It’s not always easy to squeeze fitness into your day. After a long day of work, the couch and Netflix sound way more appealing than a sweaty, stinky gym. What if I were to tell you, though, that the right gym bag can be all it takes to get you motivated?
That may sound crazy, but hear me out. A good gym bag, one that’s stylish and functional, holds a lot of power. You can pack it the night before, keep it by the door or in your trunk, and make taking that next step into the gym way easier.
The best gym bags have room for everything you need – water bottle, headphones, a towel, a change of clothes, running shoes, and maybe extra gear like boxing gloves or yoga mats.
Here are the best gym bags of all time:
- Multi-pocket duffle bag
- Regular backpack
- Garment bag with handle
- Large zippered tote bag
- Gym bag with shoe compartment
- Water-resistant bag
- Dual-handled duffle bag
- Soft packable duffle bag
- Bag with buckled strap
- Fashionable leather bag
#1: Multi-Pocket Duffle Bag
Nobody likes to rummage through a big bag to find the things they need. That’s the beauty of a duffle bag with multiple pockets!
You can keep everything nice and organized and in its own dedicated space. For instance, the stuff you use to shower post workout can be in one pocket, while your water bottle and headphones can be in another. This saves you time and makes it easy for you to go from work to the gym to home without getting a headache.
Recommended for: Long cardio sessions, hour-long classes, HITT training, and Crossfit training
#2: Regular Backpack
Who says backpacks are only for back-to-school season? They’re also amazing gym bags that will last you a long time!
Backpacks are also super handy if you’re part of an adult sports team, like a co-ed softball league or a recreational basketball team for your church. You can easily sling the bag over your shoulder, and it will be able to withstand a little dirt from the field or wear and tear from the hard bleachers.
Recommended for: Sports, hiking, outdoor workouts, and people with long commutes
#3: Garment Bag with Handle
Are you worried that you will wrinkle your nice work clothes after you stuff them into a bag or locker at the gym?
Put that fear to rest by using a handled garment bag! Your clothes will tuck neatly inside, with plenty of room for everything else you need for a sweat session. Plus, the handle makes the bag easy to carry from your car to the locker room.
Recommended for: Business leaders, realtors, corporate employees, lawyers, and anyone else who wears fancy clothes to work
#4: Zippered Tote Bag
We’re not all going into the gym for a marathon session! Some of us plan to only walk a mile or two on the treadmill, whether it’s because of other time commitments or because we’re starting slow with this whole fitness thing.
In either of those scenarios, a zippered tote works perfectly as your gym bag. All the essentials fit inside, like your towel, headphones, book, and water bottle. It’s also less bulky and cumbersome than other bags, which makes it perfect when you plan on being in and out of the gym.
Recommended for: Shorter workouts, walkers, cycling or spin, and Tai-Chi classes
#5: Gym Bag with Shoe Compartment
Think about heading to the gym in the winter. You simply cannot walk in a snow-covered parking lot without a secondary pair of shoes to change into when you get inside.
A handy shoe bag will be your go-to when the weather is chilly. This type of bag is also a good option if you have to change out of your work shoes and into running shoes, or if you have to be barefoot during your fitness class.
Recommended for: Boxing classes, golfers, yoga, Pilates, and martial arts classes
#6: Water-Resistant Bag
Dory from Finding Nemo said it best…”just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” If you’re going to get wet during your workout, you’ll want to carry a water-resistant bag.
Note: Water-resistant isn’t the same as waterproof. This type of bag will keep your gym gear from getting soaked in damp environments, but that doesn’t mean you should take it with you on your next scuba diving adventure!
Recommended for: Swimming, water sports, snow sports, and water aerobics
#7: Dual-Handled Duffle Bag
If you’re a mom or dad trying to balance exercise with hauling your kids off to soccer practice or after-school tutoring, you know it can be tough to manage everything.
A dual-handled duffle bag will make your life ten times easier for a number of reasons:
#1: You can carry your kids in one arm, and grab the top handle of this bag with the other.
#2: You can sling the bag across your body with the long carrying strap if it’s particularly heavy.
#3: You can easily store not just your stuff, but also your entire family’s stuff inside.
A spacious bag like this makes the hustle and bustle of everyday life that much more manageable, ultimately making it easier for you to get to the gym.
Recommended for: Parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone else that’s always on the go
#8: Soft Barrel-Shaped Duffel Bag
Carrying a gym bag can sometimes feel like a workout in itself. A soft barrel-shaped duffle bag literally takes the weight off your shoulders. It’s lightweight, yet roomy enough for everything you need to bring to the gym.
This type of bag is also awesome for dancers and gymnasts. Why? You can get your delicate shoes and fancy outfits inside without causing any damage. There’s a reason why a soft barrel bag is recommended by publications like Pointe Magazine.
Recommended for: Anyone with a shoulder/arm injury, dancing classes, gymnastics, and tumbling
#9: Bag with Buckled Strap
Let’s face it – yoga mats aren’t always the easiest items to carry. They’re too large for a regular bag or backpack, and they can unroll if you leave them unprotected in the car.
A bag with a buckled strap is here to save the day! It’s wonderful for not only yoga mats, but any other bulky workout gear that just won’t fit inside of your bag like jump ropes or resistance bands.
Recommended for: Yoga, Pilates, barre classes, and any workout that requires equipment
#10: Fashionable Leather Bag
If you’re in a super professional, high-brow position, you might want something that can easily transition from suitcase/work bag to gym bag. Style doesn’t hurt either!
A leather bag is the height of fashion and can easily make the move from sophisticated to sporty. It saves you from having to bring a second bag with you during the day, so you can shed your business suit or stiff dress, ditch the heels or loafers, and get a good 45 minutes to an hour in the gym.
Recommended for: Professionals, fashionable women and men, and anyone with busy work schedules
Your gym bag, or lack of one, is no longer an excuse to avoid the gym! By choosing the right bag, or getting more than one for different occasions, you’ll be better prepared to clock out after work and head straight to the gym to reach your fitness goals.
Just like you take your time shopping for a new couch or the right dress for a wedding, it’s worth being picky about your gym bag. You’re going to carry it all the time, so it better be something you don’t mind using. Take your time and find the right one for you!