One of the most used pieces of equipment for any martial artist is the gym bag. A quality gym bag should fit all your training equipment and leave you extra space for a change of clothes and water.
The type of training that you do will determine the best bag. Someone who is only training BJJ just needs a bag big enough for their Gi, groin protection and their mouth guard. On the other hand, someone training Muay Thai will need space for all their protective gear which requires more space.
A well-equipped student could easily pack headgear, 2 pairs of gloves (sparring and bag gloves), shin guards, ankle wraps, groin protection, mouth guard, Muay Thai shorts, Thai pads, food and drinks and even a change of clothes in their bag.
Top Pick at a Glance
Venum ‘”Trainer Lite” Sport Bag
The Venum MMA Bag is an excellent bag for MMA, Muay Thai and BJJ training. The large storage space in the main compartment, allows you to fit all your training gear inside the bag.
The side storage compartments give you the option to separate your clean clothes from the reset of your training equipment. There is a small compartment inside the bag that allows you to carry some of your smaller items like mouthguard or Thai oil.
One thing I like about this bag is the durability that it offers, with the breathable mesh that gives the bag some circulation. This helps prevent the bag from smelly like your dirty training equipment.
Buy it…….. If you want a duffle bag
This is a great duffle bag for holding your training equipment. If you want to use a backpack for training, scroll down the article to see my top backpack that I recommend.
Every martial artist has their own specific needs. Choosing the right bag often comes down to the amount of stuff you need to fit in your bag. This article is going to break down everything you need to know about training bags and help you choose a bag that is suitable for your needs.
Choosing the Right MMA/Muay Thai Training Bag
When it comes to training bag there is no one size fits all solutions. If you have a LOT of training equipment, then obviously, space is going to be one feature that you want to look for. Some bags have better sorting compartments to allow you to organize your stuff neatly when you go to training.
The following are some important factors that you should consider when purchasing an MMA training bag.
Duffle Bags vs. Backpacks
One of the first decisions you need to make when it comes to choosing a bag is what type of bag you want to buy. Duffle bags have the advantage that they are bigger and can hold a lot more, while backpacks are easier to transport by foot.
If you must walk a long distance to your class, duffle bags can put a lot of strain on your shoulders because of the imbalance. Backpacks are much better for your posture and ideal for people who are walking to class.. Alternatively, if you drive to class then it really doesn’t matter what bag you wear because you won’t be traveling to far.
One advantage that MMA backpacks have is that they have lots of compartments in the bag that allow you to separate you training equipment. There is the main storage area of the bag and there are smaller compartments to put your mouth guard, wallet, and side compartments to put a change of clothes etc.
I use a training backpack because I drive a motorbike to class, but if I took a car it wouldn’t matter. Duffle bags tend to be cheaper as well, so if price is a factor this could be another reason to choose duffle.
Internal Storage Space
The most important job of any bag is to carry all your equipment. If you buy a bag that is too small, then you might as well buy another bag. There is no point in having a bag that isn’t going to fulfill the need of carrying all your gym equipment to training.
As I mentioned before, duffle bags can hold more equipment. So, if you are training MMA and need to hold your BJJ Gi, Headguard, Gloves, Shin Guards and a few changes of clothes, you may want a duffle bag.
One thing I’ve noticed is that gym bags can end up stinking if you leave any old equipment in the bag. Some bags have built in mesh linings that allow air to circulate in the bag when everything is closed. That means if you forget your groin guard it will end up destroying your entire bag with stench.
Bags that have better breathability are much less likely to suffer from mold and other moisture related problems. It is a good idea to always take your equipment out of the bag and let them air dry. This will make your equipment smell better and it will ensure you don’t trap odor in the bag.
Look for bags that have breathable mesh if you find that your bags tend to smell bad. Hockey players tend to have this problem because they have a lot of equipment that sits in their bag after training.
Durability of the Bags
Training Muay Thai in Thailand made me realize how easy it is for equipment to start breaking down if you don’t care for it. The durability of your bag is going to depend on the materials used to make the bag. Cheap heavy bags are going to start ripping if you load them up with too much weight.
The better training bags have better stitching in the seems to ensure they are less likely to tear. Any bag will tear after enough weight, but the cheap bags tear after a few weeks of use.
Usually it will start to tear on the side of the bag or you will notice that the straps start to come loose. This is a sign that you probably should have spent a little bit more money on your Muay Thai training bag.
Most bags will last a few years if you take proper care of the bags. After time, they will start stretching and you will notice a may start noticing small holes or rust in the metal if you live in a humid climate. Humidity is the biggest enemy of your training equipment, so make sure you
Another thing you need to consider is the cost of the bag. The more features that are included in a training bag, the more you can expect to pay for the bag. The cheapest option is to buy a big duffle bag with no compartments, but that will result in you having to dig through your entire bag whenever you want something.
The training duffle bags tend to be a bit cheaper than training backpacks because they usually have a couple compartments. The general price of a good bag will range from $40-100 depending on the brand and features that the bag offers. The best bags have strong stitching along the seems to ensure they don’t break when you load them up with all your equipment.
Every Muay Thai or MMA brand makes their own line of training bags. I don’t have any brand preference when it comes to training bags. At the end of the day nobody is going to look at your training bag with envy. It is simply a piece of tool of transportation for all your other training equipment.
Best Muay Thai/MMA Training Bag
Venum Trainer (Lite) Sport Bag
The Venum Trainer is an MMA bag that offers plenty of space and is built with durability in mind. This bag will hold everything that you will need for MMA training. There is a large main pocket in the bag that allows you to put your shin guards and gloves in it and a smaller side compartment.
The side compartment is a great option if you want to keep your clean clothes separate from the dirty stuff you use in training.
There is breathable mesh on the side of the bag to allow some air into the bag. This helps when it comes to drying out your bag after you stuff all your wet equipment in the bag. The adjustable shoulder straps come with a foam padding so it doesn’t weigh down too much on you.
Inside the main compartment there is a smaller pocket that you can store your mouthguard, wallet, or any other smaller items that you want to keep separate from your training equipment. The bag is best used for holding training equipment, so if you plan on storing a bunch of heavy dumbbells in the bag, expect the straps to break.
Buy It……. This bag is good for MMA/Muay Thai Training
This is a great training bag and will work for most people. If you don’t like carrying around a big backpack, this bag offers great storage compartments to use. It will easily fit your training gloves, shin guards and change of clothes without feeling like it’s too full.
Another Option for More Space
Hayabusa Recast Mesh Gear Bag
If the Venum MMA bag isn’t big enough to hold all of your equipment, then you can go with the Hayabusa MMA bag. This is the largest bag available for MMA related training.
The top of the Hayabusa is lined with mesh material to allow more breathability. This is a good thing if you happen to walk around with a lot of equipment that carries a lot of funky smells. The downside of a mesh bag is that it makes it easier to tear. If you get something caught in the mesh then it will rip.
The Hayabusa MMA bag is the biggest bag on the market and offers the most space. If you have 3 pairs of gloves, Thai pads, shin guards and a massive amount of stuff you want to bring to training, this bag gives you ample room to fit everything.
Buy It……. If you want a mesh duffle bag
The mesh lining offers great breathability and a lot of space for all your equipment. The only downside to the mesh is it won’t protect you from rain and it is more likely to tear than regular bags. However, your bag won’t smell nearly as bad as other bags in the gym.
Best Training Backpack
Twins Special Gym Backpack
The Twins special gym bag is the backpack that I use for training. The bag is built very well and has an expandable compartment that allows it to nearly double in storage size. This backpack will hold pretty much everything you need, including Thai Pads or Boxing Mitts.
This bag is in fact bigger than the Venum Duffle bag, which says a lot about the storage capacity of the bag. The side compartments of the bag allow you to put your water bottle or even some clothes in the side area.
One of my favorite features of this backpack is the small compartment at the top of the bag that I use to put my keys, wallet and phone. This is a handy compartment because it allows me to separate my important stuff away from all the dirty equipment I have.
Inside the compartment there is another small storage area at the bottom. I usually put my mouth guard, skipping rope, and Thai oil in these compartments.
If you are looking for a training backpack, I highly recommend you check this one out.
This is the best training backpack that I have used. The expandable storage allows you to increase the size by 50%, which is a huge amount. I have never run out of space with this backpack and am happy with my purchase.
Whether you choose a duffle bag or backpack for your training needs it comes down to preference. Do you want something that you can easily throw everything inside or you do you want something with compartments to allow you better organization?
I use a training backpack for my equipment because I travel on a motorbike and need something that I can wear on my back. The backpacks also have a lot of extra small storage compartments that allow you to place your keys, wallet in a place easily accessible.
It is important to choose something that offers you the space you that you need as well as durability. As I mentioned before, if your bag can’t hold all your training equipment than you might as well carry around two bags.
If money is the biggest thing you are worried about then you should go with a duffle bag. They tend to be cheaper than the backpacks and provide lots of storage space.
The reason I prefer the training backpack is because of the different compartments that allow you to separate your equipment, clothes easily. If you are the type of person that just likes to throw everything together, then any regular duffle bag will work just fine.
I’ve find that the first thing to break in most bags is the strap or handle of the bag. If you plan on stuffing your bag with a lot of weight, make sure you are buying something that will be able to hold the excess weight.