The 7 Best Hockey Bags
This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Helmet, skates, stick, pads, uniform, tape, and more. If you have a hockey player in the family, you know they need to carry a lot of gear to games and practices alike. One of these specialized bags will haul and protect the lot, while making it easy to stay organized, so you don't show up at the big match without important equipment. We included options for various positions and age groups. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 09, 2021:
Sadly, our former #1 pick from Pacific Rink is extremely hard to find, so we can no longer recommend it. But never fear, we've found a couple great models to replace our top selections. The best on the market is the Grit PX4 Pro because it's built to last for years, and durability is the biggest concern aside from size. If you want something bigger than the PX4 Pro, the Athletico XXL is about as big as they get. Most of our other selections are unaltered. We still really like the Grit Airbox due to its impressive airflow, but you'll want to be a little careful with it as it's not quite as durable as its more expensive relative.
March 09, 2020:
A good hockey bag requires a certain set of features that set it apart from a simple duffel. Those include durable, lightweight materials and an organizational system that can make sense of skates, shin guards, hockey pants, a cup, elbow pads, a chest protector, gloves, a helmet, and a variety of accessories. That's a lot of stuff to simply pile into a single compartment and haul away. Trust me, my first hockey bag was my dad's old vertical military duffel from his time in Vietnam. This is why we sent off the AmazonBasics Duffel and the Gothamite ICE USA, as neither were truly designed with hockey players in mind.
Ventilation is also one of the most important things to look for, which is what's so exciting about the Grit PX4 Pro Series, which applies mesh paneling on four of its sides to really let your gear breathe. Of course, if your stuff already stinks, and you keep it anywhere within striking distance of anyone else's nose (an attached garage, your car trunk, etc.), that mesh is also going to let all those smells out more readily, so be careful how you apply it.
What Separates a Good Hockey Bag From a Great One?
It's also beneficial for any bag to include at least one ventilated pocket, so that your sweaty attire can breathe.
Hockey bags are required to carry a considerable amount of equipment, including jagged pads and sharp blades. With that in mind, a consumer's first priority should be confirming whether a bag is durable. Most bags are made out of heavy fabrics, including nylon and polyester blends. A lot of superior bags are double- or even triple-stitched with reinforced lining along the central compartment and the pockets.
An average equipment bag measures between 24 and 36 inches long, allowing enough space for all of a player's pads and other gear (with the exception of a stick) to fit inside. Certain upscale bags are also designed with extra straps along the back so that players can fasten their sticks to the unit.
It's safe to assume that any hockey equipment bag will get damp and dirty, which is why you'll want to confirm that a bag's material is machine-washable, water-resistant, and perhaps even odor-resistant. It's also beneficial for any bag to include at least one ventilated pocket, so that your sweaty attire can breathe.
The majority of hockey equipment bags weigh between three and 10 lbs., which could represent a burden once combined with 15 extra pounds of gear. Top-of-the-line bags account for this by placing extra padding along the shoulder straps, a pull-out handle in the front, and a pair of casters at the rear. Features such as these are especially important if you play on a traveling team, as your equipment bag needs to double as a piece of luggage, as well.
How to Organize a Hockey Bag
On the surface, it might seem okay to simply toss your gear inside a hockey bag without much thought. But this is a shortsighted approach that could — and probably will — result in items getting damaged, crushed, or lost. If you value your equipment, it's best to train yourself to organize a hockey bag efficiently until the process of doing so begins to feel more like a routine.
Your shin pads, shoulder pads, and helmet should be placed around the edges of the hockey bag's central compartment.
The best place to start whenever organizing a hockey bag is determining where every item should go. Ventilated pockets (located on the outside) should be reserved for skates, socks, and dirty clothes, as each of these yields the potential to leave a stench. Any of the remaining outer pockets should be reserved for smaller items (e.g., grip tape, mouth guards, energy bars, and water bottles) that yield the potential to spill, spoil, shatter, or get squashed.
Your shin pads, shoulder pads, and helmet should be placed around the edges of the hockey bag's central compartment. Filling the inside of the bag this way will leave a wide berth in the middle for any minor pads, unused towels, (clean) jerseys, and breezers. If your equipment bag includes a hidden, or otherwise secure, pocket, this is the best place to store any keys, digital devices, or other valuables that could get stolen in a locker room.
Any hockey sticks should be placed horizontally across the top of an equipment bag. Attempting to jam half of a stick into the central compartment of a bag will confine that stick's flexibility (particularly if the bag is zipped three-quarters shut), and that, in turn, could result in damage to the shaft or the blade.
A Brief History of Ice Hockey
Games involving a wooden stick, a ball, and some type of frozen surface date back more than a millennium. The 9th-century Vikings, for example, were known to play a frozen-pond game called "knattleikr," just as the 18th-century Irish were known to play a winter-ice game called "hurling," and the 19th-century British were known to play another winter-ice game called "bandy."
The NHL started off with four teams, all Canadian, before expanding to include the Boston Bruins in 1924.
Ice hockey, on the other hand, has been in existence since the 1700s. As legend has it, British soldiers began to play the game for recreation while manning forts along the colonial east coast during the American Revolution. American civilians eventually picked up the game, and they continued to play it long after the revolution was over. During the 1800s, ice hockey trickled north toward the colder climates. It was adopted by the Canadians, who transformed it from a pastime into their national sport.
The first organized indoor ice hockey game was played between a pair of nine-player teams in Montreal on March 3rd, 1875, with most of the rules being based on British field hockey. Over the next decade, Canadian ice hockey formed its own governing body, and it reduced the number of players on the ice from 18 to 12 (including goaltenders). In 1883, Canada held its first "world championship" ice hockey tournament. Six years later, the Canadian Governor General, Lord Stanley, commissioned a silver bowl trophy for the annual tournament. That trophy became known as the Stanley Cup.
By the early 1900s, ice hockey had spread across most of the northern United States and parts of Europe. Several Canadian organizations merged to form the National Hockey Association in 1909, and then the National Hockey League, or NHL, in 1917. The NHL started off with four teams, all Canadian, before expanding to include the Boston Bruins in 1924. Since then, the NHL has flourished, and the league continues to attract the greatest players and coaches from around the world.