The best gym backpacks so you can gear up and go

Our pick of the backpacks that pack a punch.

A selection of the best gym backpacks. Includes brands like Under Armour, Nike, Built For Athletes and Alo Yoga.

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

It's not just about what you lift in the gym. It's also about what you lift your gear in to the gym. Half the battle of feeling motivated to exercise is finding the best gym backpacks to hold your essentials in and silently judge your post-workout snack choices. Well, that, along with having some killer gym clothes to change into will also help you to stay on track too.

In a rush? The best gym backpacks, at a glance

• Best overall gym backpack: Nike Utility Elite Training Backpack - View now on Nike
• Best large gym backpack: Built For Athletes Large Black Gym Backpack - View now on Built For Athletes
• Best gym backpack for women: Alo Yoga Stow Backpack - View now on Alo Yoga

Backpacks have come a long way since the days of just being a simple canvas outer and minimal pockets. Although minimalistic suits some, even the minimalist can't argue with a backpack that has enough room for your water bottle, gym towel and change of joggingbottoms.

So, buckle up (or rather strap up), because we're on the hunt for the best gym backpacks that can carry both your gym gear, and you, to new fitness heights. And we're not stopping until we've found the best...

SHOP: The best gym backpacks

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall gym backpack

Nike Utility Elite Training BackpackNike
Price: $79.99
Alternative retailers
DICK'S Sporting Goods$112.00View offer

This Nike backpack is getting our seal of approval because of the amount of handy features it offers to the gym-goer. The multiple zipped pockets at the front makes sure you never have to rummage for your small items, while clever design features like the eyelet vents and mesh inserts help keep your gym gear ventilated and your back cool. It's fair to say Nike's Utility backpack has your back, quite literally, every step of the way.

Pros

  • Multiple zipped pockets inside to keep your small essentials safe
  • Has eyelet vents to let your gear breathe
  • Shoulder straps feature Max Air cushioning for comfort

Cons

  • Doesn't fit all 15-inch laptops

Best large gym backpack

Built For Athletes Large Black Gym BackpackBuilt For Athletes

The Built For Athletes gym backpack promises to withstand even the toughest of workouts. Made from an ultra-strong rip-proof fabric with reinforced YKK zippers, this bag is perfect for individuals who want to take their rucksack to the weight room and the boardroom. Other great features include compression straps for comfortable carrying, 180 degrees opening and dedicated laptop compartment. Plus, with enough room for two pairs of trainers, you'll never find yourself short for space again.

Pros

  • Two side bottle holders that can hold a 1000ml protein shaker and a 1000ml water bottle
  • Laser Cut Molle construction for strength
  • Adjustable sternum and waist straps for running and hiking

Cons

  • A little masculine-looking

Best gym backpack for women

Alo Yoga Stow BackpackAlo Yoga

Now this backpack is the epitome of athletic elegance. With its sleek black exterior accented by subtle silver details, this bag screams sophistication (both on and off the mat). But don't let its chic appearance stop you in your tracks. Under the surface lies a treasure trove of features designed to assist you. From its mini removable interior pouch that's handy for storing keys or your lip balm to the water-resistant neoprene material, every element is made to streamline your workouts.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Removable interior pouch
  • Three exterior pockets and one interior

Cons

  • Only available in black

Best gym backpack with weight distribution

Under Armour Triumph Sport BackpackUnder Armour

Created to support your active lifestyle, this Under Armour bag has a whole host of features you won't want to miss out on. Like the LEVELED strap system that ensures your backpack isn't weighted towards one side, and the weight is evenly distributed. Or, the back compartment with laptop sleeve so you can keep your laptop safe if you travel from work to the gym. Perhaps it's even the CORDURA fabric that can entice you with its PU-coated front for added protection.

Pros

  • To keep your items dry, the backpack is made from water-resistant UA Storm technology fabric
  • The LEVELED strap system is there to help you with adjusting your straps for balanced weight distribution
  • Removable UA Strap Clip on the shoulder to stop the bag from falling off

Cons

  • Cannot fit shoes over size thirteen in the shoe compartment

Best no-frills gym backpack

My Protein Adapt BackpackMy Protein
Price: £59.99 (was £75)

www.myprotein.com

For a simple black backpack that has everything you want without all the bells and whistles, this Under Armour one is a great option. With enough pockets to keep all your gym essentials in, like your water bottle, towel, trainers and socks, this backpack is perfect to take to your next workout. Also, a nice addition is that it has padded and adjustable shoulder straps, so you can customise the fit to however tight or loose you like.

Pros

  • Padded and adjustable shoulder straps
  • Bottle storage to the side of the bag
  • Zip open front compartment for easy to get to essentials

Cons

  • Only available in black

Best lightweight gym backpack

Under Armour Undeniable SackpackUnder Armour

If you're wanting a gym backpack that's a little more lightweight and hassle-free, the Under Armour Sackpack has all the great features of any other backpack without the weight element. For under £20, you can nab yourself a bag with UA Storm technology, TPU coated bottom for durability and adjustable cording straps for a custom length. The best part? It also comes with an insulated water bottle sleeve to keep your beverage of choice cool at all times.

Pros

  • TPU coated bottom panel extends upwards for added durability where your bag needs it most
  • UA Storm technology means your backpack can withstand the elements
  • Fleece-lined front small valuables pocket

Cons

  • Not the best for carrying expensive equipment like laptops etc

Best budget gym backpack

PUMA Unisex Teamgoal 23 BackpackAmazon
Price: $39.49

The PUMA Teamgoal 23 backpack is a great example of where a timeless design can meet impeccable durability. Available in a range of eye-catching colour combinations, like black and blue or black and red, it's the perfect blend of style and substance. Boasting a spacious main compartment, front pocket and padded back panel and straps, it's designed for you to carry your gym essentials in comfort and style.

Pros

  • Two-way opening zip into the main compartment for easy access
  • Can be wiped clean
  • Padded back panel with stitching detail

Cons

  • Not the strongest for heavier gym equipment

Best gym backpack with wet kit pocket

Gymshark Sleek BackpackGymshark

If you're someone who can't leave the house without everything but the kitchen sink, this Gymshark bag might be the gym backpack for you. Made from a waterproof material to make sure that your stuff always remains dry, the Sleek backpack has two side pockets for water bottles AND an additional pocket at the bottom for your meal prep or dirty kit.

Pros

  • Made from a waterproof polyurethane material to ensure your gear stays dry
  • Features a wet kit pocket at the bottom to stop your bag from smelling
  • Two side pockets for water bottles

Cons

  • Only one main entry pocket

Best gym backpack for outdoor explorers

For outdoor explorers who are looking for a rugged-style backpack to take on their adventures, the Military Tactical backpack has all the features you should be looking for. Like its resistant Special coating that means your backpack won't scuff or mark easily. Or the multitude of pockets so you can organise like an expert. Alternatively, it could be the chest strap and padded shoulder straps. Whatever draws you to the bag, make sure it's your handy companion on your next adventure.

Pros

  • Super durable and water-resistant due to its 900D polyester material
  • Many pockets and compartments, including two front pockets, zippered pockets and mesh pocket
  • Can easily attach kettle pouch, walkie-talkie pouch and torch-pouch to the backpack

Cons

  • The military design isn't for everyone

Best gym backpack for yogis

For yogis on the go, this is the perfect backpack to take to and from your classes. There's enough room in this bag to store your laptop, workout wear, water bottle and even your yoga mat. Yes, that's right. Your trusty yoga mat can securely be attached to the Yoga backpack with the strap. Plus, the ergonomic shoulder straps, mesh back panel, and top handle make carrying it a breeze.

Pros

  • Yoga-mat attachment strap for ease
  • Side slip-in pockets so you can easily grab your items
  • Internal laptop divider if your wanting to use the bag for more than just the gym

Cons

  • Not waterproof

The importance of investing in a good gym backpack: FAQs

What should I pack in my gym bag?

A well-packed gym bag will ensure your workout routine goes smoothly. We've put together a list of items you can consider packing your gym bag with:

• Workout clothing: including leggings, t-shirts, shorts, underwear and gym socks
• Trainers
 Accessories like a foam roller, resistance bands or ankle weights
 Water bottle
• Protein shake and shaker
 Towel
 Toiletries, including shampoo and conditioner for that post-workout cool-down
 Plastic bag for sweaty workout clothes or dirty shoes
 Gym pass
 Wallet
 Keys
 Padlock for a locker
 Headphones
 Swimwear
• Yoga or exercise mat

Why do people choose for backpacks for the gym?

Arguably, backpacks are the most functional gym bags you can buy. Backpacks offer an easy way to carry all of your gym gear in one place. They usually have multiple compartments and pockets, with some even including a ventilated pocket for wet kit. The amount of pockets in a backpack also makes it really simple to organise and stay on top of your belongings.

In addition backpacks, unlike heavy tote bags, distribute the weight evenly across your back. This reduces the strain on your shoulder and back, and allows for a more comfortable carrying experience. So whether you're trekking up mountains, or just the path to the gym, backpacks make for the most versatile, and practical choice for fitness enthusiasts.

How big should a gym backpack be?

In short, it all depends on how much stuff you've got. A good rule of thumb is to choose a backpack that's big enough to carry all of your gym essentials. For example, a 20L backpack might suit those who carry less, maybe only their gym gear and headphones. Or, for those who carry an extra pair of trainers or a thick towel, a 45L backpack might be better.

Also consider your own carrying ability and size. After all, you don't want your backpack to be too bulky or cumbersome to carry around. Either way, it's about finding a backpack that adds to your gym experience, rather than being seen as just something you have to lug around.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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