Trying to stay on top of your fitness game while you are constantly on the move, is no joke.
When I realized that my new job would require me to travel extensively for up to 20-days a month, I switched to using fitness bands instead of weights. I also swapped my conventional PPL routine for a calisthenics program.
These changes took care of my lifting routine. But my MMA and boxing training, which I use instead of conventional cardio, took a backseat. I tried to adjust by going on runs, climbing stairs and using the stair master.
But honestly, what I missed the most was the feel of throwing punches and kicks on a bag.
That’s when I started to research about portable punching bags. I initially doubted whether such a thing even existed. Lol!
I mean, all that one hears about is heavy bags(some of these punching bags weigh 300lb or more) and speed bags.
Is there a bag that you can tuck into your tote and carry with you wherever you go? That you can use without having to drill holes or buy play sand?
After some research, I found eight portable punching bags, all of them perfect for my requirements.
Which Portable Punching Bag I Ended Up Getting?
Before I get into the meatier bits, let me tell you which bag I purchased eventually.
I bought this amazing, lightweight bag called the Aqua bag. It can be filled with water, which is like the most easily available fill material. Once you are done practicing, just empty it, fold it and tuck it into your luggage.
Most importantly it’s just 15” when fully filled. The only thing that I needed to buy, is a door hanger to hang it from and it has helped me get back to heavy bag training even when I am travelling.
Best Portable Punching Bags
That said, here’s my list of the best portable punching bags that I spoke about earlier. If you are in a similar situation as mine, then any one of these bags will do the job for you.
#1 - Quiet Punch – Built to Be THE portable punching bag
Quiet Punch Review
The first portable bag that I came across during the course of my research was ‘Quiet Punch’. This bag is touted to be the first product that introduced portability into punching bags.
Well, it’s quite something, I tell you.
What’s it good for
It’s great for Boxing and MMA reflex training, because the installation with the bands gives it some amount of rebound. So, it’s more like a double end bag, than a heavy bag. The surface is a 12" x 12” block of foam, which is pretty decent sized and allows you to land consistent punches.
How convenient is it for travel use
It weighs just 4 lb., comes prefilled and can be installed in any doorway. So, I think it earns full marks for convenience. I can easily tuck this into my large rolling suitcase. No complaints.
Installation is very easy. There are two telescopic aluminum poles that you need to wedge in any doorway frame. Then attach the straps to these poles and install the bag. It does not take more than 5-minutes.
- Lightweight bag for MMA and boxing
- Best for speed and agility drills
- Easy installation
- 12” x 12” square foam surface that weighs just 4 lb.
#2 - Ringside Cobra Reflex Free-Standing Adjustable Boxing Fitness Workout Punching Bag
Best Reflex Bag
Ringside Cobra Reflex Free-Standing Adjustable Boxing Fitness Workout Punching Bag Review
The Ringside Cobra is a tried and tested portable reflex bag. It features a heavy duty steel alloy spring that gives the bag, even, predictable swing. This one, is the new version of the bag that has a stronger steel frame than the original one.
Despite the longish frame and the broad base, I find it pretty portable and easy to carry, unless I am flying international.
What’s it good for
This is a reflex bag. It’s great for speed drills, hand eye coordination, cardio and footwork drills. The height of the bag is adjustable from 5’ to 7’, so you can occasionally use it for targeted kicks as well. It’s very sturdy too.
How convenient is it for travel use
The entire kit, including the frame, the base and the empty bag weighs 22 lb. So, it’s as heavy as one of my tripods. I mostly drive to different states and I think that this should fit easily in the back of my truck.
The reflex bag is prefilled with foam. You just have to attach it to the steel frame and fill the base with water. So, you should be able to set it up in about 15-minutes tops.
- Ringside’s bestselling freestanding reflex bag
- Works great for boxing and MMA
- Portable and convenient
- Prefilled foam bag with industrial-grade, rapid-rebound spring
#3 - Aqua Training Bag - 15 Inch, 75 Pound Boxing Bag
Best Portable Heavy Punching Bag
Aqua Training Bag Review
Since I needed a heavy bag, as opposed to a reflex bag, I decided to opt for the Aqua Training bag. This is hands down, the most unique boxing training gear that I have ever seen.
It’s shaped like a speed-bag, but is actually a heavy bag. It’s extremely compact and portable too.
What’s it good for
It’s perfect for a variety of training drills, but is best suited for heavy bag drills. I have thrown my best punches and kicks at it, including hooks, kicks, uppercuts and knees. While I was trying this out, I was almost expecting the bag to rip or break from the frame. But it just took everything that I threw at it.
I now adjust the water level depending on the drill that I intend to practice. Speed drills – Less water. Heavy bag drills – more water.
How Convenient Is It for Travel Use
The Aqua bag is one of the most convenient portable boxing bags in the world. There’s zero equipment for you to carry, except a deflated vinyl bag and a door hanger. Just fill it with tap water, hang it and start punching. It does weigh 75 lb. when fully filled. So carrying it around is a neat additional workout.
This is my go-to bag when I am travelling by flight instead of driving. So, I bought a door hanger that I use to install this in hotels. When I am at home, I hang it from a ceiling-mounted speed bag platform. Either way, the installation is super easy.
- Most compact, portable heavy bag
- Perfect for heavy bag drills
- Weighs 75 lb. when filled with water
- Easy installation
- Thick vinyl bag with a teardrop shaped design
- Bag movement can be controlled by increasing or reducing the amount of water
#4 - Everlast HydroStrike Water Bag, 100 lb, Black, P00000657 Great Alternative to The Aqua Bag
Everlast HydroStrike Water Bag, 100 lb, Black, P00000657 Review
The Everlast HydroStrike is another water-filled bag, that can be a great alternative to the aqua bag, if you prefer something heavier.
This weighs a whopping 100 lb. when fully filled, and is as good as a heavy bag. In fact, when I threw a few punches at it, I was surprised by how firm it feels. You’ll never feel that this is a water-filled bag at all.
What’s it best for
Heavy bag drills only. This is not a bag that you can use for speed or agility drills. It’s a firm, heavy bag that barely moves. On a positive note, it will easily take everything that you can throw at it including kicks.
How convenient is it for travel use
Being a water-filled bag, it’s actually very convenient. You just need to empty it, fold it and store it. It easily fits into a corner of your luggage. It does come with a chain and a swivel. But those are optional accessories that you don’t need to carry everywhere.
The kit includes a swivel, two brace boards and other assembly hardware. So it’s not really intended for travel use. Having said that, I think that you can hang this on a heavy duty door hanger. Not one of those flimsy one mind you. It weighs 100 lb. and ensure that you buy a hook that’s rated for at least 150 lb.
- Heavy rubber bag that weighs 100 lb. when fully filled
- Fills easily with 12-gallons of water
- Perfect for heavy punch combos, and kicks
- Firm surface offers heavy bag feel
#5 - EZspeedbag Portable Doorway Speed Bag Platform by ReaShape
The World's First Doorway Speed Bag Platform
EZspeedbag Portable Doorway Speed Bag Platform by ReaShape Review
I was very impressed with the Ezspeedbag portable doorway speed bag platform. It has the most practical design from a traveler’s perspective.
It fits into any standard-sized doorway, does not require drilling or any permanent modifications and it is very lightweight.
What’s it best for
This is as good as any branded, high-priced speed bag used for boxing and MMA. The bag has a real leather outer shell and a foam core. It’s very firm bag that provides you with a comfortable practice surface that won’t leave your knuckles sore. The bounce is even, predictable and reasonably fast. You can use it for conventional speed bag training, or for cardio drills if you like to move your feet.
How convenient is it for travel use?
It’s very convenient. All that you will be carrying is a telescopic, aluminum bar and a particleboard base, which is attached in the door frame. The bag is pre-filled and both are very light and compact. You can easily carry this in flight or toss it into your car.
The installation process is ridiculously simple. The aluminum bar uses suction/pressure and is wedged in the doorway. It does not budge one bit. The bag is then hung from it using a hook. The entire thing does not take more than 5-minutes.
- Most practical design for travel use
- Easily installs in any doorway
- Firm speed bag with even rebound speed
#6 - TITLE Boxing Doorway Bag
TITLE Boxing Doorway Bag Review
This doorway bag from Title has a very similar design to our #1 bag, the Quiet Punch. It features two doorway bars which are used as hangers, and four nylon wrapped accordion attachment resistance bands which provide the bag with the tension needed for it to move.
The tension is adjustable by increasing or reducing the distance between the bars. I find this design to be quite effective and it creates a stable speed bag surface. Another advantage is that this real leather bag is round and only 8”, which makes it a great choice for accuracy drills as well.
- 8” speed bag for accuracy and speed drills
- Adjustable tension
- Two hanger doorway bars and four nylon wrapped resistance bands
- Increase or reduce the tension easily
#7 - Everlast Reflex Bag (EA)
Everlast Reflex Bag (EA) Review
The Everlast Reflex Bag is one of the oldest freestanding punching bags(AKA floor punching bags). It has been around for years and I recall first throwing some punches at it in 2005.
Even after all these years, the tried and tested design remains unchanged. It features a steel frame with a prefilled vinyl bag on top. The bag has a very even rebound and it lets you work on your timing, speed, agility and hand eye coordination.
Unlike some cheap speed bags, the bag won’t hit back at your knuckles. The base is pretty stable when filled completely with water.
- One of the oldest freestanding reflex bags
- Sturdy steel frame with even, predicable rebound
- Perfect for speed and agility, as well as hand eye coordination
- Firm and comfortable punching surface
#8 - TEKXYZ Boxing Reflex Ball
Most Portable Item on The List
TEKXYZ Boxing Reflex Ball Review
When someone first showed me a YouTube video of the Tekxyz boxing reflex bag, I thought that it was a gag. The video had a man wearing a headband with a tennis ball tied around it swinging around trying to strike the ball.
My first reaction was, how on earth can that be a boxing training aid?
But my coach later introduced me to this reflex ball and boy, I was not able to land even one decent punch without trying hard.
I tell you this, if you are looking to hone your reflexes, accuracy and work on speed and agility, there’s no better bag in this list. To add to that, it’s the most portable design that you’ll ever find.
It’s just a headband, an elastic string and two balls. Wear the headband, attach the appropriate ball depending on your skill levels and start trying to punch. It’s insanely effective.
- Most portable design in this list
- Perfect for speed, agility, accuracy and hand eye coordination drills
- Just wear the headband and start punching
- Budget-priced training aid for a variety of combat sports
What to Look for When Shopping for A Portable Punching Bag
What I realized when I started to research about portable punching bags is that most of them are not portable at all.
They are just advertised as portable. But the designs are just impractical if you are looking to travel to a different country.
So, I made myself a checklist with some very basic parameters and started to select bags based on those parameters.
Here they are.
The most important thing for a traveler is to look for a bag that’s easy to pack and easy to install. When it comes to boxing bags, you have to fill it with something. When you are travelling, sand or sawdust is out of the equation. So anything that’s prefilled or can be filled with water are your best bets. The only adjustment that you will need to make is find something to hang the bag from and you should be good to go.
Depending on how you travel, you might need to look for bags that can be deflated and packed into the bag, or carried in a car. If it’s the latter, then even a freestanding bag will work just fine. But if you are flying, then you might have to consider a deflating bag.
One of the most important factors is the type of bag. Boxing punching bags can be divided into speed bags and heavy bags.
Choose one depending on what type of drills you practice. This segues into our next parameter.
What Is Your Punching Routine and Training Style Like?
Are you looking to develop speed and agility? Go for a reflex bag or a speed bag. I have some really good options in this list that work equally well for MMA, boxing and Muay Thai. On the other hand, if you are looking to develop punch strength, or just for an intense cardio session, go for a water-filled heavy bag. There are two in this list that you can choose from.
Speed bags are generally made with a real leather outer shell or a faux leather outer shell. Water-filled bags can be made of vinyl or rubber. Both materials work equally well. Just ensure that the build quality is good, everything is double stitched, and the brand offers a reasonable warranty. This is very similar(as you would expect) to heavy bags which are made of leather, vinyl or canvas.
For the longest time, I never attributed too much importance to the brand. But in the last few years, I have become very conscious about what brands I trust. Blame it on a few bad experiences, but you want to ensure that you buy from a reputed and trusted brand only.
Top Punching Bag Brands
Thankfully, there are only a selected few brands that manufacture boxing gear. This makes it easy to skim through the gimcracks.
Everlast is a brand that I am sure, needs no introduction to anyone associated with combat sports. I have been using Everlast gear since I started boxing and they have never failed once. The quality is top notch and the prices are very affordable.
Ringside’s rise in the world of MMA and boxing has been nothing short of impressive. For a brand that started in 2002, to be associated with some of the top professionals, is no mean feat. Ringside is considered as a more economical choice as compared to Everlast.
Title is often called the beginner boxer’s brand. But I think that it’s an unfair way to describe them. They are a very reputed manufacturer of boxing gear and their punching bags are very versatile. Well suited for a variety of combat sports.
Here are a few questions related to portable punching bags, answered.
What Are Downsides of Aqua Bag?
Having used the Aqua bag for over a year, I believe that there’s only one problem that I have encountered with it. It’s quite painful to use in cold weather. There was a time when I travelled to Chicago and the weather dropped to below freezing point overnight.
I forgot all about the bag and got up in the morning and threw a couple of punches at it. Bang! Lol. Since then, I empty the bag if the weather is extremely cold.
Do I Need Gloves to Punch These Bags?
That depends entirely on your conditioning and your strength. I started off by wearing gloves, but can now handle bare-knuckle training quite well.
If you are new to it, then I recommend that you start off with gloves, especially for the Aqua bag or any water-filled heavy bag.
Could These Bags Replace Heavy Bags?
As much as I would like to say that they do, heavy bags are irreplaceable and offer unalloyed advantages that you don’t get with these bags. Having said that, these bags are a great alternative when you are traveling.
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