Fact: there is no one gym bag above all others. Office professionals need their bag classy yet odor free; sports fanatics need something waterproof and durable. Maybe you need a separate, climate-controlled compartment for food and drink, or just a ventilated section to keep your dirty, smelly cleats away from your change of clothes. Whatever your style — from stuff sacks to roller bags — these are the best bags for being shoved into a locker while you and fitness meet up for a hot, sweaty tryst.
Additional Contribution by Ted Jamison.
Adidas Defender 2 Duffel
You can’t beat the classics. The Adidas Defender 2 has everything a gym rat needs in a bag, from a spacious main compartment to the zippered side pouches flanking either end. Particularly pungent individuals can rest easy; the FreshPak technology integrated into the bag is designed to keep things smelling clean…even if they’re not.
5.11 NBT Mike Duffel
Suitable for both the gym and the gun range, the Mike Duffel by 5.11 takes a tactical-inspired approach to the duffel. This highly functional bag features internal compression straps and a removable toiletry kit/organizer. It’s all wrapped up in tear-proof nylon composite material.
Under Armour UA Storm Contain Backpack Duffle II
The Under Armour UA Storm Contain Backpack Duffle II is a great option if you want a bag that can fill multiple roles. Despite its unnecessarily long name, the Storm Contain is a simple bag with all of the features that you want and none that you don’t. A duffle/backpack hybrid design means that you will always be comfortable carrying it, even on a bike. It has enough space to fit your belongings for a weekend getaway and a water-repellent front valuables pocket keeps your gear safe.
Patagonia Arbor 30L
When designing their gym bag, Patagonia took inspiration from their clean and simple climbing equipment. Rugged and field-ready, the Arbor is water repellent with a large U-shaped opening into its main compartment where you’ll find plenty of internal pockets for storage.
Topo Designs Duffel 22″
Topo is known for pairing simple design elements with bold colorways to set off any ensemble, even your gym shorts. The Topo 22″ duffel makes for an ideal gym bag with a tough exterior made from durable Cordura fabric and a seat belt strap material for its handles. The inside of the bag, however, features a pack cloth liner for your softer goods to rest after the workout.
GoRuck Kit Bag 32L
GoRuck is known for their tough, American-made bags and clothing. The founder spent time in the Special Forces, and his experience working with necessary durability is relayed in this 32L Bag. The GoRuck is your choice if you’re looking for a durable, simple, no-nonsense gym companion. And as an added bonus, each purchase helps fund the company’s leadership-building events and expeditions.
OGIO X-Train 2 Pack
Not everyone is the duffel type. For those thinking outside the cylinder, we bring you the OGIO X-Train 2. With all of the space and features of a gym duffel, the X-Train 2 defies expectations, with a compartment for a hydration bladder, a dedicated shoe compartment, a crush-resistant valuables pocket and a removable helmet-carry.
BAD Duffel #3 SP
This 17-inch duffle from modestly named “Best American Duffle” comes in three combinations of two-tone color patterns, with grab handles on the top and sides and a padded shoulder strap. A compression strap helps to muscle in large loads and reinforces the bag so it doesn’t burst at the seams.
Manduka GO Free 2.0
The GO Free 2.0 by Manduka is the perfect bag if your gym is the yoga studio. With space to fit a Manduka PRO mat up to 85 inches long, you will never have to awkwardly strap your mat to a duffel again. The GO Free 2.0 also has a padded pocket for your laptop as well as a hidden phone pocket to keep your valuables safe while you’re getting loose.
Penfield Irondale Holdall
This New England based brand has been cranking out reliable goods since 1975. The nylon canvas, leather trim and two-way zip closure are some of the small details that add up to a reliable and sturdy gym bag.
Datsusara Gear Bag Core
If you enjoy the tactical look of the GoRuck but need more space and organizational features, the Datsusara Gear Bag Core is a great choice. It is constructed from anti-microbial, breathable, durable and environmentally friendly hemp so your bag won’t work up a stench — even when you do.
The Original King Kong Bag 3.0
The King Kong Original 3.0 is designed to last a lifetime. King Kong classifies the shoulder strap clasps as “unbreakable,” and by the look of them, we agree. The bag also features a unique water-resistant dual shoe compartment with space to fit multiple pairs of shoes. A specially designed mobility pouch keeps your stretching gear and lacrosse balls organized.
Fjällräven Duffel No. 4 Bag
It’s hard to make it through the day without seeing a Fjallraven backpack. This makes sense, as the packs have been a staple for the Swedish outdoor brand since its birth in 1960. But Fjallraven also offers a take on the gym bag covered in heavy duty fabric, cut into clean looking lines with two outer pockets and natural leather straps.
DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag
The DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag has the versatility of a Swiss Army knife, the dependability of a Ford pickup and styling that Jason Statham 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.
Best Made Bonded Duffel
This bag isn’t only for the gym, and its price reflects that. A heavy, bonded canvas exterior, water-repellent core and non-fraying technical webbing put it into consideration as an adventure grab-bag; lug it from the barbells to the deer stand to the office and know that it will never wear out.
Six Pack Beast Duffel 500
Six Pack Bags is fresh on the scene with a 10-pound bag that, as its name implies, holds up to six meals (it comes with reusable containers) along with your shoes, water bottles and whatever else you can stuff into the main compartment.
Defy Bags Ultimate Overnighter M35 Military Tarp
It takes a special brand to dub their product as “the ultimate” anything. But given all the features that make up Defy’s Ultimate Overnighter, we’d say it comes pretty close in terms of durability. In addition to its 22 oz. M35 Military truck tarpaulin outer skin, the bag is filled with military grade parachute Ripstop material and covered in military grade seatbelt handles. Over time, the bag’s simple, clean design ages kindly, developing a work-worn patina.
Chrome Sotnik Black Bag
Chrome is known for making durable shoulder bags favored by bike messengers. They took what they learned from years of feedback and designed the Sotnik to be carried by hand, shouldered or worn as a backpack. The bag is guaranteed for life and is constructed from Hypalon and a tarpaulin liner. A rolltop design means you’ll always have room for whatever gear you need and the separate wet and dry compartments keep your clean clothes from your dirty ones.
Y-3 Qasa Gym Bag
For the fashion set, designer Yohji Yamamoto’s collaboration with Adidas has produced a particularly striking line of gear that elevates athletic staples into sartorial essentials. The bag is made of neoprene and features plenty of compartments and media pockets on the inside.
Herschel Supply Co. Bad Hills Sutton Bag
By this point we’re familiar with Herschel Supply’s bags, but the brand’s Bad Hills Workshop series pushes their designs into exciting new territory with their primary goals being experimentation and innovation. The Bad Hills gym bag features a simple, artful silhouette made from black pebbled leather set off by a gold-toned zipper, along with plenty of pocket storage inside.