Whether you’re heading back to the gym or plan on joining soon, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality gym bag.
Gone are the days when gym bags were plain, bulky duffels that got squeezed into gym lockers. These days, gym bags are designed to satisfy specific needs. Some gym bags now have wet/dry compartments to separate swim gear and dry clothes, while others have anti-odor properties or straps to hold yoga mats.
Find a brand-new gym bag with help from this buying guide. It covers everything you need to know before you buy one and shares popular styles appreciated by gym-goers.
It’s easy to narrow your options among gym bags by determining what you intend to bring to the gym. If you’re only bringing essentials like athletic shoes and a towel, a small backpack is suitable. If you need to pack a change of clothes, athletic equipment or shower gear, opt for larger totes or duffel bags.
With so many gym bags on the market, you’ll come across a variety of features among them. Here are some of the most popular ones to examine:
Durability: Well-made bags have reinforced straps and seams. Many of them are made with rip-resistant or water-repellent materials that hold up well to regular wear and tear.
Organization: Some gym bags have a single compartment, whereas others have several. Certain gym bags even have wet/dry compartments to separate sweaty or wet clothes from dry ones. Others have separate footwear compartments.
Easy carrying: Gym bags should be easy to carry. There are some that have more than one carrying option, such as gym bags that have both handles and removable crossbody straps.
Water bottle pocket: Staying hydrated is a top priority, so many people seek water bottle pockets in gym bags. They’re typically present in the form of outer compartments and may hold bottles between 16-32 ounces.
Affordable gym bags priced $14-$30 include a variety of smaller backpacks, duffel bags and totes. Mid-range gym bags made by popular athletic brands run $35-$75. High-end gym bags, which boast the best quality, cost $100 and above.
Duffel bags usually have a spacious main compartment and few smaller ones. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes, so it’s fairly easy to find one to suit your needs.
Adidas Logo Duffel Bag, for example, measures 11.75 inches by 20.5 inches by 11 inches. It’s considered a midsize duffel, though it has plenty of room for athletic shoes and a change of clothes.
Backpacks are popular for their versatility and easy, hands-free carrying. There's a broad range of small, lightweight styles, as well as larger ones with capacities to hold bulkier items.
Nike Elite Pro Basketball Backpack is a game-ready design with a large opening to accommodate a regulation-size basketball or basketball shoes.
Gym totes are appreciated for their stylish yet practical designs. These sporty bags are highly versatile, and they can be used outside the gym for travel or commuting.
CALIA by Carrie Underwood Quilted Travel Tote has both handles and an adjustable crossbody strap. The tote has a full-length zipper to secure your valuables.
Given the popularity of yoga and other wellness-focused exercise classes, there are many gym bags designed to hold mats. They’re usually lightweight and easy to sling over the shoulder.
Gaiam Yoga Mat Bag is a perennial favorite for its simple, functional design. It has an adjustable shoulder strap and a roomy front pocket to hold small items.
Puma Evercat Jane Women’s Tote
The sporty long-handled tote has lightweight construction for easy carrying. It holds a wealth of items, including athletic shoes and a change of clothes.
Sold by Amazon
Fila Sprinter 19-Inch Sport Duffel Bag
This Fila duffel has an organized design, making it a good option for separating essentials. The bag is made with 600D rip-stop polyester.
Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond
Head to yoga class stress-free with this spacious open-top mat bag. It’s the perfect size to fit most mats.
Sold by Amazon
The rugged Adidas duffel is a popular option for both gym and travel use. It’s well-liked for its machine-washable design.
Sold by Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s and Adidas
Under Armour Hustle 5.0 Backpack
The feature-rich backpack has double outer water bottle pockets, wick-away straps and an abrasion-resistant bottom panel. It has an inner compartment to hold 15-inch devices.
Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods
Nike Brasilia 9.0 Medium Training Duffel Bag
This larger Nike duffel has plenty of room to hold clothes, uniforms and sports equipment. Choose from five colors.
Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kohl’s
The right size for just the essentials, this classic Adidas Sackpack is perfect for those who need to pack light. It even has drop mesh water bottle pockets.
Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Adidas
FocusGear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0
A bestseller, the FocusGear Gym Bag is a customer favorite for its wet/dry compartments. It has several pockets and compartments.
Sold by Amazon
Designed to last with signature Kipling detail, the Asseni tote has a spacious interior to hold footwear and a change of clothes. It can be used as an overnight bag too.
Sold by Macy’s
Sporty and affordable, the Puma duffel features high-quality construction and a stylish design. It comes in eight unique colorways.
Sold by Amazon
Adidas Defender III Medium Duffel Bag
The Adidas Defender III has a dedicated footwear compartment. The duffel has a padded shoulder strap and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s and Adidas
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.