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Sandbags 101: How to Spot a Shitty Sandbag

Since COVID, plenty of copycats and wannabes are popping up in the home gym gear arena and you need to be careful not to purchase one of the imposters. Here at GORUCK, this is not our first rodeo with sandbags. Our sandbags have been tested and proven at thousands of GORUCK Challenges since 2013 and at GORUCK Selection, the toughest endurance event in the world.

We’ve identified the top 5 ways to spot a shitty sandbag and why ours are superior. So unless you want to buy something that will fall apart after its first thrasher session, keep reading.

1. Handles

Handles are quite possibly the most important feature on a sandbag, both the material and the placement of the handles. One would think that the harder the better, but that is not the case. Plastic is your enemy. They are sure to dig into your back and shoulders when you’re carrying them on your back.

The best types of handles are made of the same durable material as the sandbag, but reinforced with extra padding so they won’t tear your hands up. They also need to be securely attached to the sandbag (we use bar tacking – more on that later) or they’ll rip or come off completely. Positioning of the handles is also important. Our double padded handles are positioned all over every sandbag to facilitate different angles and movements.

☒ BAD HANDLES ☒

Key features to look for in handles:

  1. Material
  2. How it’s attached to the sandbag
  3. Positioning throughout the sandbag

2. Material & Construction

The type of material determines the durability, lifespan and overall quality of this not so little torture device. Water-resistance is one of the best known qualities of Cordura. Other materials like Nylon may boast of their ability to repel water, but they have a much shorter lifespan. Cordura is also known for its ruggedness and overall resistance to abrasion. While we don’t recommend dragging it on concrete, brick or any super abrasive surface, Cordura holds up much better than it’s competitors like nylon or canvas.

Our sandbags are built with 1000D CORDURA® and double pass stitching at every seam (this requires two passes with a sewing machine), box stitch reinforcement at the handles, 28 bartacks with 42 stitches per bartack – our sandbags have more stitches and stronger seams than any other on the market.

Materials to avoid:

  1. Nylon
  2. Polypropolene

3. Filler Bags

The other guys will often charge extra for the filler bag, which jacks the price up significantly. Watch out for this trick! Our Filler Bags are included and hold sand, pea gravel and other weight inside your sandbag, protecting the sandbag itself. Each Filler Bag has doubled pass stitching, a double VELCRO® closure, and 1000D CORDURA® fabric for toughness and durability, so you can be sure it won’t bust open in the middle of your workout.

☒ BAD FILLER BAGS ☒

Filler Bag issues to avoid:

  1. Non-reinforced sides
  2. Velcro that is not tacky enough

4. Zippers

We use the burliest, sturdiest YKK zippers that money can buy. Because of its reliability, YKK is known as the best in the biz. We’ve all felt the pain of a zipper breaking, ruining an entire garment. It’s just as important for a sandbag, where sand can get stuck and make it possibly unusable. For us, it makes more sense to go with a reliable brand. And that’s why we only use YKK zippers on our sandbags.

☒ BAD ZIPPERS ☒


5. Lifetime Guarantee

If you do break them or rip them, we’ll repair or replace them. We don’t need to know the date of purchase and we can recognize our own gear. So do your worst and keep training.

Watch out for: 

  • Limited time warranties


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3 comments

    • James Martin says:

      Just as not all mezcal can be tequila and not all brandy can be cognac, not all nylon can be Cordura. Cordura is a very specific thing with a minimum thickness and weave pattern that makes it more resilient and abrasion resistant. If you’re buying something that’s labeled “nylon” .. you can bet it’s cheap and will be prone to failure. Look for Cordura in the description and you’ll know that the right materials are being used.

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