How to Choose: Tournament Bags

How to Choose: Tournament Bags

Choosing a bowling bag can be intimidating. There are a variety of options and brands, all of which are different in small and large ways. There are different materials, accessories and features one should consider, along with the price.

Let’s go over the necessary qualities that one should look for when choosing a tournament bag and then present some options for you to consider.

When choosing a tournament bag(s), think about the following…

  • Size: Most of the bags you’ll be looking at carry three or four bowling balls, but there are also two-ball options that serve as great supplements. The size of your bag depends mostly on the number of bowling balls you plan on bringing to each tournament, so be sure that your arsenal is set before buying the bags to carry it.

  • Weight: Different bags are made of different materials, thus making some heavier or lighter than others. The heavier your bag, the more annoying it will be loading and unloading it from your car.
  • Longevity: The materials a bag is made of also determines its lifespan. Some bags last longer than others and unless you’re able to buy new bags every season, considering a bag’s longevity is critical.
  • Storage space: Other than your bowling balls, what are you bringing with you to your tournament? Shoes? Tape? Towels? Sanding pads? You’ll need room to store all of these items, whether it be in your bowling bag or in a separate bag.

Hammer Vibe Double Roller

Let’s dive a little deeper into the different sizes of bags that one generally uses for tournaments…

  • Two-ball bags: Bags that carry two balls generally are bags that are carried on the shoulder. Two-ball bags with wheels are available, but a tournament bowler usually prefers his rollers to carry three pieces. Two-ball bags are terrific for bringing that extra piece or two that you aren’t sure if you’ll need, whether it be a specific layout or urethane (shop two-ball bags here).
  • Three-ball bags: The three-ball bag is the cornerstone of one’s tournament setup. A three-ball bag provides a great combination of size, weight and efficiency. There are different options in this category as well (shop threee-ball bags here).
  • Four-ball bags: If you’re looking to minimize the number of bags you have, a four-ball bag is perfect for you. They almost always come with extra accessory space as well. These bags are heavier and much more sturdy (shop four-ball bags here).
  • Other: One-ball bags work well if you’ve only got one extra bowling ball without any space in your other bags. Six-ball bags are an option as well. Backpacks work well when looking to carry your accessories, especially one’s shoes (shop one-ball bags here - shop six-ball bags here).

Roller bags and tote bags are the two main types of bags. Here are the differences…

  • Roller bags: The roller bag does exactly what you would think — it rolls. However, their main quality is their weight and sturdiness. These bags have hard plastic or metal skeleton, making them heavier but usually longer lasting. The wheels are either a hard rubber or hard plastic and the wheelbase is reinforced.
  • Tote bags: Tote bags come with a strap because they are meant to be carried. However, three-ball totes also have wheels, meaning they can be rolled as well. These wheels are smaller than those on a roller bag, and tote bags don’t have the plastic or metal skeleton. This makes them lighter, but also more susceptible to wear and tear. You can also buy totes with or without a pouch on top for shoes and other accessories.

Let’s say you have six balls that you’re bringing with you to a tournament. What are some of your options for carrying those six pieces?

  • Two three-ball bags: Rolling into a house with two three-ball bags is easy and convenient. Not only does it hold all of your pieces, but one or both of those bags should have enough space to hold all of your accessories.
  • One four-ball bag and one two-ball bag: While this may be a bit more unconventional, it is an option. The four-ball bag provides all the necessary space for accessories and shoes, while the extra two-ball tote fits well on the shoulder.

Here are my favorite options for each style bag…

  • Hammer Double Tote (two-ball bag): Hammer’s two-ball tote works great as a tournament bag. It’s light, has room for some accessories and has a nice padded strap for your shoulder. It also comes in two colors — orange and carbon.
  • Brunswick Edge Triple (three-ball roller): Brunswick's bag come with a flush retractable handle system perfect for travel. It has plenty of storage for accessories and a shoe compartment that can hold up to a size 15 shoe. It also is available in 5 color choices.
  • Hammer Force Slim Triple (three-ball tote): This bag’s polyurethane leather composition lasts, as does it’s wider wheelbase. It has a padded tote handle and as with all Hammer bags, the zipper handles are custom. The only con with this bag is that it lacks a shoulder strap, which may turn off some bowlers. That said, this bag is perfect for those who like the lighter tote rollers.
  • Ebonite Transport 4-Ball Roller (four-ball roller): Ebonite’s four-ball option comes with multiple accessory pockets and 6" wide wheels. Like any four-ball bag, it comes with a detachable two-ball tote and a front loading bottom bag all at the bottom end of the price scale for 4 ball bags

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