Lifelongtennis brings you unique reviews of equipment actually purchased and in use. In this post we consider the increasingly popular tennis backpack.
Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack
Choosing a bag to carry your tennis gear has to be one of the easier choices of kit to support a tennis habit? Right? Wrong!
Type in the words ‘tennis rucksack’ as a description of the desired item as I did and you will be presented with a seemingly endless range of choices. Firstly you will immediately realise that the correct term is ‘backpack’. Rucksacks are for hiking in the great outdoors, and going up mountains, not for conveying tennis equipment from home to court. The main difference would appear to be the absence of a huge bold logo on a rucksack. I can only assume lest it scare the wildlife. The internet is such a forgiving place that it overlooks my terminology error and displays a seemingly endless choice of tennis ‘backpacks’
Though just for accuracy I have on occasion employed a rucksack – a going up mountains type bag – for tennis. In fact it was the use of a rucksack for jogging to tennis, racket in each hand, that first made me consider the need for a proper tennis backpack. As well as the fact that I stood out for being the only player present whose bag lacked a whopping big logo.
Anyway back to choosing the backpack. All I need do is pick the one I like best, click ‘add to cart’ then ‘buy now’. In a day or two, three at most the item will be with me.
That would all be fine, if indeed I did not have the life experience of purchases gone wrong in the past. Still my favourite is my son’s purchase on a discount site of what he expected to be a nice warm coat and instead he received a pair of sunglasses! Oh to be young! A shrug of the shoulders and out he stepped to meet the world in his new shades rather than his coat!
What a joy therefore to be able to employ my ‘tennis nerd’ to such a seemingly simple process. Tennis nerd has a purpose. If I want the buzz of clicking ‘buy now’ to be the highlight, then fine. If I want the highlight to be opening the box and finding an item that will then serve for the actual precise purpose I bought it. Then let’s set tennis nerd to work.
What experience do I actually have of choosing similar items?
Well for the past 10 years or so my tennis bag of choice has been a Babolat full size tennis bag. This has one pocket for three rackets, two side pockets for wallet, keys scorecards etc and a large main compartment into which everything else goes. This would include, shoes, drinks, change of kit and anything else that might be needed for a match. Including at the very bottom of the bag a squashed rotten banana just awaiting that unsuspecting searching hand. The type of bag that could be packed for a week’s holiday.
This large type bag still has its place. However for day to day practice I have decided that walking or jogging to the club is the way to go and therefore something of smaller size would be a better bet.
My criteria for a rucksack (let it go nerd, it’s a backpack!) are as follows;
- Be easily carried on 10 minute jog (or 15 minute walk) to tennis courts
- Be able to carry two rackets
- Have a separate compartment for tennis shoes.
- Have space for water bottle and one tube of balls
- Pocket for wallet, keys, phone etc
And maybe a bit more space for a change of shirt. The change of shirt just in case we follow the session with a relaxing coffee, if we have not fallen out over the dodgy line call at game point. In which case change shoes quickly and jog home again.
Not every online shop stocks the full range of backpacks, so there is a bit of searching to narrow down to a few possible options. This takes several searches over several days. Full tennis nerd. I end up with a shortlist of three which meet my criteria;
At this point, if you could actually see and touch all three side by side, the choice would probably be straightforward. However online they all seem to have similar qualities, so how do I decide? Colour, price, best logo, quickest delivery time?
There has to be more to help me make the decision. As the three backpacks appear on different websites they are each described differently, making it difficult to make any objective comparison. Probably any one of the three would be fine, they all look great. However tennis nerd wants to know, having come this far, which one would be best?
I eventually manage to find the sizes of each backpack. They are pretty similar in size. I plump for the slightly smaller of the three, bearing in mind my initial criteria. The thinking being that a smaller backpack will be the better choice for jogging. This clinches it. The choice from my shortlist which I purchased is the Technifibre backpack. With the shortlist consisting of the following;
Technifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack (32x20x50cm) £50
Yonex Pro Backpack (33x25x50cm) £60
Wilson Super Tour Backpack (33×30.5x51cm) £50
The backpack arrives two days later, well boxed. Immediate impression is favourable. The backpack is well constructed, with good quality zips. A pocket for two rackets, with racket handle protector. A main pocket and three different sized smaller pockets. Plus my favourite feature, the shoe pocket which opens at the bottom of the bag – see picture below.
Now lets have a look at the backpack in use. At this point I have had the backpack for about 4 weeks and used it more than a dozen times. Not tested to destruction but long enough to gauge how well it can serve its purpose.
The main thing to bear in mind is that the main top opening pocket and the bottom opening shoe pocket are essentially occupying the same space, separated by a thin dividing material. This means that when you remove the shoes from the bottom pocket whatever is in the top pocket will fill that space. On putting shoes back into the backpack you have to manouvre things around a little, especially if the top pocket is full of stuff. Early learning suggests that anything easily damaged like bananas, are probably better suited to being stored in a different pocket.
Equally if you do not need to carry tennis shoes you could get a lot more into the top pocket. This makes the backpack quite a flexible bit of kit.
For jogging to the courts the shoulder straps are a good width and very comfortable. In motion the bag feels very secure and comfortable on my back and the rackets are held securely in place. Two side straps enable the main compartment to be compressed if it is not full, preventing the contents from bouncing around mid jog.
Typically I am carrying two rackets, pair of tennis shoes size 11, tin of tennis balls, filled water bottle, cap and spare shirt or tracksuit bottoms. Plus phone, wallet and keys. All that is needed for a couple of hours on court. And of course one banana carefully stowed.
In conclusion, really pleased with the purchase. The backpack is doing its job well so far. If you are looking for a small backpack with separate shoe storage then the Tecnifibre Tour Endurance RS Backpack is in our opinion worth considering, whether you jog to the courts or not!