Vessel Baseline Racquet Bag
Review & Test
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If you’re on the hunt for a new bag but unsatisfied with many of the options you’ve stumbled across, then the Vessel Baseline Racquet Bag is a worthy contender and one of my picks for the best.
Although it’s an excellent bag, it’s not going to be an ideal fit for everyone. Plus, there are a few areas for improvement that you should know about before you go out and spend your hard-earned money.
In this review, I’ll provide you with an in-depth look at the bag’s design and features, share my first-hand experience using it, and even dive into some finer details, including how you can save on your purchase.
While you’re here, check out my review of Vessel’s Baseline Backpack, which offers similar styling with a compact footprint that works just as well for heading to the office as it does a day out at the courts.
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Vessel isn’t a household name in the world of tennis, but ever since 2019, when they introduced their first tennis bags, the company has been making strides to cement itself as one of the best.
Based in Southern California, Vessel’s founder Ronnie Shaw started the company around 2012 when he created his first luxury golf bags.
However, he didn’t do it on a whim. He was born into the business with his dad having successfully manufactured golf bags in Taiwan for some of the biggest brands in the sport, including Titleist, TaylorMade, and Nike.
Today, Vessel applies their deep industry expertise to craft tennis and lifestyle bags for everyday use, while its golf bags remain some of the most popular on the PGA and LPGA Tour.
Compared to most other tennis bags you’ll find, Vessel emphasizes premium materials and craftsmanship to create high-end options for those who demand more.
Beyond a bag’s visual appearance and features, one of the easiest ways to compare one bag to another is its specs, including dimensions, weight, materials, and available colors.
Let’s start by looking at these elements of the Baseline Racquet Bag before diving into some of the finer details.
I wouldn’t call the Baseline Racquet Bag lightweight, but considering the heavy-duty materials, it’s very reasonable at its quoted 3.25 lbs (1,475 g).
When I weighed the bag on my end, it came out to 4.5 lbs (2,055 g), 1.25 lbs over the quoted range. In the image above, you might notice a notebook under the bag. That’s there for balance only, and I removed its weight with the scale’s tare function before weighing the bag.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did double-check the bag after weighing it to make sure I hadn’t left anything in the bag.
It’s reasonable to expect a bit of variation from one bag to the next, but this measurement is further off than I would have expected. Despite that, I don’t find the bag too heavy, and perfectly adequate for the size bag.
The Vessel Baseline Racquet Bag is medium-sized with the following dimensions as Vessel shows on their website:
34.5″H x 13″L x 12″W
The above measurements are relative to the bag standing on its end, with the narrow portion of the bag facing upward. Although I’m sure you get the gist, I’ve included an image above to clarify since I probably would have set the measurements as:
34.5″L x 13″H x 12″W
I’m 6′ tall, so when propping the bag up on its end, the bag’s height lands right below mid-thigh for me.
When I first came across this bag, my biggest concern was its size, as I’m accustomed to using a wider racquet bag. I used to carry four tennis racquets and a plethora of gear, but since I don’t compete as often as I used to, I rarely need to bring as much to the court.
On most occasions, two racquets are plenty, and there’s more than enough room for the remaining items I bring to the court.
If you’re looking to bring more than two racquets, you can, but the thermally lined racquet compartment will only fit two, and I find it a bit snug even at that number. Any extra racquets will need to go in the second main compartment.
A bag’s materials influence its look, feel, comfort, and durability. For the Vessel’s Baseline Racquet bag, you’ll find a few key ingredients.
Although virtually all tennis bags incorporate nylon, the Baseline Racquet Bag takes things a step further with synthetic leather, a.k.a, vegan leather, for a higher-end look while retaining essential performance characteristics, including durability and weather resistance.
You’ll find the synthetic leather in use for the bag’s side panels, shoe compartment, and the bottom of the bag.
I’m a fan of this material for a few reasons. First, it helps give the bag structure, so it stands tall even when it’s empty. Second, it looks and feels great, but perhaps most important, it’s durable. I also appreciate how it cleans easily, which I’ve done on a handful of occasions.
As far as downsides, it will scuff a bit if brushed firmly against an abrasive surface such as a hard court, however, not to the point where the scuff marks diminish the bag’s appearance. I have a handful on mine, and you can only really tell if you’re inspecting the bag closely.
It’s easy to assume all nylon is created equal, but it can vary widely, like nylon used in multifilament tennis strings.
Many companies might insert the word ‘premium’ in front of nylon when describing a bag’s materials. However, Vessel backs it up with quality material that’s superior to most bags I’ve owned. More specifically, it’s thicker and holds its shape better.
The Vessel Baseline Racquet Bag comes in six colors: black tech, grey tech, citrine, navy, rose gold, and neo mint. Right off the bat, Vessel separates itself from many other companies on the market by offering a variety of colorway preferences that serve as great options for men’s and women’s tennis bags.
The black and grey tech are two of four original colorways geared toward men, which have a subtle honeycomb-style texture that Vessel lightly stamps into the bag’s synthetic leather giving it a sporty look and feel. This style is what they refer to as engineered mesh bonded.
For the ladies, rose gold and neo mint have rounded out the lineup as more expressive colors that include a unique satin pearl finish for a subtle yet stylish shine without the honeycomb-style texture.
In 2022, new additions to the lineup include a bolder citrine colorway that pairs a black base with yellow and white highlights. A large Vessel logo printed on the bag’s side pairs well with the theme.
Finally, Vessel’s navy and white racquet bag offer a clean and stylish option for those looking for a refined colorway that’s classic.
Up close, you’ll notice that this bag’s texture looks much similar to leather, which is the same you’ll find with the citrine, rose gold, and neo mint.
Vessel is known for its stylish and functional bags, and the Baseline Racquet Bag is no exception. Let’s dive into the details so you can determine if this bag is a good fit for you.
Logo & Branding
Some of my favorite brands let the products do the talking rather than splashing unnecessarily large logos everywhere, and Vessel falls squarely into that category with their racquet bag.
If you look closely, it’s undeniably Vessel, with its branding present in several different ways, but it’s not obnoxious. Although a seemingly insignificant detail to many, it’s been one of my gripes about the most prominent tennis brands who print their logos too large on their bags.
Don’t get me wrong. When Rafa hits the court, I understand that Babolat wants to make sure fans know what racquets he’s repping. However, it isn’t necessary for the rest of us, and I find it to be a turnoff.
My favorite bags in recent years have been black with black logos, so the logo fades into the background a bit. However, with Vessel, it’s tasteful and subtle, which is what I’m looking for in a bag.
Here’s where you’ll find Vessel’s logo on their racquet bag.
The word Vessel is printed subtly on the bag’s side.
There’s also a tiny metal logo icon fastened to the side of the bag.
If you opt for the citrine colorway, Vessel replaces the small metal logo with a more prominent logo icon printed on its side. Since it’s a bit more abstract, it doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s still not my favorite.
There’s a logo icon printed on the right shoulder strap.
The word Vessel etched into the top of the metal shoulder strap adjusters.
Finally, the zipper pulls also have the word Vessel printed on them.
However, you won’t find the logo printed on these for the Navy, Rose Gold, or Neo Mint bags, as they’re synthetic leather pulls.
Small Thermal-Lined Water Bottle Side Pocket
Vessel includes a smaller thermal-lined pocket with a tiny vent to store a water bottle on one side of the bag while limiting condensation.
I stashed a standard plastic water bottle in there on one occasion, and it worked surprisingly well, but it’s not nearly large enough for the size water bottle I carry to the court. I’ve included a Gatorade bottle in the photo above to give you a sense of its size.
Instead, I keep my water bottle in the second main compartment separate from my racquets. Since I use an insulated water bottle, I don’t have to worry about it getting warm. However, I did find that the thermally lined pocket worked great for snacks.
I usually bring some easy-to-digest food to snack on between changeovers, even if I’m playing casually with a friend. Items like a fruit bar or banana are some of my favorites, and eating either of them warm (or melted in the case of the bars) isn’t exactly appetizing.
By placing these snacks in this pocket, they fared much better. I’ve even stashed a sandwich in there with a cooler pack to eat it when I was traveling home after playing, and it worked great.
Overall, this pocket is a nice bonus that works well for me.
Small Side Pocket
Opposite the water bottle pocket, you’ll find another similar zippered pouch. Inside, there’s a velour-lined zip pocket for valuables like your sunglasses or phone, two mesh slip pockets, and a key clip to stash your keys so they don’t fall out and you can quickly access them.
My favorite is the velour-lined pocket where I store my sunglasses when I bring them along, which is most days. If you carry a separate wallet, this is also a solid spot to stash it.
Full-Length Side Pockets
Above both smaller side pockets, you’ll find two full-length zipper pockets, each with two internal slip pockets for organizing various low-profile accessories.
Thermal-lined Racquet Compartment
A thermal-lined racquet compartment is ideal for keeping your racquets and strings cooler on a hot day, as your strings are susceptible to swings in temperature and moisture.
Although more and more bags are now offering thermal-lined racquet compartments, they’re not all equal. Some bags use cheaper linings, as you might find in some reusable shopping bags for groceries. However, Vessels is thick, durable, and most importantly, works well.
My only gripe is that this compartment is a bit snug. When I place my second racquet inside, I have to push the handle into place so that the two racquets sit flush next to each other, as the butt caps are the widest part of a tennis racquet.
I’m using a size 3 or 4 3/8 inch size grip, which is common, so perhaps when they measured for the compartment, they were using racquets with smaller grip sizes, or they only accommodated for the width of the frames, i.e., the beam width.
Ultimately, my racquets fit. It’s just tight, so it’s good to be aware.
Large Main Compartment
Opposite the thermal-lined racquet compartment, you’ll find the second main compartment for storing bulkier gear, including a change of clothes, a jacket or sweatshirt, a larger water bottle, a can of balls, etc.
Inside this compartment, you’ll also find a larger zip pocket that extends roughly 3/4 the length of the bag. It’s narrower, so it’s perfect for smaller items that you don’t want to have to hunt for at the bottom.
The main downside of this compartment is that it shares space with your shoes when you put them in the dedicated shoe compartment. Although logical, it does eat into the area quite a bit.
Ventilated Shoe Compartment
A dedicated shoe compartment that’s ventilated is now present in most quality racquet bags, so it’s not a huge differentiator.
With that said, Vessel does a great job with the implementation. The shoe compartment opens up wide to fit taller shoes like the Asics Court FF 2 and provides plenty of internal space to accommodate larger sizes.
I’m a size 10.5, and there’s tons of extra space in the compartment, which I appreciate because that’s where I also toss my dirty towel and clothes.
If you’re evaluating tennis bags and stumbled across a few that offer waterproof zippers, you may wonder why you need them. If it starts to rain, you might assume you’d head inside.
The truth is, you’re right. I think waterproof zippers are overkill from a functional standpoint, but from a design perspective, they look great and give the bag a sleek and polished look.
Beyond that, the zippers have an incredibly sturdy and durable feel, which the waterproof component enhances. As a bonus, the zipper pulls are extra long, so they’re super easy to grab.
Whether pulling your bag from your car or picking it up from the ground, carry straps make the job easier.
The Baseline Racquet Bag has two carry straps, one in the center of the bag so you can carry it as a duffle and another at the top.
You could make an argument for another carry handle at the bottom of the bag, so you can quickly grab it from either side, but I haven’t found that to be a big issue, especially because you can use the backpack straps to grasp the bag from that end if needed.
Neoprene Lined Shoulder Straps
If you pack the Baseline Racquet Bag with a reasonable amount of gear, including two racquets, shoes, towel, balls, water bottle, and a few accessories, it can become a bit weighty.
Although shoulder straps are nothing new for racquet bags, many offer limited to no extra padding. For Vessel, they include high-quality neoprene shoulder straps equivalent to a premium backpack with an ergonomic bend, plenty of cushion, and adjustable straps.
As a bonus, you can unclip them if you want to hold the bag like a duffle or if you are traveling with your bag and don’t want them in your way. It’s also worth noting that the clips swivel, so the straps rest comfortably on your shoulders regardless of the angle.
My only knock on them is that the metal pieces you pull up to increase the strap’s length aren’t the easiest to work with, but you shouldn’t have to mess with them too much once you’ve dialed in your fit.
Compression Molded Back Panels
You’ll find two padded panels near the top and bottom of the bag that helps provide comfort when you’re carrying the bag like a backpack. They’re thicker than most and protect your spine from any stiff or awkward-shaped gear you have stashed in your bag.
I haven’t had any issues with these, and they deliver more than enough comfort, so I think it’s safe to say they’re doing their job well.
If you’re looking to customize your racquet bag, then embroidery is a great option, which Vessel offers for any of their stock tennis bags, including their racquet bag, backpack, and tote.
Some of the most common embroidery options include:
- Club crest
If interested, the process is straightforward:
- Get in touch with Vessel via their website’s chat feature, contact form, or by calling to get connected with an in-house designer.
- After working with the in-house designer, they’ll send a mockup for your personalized bag, which you approve.
- Then, you hold tight for a few weeks until your embroidered bags show up at your doorstep. It’s super straightforward.
Embroidery is a fun way to personalize your gear, but it’s also an excellent way to customize products for your tennis club or as a gift for employees.
Use & Care
There’s a lot to love about the Baseline Racquet Bag, but that goes out the window if it doesn’t hold up to daily use. With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts after using this bag for over two months.
As I referenced earlier in the specs section, I was initially concerned with the size of the bag since I’ve typically used something a bit larger.
However, I didn’t find the bag’s smaller size relative to my existing bag to be an issue, and I think it’s more than adequate for most players who’ll consider it. Although I would have needed a larger bag when I was competing regularly, it’s no longer an issue for me, mainly because I now rarely travel with more than two racquets.
To be clear, this isn’t a small bag, but I’m used to using what you’ll often see described as a 12-pack or 12-racquet bag, aptly named for the number of racquets you could store in it. If that’s the size bag you’re looking for, I think it will be small for you.
However, if you’re looking for something that’s a 9-pack or 9-racquet bag or smaller, this bag will be right up your alley.
Another way to look at its size is that if you’ve found you’re outgrowing your backpack and want a bit of extra space but don’t want to lug around a massive bag, this will be an ideal upgrade storage-wise.
Vessel offers above-average organizational features that are unlikely to disappoint as far as racquet bags go, and they work great for me.
There are more than enough pockets for accessories and smaller items that you want to have their own space to find them when you need them easily, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another bag that does it better.
Many racquet bags provide backpack straps but skim heavily on the padding to make using them comfortable.
Vessel’s straps are excellent and offer more than enough cushion for your shoulders. Add the super plush back panels, and once again, the Baseline Racquet Bag delivers above-average performance.
It’s clear Vessel doesn’t skimp in this area, and although you’re rarely going to wear this bag as long as you would a backpack, it’s fantastic that they’ve accommodated for comfort in a bag that can get pretty heavy if you pack it to the brim.
Cleaning the Bag
No matter how hard I try to keep a bag in mint condition, I invariably spill something on it, drop it accidentally, or get it dirty, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Luckily, cleaning the bag is easy.
If you’re concerned about the synthetic leather, you shouldn’t be. It’s durable and easy to care for, so you’re unlikely to have any problems. A towel or rag with warm water will wipe the bag clean without issue.
My worst offense so far was spilling some sunscreen on the bag, which I thought might stain the synthetic leather, but it wiped clean quickly with a towel I had in my bag, and you’d never know it happened.
Ways to Save
Although Vessele’s Baseline Racquet bag is excellent, it’s on the pricier side, so I’ve pulled together a few different ways you can save.
Keep in mind that while these opportunities to save are available when writing this review, they may change in the future.
Subscribe for 10% off
The easiest way to save on a Vessel bag is to subscribe to their email list. At the time of writing, you can head over to their website, scroll down to the bottom and enter your email for 10% off.
After signing up, they’ll send a welcome email and a unique discount code that you can use for your first purchase. It’s worth noting that you can’t combine the discount with any other offers.
That’s $10 off $100, $20 off $200, and $30 off $300. Not too shabby for signing up to receive emails about new products, styles, and special offers in the future.
Do you know someone who would appreciate Vessel bags or have a friend that’s interested in buying one along with you? If so, head on over to their referral page and enter your email, followed by theirs.
After that, Vessel will send them an email to save $25 off their first order of $50 or more. Once they make a purchase, you’ll be rewarded $25 for successfully referring them.
Vessel also offers a free loyalty and rewards program. Once participating, you can earn points that you can redeem for savings.
It takes 200 points to reach the first reward, which is $20 off your purchase, and you can earn a bunch for free to get you started:
- Birthday Bonus – 100 points
- Follow them On Instagram – 25 points
- Like them on Facebook – 25 points
- Subscribe to their Newsletter – 25 points
That’s 175 points you can earn without spending a dime. Plus, you’ll rack up one additional point for every dollar you spend with Vessel.
Returns & Warranties
No matter how much research you do before making a purchase, sometimes, you might change your mind once you receive the product.
Perhaps it’s not what you were expecting, you find an alternative or decide you don’t need it anymore. Regardless, it’s good to know what to expect if you need to make a return.
Luckily, Vessel offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Within 30 days of receiving your bag, you can exchange it or ask for a full refund as long as it’s in the condition you received it with the original box or packaging.
You’ll need to keep in mind that any shipping and handling charges, if applicable, are non-refundable. Plus, if you go down the path of personalizing your bag, those fees are non-refundable, and you’ll incur a 10% restocking fee.
Vessel also provides a one-year warranty on its products to be free of defects in materials and workmanship.
All in all, you’re well covered to ensure that what you order is what you anticipate and holds up to expectations.
If you’re looking for a new tennis racquet bag, then the Vessel Baseline is well worth considering. Here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons:
- Quality materials
- Excellent organization
- Strong durability
- Extra comfortable
- Thermal-lined racquet compartment
- Small thermal-lined pocket for water/snacks
- Velour lined valuables pocket
- Price, it’s relatively expensive.
- The racquet compartment stores two racquets, but it’s a bit snug. They’ll fit, but it’s slightly tighter than expected.
- The large main compartment shares space with the shoe compartment, so you “lose” some of that space when using it. In a larger racquet bag, this is a non-issue, but since this is a mid-sized bag, it’s worth noting from a storage capacity standpoint.
Overall, I can confidently recommend this bag as a good purchase if you feel good about spending a little extra money and you like what you see.
Hopefully, you found this review of the Vessel Baseline Racquet Bag helpful in deciding whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
If you have any questions or want to share your experience using the Baseline racquet bag, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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