Complete Buyer’s Guide: The Best Gear Bags and Backpacks for BJJ and MMA

Whether you’re a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) hobbyist or a professional MMA fighter, you’re likely carrying a pile of gear to and from the gym several times each week. In order to transport that gear conveniently and comfortably, you’ll need the right bag. To help you find the perfect bag for all your BJJ and MMA gear, we’ve put together this complete buyer’s guide, as well as our picks for the top 10 bags currently on the market.

Table of contents

Why do you need a bag specifically for BJJ and MMA?

Purchasing a bag that is specifically designed for BJJ and MMA is a worthwhile investment. Unlike a typical school backpack, for example, these gear bags are ventilated, meaning that all your sweaty gear will be able to dry out while in the bag. This ventilation helps prevent the growth of mold and communicable skin diseases on your gear and in your bag, which in turn means your gear will last longer. Moreover, that ventilation prevents the dreaded funk — that all-powerful and awful smell of sweaty gear that’s been left in a sealed bag.

Additionally, these gear bags will have separate compartments made specifically for certain BJJ and MMA gear. Some bags have a pocket for your mouth guard. Some have a compartment that is sized to perfectly fit a folded gi. The specifically designed bags make toting your gear from gym to home and back even easier.

What should you carry in your BJJ/MMA bag?

What you carry in your bag obviously depends on what activity your doing. Below are the items we recommend you carry in your bag, whether you’re practicing BJJ or MMA.

BJJ:

  • Gi (jacket, pants, and belt)
  • Mouth guard
  • No-gi uniform (rash guard, shorts/spats)
  • Water bottle
  • Nail clippers
  • Athletic tape
  • Snacks (granola bars, protein bars, trail mix)
  • Sandals

MMA:

  • Mouth guard
  • Change of clothes (rash guard, shorts)
  • MMA gloves (4-6 ounces)
  • Boxing/bag gloves (8-16 ounces)
  • Shin guards
  • Head gear
  • Nail clippers
  • Athletic tape
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks

For additional information, BJJ black belt Nicholas Albin (AKA “Chewy”) put together an informative list of items he carries with him for BJJ:

Backpack or duffel bag?

Gear bags for BJJ and MMA typically come in one of three types: duffel bag, backpack, or convertible. Like a piece of traditional luggage, a duffel bag is a pliable bag with attached shoulder and/or hand straps and a zippered opening on the top. Duffel bags tend to be larger than most backpacks and can typically carry more gear. Backpacks are designed to be worn exclusively on the back. Although backpacks tend to be smaller than duffel bags, they are generally much more comfortable to carry, particularly if the gear is heavy.

Convertible bags offer the best of both worlds. These bags have the shoulder straps of a backpack, but can also be carried like a duffel bag. These bags are often larger than a typical backpack, but smaller than many duffel bags.

What are the key features of a quality bag for BJJ and MMA?

  • Material

Because these bags are designed to transport sweaty (and therefore stinky!) equipment, most of them are made of water-resistant materials that will not absorb sweat and moisture. Moreover, BJJ and MMA gear bags are made of durable material that can withstand daily trips carrying loads of gear.

  • Ventilation

Again because they are designed to carry sweaty gear, BJJ and MMA gear bags typically have at least one ventilated pocket. As discussed above, this ventilation is a key feature of these bags, and prevents mold and odor. Sweaty gis, gloves, or rash guards should all be put in ventilated pockets.

  • Separate compartments

Many of these bags are designed with separate compartments made specifically for carrying a variety of martial arts gear. You will want a bag that has at least one compartment that is large enough to hold your larger items, such as the gi, shin guards, or boxing gloves, as well as a variety of smaller compartments for holding items like a wallet, mouth guard, or MMA gloves.

  • Comfortable straps

One feature that many people don’t consider is how comfortable the bag is to carry. Imagine this: You just finished a 2-hour training session in the middle of summer heat. As you pile your pounds of sweaty gear back into your bag, do you want a bag that weighs on your body unevenly or a strap that digs into your skin? Of course not. That’s why we suggest bags that rate high in comfort.

Our top 10 gear bags and backpacks for BJJ and MMA:

1. Best overall: Combat Corner Fight Camp Duffel Bag (convertible)

For the bag that has everything you’ll need, whether you’re practicing BJJ or MMA, we suggest the Combat Corner Fight Camp Duffel Bag. With a massive 19-gallons of storage capacity, this bag is large enough for a folded gi, MMA gear, water bottles, and anything else you need. The bag features multiple separate ventilated compartments, which is ideal for separating sweaty gear from clean gear.

What we liked:

  • 19-gallon (71L) storage capacity
  • Includes a smaller mesh “wet bag” that can be attached
  • Zippered mesh pocket in main compartment
  • Convertible between duffel bag and backpack

What we didn’t like:

  • Few individual/small compartments
  • High price tag

2. Editor’s choice: Hayabusa Ryoko Mesh Gear Bag

We love the Hayabusa Ryoko Mesh Gear Bag because it provides ample storage space for all your gear and tons of ventilation. In fact, the entire bag is made of ventilated, tear-resistant mesh for maximum ventilation, meaning you won’t have to worry about stashing your sweaty gear in the bag after a hard session. The bag also features a water-resistant pocket for keeping dry items dry, as well as a stiff base so the bag keeps its shape.

What we liked:

  • 70-liter storage capacity
  • Maximum ventilation
  • Water-resistant compartment

What we didn’t like:

  • Does not convert to backpack

3. Best value: Fuji Competition Convertible Duffel Backpack

For the best overall bang for your buck, we recommend the reasonably priced Fuji Competition Convertible Duffel Backpack. Fuji is one of the longest and most respected brands in BJJ, so we trust the quality of their gear. Made of water repellent and abrasion resistant material, this bag is large enough to carry all your needed gear, but can also be worn as a backpack with heavily padded shoulder straps, adding to the bag’s comfort.

What we liked:

  • Trusted Fuji brand
  • Convertible between duffel bag and backpack
  • Heavily padded shoulder straps maximize comfort
  • Excellent value

What we didn’t like:

  • Minimal ventilation
  • Few separate compartments

4. Hayabusa Ryoko Duffel Bag

What we liked:

  • Relatively large storage capacity (50L)
  • Mesh pockets for storing sweaty gear
  • Inner fleece-lined pocket for storing valuable items

What we didn’t like:

  • Offers less ventilation than other high-end bags
  • Not enough storage capacity for all MMA and BJJ gear at one time
  • Not convertible to backpack

5. Elite Sports Gym Duffle Bag

What we liked:

  • Convertible between duffel bag and backpack
  • Heavy-duty Cordura fabric
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Numerous internal pockets and separate compartments

What we didn’t like:

  • Not large enough to carry a gi plus MMA equipment
  • Some reviewers complain of low quality
  • Only one ventilated compartment

6. Gold BJJ Duffle Bag

What we liked:

  • Extra large water-proof pocket specifically designed for storing a sweaty gi
  • Inner pouch for storing a BJJ belt
  • Interior mesh organizer pockets

What we didn’t like:

  • Lack of ventilation
  • Will not fit all BJJ and MMA gear simultaneously
  • Does not convert to backpack

7. Venum Mesh Gym Bag

  • Large storage capacity (63L)
  • Simple design
  • Ample ventilation

What we didn’t like:

  • Lack of separate compartments for organization
  • Single shoulder strap means limited comfort while carrying

8. Elite Sports Expandable Gym Duffle Bag

What we liked:

  • Expandable pocket for extra storage when needed
  • Mesh pocket provides ventilation
  • Backpack design ensures maximum comfort when carrying

What we didn’t like:

  • Mesh pocket does not separate dry items from wet
  • Cannot convert to duffel bag
  • Not large enough for both BJJ and MMA gear simultaneously

9. Meister Vented Convertible Duffel/Backpack Gym Bag

What we liked:

  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Mesh panels on both sides ensure ventilation throughout the entire bag
  • Convertible between duffel bag and backpack
  • Three side pockets for organization

What we didn’t like

  • Relatively small storage capacity
  • No pockets for water bottles
  • Some reviewers complain of low quality

10. Longevity Gear Mesh Bag

What we liked:

  • Very low price tag
  • Made of mesh material for maximum ventilation
  • Over-sized zippers

What we didn’t like:

  • Relatively small storage capacity
  • Does not convert to backpack
  • Few separate compartments and pockets

Comparison of our top 10 gear bags for BJJ and MMA

Duffel bag, backpack, or convertible?Size/storage capacityVentilation
Combat Corner Fight Camp Duffel Bag (Best overall)Convertible71 litersMultiple ventilated compartments, including an attachable wet bag
Hayabusa Ryoko Mesh Gear Bag (Editor’s choice)Duffel bag70 litersMesh material ensures maximum ventilation
Fuji Competition Convertible Duffel Backpack (Best value)Convertible23″ x 13″ x 13″Minimal ventilation
Hayabusa Ryoko Duffel BagDuffel bag50 litersSome mesh pockets
Elite Sports Gym Duffel BagDuffel bag23″ x 11″ x 12″One mesh pocket
Gold BJJ Duffel BagDuffel bag44 litersMinimal ventilation, but a waterproof gi pocket
Venum Mesh Gym BagDuffel bag63 litersOne large, completely ventilated compartment
Elite Sports Expandable Gym Duffel BagBackpack27.5″ x 16″ x 9″One ventilated pocket
Meister Vented Convertible Duffel Bag/Backpack Gym BagConvertible26″ x 12″ x 12″One ventilated side pocket
Longevity Gear Mesh BagDuffel bag20″ x 10.5″ x 10.5″Mesh material ensures maximum ventilation

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