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.
Items like overgrips, sunscreen, deodorant, a pack or two of your favorite tennis strings, a notebook if you bring one, etc., are ideal for these pockets as they’re pretty narrow.
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.