King Kong Bags – The Ultimate Sports Bag!

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Let me start by telling you that I firmly believe King Kong bags are literally the best gym bag on the planet. More specifically, the red version of the PLUS45 King Kong Duffel is the best gym (CrossFit specifically) bag I have ever owned.  I literally use it at least 5 days a week to hold all my stuff when I go to CrossFit. And yeah, I'm a dude that doesn't exactly pack light. I'm just trying to make sure I expect the unexpected!

King Kong bags are robust, well-made, and the designs are well thought out for athletes in various disciplines. The brand has a wide range of bag types, all made with the same attention to detail and purpose. They also offer other sports products that are designed to fit the bags.

Finding the right sports or gym bag can be a challenging venture for many athletes. You may find one with the right number of compartments, but the zippers are not great. Or you find one with robust zippers, but the material the bag is made from is not ideal. I believe that I have found the right bag for my CrossFit training, and I just had to share my experience with my King Kong bag.

Why You Need A Gym Bag

Look, I get it. Not everyone takes a bag to the gym with them. For the longest time, I was a “never take a bag with me” kind of guy when I would go to a Globo-gym. I didn't really need any special gear to go do 1/4 reps on the leg press machine!

But after doing CrossFit for several months, I quickly changed my tune. The day I had to do rope climbs, and I did not have long socks, or any leg protection, was the day that changed me forever. There's nothing like taking a chunk out of your leg to make you want to prevent that from occurring the next time rope climbs are programmed.

I am now the person who feels naked if I do not have my gym bag with my stuff when I go to CrossFit. I seriously depend on my routine when it comes to my stuff. As weird as it sounds, having my bag of gear makes me comfortable, and having the best bag for the job helps as well.

For example, I have traveled many times via airplane, where I have taken my gym bag with me on the trip simply so I can feel comfortable doing a drop-in at a nearby CrossFit gym. What can I say? I need my fitness fix.

The first “gym only” bag I bought was a $15 Under Armor bag. It was basically a mini-duffel-style bag, and it was fine. It wasn't good, but it was ok. It had one side pocket, and the zipper on the main compartment frustrated me to no end. But it got the job done.

But then my wife bought me a pair of lifters (lifting shoes). That presented a problem because I did not have enough room in my Under Armor bag, nor did I want a pair of shoes in the same compartment of the bag with my clothes, knee sleeves, or wrist wraps.

King Kong Duffel Bags
King Kong Duffel Bags

How Big Should Your Gym Bag Be?

This is the age-old question of how big should your gym bag be? A better question to ask may be, what size gym bag do you actually need?

What size gym bag is the “right size” will be different for each person and the kind of fitness training you participate in. to find your correct answer, you need to consider 2 questions, the answers to which will give you a clearer picture of the size gym bag that will be right for you.

1. Figure Out If Your Bag Will Only Be A Gym Bag

First, you need to make the defining decision: Is your gym bag going to be JUST your gym bag? Or do you plan to use your gym bag for other uses like a carry-on travel bag, hospital bag, commuter bag, bug out bag, or jack-of-all-trades bag?

This question, and its answer, are important because they will determine the “stuff threshold” you will have. As an example, if you work an office job and use your gym bag exclusively for the gym, you will probably want a compartment for clean or dirty clothes to separate your clothes.

If your gym bag is going to do double-duty as a light travel bag, a bag that can fit all your needs for a couple of days away and that is compatible with carry-on dimensions for aircraft will factor into your decision making.

Durability is another feature to consider, especially if your gym bag is going to function for other purposes besides as a sports bag. Many bags designed to be used as a sports bag only are flimsy, with inferior material used in their construction and poor stitching on the seams. I have gone through many of these types of bags over the years.

Inferior bags like this do not last long, especially when they are packed to capacity on a regular basis and have to carry substantial weight. This is where King Kong bags stand out and one of the reasons I am sold on these bags.

2. Figure Out What You Will Carry In Your Bag

Once you have decided if you and your gym bag will be in an exclusive gym relationship, you need to figure out what you are actually going to put in said bag. Here is a quick list of a few things that come to mind that people typically have in their gym bag (with a few of my favorites):

  • Shoes
  • Workout clothes
  • Workout towel
  • Lifting Belt
  • Wrist Wraps or Straps
  • Gloves
  • Knee or elbow sleeves
  • Long socks or spare socks
  • Jump rope
  • Athletic Tape
  • Water or energy drinks
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra clothes (such as a hoodie)
  • Compartment for keys, ring, watch, and other valuables.
  • Personal care items such as deodorant and toiletries if you shower after your workout before going home or back to work.
  • Sports rubs for massaging aching, tired muscles.
  • Band-Aids or a basic first aid kit since you never know when you will get a scrape or two during your workout.

Think through that list and make your own list. Personally, I like having more stuff than I need for the “just in case scenario” that often arises. My strategy is that it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. This is particularly the case for CrossFit type training, where you may use different gear on different days, depending on the program.

Are You A Backpack Or Duffel Bag Person?

There are a lot of phenomenal backpack-style gym bags. I've always had a heartfelt, soft spot for backpacks, but I need a duffel-style bag for my gym bag. I say that because historically, it has not been a good way to carry shoes and a weight belt in a backpack for me.

Your choice of duffel back or backpack-style sports bag will mostly depend on your personal preference and how much gear you want to fit in your bag. Some people prefer the convenience of a backpack because they can have both hands free, or they ride their bike to their workout location or their backpack doubles as a day-pack for hiking.

Many people have the need to include a laptop in their bag for various reasons. I have always kept my laptop bag and gym bag as different bags. But for those who don't and want to carry a laptop or tablet, the King Kong Backpack range would be the ideal choice because there is padding in the appropriate places to protect your computer.

If a backpack-style sports bag is more your style, I can highly recommend the Core25 King Kong Backpack, which is designed for this purpose.

I have changed to the duffel bag design because I prefer the way that it carries over the shoulder or in hand, and the duffel bag has that extra bit of capacity that is a choice preference for my CrossFit gear needs.

Whether your preference is a duffel bag or a backpack gym bag, King Kong has an innovatively designed bag in either style, catering to the needs of athletes across their range of bags.

The Most Important Feature Of A Gym Bag

POCKETS! The most important feature of a gym bag is one that has a lot of pockets. If there is only 1 or 2 pockets or storage compartments, I'm out!

I like to keep my gear in separate pockets because it makes the equipment easier to find than scratching around one large compartment to find a small item. (No husband wants to go digging around the main part of a huge gym bag to find his wedding ring.) I prefer to keep certain things in designated pockets, so I know exactly where to go looking for them when I need them.

Separate pockets also help to keep gear clean and safe from dirty, damp clothes or towels that could pose a problem for items such as your cellphone or car keys. That is why I like a bag with plenty of pockets.

The second most important feature of a gym bag is the zippers! Low-quality zippers are literally the worst. Having a bag that has thick, heavy-duty, but easy-to-use zippers is crucial. Like me, I am sure that you have had to discard many good sports bags simply because the zippers broke. And that can be extremely frustrating because there was likely nothing wrong with the rest of the bag.

Next, a gym bag has to have thick, quality material while maintaining breathability. I'm very rough on my gym bag, so it can't have thin skin. I'm serious. I literally throw my bag into the back of my truck every day when I'm done working out. It has to have a tough exterior shell that can withstand some rough handling and abuse outdoors if necessary.

But if the exterior is tough and there is no breathability, then the whole bag is pointless. If you've never smelled a pair of knee sleeves that haven't seen daylight in a long time, then you know just how necessary it is to have a breathable bag!

My King Kong Sports Bag

My fitness regime of choice is obviously CrossFit, which implies that I may need different gear on different days, depending on my program for that day. I went through a variety of different sports bags but was always disappointed with some aspects of the bag.

Even if some aspects checked the right boxes, there was usually one feature lacking or a characteristic of the bag that made it not quite right to meet all my needs.

As I spoke to people within the CrossFit community, I found this was a common complaint among people involved in training and fitness. Not many people were happy with their sports bags and were constantly looking for a better one.

Some people, including myself, went through a few different sports bags trying to find the “Big Foot” version of a gym bag but we didn't know if it existed! I was beginning to lose hope and resign myself to the fact that I would just have to make do with what I had, believing the perfect sports bag to be a legend rather than reality. Plus, I was extremely hesitant to go spend a lot of money on a bag that may not be exactly what I wanted.

I was introduced to the King Kong bags and was a little skeptical at first because of my previous disappointments. Still, I decided to be cautiously optimistic since the reports I had read about the bag seemed to be encouraging. Plus, they were extremely popular with the CrossFit crowd.

Plus45 King Kong Duffel

My King Kong sports bag is the Plus45 King Kong Duffel Bag, and right from the outset, when I first held this bag in my hands, the first impressions were positive.

To be clear, this bag is not designed to be specific to CrossFit, but on the recommendation of some people in my training circle who tried it, I decided to get one for myself. The bag is designed as a general sports bag, so while it works for my CrossFit training, it will also work for many other sporting applications.

After using the Plus45 King Kong Duffel Bag a couple of times, I was hooked. I LOVE THIS BAG, and it's become my everyday CrossFit bag. Again, this bag is not specifically for a particular sport but more of a general sports bag or general gym bag.

The main features of the Plus45 bag are as follows:

  • Capacity. The main compartment of the bag is a generous 45 Liters (11.9-gallons). This makes it just the right size to fit a lot of gear but not so big as to be cumbersome when it is fully packed.
  • Weight of the bag. The empty weight of the bag is 3.3-pounds due to the lightweight materials used to make the bag.
  • Plus45 bag dimensions. The bag is 11.8-inches high, 19.7-inches wide, giving ample room in the bag for your fitness gear!
  • Carry-on compatible. The Plus45 duffel bag is designed to be compatible with carry-on luggage for aircraft travel. This is a great feature that makes it suitable not only as a sports bag but also for a short out-of-town business trip bag.

What I Like About My Plus45 King Kong Duffel Bag

As I have already mentioned, pockets are a make-or-break feature for any sports bag for my purposes. In this department, the Plus45 King Kong Duffel Bag does not disappoint.

Pockets On The Plus45 King Kong Bag

External pockets were the first feature that drew me to this bag, probably because the pockets are one of the most pronounced characteristics of the bag's exterior look!

  • Two pockets for shoes. One end of the bag has two compartments that can be used to house two pairs of shoes. This could be for your training shoes and a pair of shower flip-flops, or for two different types of training shoes.
  • Water bottle pocket. The other end of the bag has 2 open pockets which are nice and deep to house a couple of good-sized water bottles or post-WOD recovery drinks.  The pockets are deep enough that the bottles don't fall out but can still be easily grabbed when you need a quick drink.
  • End Pockets. Behind the open water bottle pocket is another zip-up pocket which is the full height and width of the bag. This is a nice larger volume pocket that you can use for gear such as weight belts, gloves, skipping ropes, and the like. You can also use it to separate dirty gear from clean.
  • Three side pockets. There are three side pockets on the side of the bag opposite to you when carrying the bag. Two pockets have a foldable magnet-closed mechanism, and the middle pocket has a zipper for smaller items such as car keys, wedding band, or wrist watch.

There are no pockets on the side of the bag that will be against your body, which is a good thing. It makes for a comfortable carry, even when the bag is packed full.

My red king kong duffel bag - 45 liter
My red king kong duffel bag – 45 liter

Material of the Plus45 King Kong Bag

The duffel bag itself is made from 1000D nylon material, which is hard-wearing and durable. This is a ripstop nylon that is used to make tents for the outdoors, and it is both tough and waterproof.

One of the features of this fabric is that it is waterproof, but it is also breathable. This means that your gear is protected from getting wet from outside moisture while moisture and air from inside the bag can escape.

As I mentioned in the criteria to look for in a good sports bag, breathability is a characteristic that must be near the top of the list to avoid unpleasant odors and mold developing in your bag.

King Kong Bags - High Quality Material That is Durable
King Kong Bags – High Quality Material That is Durable

Straps And Stitching

The carry straps are made from a durable webbing that is similar to the material that seatbelts in a car are made from.

The hand straps are not just sewn into the top of the bag with tabs, but the webbing completely encircles the bag, providing strength and durability, even with a fully loaded bag. The shoulder strap is made from the same material and is nice and broad so that it won't cut into your shoulder, making it comfortable to carry

A synthetic rubber pad made from Hypalon for additional comfort on the shoulder strap is a UV-resistant and chemical-resistant material. The same material is used to make the in-hand carry handle for the two and straps to be joined together to provide comfort in the hand.

The clasps that join the shoulder strap to the bag are made from heavy-duty high-carbon steel to ensure the clasps will have the strength you can rely on when carrying a fully laden bag.

The top edge of pockets that would normally see wear and tear for pulling gear in and out of the pocket is also edged with Hypalon to improve the durability of the edge and prevent fraying.

There is double-stitching on the handles and straps at strategic connection points, which prevent straps from pulling loose when the bag is packed to capacity.

YKK Zippers

YKK has become the standard in high-quality, robust zipper construction. All the zippers on the Plus45 King Kong Duffel Bag are YKK zippers.

These zippers are made to withstand the strain of a full bag and won't pull open when the tension from the contents of the bag push against them.

Zippers are often a weak point on sports bags, but this is not the case on the King Kong range of sports bags. The zippers are durable and well made, and I am yet to have any trouble with the zippers on my King Kong bag.

The Price Of King Kong Bags

King Kong sports bags are not cheap, which may be an aspect that puts people off at first glance, especially when those people have had previous bad experiences with lesser quality bags.

From my own personal experience, having used a King Kong bag for some time now, I can assure you that these bags are top-notch quality, and you will never want to own another brand of bag again!

The quality of not only the material that the bags are made from, but also the attention to detail in the workmanship and design of the bags make them not only worth the money from a durability point of view but also because they simply work and I do not have to waste my time worrying about something that carries my stuff.

King Kong makes a range of bags in the same high-quality bracket as their sports bags. Besides their duffel bags and backpack bags, they also offer tote bags, fanny packs, hip pouches, and water bottles.

They also have some accessory bags and insert bags that you can use to further partition your sports bags. These include the Edge8 Shoe bag and the Edge Laptop sleeve.


King Kong bags have an established popularity in the gym, workout, and exercise niches, and more specifically with CrossFit athletes because they are not your average gym bag.

King Kong bags may be more expensive than many other sports bags, but the price is most definitely worth the extra money. If you are an athlete, this is one purchase that you will not regret!

I know I will be sticking to the King Kong brand when it comes time to get a replacement bag or for when it is time for an upgrade!

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