Let’s face it, most of us CrossFitters are crazy about our gear. Almost all of us own multiple pairs of “CrossFit” shoes (I own 4…wait, plus my lifters, 5) wrist wraps, knee sleeves, jump ropes, belts, the list goes on. We pack more for a one-day CrossFit competition than we do for a week-long vacation. Accessing all that gear, lugging it from place to place, should not be a concern – and yet so many of us are still trying to pack $700.00 or more worth of gear, into an old backpack we used in college. It doesn’t make sense, and you need to fix that. Luckily – there are quite a few companies out there who are making bags designed specifically for all us gear-crazed CrossFitters. We’ve narrowed it down to the five bags we think make the grade – and ranked them for you.
5. King Kong Backpack II
You pretty much have two choices when picking a bag for your gear. Backpack style or Duffel Bag style. King Kong has both and they both made our list.
King Kong makes a very high quality bag and the first thing we noticed about this one – it’s simple design. It doesn’t scream “CrossFit bag!” It’s a very nice looking bag that you could use for CrossFit, school or work. My girlfriend uses the King Kong Backpack II as her daily CrossFit bag.
Pros: The quality is what you expect from King Kong. The 1000 denier nylon is the same as they use on their duffel bag that also made our list. The bag’s overall size and accessibility to its compartments make it solid for CrossFitters. The expandable exterior compartments are great for quickly stashing your shoes or water bottle.
Cons: King Kong is a bit on the pricey side when it comes to bags. The Backpack is actually more expensive than their larger “Original” duffle style bag. The $145.00 price tag may be more than some shoppers are willing to spend. The only other complaint I have is the width of the bottom of the bag when the exterior compartments are filled – it makes the bag really bulky and uneven on your back.
4. NOBULL Duffleback
They may make really ugly shoes, but newcomer NO BULL made a damn nice backpack/dufflebag combo. Combining the quick accessibility of the duffle bag with the balanced weight distribution of the backpack, the duffleback can take you anywhere. You just won’t have any money left to spend when you get there.
Pros: Unique design, very cool look. Water resistant coated vinyl on the interior. It’s also fully compatible with MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) pouches, sleeves and other add-ons.
Cons: It’s $249.00. Unless it pops up into a tent that I can live in, I can’t move this sweet-looking bag any higher on our list.
3. “The Original” King Kong Bag 3.0
This bag lives up to its name as the OG of high-end CrossFit bags. High quality, functionality and a decent price moved this into our top 3.
Pros: Zipper quality is often overlooked when it comes to bags, but I can tell you – it’s important. I still own an Under Armour duffle bag – everything on the bag is in great shape – except every single zipper on the bag has broken off. This wont happen with King Kong. The zippers are very high quality. Dual shoe compartments are nice for the CrossFitter who may come straight from work and need to bring metcons and lifters. Price is just $125.00, making it one of the lowest priced bags on our list.
Cons: Like many of these high-end bags, the size is going to be too much for your everyday CrossFitter/Weekend warrior. It is also a pretty standard duffle bag – which means pulling everything out of the main compartment in search of the one item at the bottom.
2. Hylete Icon Expandable and Icon XL Convertible
The stylish Icon series bags from Hylete, are tough to beat. Both are very slick looking, black on black design with 1680 denier nylon as the outer shell. They are water repellent and wont even scratch if you throw it against the wall in a fit of rage after missing a snatch PR (or so people have told us). Because of their similarities we are reviewing them as a pair rather than on their own.
Pros: We gave the Icon XL Convertible as a gift to Malachi Bennett at the 307 Throwdown. He would not stop raving about all the compartments and features. Both bags can hold all your gear with ease, with the convertible being able to take your gear AND your clothes for a weekend getaway. The Icon expandable offers a nice wet/dry compartment at the bottom of the backpack where you can throw your knee sleeves or sweaty shirt at the end of a WOD. It also features a padded laptop carrying case.
The XL takes the expandable’s features to the next level. The backpack easily converts into a large equipment bag with an over the shoulder strap, while a removable drawstring bag can be used separately or as an additional compartment. One of my favorite features is the side pocket cooler that keeps your BCAA’s or Protein drink cold during your workout.
Cons: On features alone, the Hylete bags would rank higher on our list, but price is also a factor, and these bags don’t come cheap. The expandable is $165.00 and the XL is $200.00. This is simply more than most people are looking to spend to house their gear. As awesome as all the features are – it honestly is almost too much. If you are looking for a gear bag, you don’t need all these bells and whistles. If you are looking for a bag that you can live out of that can also hold all your CrossFit gear, these are the options for you.
1. Editor’s Choice: The WOD Bag
Our winning bag combines the sweet functionality of the NO BULL Duffle Bag/Backpack combo - without the sticker shock. Designed by Cloud Peak Crossfit owner Seth Larson in Sheridan, WY - The WOD Bag stands out as unique, in a marketplace long dominated by the same old bag types. You either have a duffle bag or a backpack – until now. Tired of having to dig to the bottom of your backpack to get your jump-rope or wrist wraps? Tired of one or two sweaty items causing all of your gear to stink so bad your significant other demands you store your gear on the porch?
The WOD Bag’s best feature is it’s unique design – a full zipper allowing you to open the bag all the way around and a mesh compartment on the OUTSIDE of the bag for your wet gear. This fixes all the aforementioned problems. Larson was a paramedic and firefighter for more than a decade – the medical and rescue bag designs he used in the field provided the inspiration for the WOD Bag. In his line of work – you needed access to everything at a moment’s notice. It could literally be a matter of life and death. That same functionality is now offered to you as a CrossFit athlete.
Pros: When I CrossFit, I carry everything. I compete often and you never know what the programmers are gonna throw at you. I need my lifters, metcons, wraps, belt, speed-rope etc. I also don’t like to travel home in my sweaty clothes, so I like a bag to be able to handle a fresh pair of shorts and a t-shirt and flip-flops. The interior mesh compartments make it easy to keep two pairs of shoes separate from everything else. These compartments are also big enough to put other items in addition to your footwear. The exterior mesh compartments can hold my cell-phone and the large mesh compartment can air out my knee sleeves and wrist wraps.
This bag and extra compartments allow me to carry all my gear, plus my GoPro and other accessories. The urban camo is a color I like – and the design is rugged. You can use this bag for the gym one day, climbing a 14ers the next – and carry it on during a weekend trip to California the next (Did I mention this bag fits perfectly as carry-on luggage?). If you are a competitive CrossFitter, you will be hard pressed to find a bag more suited for your lifestyle. $119.00 also puts the WOD Bag on the lower end of the price scale for the bags on our list.
Cons: If you are not a committed CrossFitter – or you are someone who trains less than 3 times a week, this bag may be more than is necessary for your taste. If you are the CrossFitter who casually trains and doesn’t own a pair of lifters – this probably isn’t the bag for you. I would recommend something smaller and lower on the price scale. If you are serious about training and competing – look no further.
When we notified The WOD Bag folks that they were being selected as the Editor's Choice, they wanted to pass along some savings to all of you who may be seeing it for the first time. Use the Coupon Code: WILDSTRONG for a discount when you checkout and get your WOD Bag today!
If you enjoyed this review, check out our next article: "Spoiler Alert: You Don't Need a High-Priced Nutrition Coach"...learn how easy and inexpensive it can be for you to learn how to track your nutrition and achieve the nutrition goals you've always wanted. We can help you get there! CLICK HERE to read - but only if you want to get jacked!