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. Along the same lines, now that the world is beginning to open back up, a great gym bag might be just the nudge you need. But the thing is, not all gym bags are created equal — and you need one suited to your particular needs, tastes and ambitions.
Not to worry. Whether you head to the gym before work and require a nice office-worthy option or more concerned with function than form, we have a pick for you below.
Best Overall Gym Bag
We chose Aer’s Gym Duffel 2 for its versatility, excellent organizational features (including a designated shoe slot) and rugged construction bolstered by a 168-denier Cordura ballistic nylon exterior. Oh, and one other key element: 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.
Best Upgrade Gym Bag
The DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag has the versatility of a Swiss Army knife, the dependability of a Ford pickup and styling that Daniel Craig 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. A 500-denier Cordura nylon finish make it tough, too.
Best Value Gym Bag
This wallet-friendly option has all the standard gym bag features: big main compartment, ventilated shoe compartment, various pockets. It's a great team sports bag too, thanks to its overall aesthetic. Available in a eight different colors, the Defender feels right at home plopped down on astroturf sidelines.
Best Classic Canvas Gym Bag
JOSHU+VELA is known 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: tough enough to cram into a locker, yet handsome enough for a first-class cabin.
Best-Looking Gym Bag
True to Lululemon's general rep, this gorgeous, water-repellent gear hauler isn't short on function. Handy external pockets keep your water bottle, shoes and clothes separate, an adjustable shoulder strap and trolley-compatible sleeve ease transport, and there's even a slot that fits a 16-inch laptop.
Best Gym-Ready Backpack
With all of the space (30 liters) and features of a gym duffel, the Utility Pack defies expectations. A water-resistant compartment for damp clothes and gear, padded straps, expandable pockets for two water bottles and a padded laptop sleeve make it as functional and versatile as anything with a handle.
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. It comes in three sizes (20, 23 and 30 inches) and four colors (black, tan, grey and Realtree camouflage).
Best Gym-to-Work Bag
This stylish, waterproof duffel boasts a sneaky shoe slot to keep stinky kicks separate from work clothes or fresh gym clothes. The built-in locker hook allows you to hang the bag up for convenient storing. Once at the office, unzip a side pocket to reveal a 15-inch laptop sleeve and organizational sections lined with blue nylon twill.
Best Rugged Gym Rucksack
Thanks GoRuck's Special Forces roots, everything the brand makes is tough, this bombproof, 1000-denier Cordura nylon bag is no exception. Ergonomic lumbar support, a training sternum strap and Ruck Plate compatibility mean you can not only tote workout gear in this bag, you can legit work out with it.
Best Gym Bag for Gym Haters
If you're the type who prefers to get fit outdoors rather than the gym, why not opt for a bag that's equally comfortable at a campsite? Despite its looks, Topo's duffel makes for an ideal gym bag thanks to durable construction and a pack cloth liner for your softer goods to rest before, after or notwithstanding a workout.