Cobra Grips crossfit bag

The Best Gym Bags for Crossfit in 2019

by Matt Phillips - Last Updated July 19, 2019

As a fourteen year CrossFit athlete and coach I fully endorse and embrace all the personal gear you can carry to your box or dropping in.  Knee sleeves jump rope, hand grips, wrist wraps, lifting shoes, lifting belt and pre and post workout supplements, to cover the basics. So we reviewed and selected the best bags for being big, tough,  well organized and stylish, so you show up to your box or competition like 007 and not Inspector Gadget.

 Our top 5 CrossFit Gym Bags

1.Image of the Bear KompleX gym bag Tactical Rucksack for, hunting, fitness & CrossFit. 1000D nylon duffel - BlackThe Bear Komplex tactical duffelBest Value
2.Image of the King Kong Original Nylon Gym Bag - Heavy Duty and Water-Resistant Duffle Bag - Military Spec Nylon- Heavy Duty Steel Buckles - 20” x 12” x 12” - RedThe King Kong (original)Premium bag for a premium price
3.Image of the SOBAM Gear Co. Large Gym Duffel Bag Workout Bag for Men and Women with Shoe Compartment, Wet and Dry Pocket, Water Bottle Holder, 9 Pockets, 20in x 12in x 12in, tons of Space (Black, Standard)SOBAM large duffelClever and stylish upgrades
4.Image of the WODSuperStore Rigor Gear Large Crossfit Workout Duffle Bag with Shoe Compartment, Wet Dry Pouch, Water Bottle Holder, Outside Mesh Pockets Sports Luggage for Gym, Carry On or Travel (Grey, Large)Rigor Gear large sports duffelMore money with no upgrades
5.Image of the Sport Large Best Gym Duffle Travel Bag Wet Dry Storage Carry On Cobra Grips BackPackCobra Grips duffel/backbackBudget choice

Essentials to be considered a Great CrossFit Gym Bag

  • Tough: (usually military specifications and materials)  Going to your local box is no walk in the park. Your bag is likely to get moved by someone who doesn’t care as much as you, it’s going to get spilled on, dusted with chalk and probably taken to a local outdoor competition all while carrying fifteen pounds or more of gear in and out of your trunk at home and in the parking lot.
  • Big:  Baseline we are talking two pairs of shoes, two shirts, shorts, weightlifting belt, pre-workout, and a meal/supplement carrier, foam roller, lacrosse ball and you don’t want to dig for what you need at the bottom of the pile.
  • Organized: Sure cargo pants aren’t cool anymore (I’m trying to change that), but you can never have too many pockets.  There is so much little gear to store for your workout from your hand grips, rolls of tape, speed rope, personal first aid and don’t forget your key-fob, phone/tablet, and earbuds.  Digging for these odds and ends or trusting them all to a single mesh pocket on the end is an amateur move. Besides (ever try to replace key fob)?
  • Ready for sweat and wet: Ever leave your workout shoes in your car overnight, and the next day you wonder if there is a salmon in the backseat?  We don’t want our clean shirt smelling like our lifting shoes or someone sniffing their way down the hall toward you office looking for the dead body because your lunchtime workout gear is in your bag.

Making the cut:

    • Military grade materials or near Mil-spec construction
    • 11 Gallon minimum volume (remember we want the kitchen sink)
    • Multiple internal and external pockets that secure
    • Separate “wet” storage & Odor resistant materials
    • Shoe compartment

The Top 5 Best Gym Bags for Crossfit

1. Bear Complex: Best Value

Image of the Bear KompleX gym bag Tactical Rucksack for, hunting, fitness & CrossFit. 1000D nylon duffel - Black Size: 20 x 12 x 12 inches

Wet pocket/ shoe compartment: 2

Bottle holder: yes

Material: durable military spec. 1000D nylon

Extra features: double-stitched seams, available in woodland camo

Bear Komplex broke open the gymnastic handgrip market for CrossFitters and now also handle some other CF specific products.  What do we like about the Bear Komplex tactical sports bag?  Simply put, it’s a clone of the King Kong, just as big, just as well built and with the same pockets, but for less.

While not identical, they are hard to tell apart when looking at them side by side in a lineup or looking at a list of the features.  However, they part company at price, with the Bear Komplex bag at two-thirds the price of the Kong, making it our Best Value.

2. King Kong (original):  Premium quality at a premium price

Image of the King Kong Original Nylon Gym Bag - Heavy Duty and Water-Resistant Duffle Bag - Military Spec Nylon- Heavy Duty Steel Buckles - 20” x 12” x 12” - Red Size: 20 x 12 x 12 inches

Wet pocket/ shoe compartment: 2

Bottle holder: yes

Material: durable military spec. 1000D nylon

Extra features: double-stitched seams (Mil-Spec plus), comes in five other colors

The King Kong (original) there is a “big” and “jr” as well,  was the first of it’s kind and best in class for many years.  I still remember when I saw the first bag in person at a local competition, and it swept over me like a wave, “ I gotta get one of those.”

The bag is of a product of superior construction, Mil-Spec materials double stitched (beyond mil-spec). Sealable pockets to keep your goodies away from prying eyes and a mesh pocket on the end that will accommodate a good size shaker bottle or filtered water bottle.

You will be able not only to store your gear but keep it nicely organized and accessible.  It makes an impression when you walk in with it and so does the price as the only bag on our list to come in well over one hundred dollars, but you can’t find a bag that will last longer outside of the military.

3. SOBAM Large Duffel: Clever upgrades for not much more money.

Image of the SOBAM Gear Co. Large Gym Duffel Bag Workout Bag for Men and Women with Shoe Compartment, Wet and Dry Pocket, Water Bottle Holder, 9 Pockets, 20in x 12in x 12in, tons of Space (Black, Standard) Size: 20 x 12 x 12 inches

Wet pocket/ shoe compartment: 2

Bottle holder: yes

Material: durable military spec. 1000D nylon

Extra features: internal “valuables” box and rigid piping to hold form

SOBAM started life as a Kickstarter project to make the better gym bag.  “Better” is in the eye of the beholder, but SOBAM’s features might hit you right where you live.  Two features set it apart; an internal removable “valuables” box instead of a pocket for that expensive watch or phone that you don’t trust floating loose in your bag or an external pouch.

The second difference is that SOBAM chose to use ribbing on the external seams that cause the bag to keep its shape even when empty, style points and ease of use. The price splits the difference between the Bear Komplex and King Kong with the same capacity, but if you like the luggage style look along with the upgrade internal storage, this is your bag.

4. Rigor Gear: More money without the upgrades

Image of the WODSuperStore Rigor Gear Large Crossfit Workout Duffle Bag with Shoe Compartment, Wet Dry Pouch, Water Bottle Holder, Outside Mesh Pockets Sports Luggage for Gym, Carry On or Travel (Grey, Large) Size: 21 x 15 x 10 inches

Wet pocket/ shoe compartment: 2

Bottle holder: yes

Material: durable military spec. 1000D nylon

Extra features: additional external zip up pockets and loop straps

Why is the Rigor Gear large duffel number four on our list?  Simply put, it’s too much to pay for a bag that lacks the SOBAM’s clever and stylish design and is more expensive than our number one pick the Bear Komplex. NEXT…

5. Cobra Grips Duffel/Pack: The budget choice.

Image of the Sport Large Best Gym Duffle Travel Bag Wet Dry Storage Carry On Cobra Grips BackPack Size: 22 x 12 x 12 inches

(26in long when extended)

Wet pocket/ shoe compartment: 1

Bottle holder: not really

Material: 600 Poly with PVC coating

Extra features: extendable, with backpack configuration

Like Bear Komplex, Cobra Grips duffel bag/backpack comes from another part of the industry and much more widely known in bodybuilding.  This bag is the lowest price point of our five selections. But that’s not why it is ranked fifth, instead exactly why it made the list.

To save on cost Cobra went for a near mil-spec, highly durable and water resistant polyester with PVC coating and then went next level to include the extra straps and internal stowage to transition into a “backpack.”  While this is not a monster bag built to outlast it’s owner its size and configuration qualify it for the list, and it comes in at just under fifty dollars. Our concern is the backpack straps and buckles could be just more stuff to stow, struggle with or break.  Gym bags aren’t rucksacks just as the reverse is true.

Some final thoughts as you consider one of these bags.

  • Don’t be nervous about the cost, bags of this quality are an investment that will last years
  • If you are a smaller or petite athlete, you may want to find some other options
  • If you still can’t’ fit it all in one of these bags consider a roller bag
  • Think where is your bag going to have to be carried and where is it going to live, these bags are hide-a-body big.

CrossFit and functional fitness athletes love their spartan gyms, but there is no shortage of personal gear and nutrition to go along with your workout. Efficiency and convenience come at a premium when integrating the healthy lifestyle into an already busy schedule.  A specialized gym bag to keep your gear ready to go to roll in for whatever the coach has planned is an excellent investment in your workouts and sanity.

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