Hi all - My current tennis bag has held up for about 7 years now but it's on it's last legs and I'm looking to buy a new one. I'm looking for a high quality and durable bag - I'm not too worried about price. I'd like for it to have plenty of compartments/pockets/drink holders/organizers and some of the climate control technology / thermal compartment padding for when I leave the bag in the car on hot days...and protection from banging around against things. I like organization...so pockets and stuff are important.
I think I like a fairly big bag....for some reason, I like to carry a lot of junk around with me! (Usually 2-3 racquets, a can or two of new balls, maybe 10-20 recently used balls, 3 fairly large water bottles (I use those stainless steel ones with the screw top), a big tennis towel or two and a Frogg-Togg chill towel, lots of wrist / head sweatbands, an extra shirt, 2-3 hats, grip tape, Kindle e-reader, wallet, phone, watch, sunglasses, FogTech anti-fog stuff for the shades, keys, sunscreen (that I never put on but it makes my girl happy that I carry it...), ferry schedule/phone list, coins, a few Power Bars / 5 Hour Energy Drinks, and various tennis knick-knacks (dampeners, etc)! Ideally, I'd like a separate pocket or area to put my wet wrist/head bands, hat, and towel into after I play...that is lined or something to keep the moisture from transferring to other areas...and maybe ventilated (mesh?).
I've spent a lot of time searching through the various threads on tennis bags, and I realize there is a lot of personal preference involved...but I'd like some help narrowing it down. I haven't seen that one bag that looks perfect for my requirements... I can't get over to a tennis shop with a decent selection to check them out in the next couple of weeks, and Santa is asking for my list now now now! Those elves can be so dang pushy sometimes...
I could care less if the bag matches my racquet(s) - which are not the same brand anyway - other than to ensure that my largest one will fit into whatever bag I end up getting (Prince O3 Speedport Black). A friend told me he recently bought a really nice Volkl bag and got home and his racquet didn't fit! The sad thing is that he actually uses a Volkl racquet... I keep reading articles and watching video reviews about tennis bags where the authors constantly make the point that you absolutely should have your bag match your equipment...you don't want to have a brand X bag and pull out a brand Y racquet. Seems to be a big deal to everyone. Huh? Who gives a rat's ***? What does that have to do with anything unless you are a sponsored pro? If you make the best bag for my requirements, I could care less if it has anything to do with my racquet brand. If Hello Kitty made the best tennis bag, then I'd be sporting Hello Kitty to the courts all day long!
I prefer function over form any day...and while I'd like it to look good, as long as it isn't hot pink or something, if it meets my needs well above other bags, color and looks aren't a deciding factor. I don't put shoes in my tennis bag. I do like the backpack strap option, but that isn't a deal breaker either as long as it has a good handle and shoulder strap. I'm a fairly big guy and don't mind lugging my junk around.
In any case, after much scouring of the internet, these bags look like they might possibly fit my needs:
1. Babolat Aero Line 9 or 12 (I'm leaning toward this right now...probably the 12 for the two lined compartments).
2. Prince Carbon 6 (might be too small but I REALLY like the drink holders in the thermal compartment (good for bottles, tennis ball cans, sodas...they should have these in every bag!) and I don't see a larger option?)
3. Prince Rebel 12 (I kind of don't like that the mesh drink holders are in the only thermal lined compartment, which is where I'd want to put my racquets...and I don't think the moisture sweating off of the bottles should be in there...plus, you would also have the racquets banging against the steel drinks holders...).
4. Wilson Tour 9 (My last bag was a Wilson U.S. Open from years ago...and while it lasted a long time, it definitely shredded and tore inside...so I am a bit hesitant to go Wilson again).
Also - when do the tennis companies usually introduce their new product lines - specifically bags? Do they do it before Christmas or would it be sometime in 2013? I need to know if I should hold off a month or two to see what might be coming and keep it off of my list for Santa! I want to get it right the first time and be good for another ten years before I look for a new one...
Wow - this was long...I know I'm not known for brevity, but I didn't mean to write a novel...!
Your thoughts are appreciated - thank you in advance!