The 11 Best Gym Bags of 2022

Keep workout gear safe and dry in the Lululemon Barrel Duffle gym bag

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Whether your workout space is a track, field, pool, studio, fitness center, or even your backyard, owning a quality gym bag can keep everything you need handy and protected, and help you establish a consistent routine.

Reviewed & Approved

Our best overall pick is the Lululemon Barrel Duffle Bag with Mylo because it has lots of pockets for all your gym gear and a removable pouch that can be carried with the shoulder strap. The Under Armour Roland Duffle Bag is a durable, water-resistant pick that is budget-friendly.

Your gym bag should be made of materials that are easy to clean and durable. Waterproof material, linings or pockets to keep sweaty clothes or wet bathing suits in are a good feature to have as well as sturdy straps. Depending on what you use your gym bag for, special features like loops to carry a yoga mat or zippered pouches for muddy running shoes are things to consider. We reviewed gym bags for this roundup based on durability, affordability, material, size and design, and storage pockets.

Here are our top picks for the best gym bags.

Best Overall for Women: Lululemon Barrel Duffle Bag 24L with Mylo

4.5
Lululemon Barrel Duffle Bag 24L with Mylo

The Barrel Duffle Bag with Mylo detailing is our best overall pick for women, with ample space for gym and post-gym attire. It has outside pockets for a water bottle, shoes, and sweaty workout gear. The removable shoulder strap can be attached to the included interior pouch and then carried as a cross-body bag.

Constructed from tough, tear-resistant polyester and nylon, the sturdy Barrel Duffle can withstand years of workouts and overnight trips. The duffle also features a unique material made from the root system of mushrooms so it has the look and feel of leather but with a low environmental impact.

The duffel can be carried by the long dual handles or slung over your shoulder using the adjustable shoulder strap. This bag has a capacity of 24 liters and measures 21.3x9.8x12.2 inches.

Best Overall for Men: Herschel Black Novel Duffel Bag

Herschel Black Novel Duffel Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Herschel Supply's timeless Novel Duffle is ideal for those seeking an upscale, everyday gym bag featuring ample open storage and a dedicated shoe compartment. This nostalgic yet modern duffel bag has a basic and bare-bones design. It features a large, open center compartment that’s ideal for both a trip to the gym or an overnight getaway. 

The Novel Duffle is made from polyester with two-way waterproof YKK zippers. It is designed to be carried either by holding the reinforced, articulated handles or attaching the padded shoulder strap. The interior includes a mesh sleeve that keeps smaller belongings organized. 

This bag is available in 29 different print and color combinations, which all feature the classic Herschel red striped lining and classic woven label. The Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle has a capacity of 42.5 liters and measures 11.75x20.5x11 inches.

Best Budget: Under Armour Roland Duffle Bag

Under Armour Roland Duffle Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

The Under Armour Roland Duffle Bag is a budget-friendly pick for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The flat-sided duffel bag features a spacious center storage compartment with a side mesh pocket and a wide front zip pocket for easy access. The bag features dual handles that snap down and adjust for hassle-free wear, along with an adjustable shoulder strap for added versatility. 

The Under Armour Roland Duffle Bag is designed using UA Storm technology, delivering a durable, water-resistant finish. It’s available in a variety of color options and features the signature Under Armor logo. The bag has a capacity of 37 liters and measures 22.2x10.6x10.3 inches when full. 

Best with Pockets: Adidas Unisex Medium Duffel Bag

Adidas Unisex Medium Duffel Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

For the athlete who lives on the field—rain or shine—the Adidas Unisex Team Issue Medium Duffel Bag stands up to the harshest of weather

The spacious and durable duffel bag features the brand’s signature Hydro-Shield water-resistant base keeping contents safe and dry. Multiple large zipper pockets fit bulky gear and equipment like balls and helmets, while the small interior pocket keeps valuables secured and organized. Additionally, the shoe compartment keeps dirt and grime from transferring onto clean clothes.

This bag includes a padded adjustable shoulder strap for easy and comfortable carrying. It has a capacity of 58 liters and measures 26x12.5x13.5 inches.

Best for Storing Shoes: VOORAY Burner Gym Bag

VOORAY Burner Gym Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Consider this the perfect bag for the gym, your daily commute, or an overnight stay. This compact yet roomy duffel features strategically placed pockets to keep personal items secured and organized. The interior includes three separate mesh pockets and one large zipper pocket. It also features an outer mesh water bottle pouch, a padded exterior media pocket, and a ventilated shoe compartment.

The bag is made from nylon and polyester with a water-resistant base, protecting belongings from the unexpected wet floor or spilled sports drink. The Vooray Burner Gym Duffel can be held either by the magnetic leather handles or by using the detachable shoulder strap. The bag has a capacity of 23 liters and measures 5.5x9.5x9.5 inches.

Most Durable: Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag

Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag

Amazon.com 

Carhartt's Legacy Gear Bag features the brand's handsome, rugged aesthetic with ultra-durable construction. This 20-inch duffel bag provides one main compartment with an inner zip pocket featuring YKK zippers to secure valuables. Constructed from 1200-denier heavy-duty polyester with a Rain Defender durable water repellent (DWR) coating and a Duravax abrasion-resistant base, the Legacy Gear Bag stands up to years of sweat and abuse. 

Featuring triple-needle stitched seams for reinforcement, this versatile bag comes with multiple carrying options, including a set of dual top haul handles and a removable padded crossbody shoulder strap.

The Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag comes in Black, Carhartt Brown, and Gray, measures 20x10.5x10 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds.

Best for the Office: Aer Duffel Pack 2 Convertible Backpack

Aer Duffel Pack 2 Convertible Backpack

Courtesy of Aer

The Aer Duffel Pack 2 blurs the lines between a classic duffel bag and a backpack. This high-quality, upscale backpack offers an unmatched level of tech organization and storage pockets to keep you organized on the go. The Aer Duffel Pack 2 is constructed from a 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior, which is sturdy and both tear- and abrasion-resistant. 

This duffel-style backpack features a wide vertical opening to a spacious main compartment, allowing for ample storage of larger contents such as clothing, electronics, and personal care essentials. This bag also includes a back tech pocket with a raised, padded laptop compartment—which fits a laptop up to 15.6 inches—and plenty of tech organization for chargers, devices, trinkets, and tools. 

Additionally, this bag has a side water bottle pouch and a separate ventilated shoe compartment—which fits up to a men's size 13 shoe—so your dirty kicks won’t ruin your fresh and clean outfit. 

Side and top handles allow users to hang the bag on locker room hooks or hold it horizontally like a briefcase. This bag is designed for comfort, featuring contoured padded straps and a padded mesh backing that helps prevent back sweat. This bag has a capacity of 24.6 liters and measures 21.5x12x8 inches.

Best Convertible: Caraa Classic Studio Bag

4.4
Caraa The Studio Bag Small
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Caraa's popular Studio Bag is basically the Mary Poppins' bag of bags. It easily transitions from a satchel to a backpack to a crossbody and has numerous storage compartments to organize and carry gym and personal essentials. Fitting an 11-inch laptop plus your gym clothes and shoes—all in separate, dedicated waterproof compartments—this multifaceted bag is a must for fit women on the go. 

This bag features two sets of convertible straps: the moisture-wicking backpack straps and an anti-slip rubberized crossbody strap. The inside of the bag features a waterproof, antimicrobial lining with breathable vents to prevent your sweaty gym clothes from haunting you for the rest of the day. 

The bag is made from waterproof Italian nylon with buffed Italian leather accents. It’s offered in black with either gold or gunmetal hardware. The Caraa Studio Bag Small has a capacity of 15.9 liters and measures 12x9x9 inches.

Best for Yoga: Gaiam Yoga Mat Tote Bag

Gaiam Yoga Mat Tote Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

There's plenty of space for personal belongings, and yoga accessories in the spacious Gaiam Yoga Mat Tote Bag. Made from 100% cotton, this fully-lined yoga bag fits standard mats up to 24 inches. Three magnetic snaps secure the mat in place while enabling easy access.

The Gaiam Yoga Mat Tote Bag measures 30.5x6.5x11 inches with 33-inch shoulder straps. It comes in gray and natural color options with two different embroidered prints. This bag also features both an interior and exterior zipper pocket to stow belongings securely.

Best for Swimmers: Gonex Swim Bag

Gonex Swim Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Gone are the days when your wet swimsuit saturates your clean clothes. The Gonex Swim Bag is the perfect accessory for the gym, pool, or beach. It's lightweight and durable, keeping clean clothes dry and separated from wet swimsuits, towels, and sweaty gear. 

This bag is split into two main sections, one for wet contents and the other for dry. The waterproof wet compartment is constructed from a translucent EVA material, keeping even electronics on the opposite side dry.

This slim and sleek rectangular gym bag comes with both dual webbed handles for easy carrying along with an adjustable, detachable padded shoulder strap for crossbody convenience. It securely zips shut, keeping all belongings safe and sealed. 

The Gonex Swim Bag is available in two sizes—medium (15.75x10.24x5.51 inches) and large (17.8x12.3x7.5)—and comes in three contrasting color combinations: black, green, and purple.

Best for Kids: Nike Gym Club Kids' Duffel Bag

Nike Gym Club Kids' Duffel Bag

Courtesy of Nike

The Nike Gym Club Kids' Duffel Bag is designed to carry your child’s gear from soccer practice and gymnastics to sleepovers and the playground. Pack all the sports essentials in this durable, water-resistant gym bag sporting the signature Nike Swoosh.

This kid-sized duffel features a full-zip main compartment with inner pockets for added organization. A mesh side pocket keeps a water bottle handy during practice and games. Choose between dual handles or the padded adjustable shoulder strap for custom carrying.

This Nike gym bag measures 19x9x11 inches and comes in multiple color options. 

Final Verdict

For those who prefer the comfort of a backpack, the Aer Duffel Pack 2 delivers the spacious organization of a classic duffel bag in the compact convenience of a sleek and professional-looking backpack. This hybrid gym backpack has all the storage you could ever need for your computer, tech equipment, water bottle, shoes, toiletries, and a change of clothes, all while still looking professional enough for the office.

The Vooray Burner Gym Duffel is a compact gym bag that fits all the essentials for a post-gym refresh. Complete with a separate shoe compartment and water bottle pouch, this duffel is the ideal size for a change of clothes, toiletries, and small gym accessories.

What to Look for in a Gym Bag

Size and Design

Based on the sport or activity, gym bags are designed with specific features like a waterproof lining for swimming and high-intensity cardio, a shoe compartment for cleats or cycling shoes, and even added straps for carrying yoga mats. Assess your spatial needs and what you plan to carry. Also, keep in mind you’ll want to make sure the bag fits inside of your gym’s lockers.

Material

The most popular materials used in gym bag construction are polyester, nylon, canvas, leather, and vinyl—which one you choose will depend on your style, budget, and functionality. We recommend choosing a material that’s lightweight, durable, breathable, and water-resistant. Check for sturdy zippers and finishings as well, avoiding cheap plastic.

Water Resistance

Water-resistant or waterproof lining, sections, or coatings are an excellent way to protect your items. If you’re a swimmer or get quite sweaty, a wet bag compartment is a crucial feature to look for. Inner linings that are water-resistant can help prevent sweat or smells from permeating the materials and make the inside easier to clean. Exterior waterproofing can protect your gear from the rain.

Storage and Organization

Many gym bags come with a multitude of compartments with specialized organization—like padded laptop pockets, a separate shoe compartment, a water bottle pouch, and wet clothing storage. The additional compartments add to the versatility of a bag, enabling it to double as an every day or weekender bag.

Comfortable Straps

Particularly if your bag is packed with equipment and quite heavy, you will want straps that do not dig into or chafe your skin. Look for padding and comfortable materials or overlays that pad the handles. Adjustable straps can also help with comfort by fitting more closely to your body. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best ways to clean a gym bag?

    If your gym bag has a water-resistant liner, use a cloth with water, a little liquid hand soap, and vinegar to wipe it down, with particular attention around the seams where grime and smells can linger.

    If your bag is made of soft material like cotton, check to see if it can be washed in the washing machine. Some lightweight bags can be machine-washed with cold water on the delicate or hand-wash cycle and air-dried.

  • How do you remove odors from a gym bag?

    Washing your gym bag frequently can prevent and remove odors. Use white vinegar or oxygen bleach and cold water to wash bags that are safe to go into the washing machine. If your bag still smells off-putting after a wash, try another rinse cycle to remove excess detergent. Placing a dryer sheet or cotton cloth with essential oils inside your bag can also help with odors.

  • What are the must-haves to pack in a gym bag?

    Depending on what you use your gym bag for and when you work out, there are some essentials you’ll likely want to keep inside. Use travel containers to bring along body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. You’ll likely want a spray or gel deodorant as sticks can break. A towel and shower shoes are a good idea as well. If you won’t be taking a shower, dry shampoo helps soak up sweat and oil. It’s wise to remove your makeup before a workout, so face wash and makeup remover, if you need them, are helpful to have on hand.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As an active gym-goer, Emily Stone has always been a fan of Lululemon’s versatile gym bags. The Define Duffle allows her to pack for the day, fitting both work and gym essentials (including a laptop). This chic duffel also doubles as the perfect-sized weekender bag for a quick trip.

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