Vessel Baseline Tennis Backpack
Review, Test, and Video
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Only a handful of backpacks make the cut as my pick for the best tennis bags, and the Vessel Baseline Backpack is one of my favorites.
However, it’s also by far the priciest backpack I’ve ever reviewed, which begs the question, is it really worth it? For some, the answer will be a resounding yes, but others might need a bit of convincing.
In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the bag from its design, features, real-world use, and warranty to help you determine if it’s worth considering and a good fit for the court.
|Vessel Tennis Bags||Colors|
|Baseline Backpack||Black Tech, Grey Tech|
|Baseline Racquet Bag||Black Tech, Grey Tech, Citrine, Navy, Neo Mint, Rose Gold|
|Baseline Tote||Black, Stone, Neo Mint, Rose Gold|
You can check out all of these bags on Vessels’ website, and I’d encourage you to explore their other products, including golf bags, luggage, watches, and accessories.
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Baseline Backpack Video Review
Want to see the Baseline Backpack from Vessel in action? Check out my video review to help determine if this is the right bag for you.
I dive deep in the video, so I’ve included timestamps below if you’d prefer to jump to a specific section.
0:22: About Vessel
6:19: Use & Care
7:23: Warranty & Returns
I’ve included some extra detail in this written review, so between the two, hopefully, you find answers to any questions you may have.
Well-known for their luxury golf bags, Vessel, a Southern California company based in Carlsbad, took on the challenge of extending their line to include tennis bags with their Baseline collection in 2019.
Currently, the tennis bag line includes a backpack, racquet bag, and tote, all of which are high-end options seeking to find a unique balance between luxury and performance.
One of my favorite parts about Vessel is their Buy a Bag, Give a Bag program, where they donate a school backpack to a child in need for each purchase of a bag from them.
Through the initiative, they’ve given away tens of thousands of bags, which helps them fulfill and live out their tagline, Filled with Purpose.
Regardless of the bag, the details matter to ensure you find something you’ll be happy with and fulfills your needs. When you’re spending a few hundred dollars on a bag, I’d argue it matters even more.
Here’s a quick snapshot – I explore each in the sections that follow.
|Colors||Black Tech / Grey Tech|
|Materials||Synthetic Leather / Nylon|
|Weight||2.9 lbs (1,315g)|
|Dimensions*||20 in (50.8cm) / 7 in (17.8cm) / 13 in (33cm)|
*Height x Depth x Width
The Vessel Baseline Tennis Backpack comes in two colors, Black Tech and Grey Tech. The colors are aptly named as they both have a sporty and performance-oriented or technical vibe to them.
My preference is the black version. If you’re looking for something with a bit more personality, Vessel has a handful of tennis bags for women with vibrant colors.
There are two primary materials at work for the backpack. First, you have their engineered mesh bonded synthetic leather, which covers the backpack’s front panel up through the main compartment zipper.
The synthetic leather is also present at the bottom of the backpack and the upper third of the shoulder straps. It soft and has a subtle honeycomb-style texture while also being durable, weather-resistant, and easy to clean.
Combined with premium nylon, the two materials work well together for that sporty yet high-end feel.
As for weight, the Baseline Tennis Backpack is 2.9 lbs (1,315 g) when empty. The bag I have weighs in right on the mark at 2.87 lbs (1,305 g), which is 10 grams lighter.
Weight thresholds aren’t quite as important for backpacks compared to a product like a tennis racquet, but it’s great to see these bags are built consistently. Considering its build quality and materials used, it’s lightweight and entirely sufficient for the bag’s intended use.
Next up, a bag’s dimensions give you a sense of how much you’ll be able to store in it, and the Baseline Tennis Backpack is roomy with a top to bottom height of 20 inches, a front to back depth of 7 inches, and a side to side width of 13 inches.
The bag tapers or has less depth toward the top, so like many backpacks, it’s a bit roomier toward the bottom. Relative to other tennis backpacks on the market, it falls somewhere toward the middle of the pack. It’s not too large and not too small, which I think is the right call for a company like Vessel that only offers one backpack.
As for how much you can fit, I cover that in the Use & Care section of this review, so be sure to check that out if you’re curious.
As far as design goes, the Baseline Tennis Backpack from Vessel is a cut above the rest and one of the best-looking bags on the market.
Of course, like any bag, it’s not perfect, but if your bag’s style is essential to your buying decision, you can’t do much better.
External Logo & Branding
In a world where tennis bags often blast their logos as large as possible, one of my pet peeves, Vessel, takes a more refined and subtle approach.
Beyond the companies’ low-key approach to branding where the bag’s design speaks for itself, I’m a massive fan of tennis-inspired bags that aren’t made by racquet manufacturers.
Over time, players switch racquets, leading to them feeling inclined to change their matching bag, which is an unnecessary cost if your bag is from an unrelated brand.
At the front, you’ll find the companies traditional “V” shaped logo on the bottom right corner of the backpack.
Fun fact, the logo’s design bears the shape of a vessel or ship, frequently used to carry or transport items from one location to another. The same logo resides toward the middle of the left strap.
You’ll also find the brand’s wordmark in a few locations on the backpack. Most prominently, it resides on the bag’s side over the top of one of the magnetic closure external pockets.
Next, you’ll find it embroidered at the top of the back panel.
Finally, you’ll find it engraved into the metal strap adjusters.
Overall, Vessel does logo placement the right way.
2 Expandable Exterior Pockets With Magnetic Closure
On either side of the bag, you’ll find two external pockets for storing items like a water bottle or can of tennis balls.
I love the use of magnets, which helps keep these pockets flush and clean looking when they’re not in use, and they’re satisfying to use.
However, my main issue with these pockets is their size and how well or sturdy they hold a water bottle.
First up, it’s a tight fit for two of my 32 oz water bottles – either a Hydroflask or Nalgene. They sort of fit when the bag is empty, but it won’t work when you fill the bag – the pocket becomes too tight, and the bottle won’t be secure.
The largest bottle I’m able to fit is a more narrow and tall 25 oz Swell bottle, but the bottle doesn’t drop to the bottom of the pocket due to how it’s stitched, so it’s less secure. Plus, the elastic is loose around the bottle, which is a bit narrower.
The only bottle I own that fits well is a small 7 oz Swell bottle, which fits easily and allows the magnets to close for a snug fit, but that’s way too small of a bottle to bring to the court.
Some might say, toss the bottle in the bag. However, I prefer not to because most of my bottles have rubber rings for sealing them, which invariably leak from time to time, so I like the bottle to say upright – I know I’m not alone here.
As for a can of balls, these pockets are entirely sufficient because they’re lighter, but they’re still not as secure as I’d like.
Overall, I recognize this is nitpicky, and my solution, because I like to take at least 32 oz of water to the court, is to carry my water. Not a huge deal, but depending on what else you bring to the court can be an annoyance since the bag’s intended to hold my stuff in the first place.
Quick-Access Front Pocket
The front pocket is perfect for grabbing smaller items that you might want to access while playing without wading through the larger compartment.
My only knock on the compartment is the three pen slots, which I find an odd use of organizational storage for a tennis backpack unless this bag also doubles as a backpack for work. I’d prefer a single pen slot, which I would use along with an additional larger like the one that exists.
Compression-Molded Back Panel
The compression-molded back panel is excellent. It’s plush, extremely comfortable, and runs nearly the entire length of the bag.
Ergonomic & Neoprene Lined Shoulder Straps
I’m also a big fan of the shoulder straps, which are comfortable even with a heavier load. They’re curved shape also helps them fit or contour your shoulders more easily for added comfort.
It’s worth noting that the metal strap adjusters are super easy to loosen the straps while maintaining a solid grasp once you find the right length.
Adjustable Sternum Strap
If you max the bag out and fill it with quite a bit of gear, it’s large enough to become heavy, and in these scenarios, the intelligently designed sternum strap adds a welcome addition for support.
You can adjust the sternum strap by sliding it up or down for optimal comfort, which also gives you space for tucking them in when they’re not in use for a clean look. Plus, the straps are entirely removable if you prefer not to use them – perfectly executed.
Premium Waterproof External Zippers throughout
Vessel has included waterproof external zippers that are smooth to operate while also keeping your items dry inside. Although I appreciate the waterproof zippers and the clean look they offer on the outside, I do think they’re a bit overkill.
First, the bag itself is not entirely waterproof. Second, it doesn’t take long once the rain begins for most players to leave the court. Clay courts are an exception, but even then, you’re not hanging out too long unless you’re in a serious competition.
On the plus side, I give Vessel props for the pull tabs. Their extra length makes them easy to grab, and the open design of the pullers allow you to operate the zipper at any angle without them getting twisted.
Last but not least, the bright green color not only looks good, but it’s practical because it makes it super easy to find them, even in low light.
Internal Message & Bag Number Donated
Inside the main compartment, you’ll find an inspirational message along with a number which is unique and corresponds with the quantity of bags they’ve donated through their Buy a Bag, Give a Bag program.
Beyond the reminder that you did some good with your purchase, the patch also gives the bag a refined style you see every time you open it.
Thermal-Lined & Padded Racquet Compartment
The racquet storage compartment on the Baseline Tennis Backpack is excellent, with plenty of space for two racquets. It’s very well padded and features a super durable separator, so your racquets aren’t unnecessarily scraping against each other.
It’s also thermal-lined, which is a nice bonus to help keep the temperature consistent and subsequently helps prolong the tension of your strings when your racquets aren’t in use.
If you’re wondering whether the bag fits more than two racquets, the answer is a resounding no – two is the max.
Detachable Racquet Handle Cover
The backpack comes with a matching and removable zipper racquet handle cover that attaches to the bag’s carry handle at the top.
I wouldn’t find myself using it as it’s more of a hassle and unnecessary for my purposes, but it’s there for you if you’re so inclined.
2 Interior Velour-Lined Zip Pockets
On the inside of the backpack’s main compartment, you’ll find two velour-lined zip pockets, which are perfect for valuables.
For me, the top pocket is perfect for storing sunglasses where they’re unlikely to get crushed or damaged.
The second pocket is larger, which turned out to be perfect for stashing my phone, headphones, and where I’d toss my watch when I want to take it off while playing tennis.
Inside the larger internal velour-lined zip pocket, you’ll also find a simple key clip, which makes identifying and pulling out your keys easier.
I’d prefer the key clip inside the external quick-access pocket for easier access while keeping my keys away from my phone or any other valuable items I choose to store in that pocket, but it’s sufficient as is.
2 Interior Mesh Pocks
On the inside of the main compartment, you’ll also find two smaller mesh pockets for organizing a few essentials. They work great for storing deodorant, sunscreen, energy bars, overgrips, or similar sized items.
Although it’s not a knock on these existing pockets, I do wish that the bag had two more of them since I tend to bring a fair number of smaller items that I’d prefer not to be floating around at the bottom of the bag.
Expandable & Ventilated Lower Footwear Compartment
At the bottom of the bag, you’ll find a sizable compartment for stashing your shoes before you get to the court and when leaving.
It’s ventilated to let your shoes breathe after using them and expandable if your footwear is larger. Although convenient that this compartment is expandable, you’ll have to keep in mind that it reduces your space in the main compartment.
I wear a size 10.5 shoes and they fit great. I’d imagine most players wouldn’t have an issue up to a size 12, but it’s going to get super snug.
I do wish I could lay my shoes on their side, the way you’d find them in the box you purchased them, but tennis shoes are too bulky. Instead, most adults will have to stack them for them to fit, which means you end up losing a bit of space in the main compartment.
Finally, there’s a bit of velcro present to keep the extra material neat when you’re not expanding this compartment.
Use & Care
Features are great, but what really matters is how a bag holds up when you use it and what you can realistically store in it.
With that in mind, let’s cover some essential points around using the Vessel Baseline Tennis Backpack.
I spoke briefly to comfort when covering the compression-molded back panel and the ergonomic neoprene lined shoulder straps. However, when you’re buying a backpack, it’s one of the most important considerations, so let’s dive a bit deeper.
As far as racquet backpacks go, it’s one of the most comfortable I’ve used. From its weight when packed to the padding and design, the Baseline Backpack offers exceptional comfort.
I appreciate this element because most people who buy it will undoubtedly use it for more than tennis, and it stands up to the test.
Filling the Backpack
When it comes to performing your best on the court, preparation is crucial, including what you bring with you.
With that in mind, I ask a lot of my backpacks, and for the most part, I’d say that the Baseline Tennis Backpack does a great job.
Here’s a list of what I can comfortably fit inside the backpack:
- Two racquets
- Tennis Balls
- Extra Socks
- Extra Shirt
- Light Jacket
- Notepad + Pen
- Roller Stick
- Lip Balm
- CBD Lotion
- Snack Bars
- Hydration Packs
- First Aid Kit + Advil
- Kinesiology Tape
As you can see, it’s not a small list, but all of that fits without issue, so hopefully, that provides some useful context for its size.
There’s no right or wrong way to pack the Vessel Baseline Tennis Backpack, but I did find it easier to follow a pattern to make it easier.
- Pack all small items in various organizational pockets
- Slide racquets into their compartment
- Add shoes to the bottom
- Fill the main compartment
Again, it’s a bag – you can pack it any way you like. However, I did find it easier to manage and zip up when packing items in this order.
For a long time, I’ve used a backpack for heading to work with my day’s essentials, including my laptop, lunch, jacket, etc.
I use a 16 inch MacBook Pro, and it fits with plenty of room to spare while being well protected in the racquet compartment. Beyond that, the bag has more than enough room for daily items.
I can also confidently say that the bag has plenty of room for a weekend trip or getaway, so suffice to say, it’s perfect for multi-use.
Cleaning the Backpack
Over time, your backpack is going to get dirty just like any other bag. Luckily, the materials, which primarily include synthetic leather and nylon, are easy to wipe clean.
I have found a warm damp cloth is more than enough to deal with daily dirt and grime, but per Vessel, it’s safe to use a small amount of soap and warm water for a deeper clean.
In particular, the synthetic leather is effortless to clean, which is great since it covers the bag’s bottom.
Returns & Warranties
In my experience, strong return policies and warranties are the marks of a great company that stands behind its products.
Although Vessel is well-known for quality products that last, it still pays to know what to expect under the following circumstances.
30 Day Returns or Exchanges
Although I’ve done my best to provide an accurate and unbias review of this product, if you make a purchase and get it in your hands and the product isn’t for you, then you’re covered. You can return it for a refund, or you can exchange it for another one of their bags.
Vessel will let you return or exchange the Baseline Tennis Backpack for up to 30 days from the date of receiving your bag. However, it’s worth noting that you’re not going to get a refund on the original shipping cost, and you’ll have to foot the bill for the return shipping.
Even the best bags can sometimes have unexpected issues that crop up, so it’s great to know Vessel offers a one year warranty.
If you end up with a bag that has defective materials or workmanship within a year of your purchase date, then they’ll send you a new bag. It’s unlikely that you’ll have an issue, but excellent for peace of mind.
14-Day Price Adjustments
There’s nothing worse than plunking down a bunch of cash on a new purchase only to find the price drop within a few days of buying it. Luckily, Vessel has you covered here too.
If your exact product, i.e., color and size, changes price within 14-days of the shipment date, they’ll adjust the price and issue a refund for the difference. For clarity, keep in mind that they’ll adjust off the shipment date, not the date of receipt, which could vary by a few days.
Summary & Takeaways
Hopefully, this review has helped give some added perspective on why the Vessel Baseline Backpack is one of my top picks for tennis bags.
Of course, no bag is perfect, so to summarize, let’s do a quick recap of what I like and where I think the bag can improve.
What I Love It
- Easily carries two racquets
- Ideal size for a tennis backpack
- High-end materials
- Expert craftsmanship and design
- Thermally insulated racquet compartment
- Ventilated shoe compartment
- Multiple pockets for smaller accessories
- Exceptional comfort when wearing
Areas for Improvement
- External magnetic pockets
- Extra internal organization
- Ease of storing shoes
As a bonus, I’d also love to see them throw a smaller thermal-lined zipper pocket somewhere in the bag for snacks. Their racquet bag has a pocket that works for this purpose, which would be an excellent addition.
Should You Buy It?
As is often the case with many products, whether the Vessel Baseline Tennis Backpack is a good buy for you depends. Here’s how I look at it.
If you appreciate high-end materials, thoughtful design, quality craftsmanship, and spending the extra cash isn’t a big deal – it’s a fantastic choice, and I think its quality supports the price.
However, if you’re less concerned about your bag’s style and purely need something functional to carry your gear from point A to point B and back, then there are less expensive options that will get the job done.
Regardless, I hope this review helps inform your decision. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.
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