Types of Chef Knife Bags - How to Choose!?

When it comes to having to cook in a kitchen that is not your own you’ll want to be able to have your own tools with you, because no matter where you cook, the fact is any professional will want to have his or her own tools for the job.

But how do you transport them? How do you get them from point A to point B safely? This is especially important when you consider that any chef worth his or her weight is going to have a good set of knives to bring along with them.

Luckily there are different options for transporting your kitchen utensils, from your knives to your spatulas. The trick is finding the type of carrier that works for you and your knives to ensure that everything arrives at the kitchen, barbeque, or cooking competition without any problems.

When you first begin to look at the options of knife bags it’s important to have some basic criteria in mind.

The Size/Capacity

How many knives do you have? Are you planning on bringing other utensils? You will need to know the size of the bag that can accommodate all your travelling needs.

At the minimum, you’ll want a bag that can hold your complete knife kit, not just the number of knives you have, but the different kinds you’ll likely have as well.

On top of that is the number of pockets. Are you okay with your knives sharing a pocket? If not, you might want to consider a higher capacity so your paring knife and meat cleaver can both safely travel with you.

The Material

While it may not seem important what fabric your knife bag is made of it is one of the key features when it comes to selecting the right travelling bag. You’ll want a material that can withstand sharp edges for the safety of your tools and you as well as handle being in a dirty kitchen.

Working in a kitchen is not a clean job and stains are bound to happen, but if you are a professional chef it is important to keep your knife bag as clean as possible and selecting the right kind of material can help with that.

The materials you can expect to see are:

  • Canvas
  • Leather
  • Nylon/Polyester
  • Metal

The Style

This has more to do with personal preference as everyone has their own opinion about style. For knife bags there are three common styles available:

  • The Roll
  • The Case
  • The Sack or Backpack
  • Toolbox

Each style has its own list of pros and cons and varying price points depending on the size and material you go for. It is best to remember that when it comes to a knife bag that will be in a dirty kitchen and potentially left around other people, going for the flashy option may not be the best choice.

The Price

Again, the price points for knife bags can vary depending on the style, size and material you want for your bag. However, a good rule of thumb is not spending more on the bag than the contents it will be carrying.

If you are just starting out you might want to start with a smaller, cheaper bag that will better fit your needs versus going for something flashier. You don’t necessarily want to bring an expensive bag to a kitchen where you’re not the only chef.

With these parameters in mind let's look at the options available.

Knife Roll

Material: Canvas
Size: Small
Price: $


If you are just starting out in the culinary world and are looking for something practical to carry your knives, then look don’t have to look further than the standard Canvas Knife Roll. For many culinary students, this is what you are given at the start and for good reason. It’s practical, non-flashy, and can fit most common knives and cleavers.

The main downside to any knife roll is its size. Most run on the small end making them great for beginners, but not so much if you are looking at carrying more tools than just your standard knife set. Even if you only have knives to carry, but they happen to be custom sized you might run into issues in using any knife roll.

Regarding specifically canvas material, if you plan on working around grease your canvas knife roll won’t stay stain-free for very long. To help with this you’ll want to perhaps shop around for a different material or find a wax coated canvas to help prevent staining.

The knife roll pictured is the Chef Sac Knife Roll Bag featuring 9 slots for your cleavers and knives.

Material: Leather
Size: Small
Price: $$$$


Once you have garnered some experience with transporting knives you will no doubt begin to venture off in search of more premium offerings. One of the first you are likely to come across is the Leather Knife Roll.

Much like the canvas roll, the leather roll is also small, usually only holding a standard knife set and not much else. The bigger difference between the two is their price points, overall look and weight! Leather bags will have a flashier aesthetic and a price tag to go along with it. Leather weighs more and definitely something to consider when your rollbag is already full of heavy knives and tools. Leather isn’t a necessity for the average chef, but if you have the money, the look of leather and don't mind the weight, then you have that option. 

Another thing to consider is that leather traps moisture which can lead to your knives rusting. This is an added problem that you may not want to deal with and so it is one you certainly need to be aware of.

The knife roll pictured is the Leather Knife Roll Storage Bag by Aaron Leather Goods with 10 expandable pockets.

Material: Polyester
Size: Small
Price: $



As you continue your search for the perfect bag for you, you will inevitably come across the polyester knife roll. While not as well regarded as the canvas or the leather for its looks, it packs some features for the regular kitchen dweller that are hard to ignore.

Again, as it is a knife roll it will run on the smaller side, though polyester rolls do tend to have a bit more room as far as capacity, making it a good option for bringing more than just a knife set. They are also are very durable, making them a bag that will last.

The price point is like the canvas bag, running on the more reasonable to the cheap end of the spectrum, but the bonus of the polyester material is that it doesn’t stain as easily as canvas and is easier to clean if it does.

The knife roll pictured is from Chef Sac® Easy Knife Roll Bag with 8+ slots for knives, 6+ slots of utensils, and a zippered pocket too!

Knife Case & Knife Carrier

Material: Polyester
Size: Medium – Large
Price: $$



The big difference you will find with knife cases besides the price is their capacity to not only hold more knives of varying sizes but to also carry any other kitchen utensils you may need to bring along with you. There are standard and deluxe sizes depending on the kind of space you need.

Most cases zip open like a piece of luggage and have different slots that you can get to by flipping them over like a book. Due to their size and capacity, they can end up taking some counter space, but you won’t have to worry about not being able to bring all the tools you need for the kitchen.

While there are some that come in the wax-sealed canvas material most knife cases you are likely to find will be a polyester material. This makes them durable and easier to clean after being used in the kitchen.

The knife case pictured is the Chef Sac Chef Knife Case Bag with 20 pockets for knives plus 10 zipped pockets for other utensils.

Knife Backpacks 

Material: Nylon
Size: Medium
Price: $$ - $$$


This knife bag zips open like a standard backpack design allowing it a decently sized capacity to store not only your entire knife set but other kitchen utensils as well.

The nylon material not only boasts as an added protection to your knives but to you as well since the bag will be worn like a backpack and will come into direct contact with your body. The material is also waterproof, which helps prevent getting any troublesome kitchen stains.

This is also a good compromise for those looking for something more stylish than some of the other options but at a more reasonable price point.

The knife sack pictured is the Chef Sac® Slinger Knife Bag with 21 pockets for knives and utensils plus 2 large pockets for tablets and notebooks.


Material: Metal
Size: Large
Price: $$ - $$$



Though an unconventional suggestion for carrying your knives and kitchen utensils, a toolbox has become useful for those looking to carry everything they could possibly need for the kitchen. Some may laugh but if it works, then who cares, right!?

If you search, you’ll find there are new soft-sided toolboxes coming available for chefs, however, you’re probably better off with just getting the standard metal toolbox. It’s splash-proof and easy to clean.

A toolbox provides organizational advantages that the other bags may not offer, though the downside is that it can be heavy and bulky. This is perhaps the better option for those who may not need to move their tools as much and need to have everything they need when they do.

The Toolbox pictured is the Craftsman 3-Drawer Metal Portable Chest Toolbox.

Whether you’re a student, a professional chef, or a barbeque connoisseur it is important to find the right bag to transport your kitchen tools. Just remember to be aware of the size you need, the material you want, and the style that best suits your culinary work you’ll be able to find the perfect traveling bag for you.


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