Last updated January, 2019.
If every personal trainer on Earth could agree on one thing, it would be this: be more deliberate about your fitness regimen. Plan a gym schedule. Count your calories. Jot down your reps. It’s all for the sake of fostering self-motivation. This clear-headed wisdom applies to gym gear, too. Buy better clothes and equipment, and you will feel obliged — excited, even — to use them. A great gym bag that’s perfectly suited to your unique taste and fitness goals just might be the nudge you need. But the thing is, not all gym bags are created equal.
Depending on when you go to the gym or even the type of exercise you find yourself doing most often, you could require a different type of bag to haul your gear. So to help you on your search, we assembled a list of over 25 gym bags. Whether you head to the gym before going to the office and require a nice office-worthy bag or are worried more about functionality than you are form – we have a pick for you. Scroll through and see what you can find.
Additional Contributions by Michael Finn, Tanner Bowden, Ted Jamison and AJ Powell.
These gym bags are some of our personal favorites. They check both the style and functionality boxes without managing to be so expensive that they make your eyes water. And sure, these won’t be for everyone – but they’ll be more than enough for majority of gym-goers.
Topo Designs Classic Duffle
Best All-Around Gym Bag: Topo Designs is known for pairing simple design elements with bold colorways to set off any ensemble, even your gym shorts. The Classic Duffel makes for an ideal gym bag with a tough exterior made from durable Cordura fabric and a seat belt strap material for its handles. The inside of the bag, however, features a pack cloth liner for your softer goods to rest after the workout.
Aer Gym Duffel 2
Our Pick: We chose Aer’s Gym Duffel 2 for its excellent organizational features, rugged construction, versatility and, perhaps biggest of all, its confident, urban-commuter styling. It’s right in the sweet spot for 90 percent of gym-goers and an excellent choice for style-conscious frequent fliers, too.
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Other Notable Options
Not as smitten with the above picks as we are? Fair enough. We corralled a bunch more picks we think are unique in the world of gym bags. Whether it’s a budget pick you are looking for or something a little more high-end, these will do just fine.
JOSHU+VELA Small Duffel
Best Natural Canvas Gym Bag: JOSHU+VELA is known not for fitness gear, but for premium, natural canvas and leather lifestyle bags. The Small Duffel‘s hardy canvas construction, complete with American bridle leather straps and hand-set copper rivets, is both cosmetic and functional: it’s strong enough to be crammed into a locker, yet handsome enough for a first-class cabin.
Adidas X 17.1 Team Bag
Best Gym Bag for Team Sports: The X 17.1 Team Bag has all the standard gym bag features: big main compartment, ventilated shoe compartment, various pockets. What makes it a team sports bag, though, is its overall aesthetic. It feels right at home plopped down on astroturf sidelines. (Which explains why it’s popular among soccer players.)
Lululemon Para Duffel
Best Gym Bag for Urban Commuting: To some extent, Lululemon has always been identified with an urban, sleek aesthetic. That sleekness is exemplified by the Para Duffel, which has all the essential elements of a proper gym bag, plus stowaway backpack shoulder straps (good for biking or running), and, of course, that unmistakable Lululemon look.
Under Armour Packable Duffel Bag
Best Packable Gym Bag: Maybe you’re traveling, or maybe you prefer to keep your gym bag separate (and stashed within) your everyday bag. If so, Under Armour’s Packable Duffel Bag is for you. It packs down to about the size of a spiral-bound notebook, repels water and allows stinky gear to breathe.
GORUCK Kit Bag
Best Gym Bag for Brutal CrossFit Sessions: GORUCK is known for their tough, American-made bags and clothing. The founder spent time in the Special Forces, and his experience working with necessary durability is relayed in this 32-liter Bag. The Kit Bag is your choice if you’re looking for a big, durable, no-nonsense hauler that’ll hold a large amount of equipment. And, as an added bonus, each purchase helps fund the company’s leadership-building events and expeditions.
5.11 Tactical NBT Mike Duffel
Best Tactical Gym Bag: Suitable for both the gym and the gun range, the NBT Mike Duffel takes a tactical-inspired approach to the duffel. This highly functional bag features internal compression straps and a removable toiletry kit/organizer. It’s all wrapped up in tear-proof nylon composite material.
The Segment by Mission Workshop
Best Modular Gym Bag: On its own, the Segment duffel is a perfectly sized daily carry bag. But if you demand more, Mission Workshop‘s signature modular system will accept a wide array of peripheral attachments. The Segment is also waterproof, guaranteed forever and entirely handmade in San Francisco.
DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag
Best Multi-Purpose Gym Bag: The DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag has the versatility of a Swiss Army knife, the dependability of a Ford pickup and styling that Jason Statham could get behind. The bag consists of a laptop and tablet compartment, a wet/dry pouch and a hidden security pocket on the bottom of the bag.
Datsusara Gear Bag Mini
Best Organizational Gym Bag: If you enjoy the tactical look of GORUCK’s Kit Bag but need more organizational features, the Datsusara Gear Bag Mini is a great choice. It’s constructed from anti-microbial, breathable, durable and eco-friendly hemp so your bag won’t get stinky.
OGIO X-Train 2 Backpack
Best Gym-Ready Backpack: Not everyone is the duffel type. For those thinking outside the cylinder, we bring you the OGIO X-Train 2. With all of the space and features of a gym duffel, the X-Train 2 defies expectations, with a compartment for a hydration bladder, a dedicated shoe compartment, a crush-resistant valuables pocket and a removable helmet-carry.
Herschel Studio Coast Duffel
Best Roll-Top Gym Bag: Made of tarpaulin (a rubber-like canvas that resists water) and complete with a watertight roll-top closure, the Studio Coast Duffel is a big and burly gear hauler that’ll withstand years of abuse. It’ll also withstand style haters; its all-black, subdued look displays the kind of quiet confidence that all urban things should have.
Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag 20-Inch
Best Workwear-Inspired Gym Bag: If you don’t consider the words sleek or urban as legitimate selling points, then the Legacy Gear Bag is for you. It’s built much like Carhartt’s overalls: simple, timeless, nearly indestructible, no BS. It comes in three sizes (20, 23 and 30 inches) and three colors (black, tan and Realtree camouflage.)
Nike Vapor Max Air Bag
Best Gym Bag for Average Gym Rats: There’s not much to say about the Vapor Max Air Bag, other than the fact that it’s Nike. And that’s exactly what makes it so great: it’s simple (no more than a few pockets), light and inexpensive. It will satisfy the needs of most dumbbell pumpers and treadmill runners.
The North Face Apex Gym Duffel
Best Gym Bag for Weekend Warriors: The Apex Gym Duffel is another wonderfully simple gear hauler. It has only a few pockets, a rugged underbelly, convenient strap options and more. But, being a bag from The North Face, and because of its burly 45-liter capacity, it’s not hard to imagine this duffel at the base of a crag or in the cargo hold of an airplane.
Defy Cargo Hold Tote
Best Gym Tote Bag: What qualifies a gym bag? Duffel shape, shoulder strap, shoe compartment, technical pockets? To hell with that worn-out logic. Tote bags are as simple as it gets. Defy’s Cargo Hold Tote is free of all frivolousness; in essence, it’s just one giant pocket made of heavy-duty waxed canvas. Good luck breaking it.
6 Pack Fitness Beast Duffel
Best Gym Bag for Meal Planners: The Beast Duffel is a rugged bag that, as its name implies, holds up to six meals (it comes with reusable containers), along with your shoes, water bottles and whatever else you can stuff into the main compartment.
Best Gym Bags to Take to Work
Getting to and from work with a gym bag and a briefcase can be clunky. Finding a kit that allows you to pack both your gym clothes and laptop without looking like a dork fresh out of gym class can be hard to do. Below is a selection of good-looking bags with plenty of pockets to streamline your morning or post-work gym routine.
We looked for bags with extremely durable exteriors, minimalist designs and a pocket large enough for a work laptop — waterproofing was an added bonus. Work-appropriate gym backpacks, duffels, messenger bags and briefcases need to be able to hold a change of shoes and clothes, as well as keep your sweaty stench inside, so no one is the wiser if you hit the gym twice in one day.
Brooks England Mott Holdall
From the brand known for well-designed bike saddles and saddlebags comes this medium-sized duffel that blends in at the gym and in the office. The durable riveted handles will hold up no matter you put them through. The external pocket makes it easy to grab your gym card and is also a handy spot to place keys — so that they’re always in the same location. A high-visibility yellow interior means you won’t lose your headphones or Airpods among dirty clothes. Currently offered in a navy or black, this water-resistant cotton textile bag is tough to beat.
Aer Flight Pack Backpack
Thanks to adjustable backpack straps, it’s easy to carry the Aer Flight Pack as a duffel or as a backpack. Built with Cordura ballistic nylon, you can toss it around the CrossFit box and never worry about damage. An interior padded laptop pocket (15.6″) is sandwiched between three other slide-in pockets and mirrors a zip mesh pocket for chargers, credit cards and more. The material won’t give away that you spent your morning sweating through box jumps.
GORUCK Kit Bag and Shoulder Strap
Take off the messenger strap on this small, yet sturdy rucksack, and it almost looks like a slightly more substantial briefcase. GORUCK is known for crafting bags that’ll survive almost anything — considering each bag is made with Special Forces-grade materials and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s sure to outlast any fitness trend. While it looks small, the bag holds 32-liters complete with three organizational pockets. Everything you need for the gym has a place here, with space left for work clothes.
Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase
This classically shaped briefcase brings outdoor vibes to any boardroom. The bag seamlessly transitions between messenger bag and briefcase with convertible straps that attach to the leather lash tabs on the side of the zippers. 15″ laptops are easy to fit and secure inside the top zipper, so your tech is protected from any commute situation.
Lexdray Portland Sneaker Duffel
Six pairs of sneakers will fit in this dynamic bag, meaning it can handle your gym clothes, laptop and work clothes; there’s plenty of space to go around. The rolltop middle section expands to fit unusually sized objects — magazines, foam rollers, even size 14 sneakers. A laptop and extra layers are cozy in one of the dual side pockets. And, the vibrant interior print makes it easy to see everything you throw inside.
Stuart and Lau Regimen Gym Bag
The main attraction in this minimalist duffel is the ventilated pocket that prevents sneaker-stink from enveloping work clothes or fresh gym clothes. The built-in locker hook allows you to hang the bag from any existing pole in the locker room or hook on the wall. It’s easier to go through all your gear when you’re not bending over to see it. Unzip one side pocket to reveal a 15″ laptop sleeve and organization pockets lined with blue nylon twill. Gunmetal hardware and waterproof fabric top it all off.
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