Like boxers or briefs, the debate over backpacks vs. drawstring bags (aka cinch bags and gym sacks, but we'll get into that later) is the sort of age-old debate that shows no sign of being resolved soon. That's one of the reasons we've decided to split the difference down the middle, and include a drawstring bag with braided handles with our new sports backpack. In other words, you can be the judge.
With that hot-button issue out of the way for now, we'll take a deeper dive into the cinch bag, its many aliases, and functionality.
Said simply, a cinch bag is any sort of open-top bag that is secured by "cinching" a rope or drawstring closure that runs along the top of the bag. Aside from securely closing the bag, the rope or drawstring closure functions as a handle for the bag to be carried by hand, or as shoulder slings so that it can be worn in the same way as a backpack.
Cinch bags are often used as bookbags or school packs because of their easy accessibility and light weight. Cinch bags lack the structure of sturdier, heaver backpacks, but can be used to carry a small amount of books, papers and school supplies.
Drawstring bag is another word for cinch bag, used because the opening of a cinch bag is secured by drawstrings.
The gym sack is yet another term coined for what is often called a cinch bag or a drawstring bag. This term owes its use to the practicality of using cinch bags to hold sneakers, athletic gear, a clean change of clothes and other gym essentials.
Cinch bags—also known as drawstring bags or gym sacks—are an easy and convenient way to carry gear to and from the gym. Because gym bags are less structured than backpacks, they can more easily accommodate bulky objects like kids' sneakers. Having a dedicated cinch bag to carry your sweaty clothing post-workout means that you won't have to stink up a backpack or bag you may want to use for another purpose. Best of all, cinch bags are easy to clean at home in the sink and are fast-drying.
Drawstring bags are typically made from casual, hardwearing fabrics that can be easily washed, such as canvas or polyester.
It's difficult to precisely quantify the lifetime of a drawstring bag, but a good drawstring bag should be something you use again and again to minimize waste, and not a disposable object. Drawstring bags made from sturdier materials will have a longer lifespan. Look for polyester with a higher denier count (which is used to measure the thickness of a fabric's fibers), such as 420 or above.
You can also extend the lifespan of a drawstring bag by being mindful not to overstuff it. The looser structure of a drawstring bag makes it easier to accommodate bulky objects like kids' hoodies, but if stored objects are sharply pressed up against the bag's fabric it could lead to rips and tears.