What’s the Best Filler for Sandbag Training?

One of the most frequent questions we field here is, “what’s the best filler for sandbag training?”

The only question that may be asked more often is when something will be back in stock, which is a much trickier question to answer.

Now you might think that the obvious answer to what to fill your sandbag trainer with is…wait for it…sand.

man with sandbag trainer

No matter what's in your trainer, you'll look at least this good... probably better.

If the number of people who ask is any indicator, a lot of sandbag trainer owners want alternative fillers to sand.

There are a few reasons people look to substitute sand with something else for their sandbag trainer.

  • They don’t like potentially clogged zippers, spilling sand and having to clean it up.
  • They’re looking for a denser filler that will maintain weight but be more flexible.
  • They have a rare allergy to sand.
  • They simply want to add more weight.

Fortunately, we’re well stocked with answers as to what to put into your brand new, spiffy sandbag trainer and sand bags.

Here are 11 candidates for best filler for sandbag training.

  1. Rice

I found a 50 lb box of Gulf Pacific white rice for $19.99.

The per pound cost comes out to just under $0.40 per pound, not including shipping and tax.


Brown, white, wild, use any kind of rice you wish, as long as it's not fried.

Fifty pounds gives you all the weight you should need and more.

This super cheap option, along with ease of cleanup, might have you like white on rice for this alternative.

  1. Feed

Yes, that kind of feed, as in animal feed. That’s if of course you live in a rural area by farms.

Full disclosure, I don’t know jack about animal feed, but this Purina feed looks like a great start.

A 50 lb bag for $11 (shipping and tax not included), which comes out to $0.22 per pound.

cows at trough

Don't have a cow if one of these guys starts to follow your sandbag trainer.

The feed comes pelleted so you’ll get some a bit of flexibility inside the trainer.

Bonus: If you drop any outside, you don’t have to pick it up.

Double bonus: According to one happy customer “I bought this for my calves and they loved it. They are fat and sassy.” Too bad they didn't mean calf muscles.

  1. Water

Yeah, the free stuff that comes out of your tap.*

(*Disclaimer: You have to buy another bag.)

tap water

Wait, I thought sandbags were meant to stop water, not hold it.

Here are some survival water bags that hold a little bit over 2 lb of water each.

At $5.75 for a pack of 3 bags, this sounds economical at just under $1 per pound.

If you need a lot of weight this may not be the best option, unless your heart is set on using water.

  1. Wood Pellets

Some people burn them, some people stuff them in bags.

You’ll be happy you found them for as low as $3.99 for a 40 lb bag.

That’s $0.10 per pound!

wood pellets

The humble solution to your sandbag trainer filler woes?

This could be the steal of the bunch.

You’ll get some more flexibility with these pellets and can always start a fire should you get lost in the wilderness during your workout.

  1. High-Performance Bedding

No, we’re not talking Egyptian cotton or 1 million thread count.

We’re talking HPB that you use for your lawn or garden.

High-performance bedding is small, angular limestone pebbles.

high performance bedding

The sole exception to being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Here’s a 40 kg bag (55 lb) starting at $4.75, not including shipping and tax.

You get limestone filler for a mere $0.08 per pound.

Excellent value, right up there with wood pellets, but heavier by volume and more total weight.

  1. Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch nuggets are a frequent go-to substitute for sand.

However, they’re a pain in the butt to clean up and not environmentally friendly.

red rubber mulch

Red rubber mulch has utility besides suburban and office landscaping.

If you want to go this route, you can pick up a 14.6 lb bag at Walmart for $7 out the door.

You’ll be paying $0.48 per pound when the rubber meets the road.

  1. Shredded paper/confetti

Probably the easiest to find and the cheapest of all the alternatives.

You can raid your paper shredder at home, or at work and not pay a dime.

shredded paper

The absolute, best ever use for old bills.

There are some inherent risks/problems with paper however.

One is that it doesn’t pour and/or transfer well if you ever have to get it out.

Also, if you get your sandbag trainer wet or damp, you’re going to have a hard time.

  1. Clothes

Find some old clothes of yours or a willing donor, and you’re off to the races for FREE.

Old clothes are a popular filler for punching and beater bags.

Veteran boxing coaches know a thing or three.

old clothes

Coming to a sandbag trainer near you.

While this option is cheap, have you noticed how unforgiving a full bag of laundry is?

  1. Aquarium Gravel

If for some reason high-performance bedding doesn’t suit your needs, you can go the aquarium gravel route.

aquarium gravel

You must be like water during your workout for full effect.

You can swing by your local Walmart and pick up this 2 pack for $3.30 per bag.

At 5 lb per bag, you’re getting a $0.66 per pound price, not including tax.

  1. Pea Gravel/Mini Pebbles

Either of these would work great, although they’re not much different than high performance bedding.

They usually run more expensive too.

One pound can start at $1.30 and run upwards of $3 or $4.

Unless you know something I don’t, I don’t see much benefit here.

  1. Spare Change

My personal favorite!

Although this probably will take more time (and money) than your patience may allow for.

Seriously, what could be better though?

Throw that trainer on the floor of your closet, leave it open, and whenever you have spare change, chuck it right in there.

This could turn into the most expensive option, but also could be the most rewarding and gratifying.

loose change

Can you spare some change?

I know from saving my own spare change, a simple cup of it starts getting heavy real fast.

That simple cup only holds $60 worth, so your sandbag trainer could become a bank bag quick.

You might even consider to hedge your potential losses and only fill it with pennies.

That way if you lose any or if the structural integrity of the bag is compromised, you’re not losing a serious amount of money.

You can pick up all the pennies on the ground for good reason, that everyone else abandons thinking they’re useless.

Final Answer...

Here are my top 3, solely based on price and eco-friendliness. 

1. High-performance bedding

2. Wood pellets

3. Feed

woman sandbag training

Bringing that Austin urban chic with our sandbag trainers.

This doesn't take into account how you want to train or the flexibility of a full sandbag trainer. 

However the HPB, wood pellets and feed are all cheap and if you spill any outside, depending on where you're at, you might not even have to worry about cleaning up. 

There are still other options out there, like bean bag filler for example, but this likely isn't dense enough. Or you can have a look at this beater bag filler.

If you have experience with other, better alternatives for your filler, please be sure to share with us and give everyone your pro tip in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading Fringe Nation and have an awesome sandbag trainer workout!

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