5 Fun Sack Race Game Ideas for All Ages

Who doesn’t love a sack race ? Sack racing is a staple of picnics, family gatherings, and school sports days. Their simplicity makes them accessible to everyone at gatherings (even adults!) and a traditional sack race can be spiced up in many ways to make it even MORE memorable.

If you clicked here, you’re probably organizing a sack race of your own: here are five classic and not-so-classic ideas to make your sack race even better.

Top 5 Sack Outdoor Games and Racing Ideas

coffee, coffee sack, bags

#1 – Themed Sack Racing

Sack racing is one of THE classic outdoor games, and adding a theme to your sack race only makes it more fun. The idea is to transform the event, getting participants to dress up with a particular theme in mind. You can also adorn the finish line, and whatever environment you’re in.

It’s a great idea for a birthday party or other events where a theme might already have been chosen and in place.

Here are some inspirational themes for your sack race:

  • Pirates. Everyone dresses up as pirates and hops around trying to follow a path that looks like a map, where the finish line is an X that marks where the treasure is!
  • Space. Astronaut costumes, going slower than usual, using planets and asteroids as obstacles.
  • Tropical Island. Of course, a great summer sack race idea: everyone wears Hawaiian shirts and you use sand and beach balls as obstacles. By the way, we sell pre-filled sandbags perfect for this option!

#2 – Relay Sack Race

Outdoor games are generally either competitive or cooperative. This sack racing idea promotes teamwork while also allowing everyone to keep score and have a blast.

A relay race adds a new element to your traditional potato sack race. Instead of having an individual sack race, you’ll have teams racing and taking turns hopping to a designated point and back. The first racer to reach the end passes their own sack — that’s where the “relay” in “relay race” comes from — to the next person in their team until they finish!

A relay race makes everything more competitive because you get everyone involved at the same time.

#3 – Obstacle Course Sack Race

Talking about sack racing obstacles, here are some ideas.

  • Hurdles. Set up low (quite low) hurdles for participants to hop over.
  • Tunnels. Include tunnels for racers to crawl through IN their sacks.
  • Cone Weaving. Arrange cones in patterns that racers must weave through in their sack race potato sack.

There are probably a million things to try, but those are the basics. You can also mess with the sack racing rules and get creative! For example, you can have “traffic lights”, or have people complete a task before being able to continue the race.

We’d recommend ensuring you use soft and lightweight obstacles, especially if there are kids around. Also, this should go without saying, but don’t set up a potato sack race over concrete, as it’s easy to trip and hurt yourself in these races.

#4 – Time Trials Sack Races

Here’s another way to up the stakes: make everyone race against the clock, and not directly against each other. You stop the clock when each person gets to the finish line and record their time.

The point here is to turn the game into an individual sack race, and not a direct competition. You create a sense of achievement that allows people to focus on their own performance… but the point is still to be faster than everyone else!

We’d recommend posting the fastest times on a leaderboard and updating it throughout the event to get everyone’s competitive juices flowing! This is also ideal for really large gatherings where races might not be realistic to get through all of your competitors.

#5 – Costume Sack Race

This is a bit different than our first idea. Why? Because the point here is precisely for there NOT to be a set theme. Everyone wears a different costume, and kids (and adults!) are allowed to get as creative as they want.

These generally turn into costume competitions as well, and people forget about the sack races rather quickly. So, we propose you buy silly prizes for the best outfits! Have the kids rate the adults or the other way around.

  • Announce the costume contest in advance to give participants time to prepare.
  • Create categories for judging, such as funniest costume, most creative costume, most convincing costume, and best-themed costume.
  • Offer silly prizes for the winners to encourage participation.

Sack Racing Rules

A sack race isn’t really rocket science, but knowing the rules is important.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Starting Position: Participants stand at the starting line with both feet inside their sacks, holding the top edges of the sack firmly, usually at or just below their waist.
  • No Running: Racers must hop forward while keeping their feet inside the sack at all times. Running or stepping out of the sack is forbidden.
  • Course and Finish Line: The racecourse should be clearly marked, with a visible finish line – no shortcuts!
  • Who Wins: The first racer to cross the finish line while still in their sack is the winner. If you’re doing a time trials sack race, the person to finish quickest wins.
  • Fair Play: Ideally people shouldn’t push, pull or obstruct each other. This rarely happens though, but make sure to keep it lighthearted and fun.

What Sacks to Use for Outdoor Games

Here’s a quick overview of the best sacks for sack racing.

Burlap Sacks

Burlap sack race bags by St. Boniface Bag Co.

These are the traditional choice. They provide extra grip and flexibility and are unlikely to slip if the grass is wet. They’re eco-friendly and reusable, so we recommend you get burlap bags for sack races that fit both kids and adults.

Woven Plastic Sacks

Plastic sacks are made to be tear-resistant, which is ideal for repeated use. These are often made out of strong plastic polymers and shaped to form handles. The great thing is you can custom-print them or buy them in colored sets.

Polywoven bags for sack races
14×26″ White Sandbag

Large Multi-Pack Sets

Sack races wouldn’t be fun if they weren’t a social occasion. You’ll probably need to buy sack race bags online a few at a time, ideally 4 to 12, which is a great opportunity to add some spice to your sack race. Buy different colors, mix burlap with plastic, and try out different designs!

St Boniface’s Potato Sack Race Bags

Here at St Boniface Bag Co., we have over 70 years of experience helping Canadians bag their goods — but we also like to have fun, and can totally help you set up your sack race!

We sell all kinds of bags, from mesh firewood bags to burlap bags and everything in between.

Our Burlap Sacks

If you’re looking for a classic and reliable option for your upcoming sack race, we’d recommend our burlap sacks for sack races, which are made from durable jute material and measure 24x40in — perfect for both kids and adults.

If you’re interested in wholesale bags or bulk orders, that’s our speciality.

St Boniface Bag Co.’s Plastic Bags

Our polywoven bags are made from woven polypropylene (used for industrial purposes!) and if you get them in their bigger sizes you can definitely use them as burlap replacements in a sack race.

(P.S. Our small, hand-sewn cotton bags are great for prizes!)

We’ve Got It All… Order Your Sack Race Bags Today

We’re helping the world store goods one bag at a time. Need firewood bags? We’ve got you covered. Need plain black garbage bags? We’ve got that, too.

Whatever you need, get in touch and let the team at St. Boniface help you find the right bag for your needs. Call today!

Kids participating in a sack race

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