How to Pack a Gym Bag: 7 Editor-Approved Must-Haves

Everything I use to feel comfortable and confident during and after my workout

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Gym Must Haves

Verywell Fit / Kevin Liang

If you're anything like me, you’ve been on your way to an early morning gym session or fitness class when you suddenly remembered that you forgot your favorite hair tie, headphones—or wait, was it your water bottle? My 6:00 a.m. grogginess is why I’ll never leave for my morning workout without a gym back stocked full of my must-have essentials. 

Whether it's my favorite set of ankle weights for added resistance during a set, or my go-to hair product for a post-workout pick-me-up, I’ll always come prepared. The first step is to find a gym bag—I love Gymshark’s Small Everyday Gym Bag. Then, fill it with anything you’ll need during and after your workout. I like to prioritize feeling comfortable and confident with each trip to the gym.

These are the products that help me get the most out of each workout.

Silkie Pure Mulberry Silk Everyday Hair Ties

Silkie Pure Mulberry Silk Everyday Hair Ties


Buy now: Silkie Pure Mulberry Silk Everyday Hair Ties, $25 on

A hair tie that will keep my hair secured and out of my face, without creating kinks or breakage, is my number one essential. I’ve been through a hot yoga class with my long locks sticking to the back of my neck—and I wouldn't recommend it.

My Silkie hair ties live both on my wrist and in my gym bag at all times. They’re made out of 100% mulberry silk and have a strong elastic band that keeps my hair up and protected during any workout. They’re also super cute! 

Other Editor-Loved Hair Ties: 

Related: The Best Hair Ties for Working Out

KIVY 32oz Glass Water Bottle

KIVY 32oz Glass Water Bottle


Buy now: KIVY 32oz Glass Water Bottle, $26 on

Staying hydrated is essential, and you should always properly rehydrate after a workout. Personally, I love glass water bottles for their easy portability and sleek look. KIVY’s 32-ounce Glass Water Bottle is my favorite because it has a bottom silicone sleeve that prevents it from tipping over in a treadmill cup holder or on the floor next to my yoga mat. 

Other Editor-Loved Water Bottles:

Related: The 14 Best Water Bottles of 2023

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)


Buy now: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation), $240 on

There’s nothing worse than showing up to the gym without headphones, it makes your workout harder and way less fun. Playing music or listening to a podcast always helps me get through one more rep or ten extra minutes on the treadmill, so having a top-quality pair of headphones is vital. I love my Apple AirPods Pro because of their noise cancellation feature and crisp, clear sound—essential whether you're working out at a gym or walking on a treadmill desk in the office. They’re also the only pair that stay secured in my ears through squats, jumps, and Downward Facing Dogs

Other Editor-Loved Headphones:

Related: The 12 Best Workout Headphones of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Bala Bangles

Bala Bangles


Buy now: Bala Bangles, $65 on 

A quality pair of ankle weights can elevate any workout. They add light resistance to bodyweight exercises, Pilates and yoga sessions, and inclined treadmill walks. I’m obsessed with my Bala Bangles—the social media viral, pastel, wearable weights that can be mistaken as a fashion statement. They’re practical, stylish, and worth every penny! (If you want to learn more about why I recommend Bala Bangles, read my full review.)

Other Editor-Loved Ankle Weights: 

Related: We Tested the Best Ankle Weights—These 8 Are Clear Winners

Lululemon The Mat 5mm

lululemon The Mat 5mm


Buy now: lululemon The Mat 5mm, $98 on

A high-quality yoga mat can help support you through any type of workout, whether it's strength training, yoga, Pilates, or stretching. I love lululemon’s yoga mat because it’s wide and long, provides a thick, supportive surface, and is easy to take on the go. It also comes in a ton of cute colors and patterns, and it’s reversible so you can use the smooth, grippy side or the cushioned, rubber side, depending on your workout. 

Other Editor-Loved Yoga Mats: 

Related: The 9 Best Yoga Mats of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Curie Full Body Deodorant Spray

Curie Full Body Deodorant Spray


Buy now: Curie Full Body Deodorant Spray, $16 on

Post-workout self care is an essential step, especially when you have a busy day ahead. While I’d love to head home and shower after every workout, my hectic lifestyle doesn’t always allow me the luxury—so packing products to help me feel clean, comfortable, and confident is a must.

I love Curie’s Full Body Deodorant Spray (especially the Juniper Eucalyptus scent) because it’s made with nourishing ingredients and without aluminum, parabens, or phthalates. It can be used before a workout to block odors, or after when you need a quick refresher! 

Other Editor-Loved Self Care Products: 

Related: The 13 Best Natural Deodorants of 2023 

OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil

OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil


Buy now: OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil, $25 on

On the lucky days that I attend a workout class at a studio with showers, packing minimally is a must. While I'd love to bring my eight-step shower routine with me, it’s just not practical—so I choose versatile products like OUAI’s Rose Hair & Body Oil.

It makes my frizzy hair shine and my dry skin glow, as it works to nourish and hydrate both. And the rich, heavenly rose scent lasts for hours. It can even replace a fragrance on the days you (inevitably) forget to pack one! 

Other Editor-Loved Hair Products: 

Related: The 13 Best Dry Shampoos of 2023

Other Gym Bag Must-Haves

If you have some extra room or are in the market for some additional fitness essentials, here are some more of my go-to products: