For some of us (ok, most of us), going to the gym is torture (actually you can train at home). It’s the part of your I’m-going-to-get-health-darn-it regimen that’s the hardest to follow through with. Often, we come up with a lot of excuses to skip this part. Not enough time. I don’t have the right shoes. It’s too much of a hassle to pack a bag to take to the gym, etc. You get the picture.
Of course, a good gym bag isn’t going to give you the motivation that’ll take you straight to the gym. But it sure does help ensure you no longer have the excuse of inconvenience and lack of time. Now, finding the right gym bag can be quite an exercise of patience. It can be tempting to just buy the cheapest bag or the coolest looking one, especially if you don’t want to spend time looking for the perfect bag. Good thing that we’ve done a lot of the research for you then. Check out our list below of the best gym bags in the market today.
Top 10 Gym Bags Of 2019 Reviewed
1. Adidas Defender II Duffel BagBest Gym Bag For Lockers
Adidas is a brand that signifies sports, fitness, and health. So why shouldn’t it produce the best gym bag ever? In our humble opinion, anyway. The Defender II is a duffel bag type of gym bag made of 100% polyester 3D ripstop which will be able to handle all sorts of abuse from an athlete like you. It comes in three sizes and a variety of colors. It features a ventilated shoe tunnel that’s easily accessible. It has one large compartment with on internal pocket for small items.
There’s another external zip pocket for your toiletries or other stuff. The shoulder strap is padded and detachable. And it comes with a lifetime warranty. However, the clasps that connect the strap to the bag squeaks a lot which can be very annoying for some. The shoe compartment is not big enough to comfortably fit large shoes. And there is only one main compartment which means if you plan on using this as an overnight bag, you’re going to have to find a way to separate dirty clothes from clean ones.
- Ventilated shoe tunnel
- Padded shoulder strap
- Comes in a variety of sizes and colors
- Shoe compartment not big enough for large shoe sizes (12 and up)
- Only one main compartment
- Plastic clasps squeak a lot
2. Everest Gym BagBest Gym Bag For Work
The Everest Gym Bag is loaded with pockets. This 600D polyester bag features a special side pocket for shoes or wet gear, a padded bottle holder, a large inner compartment, two front zippered pouches with mesh pockets, and a large side mesh pocket. There’s a padded hook & loop close handle as well as a padded, adjustable shoulder strap. With so many pockets, you can definitely make sure your stuff stays organized. A place for everything and everything in its place.
However, the shoe compartment takes up some of the space of the main inner compartment. There’s still enough room for a change of clothes, toiletries, and other small stuff. But if you plan on putting more in such as another change of clothes and a second towel, you might find it a tight fit. Also, the water bottle holder is only good for regular 20-oz bottles. If you have larger ones, you’ll need to use the side pockets. Plus, the material does feel a bit thin which may cause this bag to rip after a year or so of use if not properly taken care of.
- Plenty of pockets
- Roomy shoe/wet gear compartment
- Very affordable
- Thin material
- Shoe compartment takes up space in the main compartment
- Water bottle holder only for 20-oz bottles
3. Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel Bag
For people who aren’t able to carry heavy gym bags (or are just too tired to do so), the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel Bag is a perfect choice. Made of 1200D polyester, this duffel bag features a recessed in-line skate metal ball bearing wheel system and a hideaway pull handle so you don’t have to lug around a heavyweight when your muscles are already so sore.
It has a spacious main compartment and 8 other pockets to fit everything you’ll ever need in the gym and out of it. However, the wheels don’t rotate so maneuvering it can be tricky. The handle doesn’t lock into place and the bag does tend to tip over when you leave it standing.
- Very roomy
- Lots of pockets
- Has wheels
- Wheels don’t rotate
- The handle doesn’t lock into place
- Bag tips over when left standing
4. Adidas Team Speed Duffel BagBest Gym Bag For Men
The Adidas Team Speed Duffel Bag is also made of polyester and comes in a variety of colors like the Defender II. It also features a large main compartment with an inner zippered pocket for your small valuables, a ventilated shoe pocket on one end of the bag, and another zippered end cap pocket for additional storage space. The difference is that this bag has a larger shoe compartment which can fit up to size 13 shoes.
It features a front pocket with a key fob to allow you to quickly stow away items. And there’s a ClimaProof water resistant bottom so your bag (and the stuff inside) stays dry even when placed on a wet floor. However, for some people, it may just be too big and not fit inside their gym locker. The padded part of the strap tends to slide off which makes the strap dig into your shoulder. And like the Defender II, this bag squeaks a bit too.
- Large shoe/wet gear compartment
- Easy access front zippered pocket
- ClimaPRoof water-resistant bottom
- Larger than a regular-sized gym bag
- Padded strap tends to slide off
- Squeaks when moving
5. Runetz Gym Duffle Bag
The Runetz Gym Duffle Bag is a polyester gym bag that features reinforced stitching to ensure long-lasting use. The bag comes with a ventilated shoe compartment that can also be used to store wet gear. It also features multiple pockets – a small interior pocket for valuables, another vented pocket on the other side for additional storage, and a front organization pocket.
This bag isn’t really shaped like your traditional gym bag or duffel bag. It has a classy, cool cut that catches the eye and the colors are quite chic too. However, it doesn’t come with a water bottle holder like some of our other picks. It is also quite big so it might not fit in your gym locker. And it lacks structure like other gym bags.
- Cool style and color
- Lots of pockets
- Reinforced stitching
- No water bottle holder
- Might be too big for your gym locker
- Lacks structure; flops down
6. Under Armour Storm Undeniable II Small DuffleBest Gym Bag For Wet Clothes
The Under Armour Storm Undeniable II is a 100% polyester gym that features a highly water-resistant finish and abrasion-resistant bottom and side panels for maximum durability. There’s a large main compartment with an inner pocket. There’s also a large front zippered organization pocket as well as a vented pocket for wet gear or shoes and a large zippered pocket on the other side of the bag.
Plus, a mesh pocket. The shoulder strap is padded and adjustable. The top grab handle is also padded for a comfortable carry. And there’s a D-ring front panel if you wish to attach something to the bag. However, it doesn’t have a water bottle holder. And it’s more expensive than a lot of other similar gym bags. And the padded part on the strap tends to slide around which can cause the strap to dig into your shoulder.
- Lots of storage space
- Highly water-resistant finish
- Abrasion-resistant bottom
- No water bottle holder
- A bit pricey
- Padded part of strap slides
7. Komal’s Passion Leather Vintage Leather Gym Duffel Bag
The KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel Bag is for the gym gentleman or woman. This is made of 100% genuine leather while the inside is constructed of durable canvas. There are two main compartments where you can store clothes, toiletries, towels, and shoes. The side pockets are large enough to fit your other stuff like headphones, gloves, a jump rope. And then there’s the front pocket for easy access to small items.
The shoulder strap comes with a shoulder pad and is adjustable. Aside from serving as your gym bag, this can also serve as carry-on luggage or a weekend vacation bag. The look and feel of the bag are really luxurious. But it is expensive for a gym bag. And there is an unpleasant leather smell that takes a while to dissipate.
- Lots of space and pockets
- Genuine leather
- Can function as a vacation bag
- The very unpleasant smell takes a long time to go away
8. OGIO Crunch Duffel Bag
The Ogio Crunch Gym Bag is quite similar to a lot of our other picks. It’s made of polyester (420D), has a large main compartment, a shoe compartment, an adjustable padded shoulder strap, a side pocket, and a front-faced zippered pocket. What makes this particular bag stand out is that it features a plastic molded interlocking handle which makes carrying the bag easy.
There’s also a special pocket with a headphone port so you can listen to your music wherever you go. However, there is no interior pocket for storing valuables. The sides are not even the slightest rigid, nor is the bottom, which makes this bag unable to retain its shape when empty. And there’s no water bottle holder.
- Plastic molded interlocking handle
- Headphone port
- Lots of room
- No structure
- No interior pocket
- No water bottle holder
9. Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 BackpackBest Gym Bag For Commuters
For the everyday commuter or biker, the Under Armour Hustle 3.0 is the perfect gym backpack. This 100% polyester bag features a highly water-resistant finish, an abrasion-resistant bottom, and a water-repellant front valuables pocket. There’s a shoe /dirty laundry pocket at the bottom of the bag. The HeatGear shoulder straps are adjustable and quite comfortable.
And there are two side water bottle pockets to keep you hydrated. As an added bonus, the letters of the logo light up at night which makes you visible to other motorists. However, some users have reported that the bag stains easily. There is no vertical stability which can make packing the bag in an upright position not so easy. And due to the vinyl logo, you can’t wash the bag in a washing machine. Otherwise, it’ll peel off.
- Hands-free carry
- Lots of pockets
- Highly water-resistant
- No vertical stability
- Not machine-washable
- Stains easily
10. Lug Puddle JumperBest Gym Bag For Women
Who says a gym bag can’t be stylish? For women who want it all, the Lug Puddle Jumper is the gym bag for you. It comes with a lot of pockets and compartments. There’s a lower main compartment specifically for storing your makeup. There’s a detachable mirror. You also get a ventilated shoe/stinky gear compartment. The plastic coated bottom with metal feet lets you easily place this down on a gym floor with no regrets. It’s easy to clean.
And the travel strap even allows you to easily attach it to a rolling luggage handle. There’s no reason to bring to become a bag lady just because you want to work out after a day in the office. However, it is way more expensive than most gym bags. The stitching isn’t up to par. And the straps aren’t padded which can become uncomfortable if you’re carrying a lot of stuff.
- Pockets galore
- Ventilated shoe compartment
- Stylish lady bag
- Stitching isn’t up to par
- Very expensive
- Straps aren’t padded
Gym Bag Buying Guide
So you want to go to the gym. You’ve got your schedule figured out. All the necessary gear is on hand. There’s one thing left to do to make an athlete out of you (or just a regular Joe who cares about his fitness level)… the gym bag. Now, it may not seem like such a big deal for some of us. But fitness experts (read that: regular gym goers) will tell you that the right gym bag can make or break your workout day. So, how does one know which bag is perfect for the gym? Well, we’ve got just the guide for you.
Types of Gym Bags
While most of us associate duffle bags with gym bags, there is a lot more variety to be had in this product category. Of course, for that matter, any bag can be transformed into a gym bag – transporting your clothes, shoes, water bottle, and other what-not to and from the gym. But if you want something that suits you to a T and makes your pre- and post-working out time much easier and convenient, then you’d best learn the different options available.
Traditional Gym Bags
These are the ones that look exactly like duffle bags (or quite close) except for the fact that they feature more pockets like the Everest Gym Bag. Naturally, you’d want a separate area for your toiletries, clean clothes, dirty ones, and shoes. Some will have mesh pockets for the much-needed water bottle and other wet items. Similar to duffel bags, this type would feature two short handles for hand carry and one long strap that you can sling over your shoulder if you prefer.
Another great feature you’ll find in a traditional gym bag is its inner frame which gives it some structure and easier to pack stuff inside. The beauty of having a bag like this is that it comes in a variety of sizes and colors at a reasonable price. And they can function as an overnight or vacation bag as well. However, this bag does have a lot of crevices where bacteria and mold spores can grow if not properly cleaned.
As we’ve mentioned, any bag can be made into a gym bag and duffel bags are the most likely choice. They’re cylindrical and has a large compartment to fit everything you’d need to work out. The good thing about a duffel bag is that they’re easily available, inexpensive, and works well as carrying on luggage.
However, duffel bags lack compartments that are ideal for separating items you don’t want in contact with each other such as your shoes, sweaty clothes, toiletries, and clean clothes. A good example of a duffel bag that works as a gym bag is the Adidas Defender II Duffel Bag.
Unlike the typical school backpack, those specially created for gym use are usually larger with a roomy inner space and a couple of outer pockets for your small stuff. This type of gym bag is perfect for those who commute to the gym or bike to it. Plus, you can use it for more than just holding your gym stuff. However, compared to traditional gym bags and duffel bags, backpacks do not have a lot of compartments for small items as well as enough space. If this is your kind of bag, then you should definitely check out the Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack.
Your gym bag doesn’t have to look like a gym bag. A gym tote is simply a large bag that usually features two handles, like your average, everyday tote. Some will have no closing mechanism such as a zipper, remaining entirely open.
Some will feature a drawstring. What makes gym totes popular is that it serves as a stylish gym bag that you can take to the office and then straight to the gym or vice versa. You can use the bag to carry more than just your gym stuff such as a laptop, yoga mat, etc.
There’s typically an outer pocket and some may even have an inner divider, creating compartments. However, most of them feature only one large compartment which means no separation for your shoes, clothes, and other stuff. Also, the lack of a closing mechanism makes it less secure for storing your stuff. One of our favorite gym totes is the Lug Puddle Jumper.
What material should my gym bag be made of?
Gym bags can be made of different types of materials. Each one has its own pros and cons which you should know about before you make your final choice.
It’s quite common for a gym bag to be made of heavy-duty polyester because it can withstand a lot of abuse and quite easy to wipe clean. The material does not absorb water which means your wet towel isn’t going to soak through the bag. However, polyester doesn’t breathe and are more likely to grow mold and bacteria than other materials.
While it isn’t as good at holding moisture as polyester, nylon is light and inexpensive. Plus, it doesn’t absorb oil. Body odors are oil-based which means that it won’t absorb the foul smell of your sweaty socks, shoes, and other clothes. However, they aren’t as durable as polyester and will stain easily.
If durability is your top priority, nothing but canvas should do. This heavy fabric is inexpensive and typically machine washable. However, it can be heavy and, unless it was made water-resistant, doesn’t hold moisture well.
The leather is durable, stylish, and holds its shape well. However, it is also expensive, retains odors, and more likely to stain compared to other materials. If you want the look of leather without any of the disadvantages, you might want to consider polyester or canvas bags that feature leather trim. But if you’re really gung-ho about leather, the Komal’s Passion Leather Vintage Leather Gym Duffel Bag is one of the best there is.
What features should I look for?
Each of us has his/her own preferences on what we’d like the perfect gym bag to have. While we won’t presume to know what’s best for you, we did scrounge up details on the features of a bag that most people look for.
You’ll definitely one something that will separate your shoes from your clean clothes and your toiletries. Maybe another compartment for your water bottle and some gym snacks to go with it. You’ll want a pocket for your keys and mobile phone. Somewhere to store your clean towel. Compartments enable you to organize all the items you want to bring with you so you don’t end up dumping everything on the locker room floor just to find one little thing.
If you’re preferred exercise is swimming, you’ll want a compartment that’s waterproof and able to hold your wet bathing suit once you’re done with your workout. You may still want such a compartment if you tend to sweat buckets during your workout and take a shower after. The Under Armour Storm Undeniable II Small Duffle, for example, has a separate compartment for wet gear and the entire bag
Water Bottle Holder
Some gyms have numerous water fountains so there’s no need for their members to bring a water bottle. But if you need one or prefer bringing your own source of H2O, you’re going to want a pocket where you can place your bottle. This pocket should not only hold your water bottle tight but also leave it close at hand.
Yoga Mat Strap
If you need to bring a yoga mat with you, you don’t have to carry it under your arm or try jamming it into the bag. Some gym bags feature a strap or compartment that is specifically designed to hold a yoga mat.
After a good long workout, your shoes have probably absorbed a lot of your sweat. If you plan on changing shoes, you’re going to want to have a separate shoe compartment to store away your stinky footwear. A ventilated compartment is even better because it lets your shoes air out, reducing the likelihood of germs and mildew to grow.
If you’re planning on hauling almost everything but the kitchen sink in your gym bag, you’re going to want reinforced seams to keep your bag whole for a lot longer. You don’t want to end up spilling your unmentionables in the parking lot on your way to the car after a long workout session. The Runetz Gym Duffle Bag features reinforced stitching to ensure durability.
If you have a lot of stuff in your bag, you’re going to be feeling all that weight as the straps dig into your shoulder or hand. To prevent discomfort, look for padded straps that will take some of that pressure off.
If you really have a lot of gear for your time at the gym, you’re going to have to think twice about straps, even ones that are extremely padded. You might be better off with a bag with wheels like the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel Bag.
How big should I go?
Size definitely matters. You’ll want to be able to comfortably fit all your stuff inside the bag. Still, this is a matter of preference. Some people want to bring a lot of stuff including their own jump rope and other exercise equipment. If you plan on stuffing some oddly-shaped items into your bag, you need to make sure that the one you choose has enough room for it. More importantly, make sure that the bag you buy fits inside the locker of your local gym.
How much does a good gym bag cost?
It depends. You can get some that are less than $10 but they likely won’t last for long. If you aren’t sure about your commitment to working out though, something within this price range should be good enough. Most gym bags cost between $10 to $50 and a lot of them are from reputable brands like Adidas. For more than $50, you can get the chic and stylish gym bags or maybe even a leather one. It’s not practical but some people don’t mind.
As we’ve mentioned before, the right gym bag is a matter of preference. Not everyone has the same tastes and workout needs. Just remember, it takes more than just buying a gym bag to get healthy. You’re actually going to need to use it to go to the gym to see results.