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The modern gym bag is like most things in that it has evolved over the years. Today’s gym bags serve a variety of functions and are suitable for a wide range of activities, from hiking to travel to camping to, yes, carrying workout clothes.In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Let’s start with some buying tips.
|Adidas Defender III Duffel Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Marsbro Water Resistant Sports Gym Travel Weekender Duffel Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Mier Gym Duffel Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Nike Brasilia Training Medium Duffle Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Everest Luggage Sporty Gear Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Kuston Sports Gym Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Canway Sports Gym Bag & Travel Duffel Bag||Check on Amazon|
|G4Free 40L 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag||Check on Amazon|
|Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack||Check on Amazon|
|Under Armour Undeniable Duffle 3.0 Gym Bag||Check on Amazon|
Before you buy: 6 Things to consider when purchasing a gym bag
Several things go into the making of a quality gym bag – from the material used to make it to the “extras” that come with it. That’s a good thing, for sure, but it can make choosing the bag that’s right for you a bit complex.
Let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind when buying a gym bag:
Size is perhaps the most important factor to consider when buying a gym bag. Choosing the right size means knowing what items you plan to carry in your bag – gym shoes, workout clothes, shower items, water bottle, essential workout gear, etc.
Also, your gym bag should be the right size so that you can store it easily – whether that’s in a gym locker or another storage unit.
2. Your Activity
The type of gym bag you choose should fit your type of exercise, whether it’s swimming, running, weightlifting, or other activities.
If swimming or other water sports are your thing, you’ll probably want a bag that has a waterproof lining. You still may want a water-resistant lining if you sweat a lot and will transport wet workout clothes back home from the gym.
If moisture isn’t a concern, then you won’t have to worry so much about the lining.
Many gym bags come with compartments that serve a variety of purposes, including shoe compartments that come in handy.
The nice thing about compartments is that you can keep your workout gear and other items neatly organized; no one enjoys the frustration of digging through their bag to find something when getting ready to work out.
Shoes can get dirty, even during indoor exercise, so it only makes sense to keep them separate from other clothing.
“Gym bag” is a catch-all phrase that may refer to a variety of things – a true gym bag, a duffel bag, even a tote.
However, there are differences between each type, which we’ll discuss at greater length a little later, and which one you choose depends on how you plan to use the bag.
Many bags are ideal for travel (including as a carry-on), for a weekend getaway, for hiking, and more. Just know that most traditional gym bags have multiple pockets, including mesh pockets in which to store wet items.
Gym bags consist of a variety of materials:
Polyester is one of the most common materials used to make gym bags. Heavy-duty polyester is durable and easy to clean, while it’s also water-resistant, which is important if you’re transporting wet gym clothes or your bathing suit.
A drawback of polyester is that it doesn’t breathe well, which makes it prone to bacteria and mold if you don’t clean it often.
One of nylon’s biggest advantages is that it’s lightweight, and it’s typically less expensive than other materials. It’s also not as durable and can stain easily.
There’s a lot to love about leather: it has a luxurious look and feel, it’s durable, and it holds its shape very well. But you’ll also pay more for leather, it can stain easily, and it’s prone to holding in odors. Many gym and duffel bags come with leather handles and trim.
Canvas has many advantages, not the least of which is that it’s lightweight (and inexpensive). In most cases, it’s machine-washable. That’s ideal for when the bag starts to smell from sweaty gym clothes and shoes.
One of canvas’s cons is that it doesn’t deal with moisture very well, however. It can have odor problems from holding your wet clothes and takes a while to dry after washing.
Also known as synthetic leather, vinyl is also inexpensive and resists stains fairly well, especially when compared to natural leather. One of vinyl’s big drawbacks is that it scratches fairly easy and can look beat-up faster than bags made from other materials.
Lugging around a heavy gym bag – or any bag, for that matter – gets old after a while. That’s especially true if its handles or shoulder straps are uncomfortable. Don’t compromise on comfort.
Next, here’s a look at our choices for the best gym bags.
The 11 best gym bags for men
Adidas is one of the world’s biggest and best loved sports brands, and their Defender III Duffel Bag is a fantastic gym bag at a surprisingly low price.
Made from reinforced ripstop polyester material, it feels very thin but proves to be extremely durable. And thanks to that apparent thinness, it is very lightweight and comfortable to carry – especially with the nicely padded handle.
It’s very spacious, with a large main compartment that will fit all of your gym stuff as well as 2 zippered end pockets that are fully ventilated as well as an outside pocket.
On top of all that, it looks very stylish.
This is definitely a great investment for any man who loves to hit the gym, but it’s also worth having as a potential travel bag, as the size and quality of construction make it great for extended travel.
- Reinforced ripstop material
- Great price
- Some reviewers feel the material is a little thin
A great, reasonably priced gym bag from a world-class brand.
What’s not to like about the MarsBro Water Resistant Sports Gym Travel Bag? It’s roomy, just as its name suggests, it has a waterproof lining, and there’s also a built-in compartment to store your shoes.
And that’s just part of the story. Put simply, we think it’s one of the best gym duffel bags overall. Here’s a closer look:
- The MarsBro gym travel bag has plenty of room with dimensions of 19.7” x 9.8” x 9.3”. Its main compartment provides plenty of space for clothes, towel, shoes, other gym accessories, and even an iPad.
- The exterior of the bag consists of 100% anti-tearing polyester. It includes a zipped pocket for small accessories, such as your keys and cell phone.
- The bag’s inner lining is a water-resistant artificial PVC coating. It’s ideal for making sure that your clothes and devices don’t get wet.
- There’s an internal security pocket that’s perfect for storing valuables, while an additional side pocket is big enough to hold your shampoo, soap, body wash, water bottle, etc.
- The shoe compartment includes a zippered pocket and exterior zippers with air holes, providing a space to keep your workout shoes (or office shoes while you’re working out) separate from your other gear.
- The well-cushioned shoulder strap is comfortable, while the bag also includes dual handles for easy transport.
- Another plus is the bag’s fluorescent zippers, which add to its attractive overall design.
Another reason we included this bag on our list is that it’s versatile. It’s ideal for the gym and playing sports but also great for weekends, travel, as a carry-on – even for camping and hiking.
- Plenty of interior room
- Few, if any, but some reviewers think the lining could be better
Many gym and duffel bags handle a variety of needs, but few do it better than MarsBros’ Sports Gym Travel Weekender Duffel Bag. It’s roomy, water-resistant, comfortable to carry, and durable.
There are many ways to describe the MIER Gym Duffel Bag, but any description should mention the bag’s versatility.
It is, after all, a bag that’s great for the gym but also for travel (it fits nicely into the overhead compartment of airplanes) and even as a bag you bring to and from the office.
It also has a simple, classic design but one with plenty of style. However, we particularly like it for its functionality:
- It comes with a shoe compartment that’s the perfect size for keeping your shoes separate from everything else in your bag. That said, it’s worthy of mention when discussing the best gym bag with a shoe compartment.
- It has one main compartment that comes with a two-way zipper. There’s also an inner small zipper pocket.
- It comes with a padded bottom that helps keep the bag in a good shape while protecting its contents.
- There’s also a separate Dopp kit, in which you can store toiletry items.
- The MIER Gym Duffel Bag consists of sturdy nylon fabric and has box-stitching reinforcement on all of its stress points.
- It’s comfortable to carry, thanks to an adjustable padded shoulder strap and dual handles.
- Strong enough to stand up to rough handling
- Plenty of space to hold clothing and other items
- The liner isn’t quite as good as with other bags
The MIER Gym Duffel bag has the kind of room you need to hold a multitude of things, including your shower and other toiletry items. It’s also comfortable to carry and made to last.
Carhartt’s reputation focuses on its rugged, durable, and dependable products. It’s no surprise that its Legacy Gear Bag is built to withstand a lot of wear and tear.
However, it’s also a versatile gear bag that’s great for the gym and many other activities.
The Carhartt bag consists of durable polyester and has an abrasion-resistant base that holds up to abuse. Meanwhile, a Rain Defender Durable Water Repellant applied to the exterior keeps your contents dry in every type of weather.
And there’s more.
You’ll like the spacious main compartment that has more than enough room for your gear. The 30-inch version of the bag comes with an additional compartment that allows you to store separate items, while an additional zippered pocket is ideal for storing smaller items.
Triple-needle stitched seams also contribute to the bag’s overall durability. Also, maximum carrying comfort comes from a padded – and removable – shoulder strap and from the bag’s side haul handles.
As you’d expect from a company like Carhartt – which has a long list of workwear that’s built to stand up to the toughest, most physical jobs – the bag’s multiple uses include carrying tools and other work equipment and even your work boots.
We think it’s the best gym bag for work, especially if your work entails getting your hands dirty.
- Could use a few more pockets
This bag lives up the Carhartt name in every way. It’s durable and rugged but also versatile enough for use as a gym bag or a work bag. You’ll love its dependability, no matter how you use it.
It would have been a sin if we didn’t include Nike in our list of best gym bags. Nike is a brand that is extremely well-known when it comes to high-quality gym clothing and accessories, and, Nike Brasilia Training Medium Duffle Bag is a great example.
It is constructed with 100% durable polyester, and it is very spacious, giving you the ability to carry all the extra gear or clothing you need. The bottom of the bag includes a water-resistant fabric, so you don’t have to worry if anything gets spilled.
It features an adjustable strap which comes in handy adding increased comfort while carrying the bag around.
It comes in a variety of colors and also in different sizes if this color and size are not for you.
- Very durable and sturdy bag
- Water-resistant bottom
- Comes in a variety of colors to choose from
- Very sporty design makes it not very suitable for traveling
A great bag from a well-known brand, geared for the regular gym fanatic
You work hard for your money, and any time you get a bigger bang for your buck is a plus. Everest’s Luggage Sporty Gear Bag is excellent in that sense: you get a lot of gym bag for a reasonable price, but it’s also excellent for many other reasons.
The folks at Everest must be doing something right with this bag, given the large number of reviews (and high ratings).
As mentioned, it’s a bigger bag with plenty of room to store all of your gym equipment and more. Its dimensions are 25” x 12” x 12”, and it has dual-zippered side compartments with mesh pockets. It also has a zippered clamshell opening.
The Sporty Gear Bag’s polyester exterior is durable and stain- and scratch-resistant – as well as mildew-resistant – and will retain its original look for a long time. The interior also consists of polyester.
Meanwhile, it has an adjustable padded shoulder strap and two exterior handles that make it easy to carry.
It also comes in a variety of color options that enable you to match your taste, as well as your team (or school’s) colors, if you so desire, and it’s suitable for men and women.
- Nice price
- Shoulder strap not as sturdy as some reviewers would like
The Everest Sporty Gym Bag is big enough to carry whatever you need for a trip to the gym or for other activities. It also comes at a nice price.
Kuston might not be one of the most well-known brands out there, their gym bags deserve a mention. Why? Because they combine functionality, quality, and value at the same time.
Kuston Sports Gym Bag is made from premium oxford fabric that feels durable and is very lightweight. However, it is important to mention that while Kuston notes that the bag is waterproof, it is only water-resistant. That means that the bag can withstand light rain but not heavy rain.
As for storage, this bag is pretty spacious at 35L. It contains six multifunctional pockets to store your belongings, out of which one is completely waterproof. You can use that pocket to store your wet in sweat activewear after your exercise or wet swimwear after swimming.
It also features a shoe compartment, which is not something you see in many gym bags on the market. The shoe compartment features two breathable holes to avoid stinking up the bag and is pretty big, fitting most types of athletic shoes.
As an added bonus, this bag is very versatile as it can be used for traveling as well. It features a luggage belt that can be used to place the bag above your carry-on bag, making it easy to carry both at the same time.
Overall, this is a great gym bag that is durable and comes at a great price. The only drawback I could mention is that the pull tabs on the zippers could have been a little bit more sturdy and durable. If you aggressively pull them, then you will most probably break them apart.
- Great functionality, versatility, and durability
- Great value for money
- Plenty of room to store a variety of items
- Zippers could have been a little bit more durable
Kuston Sports Gym Bag is another versatile bag that’s ideal for the gym, traveling and many other activities. It’s also durable and has plenty of room to store many items.
There’s no need to worry whether you’ll have enough room for everything when you pack your clothes and other items in the Canway Sports Gym Bag.
The Canway bag is a large duffel that you can use for traveling, as well as for the gym and athletic competitions. It’s a no-nonsense bag that leaves room for everything you might need when on the go.
For one, this gym/duffel bag has multiple pockets, specifically, one spacious main pocket and eight separate pockets.
There’s a compartment just for shoes and sneakers, inner pockets for shampoo and other grooming products, as well as a side mesh pocket in which you can fit a water bottle, and even a protein shaker.
Made from 600d polyester fabric, the Canway sports bag is waterproof and tear-resistant. It also comes with premium metal zippers, found stitched grip handles, and a padded, adjustable and removable shoulder buckle.
There’s even a side hook that allows you to hang the gym bag easily in the locker room or your hotel room.
Another nice feature is that it features a one-piece leather bottom that’s waterproof and doesn’t slip or slide around the floor like bags with plastic feet.
- Very roomy with enough space to carry all of your items.
- It comes in five color choices – blue, black, gray, orange, and red.
- Waterproof interior and exterior.
- Some users question its durability.
The Sports Gym Bag by Canway has a lot of room and a lot of features that we think you’ll love. It’s a versatile bag you can use for the gym or for traveling.
G4Free might not be a super famous brand, but surely it knows how to create a proper gym bag. Their G4Free 40L 3-Way Duffle Backpack Gym Bag is evidence of that due to its multifunctionality and versatility.
First of all, it features an adjustable strap that is also detachable so it can be used as a duffle bag. It also features a carry handle on the top and adjustable padded straps at the back, making it possible to be used as a backpack, if needed. This makes it very versatile and suitable for many activities such as going to the gym, hiking, camping, travel, etc. Additionally, it is also waterproof which, adds to its versatility.
Another great plus of this bag is its storage space of 40L. You can easily fit a basketball without any problem and still have a great amount of space to store your other essentials. While this isn’t enough, it comes with a separate shoe compartment where you can store not only your dirty shoes but also your stinky clothes. This extra compartment is also ventilated, making sure your bag doesn’t get smelly internally. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the shoe compartment can fit shoes only up to size 12, which can be inconvenient for some.
Additionally, it also features multiple side pockets, where you can store other smaller items such as your phone, wallet, etc.
It comes in a variety of colors, from darker black to light green, making it easy to choose the color you like.
This is a great bag, however, not without its drawbacks. While not an issue with us, a lot of reviewers say that they had issues with durability after a couple of months’ use. Nevertheless, like everything in life, if you take good care of it, it will last you longer.
- Spacious 40L with multi pocket.
- Can be used as a backpack or duffel bag.
- Separate shoe compartment.
- While we find the quality decent, some reviewers noted that the quality could be better.
A great versatile bag that can be used for the gym, traveling and other several activities due to its storage space and features.
Backpacks may also serve as gym bags, and many men prefer them over traditional designs. If you’re one of those men, you’ll want to check out Pacsafe’s Metrosafe backpack, which has the added benefit of being theft-proof.
Indeed, Pacsafe’s LS series of bags come with a variety of anti-theft technologies that help give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing a thief would have to work pretty damn hard to steal from your backpack.
A flexible, stainless steel wire mesh built into the bag’s fabric prevents would-be thieves from slashing your bag, while a security clip prevents pickpockets from getting into your bag.
Meanwhile, a pocket meant for holding ID and credit cards in the main compartment includes safe-blocking material that protects you from hacker scanning.
All that said, the Pacsafe LS350 is also a versatile bag that’s great for storing gym items, but it’s also for travel, classes, etc.
The main compartment has enough room to hold a MacBook or another device, and the zipper system is – no surprise – designed to ward off pickpockets.
The bag comes in three color options (black, tan, and Merlot) and is comfortable to carry, even when loaded with heavier items.
- Anti-theft technology is second to none
- Comfortable to carry
- Some find it hard to access, because of its secure latches
The Pacsafe Metrosafe backpack is ideal for gym use, as well as an impenetrable force against thievery. It comfortably stores all the items you need for a workout or most other uses you may choose.
Under Armour’s humble beginnings started with an idea to build a superior T-shirt that athletes and active people would love. They’ve come a long way since then and developed a line of products that covers a lot of ground, including gym bags.
UA’s Undeniable Duffle 3.0 Gym Bag exemplifies the company’s commitment to innovation and technology. It features UA Storm technology with a highly water-resistant finish that’s tough and abrasion-resistant.
The bag’s bottom is similarly abrasion-resistant, as are its side panels. Those are good things, for sure, especially when you consider how a gym bag can incur a few bumps and bruises when you move it in an out of a gym locker.
You also don’t have to worry about cramming all of your stuff into this bag; it’s roomier than it looks and capable of carrying all of your workout gear.
The interior includes a compartment that’s ideal for storing shoes, while there’s also a large zippered exterior organization pocket.
It’s easy to transport, as well, thanks to a HeatGear adjustable shoulder strap and a padded top handle.
- Tough, resilient, and durable.
- It’s comfortable to carry thanks to its shoulder strap and top handle.
- Vented pocket to store shoes or dirty gym clothes.
- Will fit under the front seat of the plane as long as you don’t over-fill it.
The Under Armour Undeniable 3.0 gym bag is undeniably good. It has plenty of room to store your belongings and it’s easy to carry.
Gym bag? Duffel bag? Backpack? What’s the difference?
We talked earlier about how the term “gym bag” is sometimes used to describe a wide range of items used for the same general purposes. To further confuse the issue, many bags called “duffel” bags are actually gym bags, and vice-versa.
There are differences, however, and here’s a look at some of the most common types bags.
The traditional gym bag, or at least what qualifies as “traditional” today, has a few common characteristics: multiple pockets, shorter handles, and shoulder straps so that you can carry your bag hands-free.
However, many come with individual compartments in which you can carry your shoes, store wet items, and even safely store electronic devices, such as your phone.
They come in a variety of sizes and colors.
Most gym bags are versatile enough for use as a vacation bag or as a carry-on for air travel.
Like gym bags, duffel bags are versatile – and some would say more versatile. They provide plenty of room to store your clothing and other items, are excellent for travel, and come in a variety of materials.
Some of the common characteristics of a duffel bag are its softer sides that help you to fit it in tight or irregular spaces without too much trouble and their zippers (which replaced the drawstrings of yesteryear).
Additionally, many duffel bags have interior and exterior pockets.
The original duffel bags had a cylindrical shape (and were made of canvas), but today’s bags have, for the most part, square sides. They also come in a variety of colors and material, including canvas, which is more affordable than many other types of material.
Most duffel bags have a firm, scratch-resistant bottom to protect against the stress of travel and other transport. Many also come with wheels – you’ll see them in just about every airport that you can name – which tend to be larger and able to handle heavier loads.
Backpacks have been around, in some shape or form, for thousands of years, but the modern backpack dates back only 50 years or so.
They’ve become the preferred method of students for transporting books and other school-related items, but they have many uses, not the least of which is that they’re excellent for hiking and camping.
Unlike the heavier backpacks of the past, today’s packs usually consist of lightweight materials such as nylon.
In fact, comfort is perhaps the most important criteria when choosing a backpack. Backpacks that have well-padded, adjustable shoulder straps are usually the most comfortable.
A key factor to consider when it comes to a backpack’s comfort is that it doesn’t produce any additional strain on your back. The back of the bag should follow the natural arch of your spine and back.
Today’s backpacks come in a variety of materials, including nylon, canvas, polyester, and leather. Many outdoor backpacks consist of nylon material that’s lightweight and waterproof. Polyester often is used for the construction of children’s backpacks.
A tote bag is a larger bag with two handles. Today’s totes come in a wide range of materials, including cloth (which represents their original form).
Totes typically don’t include exterior or interior pockets and are meant to carry things while shopping or traveling. Totes are larger than handbags, which are meant to carry personal items used for everyday life.
However, some of today’s handbags are as large as tote bags and used to transport items for shopping or traveling.
Most men don’t use a handbag but instead use a tote bag when shopping, etc.
There’s no need to get too in-depth about suitcases, because, well, have you ever seen someone transporting their gym items in a suitcase? We think not, unless you’re also carrying your personal set of dumbbells and other equipment, but we digress.
The suitcase has a history that goes way, way back, but today’s models are much more lightweight and easier to handle than previous forms.
The typical suitcase has a flat, rectangular shape with rounded corners that consist of hard metal or plastic to help the case hold a consistent shape or form.
Most suitcases have zippers and a hinge opening, so you can uncover the entire area of the bag’s interior. Like most everything else, the modern suitcase is influenced heavily by rapidly-evolving technology.
How we chose our best gym bags
One of the biggest factors we took into consideration when choosing the best men’s gym bags was functionality.
Some bags have more features than others – including more interior compartments – but the bags we chose had to serve their general purpose without compromising storage room or comfort.
We also wanted to provide a range of styles, while versatility was another consideration. Most gym bags can serve a variety of functions, and we think that’s a plus. Finally, we always strive to list products that fit every budget.
We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions. What brand of gym bag do you use? Have you tried any of the bags on our list? Let us know in the comments!