What Is The Purpose Of Sandbags?

Posted by Keelie on May 21st, 2021

A sandbag is defined as a bag or sack made of burlap, polypropylene, or any other sturdy material filled with sand or soil and used for purposes such as flood control. Some advantages of sandbags are that the bags and sand are relatively inexpensive, and when empty, they are compact and lightweight.

A disadvantage of sandbags is that filling them can be labor intensive and degrade prematurely in weather conditions. While the primary purpose of sandbags is to prevent flooding, they have also often been used by the military to help with field fortifications and as a temporary means to protect civilian structures, and some even use them to help in work out regimens.

Flood Control

If you are looking into sandbags to help with flood control, chances are you have already had a problem with water rising into your home or business. Properly stacked sandbags can be an effective deterrent against floodwater; they can be used to build levees, barricades, and dikes to limit erosion from flooding. It is essential to remember that a sandbag structure will not prevent water seepage and should only be built to divert the water around and away from buildings.

For a sandbag to be adequately filled, it must be one-half to two-thirds full with clean washed sand. If sand is limited, you may also use gravel or dirt to get less effective results. When the stacked sandbags are leveled and put into place, the contents need to settle flat to the ground. Sandbags that are overfilled will not settle properly and can not get a seal to the base or structure. Sandbags that are not full enough will also cause issues with sealing. The two primary methods for stacking bags to build a flood control structure are the single stack placement and the pyramid placement method.

Military Fortification

The military uses sandbags for field fortifications such as a temporary measure to protect civilian structures. Since the bags are relatively inexpensive to make, large protective barriers can be put up rather cheap The friction that the moving soil and sand cause while reacting with ting for gaps is also a great dissipator of an explosive blast. The military has used sandbags since the 18th century to help with fortification.


A sandbag is also considered a staple tool for many military, martial artists, and strong men as they work out. Many athletes use a sandbag to improve their fitness as they can help build stability, the training can be done anywhere, it is affordable, and it is a challenging workout. Sandbags can be used for a range of exercises such as bear squats, windmills, and get-ups.

Best Way to Fill

A three-person team is the best way to fill a sandbag. The first person should crouch down and hold open the bag to form a collar opening. The second person should then use a pointed shovel to fill the bag with sand or gravel, while the third person is responsible for the transport and stockpile of the filled sandbags. 

As you can see, while the primary purpose of sandbags is to prevent flooding, they can also have other uses. You may see them for use in theater as counterweights, in vehicles to improve traction during bad weather, for weightlifting and bodybuilding, whatever the use may be, one thing is for sure, sandbags are cheap and easy to use.

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