Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2
HB2 bags are workhorses. The gold star among all products.
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Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2
Having owned a Muay Thai training gym in Thailand for over 20 years, I have paid for and tested out a fair number of heavy bags in my place. When I first started, we were just a little weight training gym with some mats in the corner and a single heavy bag. These days the gym is in its third incarnation, and is a full service fight club with classes in Boxing, Muay Thaii, No Gi Juii Jitsu, HIIT and whatever else we can get trainers to teach. Periodically, we’ve had classes in Gi Jiu Jitsu, Capoeira, Krav Maga and other various self –defense and martial arts classes.
We have seen some stuff and gone through a wide variety of bags from different manufacturers. This is the first written heavy bag review I have done and I’ll start with something that I currently have a few of hanging in the training area- the Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2.
When I order a heavy bag for the gym (or any bag for that matter), I always order the unstuffed version. Fairtex offers to either send you the shell or a complete stuffed version. I can’t remember the price difference, but it was significant. I assume that the shipping costs would be significantly more, as well.
We stuff the bags ourselves. I put out a call on social media in my area for anyone with old clothes, sheets, curtains they want to discard. I use this for part of the contents of the heavy bag. And then I go to the wood shop on the island, which supplies building materials. They allow me to stuff a few bin liners with sawdust for free, making up the remainder of the contents.
When replacing a bag, I try not to use the same contents. The reason being that, over time, the sawdust literally turns to dust and can start to make its way out of the seams of the bag.
I still remember the first time that I replaced a bag. I just assumed that it would be a simple matter of transferring the contents from one to the other. In addition to the aforementioned dust, the old clothes and textiles that I had stuffed the bag with had almost disintegrated and were reduced to little more than long strings of yarn. I know it sounds implausible, but that’s the absolute truth.
Luckily the Koh Tao community has enough people with old tshirts, bras, panties, etc. to be able to replenish our bags as they come into, and out of, use.
When using this strategy, be aware that when you first stuff a new bag this way, you should make a point to pack tightly probably 25%-30% of the bag with discarded materials first and then pack another 10-15% of sawdust, and continue until its full. If you put sawdust on the bottom, the bag will become quite hard in that area and many newbies may find it unpleasant to kick with power on that bag.
Another thing to remember is that the contents will settle in the coming weeks as they get used. It doesn’t matter how well you stuff things in, that will just happen. So, make sure you have more bag contents available. You’ll probably need to take them down at least twice to top up the contents before you have a proper heavy bag feel and performance.
Care for my Heavy Bag
Next up is care for your heavy bag. A surprise to pretty much nobody is that they do not require a lot of maintenance. The only thing I do the first few times that I am filling the bag is make sure that the zip on top gets a small smear of silicon just to make sure that it opens easily until I have them stuffed fully which may take a few weeks. After that I don’t think about the zip ever again.
Next is to take some petroleum jelly and wipe a liberal smear along all of the seams. This IS something that should be done periodically. We do it at least once a month. I guess that this is something that may vary on climate and use. Our bags hang in a protected open-air environment with a ton of humidity. I would reason that if you have these in an air conditioned area in a cooler country with low humidity, you may want to do this step more often.
Finally, due to covid protocols, we spray our bags each day with a mixture of water and Bio Aid and give them a good wipe down. This helps kill any organic materials left behind from our sweat, spit or other bodily fluids. It’s because of this that we have stepped up greasing the seams with Vaseline to every month. Prior to that it was usually at the 2 month mark that we applied the grease. Doing this should increase the life of your bags dramatically.
The Fairtex Hevy Bag HB2 looks the part as you slide it out of its packaging and spread it out. It definitely has some throwback styling. It’s constructed of really heavy duty leather on the bottom half and the top half is made of some sort of thick nylon. The leather straps that hold it reach all the way down beyond the halfway point and are stitched onto the leather as well as the upper nylon panels. There is double stitching throughout. In total the bag is supposed to be 90cm long. It feels bigger than that.
The upper nylon panels are available in a variety of different colors. I have 2 of these bags in my gym, one in blue and one in green. I’ll admit I was a bit reluctant when I purchased these bags because I had the idea that I wanted the whole bags to be made of leather. I’m happy that I relented and purchased these. I do like the look. Especially as they age.
The zip along the top is made of a heavy duty hard plastic with big teeth and the cover is sufficiently sized that it doesn’t need to be stretched and possibly damaged when filling the bag.
There is a vertical Fairtex stamp along the bottom leather bit and a Fairtex badge sewn into one of the straps leading up to the support from which it hangs.
This bag, once it has some seasoning, would not look out of place in an old school, back-alley, local boxing gym in Philly. This is what I mean when I say that it looks the part.
Once the Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2 is stuffed properly (I’m talking after the 3rd attempt at filling it) and you have the right weight, it feels great. To be honest, the feel of these bags more or less comes down to how you fill them. There is not so much an art, but definitely some technique involved. When you buy the stuffed version of this bag it comes in around 30-35kg, according to the internet. I think that’s light for a heavy bag. Our process takes awhile but ends up around 50-60kg depending on the stuffing mix.
I love the bag with gloves or bag mitts on which I would say is about 75% of the time that I am doing bag work. It’s big enough to do heavy kicks on without too much swinging. You want the bag to be havy so that you don’t have to spend so much time repositioning or slowing it down in the middle of your “round”.
The rest of my time, I do bag work without gloves, just to toughen up the knuckles and to help increase the bone density in my hands. There’s a lot to be said about this. It also kind of deadens the nerves. All in all, you are less likely to injure yourself this way.
I’ll admit, when you hit the seams without gloves where the leather meets the nylon, it can be a bit uncomfortable. I have some few abrasions along the bare knuckles from having done that, but it is more a point for me to remember than it is a major inconvenience. And you don’t feel it at all while wearing gloves or bag mitts.
This is where the Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2 excels. These bags are workhorses. I wasn’t sure how long I would get out of them when I first purchased the HB2’s. Now we are three years into their use. We do three classes a day and these are positioned in an area where they get probably the most use of any bags. In addition to that, they are heavier than most of the bags we have, so my instructors and fighters love to practice on them. I would say they receive 50% more use than the other bags in the gym and they hold up really well.
To my untrained eye, the only real wear and tear is the fading of the stamped-on Fairtex logo going down the bottom half. The bag isn’t “like new”, obviously. And it shouldn’t be. It’s had a ton of use and abuse. It looks worn and dirty. But every stitch is holding up. Its performance is “like new”. This, after 3 years, is a surprise.
Value for Money
When it comes to value for money, I don’t usually rate Fairtex so highly. Their gear tends to be more expensive than others and doesn’t exactly outperform other Muay Thai suppliers on many products. That said, the construction is fantastic on most of their products.
Fairtex does have some great looking stuff, too. But I don’t place as much of a premium on aesthetics as most buyers. I own a gym and, as such, am perpetually broke, so durability is my biggest consideration when purchasing gear for use in my gym.
The Fairtex Heavy Bag HB2 is evenly priced among the other products that I have used. And its performance is superior in my opinion. Not only do I give it top marks in the value-for-money category, but I also would say that this is the gold star among all products that I have seen in my years.