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If you’ve been part of the powerlifting community, chances are you’ve come across a lifter who walks into the gym with an awkwardly huge travel-sized luggage bag with all sorts of equipment and other stuff mashed up together inside and wasting more time taking things in and out than actually working out.
Rather than being that guy (or girl), the easiest solution is to actually buy a proper powerlifting gym bag. So what’s the best powerlifting gym bag?
After testing five popular gym bags and speaking with each of the manufacturers, the best powerlifting gym bag is the King Kong CORE35 Duffel. While this bag wasn’t initially marketed toward powerlifters (originally it was for Crossfitters and Strongmen), it has everything that a powerlifter needs in a gym bag:
- It’s wide enough to fit your powerlifting belt and up to two pairs of shoes (squat and deadlift shoes)
- It has multiple smaller compartments to neatly stash other items like wraps, sleeves, chalk, ammonia, or anything else your powerlifting heart desires.
- The canvas material is ultra-durable, which will be good to take both to the gym or a powerlifting meet.
Read on, if you want to find out more about the powerlifting gym bags as well as some other options on the market!
Top 5 Powerlifting Gym Bags Available on the Market
The top 5 powerlifting gym bags are:
- King Kong CORE35 Duffel – Best Overall Powerlifting Gym Bag
- Red Rock Outdoor Gear Diplomat Pack – Runner Up
- Nexpak Tactical Duffle Military Molle Gear Bag – Best Budget Option
- MIER Large Gym Duffel Backpack Bag – Best Bag for Cycling
- ARMYCAMO Military Tactical Wheeled Duffel Bag – Best Option with Wheels
The King Kong Core35 Duffel is my top recommendation for a powerlifting gym bag because it was built from the ground up to be a gym bag, and a gym bag only.
I chatted with Stefan on the phone not too long ago, the CEO of King Kong, and he told me the story of how by creating the bag he was trying to solve his own pain point of walking into the gym with a bag that just simply wouldn’t hold all of his gym gear properly.
This brings me to the main feature that I love about this bag…
The King Kong Core35 bag has an external belt attachment. So rather than trying to put your powerlifting belt inside the bag, you can wrap it around the bag, which saves a lot of other room for other items inside the actual main compartment.
I have a 10mm lever belt, and I thought the lever attachment wouldn’t be able to fit into the side pouches, but I was wrong. It can definitely fit a standard-sized powerlifting belt.
The bag also has multiple compartments to store various big and small items including both your squat shoes and deadlift shoes. Not many bags I tested had enough room for both shoes. So for a ‘powerlifting-specific bag’, this was an excellent feature.
The bag is made of canvas fabric, which is extremely durable that can take a beating while resisting wear and tear. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty hard on my gym bags. I’m tossing it around in the gym, throwing it in and out of my truck, and traveling with it to powerlifting meets. So durability is key.
The King Kong bag definitely felt like over the course of many years that it wouldn’t have much wear and tear. Another thing about the canvas material is that it’s mostly waterproof, so they’re pretty good at handling sweaty gear while staying easy to wash and clean!
Also, if you’re not using the belt pouch, I slid my sweaty knee sleeves inside the outer compartment after my workout, which was great for not getting any of the gear I wanted to stay dry inside my bag (wraps, straps, etc.).
The last thing I’ll say is that you won’t be disappointed with the internal capacity. You’ll be able to fit everything from sleeves to wraps, and everything in between, inside the bag without feeling like you’re shoving or cramming it together.
- Stores the belt on the outside to save internal space
- Huge internal capacity
- Multiple waterproof compartments to store shoes
- A bit pricey but will last for a long time
What I like about the Red Rock bag is that it’s extremely versatile. It’s large enough to store all your powerlifting tools, thanks to its 54 liters of total capacity. Yet, you can also use them if you’re a fan of outdoor living, trekking, or hiking!
The bag has internal dividers to organize your gym gear so they don’t get mixed up inside. It’s also compatible with hydration packs for up to 2.5 liters.
In addition to the shoulder and waist straps, the bag comes with multiple carrying handles to allow you to move the bag around the way you prefer.
The bag’s internal padding is made of nylon, which is durable enough to carry around your tools without getting torn apart.
- Available in a variety of designs
- Easy to carry using multiple straps and carrying handles
- Wide internal capacity with a shell design that opens completely
- You need to be careful with the zippers
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still get a bag that’s big enough to fit all your gear without compromising on capacity and space efficiency.
This tactical duffle bag comes with tons of designs from solid colors to military camo to suit your taste. It has a total internal capacity of 42 liters, which is large enough to carry powerlifting gear.
The Molle external design allows you to attach extra pouches to the bag where you can fit additional items.
The bag is made of polyester, which is durable enough with gentle handling but won’t withstand intense use. But all in all, it’s a pretty decent bag for its price.
- An ideal choice for buyers on a budget
- Available in different camo patterns
- Wide storage compartment with ability to extend it with MOLLE system
- Polyester is not as durable as other materials
Wearing a cross-shoulder duffle bag to a gym is usually the most convenient way for balance. However, if you go to the gym on your bike, it might throw you off balance with all the gear inside.
If you’re looking for a large duffle-style bag that comes with shoulder straps for balanced carrying, you should consider the MIER duffle-backpack bag. This bag comes with detachable straps that convert it from a duffle bag into a backpack.
The bag is made from durable materials that are also waterproof and feature tons of compartments to store all your gear conveniently.
The bag is also quite affordable and comes with a 2-year warranty to add more value to the purchase.
- Available in 45, 60, and 90 liters capacities
- Comes with removable straps to modify the bag from a duffle to a backpack
- Affordable price tag
- Lacks a water bottle compartment
Lastly, if you’re a serious or competitive powerlifter who carries around tons of gear and reaches your limits during workouts, even the simplest tasks like carrying the bag on your shoulder on the way home would be too much of a hassle!
Instead of using large briefcases and luggage bags for that purpose, you need a large powerlifting gym bag with the option of a built-in wheel.
What makes this ARMY CAMO bag a great option is that it’s 126 liters, which allows you to carry 2 pairs of powerlifting shoes, belts, straps, clothes, supplements, and more. The bag comes in a variety of colors and comes with a one-year warranty!
- Excellent choice for serious powerlifters who carry tons of stuff
- Cool design with three built-in wheels for easy portability
- Great value for its price
- Can be a bit bulky for some
Why Powerlifters Need A Special Gym Bag?
Here are some of the reasons why a powerlifter needs a special gym bag:
They Carry Too Many Equipment Than Average Gym Goer
As you’ll know in the following section, powerlifters carry a ton of equipment and food to the gym, they need convenient storage for all their items. One of the best ways to achieve that is by having a specially-designed, large gym bag.
The Content of Their Bags Are Bulky and Awkward to Fit in a Regular Bag
In addition to being large in number, some of these items are also large in size and too hard to fit in a regular gym bag that is made of low-density polyester.
A special powerlifting bag is usually made of nylon, high density (denier) polyester, or canvas for that matter.
They Usually Stay Longer in the Gym
Serious powerlifters who are entering competitions might stay much longer in the gym than average gym-goers.
For that reason, they need to have bags with extra isolated compartments for multiple daily items, such as extra meals, to keep their extended stay more convenient.
What Should Your Powerlifting Gym Bag Be Able To Store?
It’s usually easy to spot a powerlifter from other gym-goers due to the number of items and tools they have to carry around and take out when they’re at the squat cage.
Here’s a quick look at some of the special items that your bag needs to carry if you’re a powerlifter:
If you want to maximize your energy and efficiency while doing a deadlift or a squat, you need special shoes.
Unfortunately, running and other trainer shoes don’t fit the bill of powerlifting. In fact, even deadlift-specific shoes are not ideal for squats!
In other words, a serious powerlifter will usually carry two different types of shoes for both deadlifts and squats, which are bulky enough and fill up most gym bags on the market.
A powerlifting belt is an extremely essential item for powerlifting because it stabilizes your back, reduces spinal stress, augments your technique, slows down the fatigue process, and helps you overcome pain.
Wrist wraps and straps are essential tools to support your wrists and induce a gripping reflex while hauling a ton of weight. Although they don’t take as much space as a powerlifting belt, you still need to allocate some space for them along with all the other items on the list.
Similar to wrist wraps, knee sleeves are also extremely essential for lifters because they help in warming up your knees and speeding up their recovery process, especially while you’re doing a squat.
In addition to all the specific gym gear that a powerlifter needs to carry, such as:
- Chalk: powerlifters will often use chalk powder (usually magnesium carbonate) to soak up the moisture in their palms and between their fingers to secure a firm grip on the barbell. This chalk is usually carried in jars and takes up space in a powerlifter’s bag.
- Meals: many powerlifters, especially competitive ones, will follow a strict diet that is protein and carbs-rich that needs to be consumed at short intervals. That’s why most of them will bring an additional meal that needs a place in the bag.
- Water Bottles: hydration is essential for almost anyone at the gym. As one of the most common items in all gym bags, powerlifting gym bags should also have a quick slot for water bottles.
- Gym Towels: powerlifting is an extreme form of exercising so they usually require more than one towel in the bag.
- Supplements: almost all gym goers should have a specific compartment where they keep all their supplements, whether they’re simple dietary supplements or performance-enhancing and muscle-gaining ones, such as protein powders and creatine.
- Clothes: powerlifting shoes aren’t the only clothing items that you might need to carry in the bag. Some people also throw in powerlifting singlets or gym clothing or for training.
- Soap and Sanitizers: gym floor and equipment aren’t always clean, so you have to carry your own protective kit around to avoid infections.
Gym Bag Features You Need As A Powerlifter
While shopping for a suitable gym bag for your powerlifting needs, there are some special features you need to keep in mind. Let’s check them out:
A Huge Carrying Capacity with Multiple Compartments
The average gym-goer might only need a towel and a bottle of water in their gym bag. However, a powerlifter needs tons of items, as mentioned above.
To fit all these items, you need a big a seriously high carrying capacity, so you should look for bags that have a total capacity of 40 liters or higher
Unlike most weightlifting gear that you can fit in a normal bag, powerlifting items are usually made from bulky durable materials that can easily poke a hole or wear off a regular bag easily. This is why you need a durable bag made from high-denier polyester, nylon, or preferably canvas!
Ease of Carrying and Moving Around
It’s usually quite easy for a powerlifter to carry around a duffle bag full of food and equipment. However, after a strenuous training session, carrying things around might be too exhausting.
Always make sure that the bag will be easy to carry and have various handles and shoulder straps for portability and convenience.
In some cases, you might not need the entire powerlifting gear to hit the gym. Also, during recovery and days off, the bag must be easily stored when it’s empty, so make sure that the bag stays compact and easily folded when empty.
Ease of Cleaning
Most gym equipment will get some sweat on them after exercise. That’s why you need to wash the bag and clean it every now and then. Always make sure that the bag doesn’t smell too much between washing sessions.
Additionally, make sure that the bag is easy to wash, preferably machine washable, and dries quickly for reuse.
Related Article: 7 Best Gym Bag Odor Eliminator
Powerlifting Gym Bag Styles
There are various powerlifting gym bag styles that you might want to keep in mind. Here’s a quick overview of each one of them:
- Duffle Bags: ideal for heavy gear and intense use.
- Sack Style Bag: similar to duffle bags but more suitable for lightweight gear
- Tactical Gear Bag: suitable for adjustability thanks to the MOLLE system that allows attaching pouches
- Backpack Style Bag: works well for those who go to the gym walking or on a bag
- Duffle-Backpack Combo Bag: an extremely versatile style that combines the best of both worlds
The King Kong CORE35 Duffel is my recommendation for a pretty durable bag with a spacious interior that is split into multiple compartments to keep your equipment and food organized and isolated.
If you’re still trying to decide which gym bag is right for you, check out these other gym bag resources:
- 5 Best Gym Bag With Wheels
- 7 Best Gym Bags with Laptop Compartments
- 10 Best Gym Bags with Water Bottle Holders
- 5 Best Gym Bags with Wet Compartment