The best gym bags of 2021

If your gym bag starts to take on an unpleasant odor, you can refresh it by leaving a few dry tea bags inside the bag overnight.

Bags to bring to the gym

Whether you’re headed to the gym for a hard workout session or just some light stretching and people-watching, it’s just as important to have the right bag as it is to wear the right gear.

Not all gym bags are created equal — read more for the best gym bags to use in 2021. These bags are durable, spacious and look great. Plus, there’s something for every gym-goer, from the weightlifter to the yogi.

What to look for in a gym bag

Style

First things first: do you want to tote your gym gear on your back, sling it over your shoulder or carry it in one hand like a duffel? Each bag style has its pros and cons. Backpacks leave your hands free but are often more limited in space.

Totes can bother one shoulder more than the other. While duffels often have more storage room for bulky gear like boxing gloves or a change of basketball shoes, they’re often less convenient to carry. More room isn’t always a good thing — it can also create more opportunities to lose things.

Size

Determine how much room you need to stow your gym essentials. Gym bags range from extra-large duffels designed for soccer coaches to compact satchels just large enough to stash a water bottle and face towel.

Best gym bags of 2021

Best of the best gym bag

Under Armour Adult Undeniable Duffel 4.0 Gym Bag: available at Amazon

Our take: This bag gets the best of the best rating for its high-quality construction, ample interior space and pockets for organized storage

What we like: Multiple colors and patterns means there’s a version of this bag for every style. The adjustable strap has a padded shoulder cover for comfortable carrying, even when full. Three exterior pockets in addition to the large central pocket help you stay organized.

What we dislike: The bag must be hand-washed.

Best bang for your buck gym bag

Everest Luggage Sporty Gear Bag: available at Amazon

Our take: Despite its reasonable price tag, this bag offers plenty of space for bulky equipment, including shoes.  

What we like: A zippered clamshell pocket in the top means the rectangular bag stays open while you look for what you need. Zippered compartments on the sides help keep wet and dry gear separate.

What we dislike: The less expensive material may show signs of wear earlier than higher-priced products.

Best small duffel for the gym

Adidas Sport 2 Street Premium Tote Bag: available at Amazon

Our take: This bag is stylish, functional and sleek enough to take from the gym to the office and beyond.    

What we like: A compact minimalist design means that this bag doesn’t look like a gym bag, but functions like one. Water bottle pockets on the sides keep hydration close at hand and easily accessible. A thick interior lining means this bag can withstand weather if you’re caught in the rain on your way to the gym. 

What we dislike: This bag is smaller than other options and not ideal for carrying large gear, shoes or multiple changes of clothing.

Best backpack for the gym

Eagle Creek Wayfinder Backpack 30L: available at Road Runner Sports 

Our take: This comfortable backpack is both fashionable and functional to tote your gym gear while leaving your hands free, making it a great option for commuters.     

What we like: 30 liters of internal space is enough to stash your sneakers and a change of clothes for an after-work fitness class or run. A separate laptop pocket keeps your valuables safe with extra padding.

What we dislike: This bag offers less storage room than a larger duffel bag.

Best gym tote bag

Adidas Sport Shopper Tote Bag: available at Adidas and Amazon

Our take: The drawstring closer gives this bag a casual, comfortable look and easy access to its contents.      

What we like: A handy smartphone holder on the strap keeps your phone easy to access. The stylish design means you can tote this bag to the gym, grocery store or out to dinner. Interior and exterior pockets hold two water bottles in place to avoid any potential spills. 

What we dislike: This bag has only a single strap, which means you have to wear it over your shoulder.

Best minimalist gym bag

Reebok Enhanced Active Imagiro Bag: available at Road Runner Sports

Our take: This bag is great for someone looking for a no-frills, easy-to-manage bag without the bells and whistles.      

What we like: A single interior mesh pocket helps you stay organized without losing your keys in a hidden pocket. The adjustable shoulder strap doubles as a single or double to wear on one shoulder or as a backpack.

What we dislike: The lack of exterior pockets may be a drawback to some gym-goers.


Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.