard in today's youth baseball world. Backpacks (sometimes referred to as batpacks) work for every size athlete and scale in size based on need. There are compartments galore on some models and they really do a nice job protecting your equipment. The weight of all the items you are carrying is balanced more evenly and make carrying equipment much easier on those long walks to the field of play, around the park, and then on the long walk back to the car after 3 games on the final day of a tournament.
- Typically very lightweight
- Holds 1-2 bats
- A few extra storage compartments separate from the main section
- Great for younger in age players
- Can only hold minimal equipment
- Helmet holder is external (not protected from banging against any object, nor is it protected from the elements)
- Most likely a useful life of a couple years due to increase in equipment size
- Some models have minimal protection for your bat(s)
- Typically enough room for the average player
- Enough room for multiple bats (2-4) with more protected coverage
- All equipment, minus the handles of the bats are typically protected from the elements
- Compartments are larger and allow for larger sized equipment
- Additional padding on straps to relieve the shoulders on the long haul
- Huge assortment of colors combinations from some vendors
- Separate area for cleats/shoes
- Can still be a tight fit if you have a large amount of equipment to store inside (helmet, multiple fielding gloves, etc.)
- Can start to be expensive
Finally we get to one of the hardest working, dirty, dusty player on the field, the catcher, and the bag that is needed to haul of their equipment.
- Huge to carry all of their normal equipment plus a full set of catcher's gear
- Various compartments
- Wheels and sometimes a pull handle for easy transport
- Huge, trunk filling bag
- Even though its a huge bag, sometimes its still not big enough
- If you don't clean/dust off the catcher's equipment, you can carry around extra weight as the season advances due to all the field dirt
The last category of bag is one that I created after reviewing different options and style of bags. The premium bag is a huge bag, made to carry multiple sets of equipment, catcher's gear, bats, and anything else you can think of. These bags are typically lugged around by the coach and carry the majority of the team's gear.
- Carry everything you need in one bag
- Always on rollers with a pull handle
- Very expensive for just a bag
- Selection of companies who produce this style of bag is very limited
- Very heavy once loaded down with equipment
- Losing rock/paper/scissors and having to lug the bag around to and from the field
What To Look For When Buying a Bag
Now that we have reviewed the different sizes that you have when you are going to choose an equipment hauling bag, you are faced with a plethora of features that you can prioritize in looking for the perfect purchase. Below is a quick summary of what all of these items are to allow you to pick and choose as you select the "perfect bag":
Wheeled/rolling: having a bag on wheels is key for the larger bags. It is smart to check on the review of the wheeled bags as to their durability. I have heard of teams that had their wheels falling off mid-season.
(See our Boombah Wheeled Bat Bat Review)
Shoe compartment: this is a key area for bigger bags that is definitely a great feature. Having room in the bag to carry along an additional pair of non-cleated shoes or slides for your player to wear post games is key.
Number of bats the bag will hold: following up on a recent blog post about how many bats do you actually need, it is key to be able to carry your baseball launchers and protect them before, during, and after the game. Always pay attention to the material that the bat holders are made out of. Sometime you will get a nice zippered compartment that cushions your bat and doesn't allow it to clank around. I find this a key area when I am looking at investing in a new bag.
J-Hooks (fence hooks): the majority of baseball batpacks have J-hooks. These hooks allow for the batpack to be hung on a fence and typically serve well hanging in the dugout to ensure all of the player's equipment can stay in one place. If you look at a bag, these are typically tucked in and hard to see initially.
Personal belongings compartment: this is the typical compartment that is at the top of front side of the bag. As players get older, they have cell phones, wallets, etc. that they will need to keep close during the game. Many companies offer an area of the bag that is fabric inside the compartment to ensure your persona belongings are safe.
Helmet/batting glove hooks: many times overlooked, these are two key welcome additions to look for when picking out your bag. As the bags are hung on the dugout fence, it is nice to have external hooks or straps to hold your equipment to have ready at a moments notice. Too many times have I seen players unable to find their helmets or batting gloves when they are supposed to be on deck preparing to hit. Having hooks or straps to allow for the equipment to be hanging in plain site is a great addition to look for.
Tear away flap for embroidery: many times travel teams get the same bags. With this can come much confusion and misplaced equipment during and after the game. When looking to have each player with the same bag, be sure there is a tear away flap that can have the player's name/number embroidered on it. It allows for easy identification of the player's bag and makes it much easier when looking for equipment by the player saying "It's in my bag".
Popular Brands of Baseball Bags
There are many companies that make different sizes, styles, types, and features of baseball bags as stated in the content above. Here are a few links to some of the popular companies. Happy hunting!
About the Author
Jason Wilson is a baseball enthusiast, with an addiction to reading about, reviewing, and testing/comparing baseball equipment and accessories. He has been involved in youth baseball for 8 years while continually working to find a way to make the game a better experience for both players and the parents. He is currently an assistant coach for an 11u travel team in NW Ohio. A realist at heart, he feels that investing in the right equipment, at the right time, for the right player, is key to the success of the player and the less strain on the parent’s bank account.