A gunny sack, also known as a "gunny shoe" or "tow sack", is an inexpensive bag, historically made of hessian (burlap) formed from jute, hemp, or other natural fibers. Modern sacks are often made from man-made products such as polypropylene.
The name "gunny" derives from the word goni ("thread, fibre"), a Tulu word from the language spoken in Mangalore. Reusable gunny sacks, typically holding about 45 kg, were traditionally, and to some extent still are, used for transporting grains, potatoes and other agricultural products. These are widely seen in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.
A gunny sack holds approximately 100 lb (45 kg) of potatoes. Even though gunny sacks are no longer used for that purpose, among Idaho farmers the common measurement unit of potatoes is still the "sack".
- Referred to in the lyrics of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" - 'He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack'. Indicative of the character's poverty.