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Heavy Bag: Leather, Vinyl or Canvas


This is open to all whom practice any type of combat sport. I am converting my garage to a home gym. I would like advice on heavy bags. If you have any experience in purchasing equipment please share. Thanks!


I've owned and used all three types. They've all held up remarkably well to untold beatings over the years. It does appear that canvas is the most suseptable to wetness (blood/sweat) but you'll get years out of any of those materials.




One thing about canvas (which I currently own) - is that if you plan on hitting it for more than a minutes - you CAN NOT forget your bag gloves, or you will rip the skin off your knuckles.

Maybe I'm a wimp, but that's my experience.

I like leather/vinyl for that reason. At my last studio we had a leather heavy bag that lasted at least 10 years.


real men use canvas :slight_smile:

actually canvas if you don't use gloves or some sort of wrap will tear your knuckles faster than the other materials if you rotate your punch at all...

this also seems to let you run through bag gloves faster if they're not high quality.

all of them are great and it just depends on personal preference and what you can afford. just whatever you get, make sure you research to get the highest quality shit.


check out ringside they sell top shelf gear


Fairtex equipment is great, but I found their bags to be weak. That goes for TKO, Century and Everlast as well. From my experience (10 years in combat sports) the best overall bags were Cozzare(sp). I'm not sure on the spelling.

CANBOX was also solid. High durability on the leather, and reinforced straps to hang from on both of the latter suggestions.

If you are interested in a Thai style bag, Cozzare makes one that is ~250lbs. I'd second Ringside as well.


All three materials are fine. They all wind up covered in duct tape eventually.

If its your first bag then I would buy something cheap from your local Academy. Preferably something around 100lbs or a 70lb and then add some extra sand to it.

Even the cheap bags (TKO, Champion, Everlast all about $50-$100) will last a couple years of heavy beatings, and are easily repaired with copious amounts of duct tape. By then you will have a good idea if martial arts are for you or not.


One other thought.

I have no problem with buying cheap bags. I highly advise you to buy good quality gloves and wraps and whatever other protective gear you need.

If your new to this, you can hurt your hands much worse then you can hurt the bag.


I have a Century Muay Thai bag, which is longer and thinner then your average punching bag. The thing is solid as any 75lb boxing bag and is harder to move when hitting. I personally like it alot, though I too have a canvas just for strength hitting and I'll switch between the two.

If you're a boxer, go with the canvas and get some bag gloves & wraps to go with em.


If you're a kickboxer, get the century Muay Thai bag.



Similar to another poster above, I would go with leather or vinyl if you will be kicking. I've done canvas, and while it looks badass to have your instep covered in blood, it doesn't feel so nice :wink:


My $65, 60 lb. vinyl Everlast lasted me at least a decade of very heavy use. (It's still back home; just no one uses it.) Not just me (I did rounds - kicks and punches - on it three times a week), but numerous pro boxers I was training with used it.


60 pounds, is that a typo. Thats a pretty small bag. I have a 60 pound red vinyl one, but its like hitting a pillow. I bought one of those century muay thai banana bags- weighs around 110-120. Its vinyl.

I would pick either canvas of leather. vinvyl sucks. Thats is especialy true if you go bare knuckle. Once you start sweating it sucks.


I always wanted to try leather but ended up with vinyl for some reason and tore the crap out of it.


Not when you have someone "bracing" the bag for you.

Heavy bag use philosophy differs. Some guys liked the heavy stand alone bags. Those are good if you don't have training partners. (I first starting hitting the bag at 9 or 10, so 60 was more than enough for me even without a partner.) But if you have powerful sidekicks, those bags still spin around. Now, some guys like "chasing" the heavy bag around.

While that has value, I preferred hitting the bag hard and not "chasing" after it. I had one of those bags with nylon ends on the top and bottom. I think they were called "headache bags" because if you weren't careful, they would smack you in the face. That's what I did my speed work on.

So a heavy bag (in my view) is meant to take blows. You need a guy bracing it. Headache bags (again, I could be off with the terminology, as it's been so long) were meant for speed training and "chasing" the bag.

I like having a guy hold the bag while beating on it. Due to the material in the bag, it has enough "give" so that you don't ruin your elbows; and with someone bracing it, it doesn't go anywhere. Plus, the person holding the bag can yell combinations.


Were you kicking it with shoes on? Also, just duct tape the thing up. It's not like you need "soft" heavy bag.


I like my bags leather. I have used canvas. But I have only used very heavy canvas bags:100kg+. Though in my experience they were relatively soft. The banana bags I like in leather. The stuffing sinks down and the bottom is hard, good for low kicks. Punching bags I like in leather or rubber(?), and I like then relatively heavy 60kg+.


Nope,no shoes. We always did tape them up too. My training partners and I were all about 200-225 and pretty rough on equipment, esp with the thai kicks (two of the guys did Muay thai for years and we all did a variety of stuff). We also did some damage on my sparpro.

We had the base full of sand, a 170 pound bag of sand strapped on to of the base and one guy would stand on it while the others did their striking,otherwise those thai kicks would just knock the thing over.

I was talking with a guy outside my apartment once while we were training with it and the guy says "I have one of those but its in much better shape because I've only had it for 3 years." to which I reply, "Uh, I've only had this for 7 months..."

Kept breaking the iron pipe it rests on and we had to build a neck brace for it out of dense foam rubber and duct tape as the head was real close to coming off.
I really got some strength out those two years or so of training just with the sparpro, thai pads and infrequent lifting.

I'd only lift once a week and strike two days, but my curls, presses, squats, etc. went up more than they had in several years and my whole shoulder girdle and arms filled out too.


IMHO, unless you are an experienced user who does regular heavy bag work a 70lb+ vinyl will do the trick. Easy to clean and repair with duct tape. If you are doing leg work (Muay Thai) get something 4'6" or more. On the subject of gloves these are a must. If you use a heavy bag barefisted you run the risk of messing your hands up, wrecking your shoulders and seriously compromising your technique.



imo i think vinyl is good. I use a 65 lbs vinyl bag, and its ok. I like to hit it, and as it swings try to keeep at it; this helps my coordination (or so i think) i go bare knukle on it and i havent had big problems yet, other than some pain in the wrists afterwords, and cuts on my fists. ITs not bad, but im not a beau. you might wanna ask some other ppl, im just throwin in my opinion.