The Best Gym Bags for Daily Use

By Carlen Oliveira

February 3, 2021

Gym bags used to be filled only with the sweatiest of clothes and the stinkiest of shoes but these days, gym bags have become so much more than a sweat dump. Not only have they become the "everything" bag for all your needs and essentials but they've also become a fashion/lifestyle item as well. Investing in a versatile gym bag will allow you to carry all of your items in one bag, instead of carrying multiple bags around. For men, you can finally ditch the backpack and have some room for your shoes, books and equipment. For women, the possibilities are endless, whether it's for fitness, education or style.

Gym bags come in all different shapes and sizes, are designed with bright colours, and are made from a number of different materials, including nylon, leather and polyester. What's great about these bags, of course, is the versatility. They're also great carry-on bags during flights, or can serve as overnight bags on small trips; on hiking trips; and, on grocery runs.

Before you buy a gym bag, there are a few key things to think about. Consider how often you’ll use it, what you need it to carry and if it fits in with your day-to-day lifestyle. For a deeper breakdown of what to look for when choosing a gym bag, we've highlight some key specs and features to which you should pay attention. Let's get started!

1. Editor's Pick: Under Armour Duffle 4.0 Gym Bag

ProsCons
  • D-ring for extra attachments
  • Separate section for shoes or laundry
  • Abrasion-resistant bottom and side panels
  • Large size may be too big for casual gym use
  • Some customers didn’t receive shoulder strap

Key Specs

Material: 84% Polyester, 16% Elastane
Dimensions: 14.6" x 14" x 29.5"
Weight: 300 g
Volume: 3,539.4 Cubic In./58 L

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This classic duffle bag is sure to satisfy any and all of your travelling needs. No matter what you need to throw in your bag, this unisex gym bag from Under Armour ranges from extra small to extra-large sizes. It also comes in 29 different colours so you can cater to your sense of style, no matter the occasion. Designed with UA storm technology to ensure a water-resistant finish, this bag includes a removable, padded-shoulder strap, two large-zippered pockets, internal-slip pockets, and a large-vented pocket for your shoes.

2. Most Carrying Options: Sportsnew Sports Gym Bag

ProsCons
  • Includes water bottle and shoe compartment
  • Seven colour options
  • Water-resistant material
  • Available in one size
  • Thin material

Key Specs

Material: Polyester
Dimensions: 19" X 12" X 10"
Weight: 454 g
Volume: 35 L

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The Sportsnew gym bag is a great option for those looking for a large, durable gym bag that can double as a stylish travel companion. With three carrying options, you can wear this bag over your shoulder, behind your back or with the handles — all thanks to the adjustable and versatile straps. Built with a spacious centre compartment, this gym bag also comes with a waterproof PVC pocket to store any wet or smelly clothes, as well as an additional pocket for your shoes and a dedicated spot to hold two water bottles.

3. Best For Women: BJLFS Women’s Travel and Sports Gym Bag

ProsCons
  • All-purpose bag
  • Water-resistant
  • Three internal pockets
  • Not durable compared to other models
  • Limited colour options

Key Specs

Material: Nylon
Dimensions: 21.65” x 7.09” x 10.63”
Weight: 600 g
Volume: N/A

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This bag is a bestseller for a reason. Designed with an integrated trolly sleeve to stay on rolling luggage as well as a removable shoulder strap and two handles, this water resistant, multi-purpose bag is suitable for all of your needs. With a dry and wet separation compartment and three extra storage pockets, this bag is ready to handle whatever essentials you throw its way.

4. Most Stylish: Morhua Nylon Large Lightweight Tote Bag

ProsCons
  • Waterproof
  • Two internal and external slip pockets
  • 30 different pattern options
  • Hand-wash only
  • Short arm straps

Key Specs

Material: Nylon
Dimensions: 46cm x 16cm x 36cm
Weight: 280 g
Volume: N/A

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Travel in style with these bright, colourfully designed tote bags by Morhua. Choose from 30 different patterns and invest in a high quality, lightweight and waterproof bag. This large tote bag uses a zippered main compartment as well as an interior and exterior slip pocket for storage of your small items. These bags are great for more than just the gym; they can double as a travel bag for any occasion.

5. Largest Capacity: Komal's Gym & Overnight Weekender Bag

ProsCons
  • Large storage
  • Two extra side components
  • Removable shoulder straps
  • Minimal support on bottom of the bag

Key Specs

Material: Leather
Dimensions: 28” x 11” x 9”
Weight: 1.82 kg
Volume: N/A

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If luxury is what you’re after, this large duffle bag designed by Komal’s Passion Leather is a fashionable, durable bag that will never go out of style. Handcrafted using ethically sourced grain leather, this gym bag is made to last. Whether you take it to the gym or to work, you can use it for any occasion. While it's not as sweat-resistant as the models above, it has enough storage space to isolate the more odorous of smells. Built with one large main component, two side pockets and a small front pocket, this elegant bag is sure to impress.

What to Look For When Buying A Gym Bag

When it comes to buying a gym bag, make sure that you choose a one that’s big enough to carry all of your essential items, To help give you an idea of what type of bag might be best for you, check out some of the things you should consider before buying.

Size

When shopping for a gym bag, or any bag for that matter, you need to find a size that meets all of your needs. Do you need it to carry just a few essentials? Or will it be your version of a Mary Poppins bag? Knowing how much space you need in your bag will help you narrow down your search so you can buy a bag accordingly.

  • Small bags are great for people who go to the gym. These bags usually carry only a few small items like gym shoes, your keys and your wallet.

  • Medium bags are ideal for people who need to carry the essentials and a few other items as well. Most medium-sized bags offer extra pockets and compartments, like a separate spot to store your shoes.

  • Large bags are for the people who put everything they possibly can into their bags. From gym clothes to work or school clothes, to shower products and their lunch, these bags are great for people who like to keep everything in one place.

Shape

  • Duffle bags are an ideal choice if you have a few things you want to carry around, but are limited in the sense that some only have one compartment, which may make it difficult to sort through your things.

  • Shoulder bags provide a little more structure. They might come with an extra removable strap or have a few zip-up pockets that can keep your smaller items out of the mix. These are also a great hands-free option if you’re busy and need to be on the move.

  • Tote bags are usually larger in size, which make them great for carrying lots of items. Be careful when buying this style. It’s not uncommon to not have anything to fasten them at the top.

  • Backpacks are a version of gym bags that can’t go wrong. They offer great versatility for work or school, have different designated compartments and are the best hands- and hassle-free style of bag.

Versatility/Compartments

What do you want to use your bag for? Do you need it to be organized? Durable? Multi-functioned? When shopping for a bag, think of it as an investment. Chances are you’ll end up getting more use out of it than for just the gym, so why not look for a bag that has lots of pockets and sections to help keep your things organized?

Material

The type of material you choose all depends on your personal preference, and is the largest factor that will affect the price of a bag. Leather is a great durable option, but is a lot more expensive than other styles and may be heavier to carry. Canvas bags can double as beach bags and might be more suited for people who like to swim laps in the pool. One of the most common materials is nylon. These bags are usually sleek in design, waterproof and durable which makes them a great option for travelling.

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