Even if you’re new to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you already know the importance of being prepared for jiu-jitsu class. It’s not exactly an activity that you can just show up wearing whatever, with little else. Like all highly physical sports, you need the proper attire, as well as a slew of other accessories designed to keep you safe and hydrated.
Having a BJJ Gear Bag set up containing all your jiu-jitsu needs will ensure that you never forget these important items… and while everyone’s gear bag might be a little different, there are some key elements.
Whether you’ve been training for years or just a few days, you should consider the following:
First and foremost, you need a solid BJJ Gear Bag. Sure, any backpack could function to hold your jiu-jitsu gear and apparel, but they weren’t made with the jiu-jitsu practitioner in mind. Bags designed specifically for the grappler have strategically placed pockets, durable closures, and – most importantly – are made with water resistant fabrics, so that your sweaty gear doesn’t get everything else damp post-training.
At Kingz, we have three awesome options, tailored to every jiu-jitsu practitioner’s needs:
Convertible Backpack 2.0
The Convertible Backpack 2.0 our most popular bag… and for good reason! The large main compartment can carry up to two gis and has ventilated front openings so your sweaty gis and gear aren’t trapped and stewing in an airless pocket. This backpack has a ton of other pockets to organize your stuff, such a roomy side pocket for your belt and rash guards, a foil-insulated side pocket for hot or cold drinks, a hard shell pocket for your sunglasses and wallet, a protected laptop pocket and a hidden pocket for valuables. The best part about this bag? It’s convertible! Wear it like a backpack or carry it like a duffle bag… your choice.
Crown Duffle Bag
If you’re more old school, the Crown Duffle Bag was made for you. With a large roomy compartment that can be accessed from the top or one of the sides, the Crown Duffle Bag can hold a lot! Minimally designed with just a few extra pockets, this duffle bag is for those whol like to keep things super streamlined.
Roll Top Training Backpack
The latest addition to the Kingz bag lineup, the Roll Top Training Backpack is our most stylish and traveler-friendly bag. A large roomy compartment with top access can be rolled down and secured with a durable buckle... so you can carry as much or as little as you need. It also boasts mesh sides, so that your wet gear can air out, a roomy front pocket and zippered pocket perfect for additional items, such as your laptop and phone, and a water bottle pouch.
Gear bag secured, the main items it will carry are your gis and no-gi kit. If you train mostly gi – or in some cases entirely in the gi – your gi and belt are the most important pieces of training gear. It is important that these 1) fit well, 2) are in compliance with academy or competition guidelines, and, most importantly, 3) are clean.
As to the first point, we recently posted a blog, “The Ultimate Kingz BJJ Gi Guide,” to help you choose the perfect gi for your needs. You may have to try gis several to find the one you like best (don’t worry, we have free returns on domestic orders). You will need to check with your academy to determine if gis of all colors are allowed, or if you might be restricted to certain colors, such as the standard white. The third point should be self-explanatory, but it never hurts to reiterate: clean your gi after every use.
Your no-gi kit will also depend on academy or competition guidelines, as well as personal style. Some academies require that you wear their specific uniform, or at the very least a ranked rash guard. Some tournaments also require that you wear ranked rash guards. However, others may allow you to wear any color or design that you want, which allows for a lot of creativity. Completing the no-gi kit are shorts (without pockets) and/or spats (durable spandex leggings made for rigorous training).
Change of Clothes
No matter how “in shape” you are, you will get sweaty training jiu-jitsu. Unless you’re okay with stewing in your own sweat (and that of your numerous training partners) on your drive home, you may want to throw in a change of clothes. Some academies have showers, which makes it easy to maintain your personal hygiene post-training. For those that do not, a quick and easy solution is to keep a packet of body wipes (such as Defense Body Wipes or just basic baby wipes) in your gear bag.
I cannot stress this enough: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It is impossible to calculate just how much you might sweat during a single training session. Safe to say, it’s a lot. And most of us don’t drink enough water throughout the day anyway. Because Brazilian jiu-jitsu is such a physically intensive activity, you can become dehydrated very quickly. Not only can dehydration cause you to tire quicker during rounds, but you can potentially pass out or your reflexes will become impaired to the point of risking injury.
So, it’s always wise to keep a large water bottle in your BJJ Gear Bag, as well as some electrolytes, to ensure you remain alert and safe on the mat.
Aside from the above core items, many jiu-jitsu practitioners include several other accessories and training items in their BJJ Gear Bag. These include:
Although Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not known for strikes, accidents do happen. A knee or an elbow can inadvertently find its way to your face, potentially causing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of dental work. Prevention is far cheaper. A good boil-it-yourself mouth guard can cost between $10-$40, or you can have your dentist create a mold and order a professional one for about $100-$200.
Sprains, jams, and minor tweaks and pains are a common occurrence in jiu-jitsu. As such, athletic tape is a handy item to include in your BJJ Gear Bag. They even make athletic tape specially designed for wrapping your fingers, which is especially helpful in protecting your fingers if you’re a gi player.
Maybe your academy doesn’t have a shower, or maybe you’re in a hurry… cleansing wipes will be your best friend. As clean as your academy might be, you can’t control the hygiene of your training partners, who may lack the common courtesy to stay off the mats if they have a skin infection. A quick wipe won’t protection you 100%, but it will help.
Finger Nail Clippers
If you’ve been training for any amount of time, you’ll know the perils of rolling with someone who hasn’t cut their nails. Because jiu-jitsu is grappling sport, it creates plenty of opportunities to get scratched, which then increases the chance of infection. Do yourself and your training partners a favor, and always keep a set of finger nail clippers in your BJJ Gear Bag.
Your BJJ Gear Bag may have more, or less, than what I’ve detailed here. That’s totally fine. What’s important is that you come to class prepared to train. Stocking your gear bag with all the items you need will allow you to show up and focus on what you’re there to do: train and train hard.