G4Free 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag
Under Armour Hustle Ldwr Backpack
Aurorae Yoga Mat Carrier Bag

The Best Gym Bags For Your Workout Needs

Bring all your gym necessities without breaking a sweat
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Amber Sayer

Getting yourself to the gym first thing in the morning or after a long day of work can test your motivation and discipline, and there’s no more frustrating way to start your workout than to realize you’ve forgotten your sneakers, water bottle, AirPods, or other gear. However, with a good gym bag, you can stow your gym essentials so that you have the clothing and gear you need and don’t have to schlep individual items into the gym. After your workout, you can separate your sweaty clothes and towel from your sneakers, electronics, and protein bar in your bag to isolate the gross gear from things you want to keep clean and dry. 

A gym bag is a necessity for anyone planning to change or shower at the gym. It will help you be prepared and organized for your workouts or sports practices and may even motivate you, as you can pack it ahead of time so you’re good to go when it’s time to exercise. Though gym bags were once simply basic duffle bags, there are now lots of styles and sizes to suit a variety of preferences. To find the best gym bag for your exercise routine, consider the following factors:

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Gym Bag:

  1. Size: The size of the gym bag refers to its overall dimensions as well as its capacity, which is usually measured in liters. Obviously a larger gym bag can hold more, but it’s also bulkier and harder to carry, and it can be more difficult to keep your belongings organized and easy to find in a large bag. In contrast, if the gym bag is too small, you’ll have to carry the overflow outside of the bag, which defeats the purpose.
  2. Style: Gym bags come in different styles, such as a traditional duffle, backpack, drawstring, crossbody, or hybrids. The style of the bag dictates how you’ll carry it and how ergonomic the bag will be. Backpack gym bags are preferable if you’ll be walking or carrying the bag long distances because they distribute the weight and free up your arms. However, these tend to be smaller and may not fit all your gear and their compact design can make stuffing in large towels or basketballs or tennis rackets difficult. 
  3. Price: Basic gym bags can cost as little as $15, while luxury brands may charge up to several hundred dollars or more for branded gym bags. In general, you should be able to find a gym bag that meets your functional requirements for $20–$50.
  4. Compartments: Gym bags contain different compartments to separate your stuff. The size and number of compartments is an important factor in how well the gym bag meets your needs. For example, some gym bags have zippered compartments for sneakers or special waterproof pockets for wet clothing, towels, or bathing suits. Think about what types of workouts you do and what sort of organization and compartments you want.
  5. Materials: A good gym bag should be constructed from durable material that is easy to clean and resists sweat and stains. It can be helpful to get a waterproof bag. Polyester and nylon bags are common. Polyester is often ideal because it is easy to clean, water-resistant, and lightweight. Nylon is less water-resistant. Leather and canvas gym bags dry more slowly and may harbor odors.

To find the best gym bags for all your workout needs, we reviewed dozens of bags in a range of styles, sizes, prices, brands, and designs. We used each gym bag to assess its durability, value, organization, effectiveness of design, and overall appearance, as well as how easy it was to clean, separate wet and dry stuff, and carry when full. We considered the ideal uses for each gym bag and ultimately chose the five best gym bags for common sports and workout needs.

If you find this helpful, you might also want to check out the Best Travel Backpacks and Best Backpacks.

Our Top Picks

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Top Pick
Top Pick
G4Free 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag
Best Convertible Gym Bag

G4Free 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag

Manufacturer :

  G4Free

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Great compartments
  • Comes in lots of colors
  • Very durable construction
  • Versatility in carrying style
  • Perfect size for most gym goers

Cons

  • Max shoe size for shoe compartment is men’s 12

Product Snapshot

The G4Free 40L 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag offers the ultimate versatility in terms of carrying style for the gym bag. The bag can be carried as a standard duffle bag, a backpack, or a cross-body bag, depending on which of the five straps and attachment points you use. The backpack straps are padded for comfort and detachable if you plan to carry it as a duffle. Changing between straps and carry styles is quick and easy.

Constructed from durable, water-resistant nylon with SBS zipper closures, this gym bag is easy to clean, quick drying, and rugged. The stitching is tight and even and reinforced in high-stress areas to prevent holes. The gym bag can be folded when not in use and stored in the included compact carrying bag.

Besides the flexibility and versatility of the design, we also love the compartments. It has one huge, central compartment with a mesh zipper pocket. This main pocket has a U-shaped opening with a two-way zipper to facilitate easy packing and unpacking of bulky sports equipment, gear, and towels. There’s a ventilated shoe compartment to separate dirty sneakers or cleats, a side pocket for your water bottle, notebook, protein bars, headphones, or small gear, and a front zippered pocket for a tablet or other small belongings. 

The G4Free 40L 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag measures 23 x 10 x 12 inches and has a capacity of 40L, so it’s a perfect mid-sized gym bag.

Specs

Design
Duffle
Backpack
Cross-Body Gym Bag Hybrid
Materials
100% Polyester
Capacity
40 L
Dimensions
23 inches x
10 inches x
12 inches

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Under Armour Hustle Ldwr Backpack
Best Backpack Gym Bag

Under Armour Hustle Ldwr Backpack

Manufacturer :

  Under Armour

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Quite water-resistant
  • Nice shoe compartment
  • Sporty, easy to carry bag
  • Doubles as a great backpack
  • Straps are comfortable and stay cool

Cons

  • A little small
  • Not many color choices

Product Snapshot

A backpack gym bag is usually easier to carry and can more elegantly make the transition between work and home, serving as a nice bag to carry to both your job and the gym. Even though it’s targeted for men, the Under Armour Men’s Hustle LD Water Resistant Backpack is a great backpack gym bag for men and women alike. 

Constructed from 100-percent polyester, the Under Armour Men’s Hustle LD Water Resistant Backpack is lightweight and water-resistant, which is convenient for sudden rainstorms, particularly because the gym bag has a built-in laptop sleeve. The sleeve is lined with soft padding to protect your device and can fit laptops up to 15 inches. 

This gym bag backpack has a front pocket for valuables, two side water bottle pockets, and a large, gusseted laundry or shoe compartment at the bottom, along with one, large, central pocket for your clothing and gear. With overall dimensions of 45 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm, the Under Armour Men’s Hustle LD backpack has a moderate capacity of 29L.

Specs

Design
Backpack Gym Bag
Materials
100% Polyester
Capacity
29 L
Dimensions
111.81 inches x
7.87 inches x
17.72 inches

Where to Buy

Best Cross-Body Yoga Mat Gym Bag

Aurorae Yoga Mat Carrier Bag

Manufacturer :

  Aurorae

Where to Buy

Pros

  • 2-year warranty
  • Lots of color options
  • Yoga mat says in place
  • Very durable construction
  • Size options are extensive
  • Ergonomic design and easy to carry
  • Laptop sleeve ands lots of handy compartments

Cons

  • Small
  • Doesn’t fit shoes if you have yoga blocks as well

Product Snapshot

If you are a regular at your yoga studio’s Vinyasa class, you’ll want a gym bag that can hold your yoga mat along with your clothing and yoga props. Problem solved with the AURORAE Yoga Mat Carrier Bag, as it is a yoga mat bag and gym bag in one with its ingenious yoga mat holder. It’s also pleasantly compact, chic, and comfortable to carry.

The AURORAE Yoga Mat Carrier Bag is a cross-body gym bag or sling style backpack. Constructed from heavy-duty polyester, this yoga mat gym bag is durable, easy to clean, and odor resistant. The yoga mat “locker” compartment holds any yoga mat up to 72 inches in length or less than five pounds. The yoga mat is easy to secure into the compartment and stays in place even if you’re walking or riding a bike to the yoga studio.

There is a large compartment where you can store yoga blocks, a towel, a change of clothes, or shoes. The compartments can also accommodate a laptop up to 15.2 inches, making this a great work-to-gym bag. There is a small zippered pocket in front for valuables, a water bottle pocket on the side, and a pocket right on the cross-body strap for your phone. We love how the front flap pocket of the bag has a waterproof liner to isolate your wet clothes and towel from the rest of the bag’s contents.

The large compartment measures 19 x 12 x 7 inches, while the small front pocket is 5.5 x 6.5 inches. There are plenty of color options to choose from and the wide, adjustable, double-reinforced shoulder straps make for comfortable carrying as a sling-body backpack. The AURORAE Yoga Mat Carrier Bag is covered by a two-year warranty.

Specs

Design
Cross-Body Sling Bag with Yoga Mat Sleeve
Materials
100% Polyester
Capacity
28 L
Dimensions
19 inches x
12 inches x
7 inches

Where to Buy

Splurge
Splurge
Adidas All Me Gym Tote
Best Gym Tote Bag

Adidas All Me Gym Tote

Manufacturer :

  Adidas

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quick drying
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Two ways to carry it
  • Doubles as a lifestyle bag
  • Doesn’t look like a gym bag

Cons

  • Quite small
  • Needs to be hand washed
  • No separate compartment for wet things

Product Snapshot

The Adidas All Me Tote is our top pick for those who want their gym bag to look like a chic tote bag rather than a classic duffle. It can be carried over your shoulder by the tote straps or as a cross-body sling with the detachable, long shoulder strap, giving you greater flexibility and versatility compared to basic gym totes. 

The stylish gym tote is constructed from durable polyester and is easy to clean, water resistant, and very lightweight. Mesh improves the airflow in the bag and reduces the time it takes for the bag to dry.

The tote is very compact, measuring 13 x 6 x 15.5 inches. With a capacity of just 20L, it’s a sleek gym bag suitable for a single change of clothes, sneakers, a small towel, and a few workout essentials, but it is too small for large gear and plushy towels. 

The gym tote bag has side pockets with snap closures and numerous internal pockets for organizing your workout essentials. Adidas backs the tote bag with a lifetime warranty.

Specs

Design
Tote or Cross-Body Sling Bag
Materials
100% Polyester
Capacity
20 L
Dimensions
13 inches x
6 inches x
15.5 inches

Where to Buy

Best Swimming Gym Bag

Speedo Large Teamster Backpack

Manufacturer :

  Speedo

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Comfortable to carry
  • Laptop sleeve is large
  • Lots of compartments
  • Makes good use of space
  • Dries quickly and easy to wash
  • Easy to pack because of wide opening

Cons

  • Bag is not fully waterproof
  • Can be big for smaller people to carry

Product Snapshot

Between fins, a pull buoy, goggles, a kickboard, hand paddles, and a towel, swimmers have a lot of bulky, wet gear to schlep to and from the pool. A gym bag for swimming needs to hold all your equipment and reliably protect your dry clothing and electronics from your wet bathing suit and soaked gear. The Speedo Large Teamster Backpack is the trusted favorite among recreational and competitive swimmers alike. Due to its effective design and superior performance, it’s also an increasingly popular gym bag for those who never even dip a toe in the pool.

There is one large, main compartment in the backpack. Inside this compartment is a laptop sleeve that can accommodate laptops up to 17 inches. There’s a removable dirt bag for particularly grimy or wet items, a large zippered side pocket with drainage for wet items, a small zippered side pocket for a wallet, keys, or other valuables, and a water bottle holder on the side. Additionally, there is a front pocket with smaller compartments for keys, pens, a passport, tablet, and other essentials. The bottom of the Speedo Large Teamster Backpack is reinforced for ultimate durability. It contains a pull out foam cushion for stadium seating. If you remove the cushion, the compartment can be used for your wet towel or bathing suit.

Constructed from durable polyester, the backpack is built to be rugged and abrasion resistant. The seams are all double stitched and the zippers are the highest grade YKK zippers. It is easy to clean and has a water-repellent exterior, and the adjustable padded straps have buckles and straps at the chest to help disperse the load.

The Speedo Large Teamster Backpack has a capacity of 35L, which is not only greater than most backpack gym bags but also sounds smaller than it feels, as the shape of the bag really maximizes usable space so that it feels roomy. This makes it easier to shove all your wet gear into the bag when you’ve finished your final lap. Lastly, the Speedo Large Teamster Backpack comes in nearly two dozen different colors and patterns.

Specs

Design
Backpack Gym Bag
Materials
100% Polyester
Capacity
35 L
Dimensions
20 inches x
14 inches x
4 inches

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Convertible Gym Bag
Best Backpack Gym Bag
Best Cross-Body Yoga Mat Gym Bag
Best Gym Tote Bag
Best Swimming Gym Bag
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Great compartments
  • Comes in lots of colors
  • Very durable construction
  • Versatility in carrying style
  • Perfect size for most gym goers
  • Durable construction
  • Quite water-resistant
  • Nice shoe compartment
  • Sporty, easy to carry bag
  • Doubles as a great backpack
  • Straps are comfortable and stay cool
  • 2-year warranty
  • Lots of color options
  • Yoga mat says in place
  • Very durable construction
  • Size options are extensive
  • Ergonomic design and easy to carry
  • Laptop sleeve ands lots of handy compartments
  • Lightweight
  • Quick drying
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Two ways to carry it
  • Doubles as a lifestyle bag
  • Doesn’t look like a gym bag
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Laptop sleeve is large
  • Lots of compartments
  • Makes good use of space
  • Dries quickly and easy to wash
  • Easy to pack because of wide opening
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • Max shoe size for shoe compartment is men’s 12
  • A little small
  • Not many color choices
  • Small
  • Doesn’t fit shoes if you have yoga blocks as well
  • Quite small
  • Needs to be hand washed
  • No separate compartment for wet things
  • Bag is not fully waterproof
  • Can be big for smaller people to carry
Design
Design
Design
Design
Design
Design
Duffle
Backpack
Cross-Body Gym Bag Hybrid
Backpack Gym Bag
Cross-Body Sling Bag with Yoga Mat Sleeve
Tote or Cross-Body Sling Bag
Backpack Gym Bag
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
100% Polyester
100% Polyester
100% Polyester
100% Polyester
100% Polyester
Capacity
Capacity
Capacity
Capacity
Capacity
Capacity
40 L
29 L
28 L
20 L
35 L
Dimensions
Dimensions
Dimensions
Dimensions
Dimensions
Dimensions
23 inches x
10 inches x
12 inches
111.81 inches x
7.87 inches x
17.72 inches
19 inches x
12 inches x
7 inches
13 inches x
6 inches x
15.5 inches
20 inches x
14 inches x
4 inches

FAQ

What size gym bag do I need?

The size of your gym bag will depend on what you plan to carry. Most medium-sized gym bags or duffle bags are 30–40 L, but a 50–60 L gym bag may be necessary if you’ll be carrying tennis rackets, soccer balls, or multiple changes of clothes. Smaller gym bags are easier to carry and stash in a gym locker, so they are ideal if you can fit all of your belongings. If you are buying a gym bag online, look at the measurements and grab a tape measure to help visualize the capacity of the bag.

What should I pack in my gym bag?

Your gym bag should hold your workout clothes, water bottle and snacks, a change of clothes, towel, sneakers, shower products, electronics, etc. The specific belongings you’ll need will vary according to your activities.

How can I keep my gym bag clean?

To prevent your gym bag from smelling and to prolong the life of the materials, it’s important to keep the bag clean. Wash your gym bag according to the manufacturer’s care instructions; it is a good idea to get a machine-washable gym bag because then you can simply throw it in the laundry to remove sweat, stains, odors, germs, and dirt.