The best gym bags to carry your kit in style

The best gym bags to keep your things in order while you nail your fitness goals

The best gym bags with trainers and headphones inside

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

Finding the best gym bags is a must when it comes to training. Not only will it make your life easier knowing all your gym accessories are in one place — from your liquid chalk to your lifting straps — but there’s nothing worse than cramming everything into something too small.

Gone are the days of the bland zip-holdall, as the best gym bags are much more functional and stylish these days. As well as plenty of pockets to store everything you need for your workout, many designs come with multiple compartments, with some even big enough to store your weightlifting shoes.

The best gym bags at a glance:

Best large gym bag: UA Undeniable 5.0 Large Duffle Bag - View on Amazon
Best recycled gym bag: Nike Brasilia 9.5 - View on Nike
• Best drawstring gym bag: UA Undeniable Sackpack - View on Underarmour

Whether you need to ditch your old gym bag on its last legs or you don’t own one, there’s never been a better time to get a new bag for the gym. We’ve rounded up plenty of designs, from duffle bags to backpacks and totes, that will help carry you through your training.

What to look for in the best gym bags:

You will want something with plenty of pockets, zip compartments and, of course, a decent-sized compartment space for storing all of your fitness essentials. Padded or fleece-lined pockets are also a good idea for safely storing valuables, like your phone and headphones.

You also want something that’s robust and durable. If you walk to the gym then opting for something made from water-repellent material could be handy. Having different handle options can be a great feature for those who are on the go and don’t forget to think about the size.

If you swim or shower at the gym then choosing a bag that has a separate compartment for laundry/shoes is a great addition.

Our pick of the best gym bags

Best large gym bag

Under Armour gym bags

Rrp: $55.00

Price: $40.00
Alternative retailers
Walmart$40.95View offer
Kohl's$45.00View offer
DICK'S Sporting Goods$45.00View offer
Under Armour$45.00View offer

This gym bag is made for serious gym-goers who like to have everything with them, their lifting belt, straps, shoes — the lot. With a 101L capacity, you’ll never struggle to fit things in your gym bag ever again. In the main compartment, you’ve also got a handy side pocket to store your shoes, a zip pocket on the front, and two mesh water bottle holders. The bottom of the bag is foam-lined and despite how much you stow in this bag, the padded grab handle will ensure it's comfortable to carry. Made from tough, water-repellent fabric, this gym bag is made to last.

Pros

  • Water-repellent
  • A very large amount of storage space
  • Shoe compartment
  • Available in blue, black and grey

Cons

  • Some may find it too big

Best recycled gym bag

Nike Brasilia 9.5
Price: $39.99
Alternative retailers
NIKE$42.00View offer
DICK'S Sporting Goods$42.00View offer
Kohl's$42.00View offer
Walmart$45.43View offer

You can always rely on Nike for some great quality products. This 60L duffle bag has been partly made from recycled water bottles, so as well as taking care of your health, you’re also taking care of the planet. It’s got lots of pockets and pouches, as well as a separate shoe/laundry compartment.

Pros

  • Available in black, blue and grey
  • More sustainable option
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No dedicated water bottle holder

Best drawstring gym bag

Drawstring bags may be seen as a little old school, but this one has a modern, fresh feel to it. Easy to grab and go, this bag has two zipper pockets on the front, both big enough to store your water bottle. The front pocket is also lined with fleece, which is particularly handy for safely storing valuables like your phone and headphones. The main body offers plenty of space to pack your gym accessories, and, of course, it’s made from Under Armour’s durable and water-repellent material.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Available in two colours
  • Water-repellent

Cons

  • Quite small

Best big backpack

This backpack by Built For Athletes is beastly and one of their bestsellers. With a 45L capacity, this bag is certainly big enough for gym wear and weekends away. It has multiple compartments, pockets and pouches, and can even fit up to two pairs of trainers inside. It’s extremely durable as it’s been tested to carry items up to 15kg and is made from water-repellent and rip-proof fabric. If you think this one’s a little too big, then it’s available in a smaller version too. Plus, there are five great colours to choose from.

Pros

  • Very durable, rip-proof fabric and water-repellent
  • Available in different sizes and colours
  • Tested to carry items up to 15kg

Cons

  • Fabric is quite stiff

Best 2-in-1 gym bag

Under Armour Contain Duo Small Duffle
Price: $65.00

Another great gym bag from Under Armour is this backpack that also doubles up as a duffle bag with its removable strap, so you can wear it to suit you. One end of the bag has a shoe pocket for easy access, while the other has an extra deep water bottle pocket. The main compartment offers plenty of space for storing all your gym gear. We think this is a great gym bag for those on the go.

Pros

  • Durable with water-repellent fabric
  • A backpack that doubles up as a duffle bag
  • Decent size, with great compartments

Cons

  • Limited colours

Best budget gym bag

Puma Fundamentals Sports Bag
Price: $41.93

Puma is another great, reliable sports brand. If you're on a bit of a budget and just want somewhere to simply stash your belongings, this bag will do. It may not have a wet section like some of its other competitors, but laundry and shoes could be easily stashed in the side pocket. Its capacity still allows plenty of space in the main compartment, while there are multiple secure pockets too for stashing smaller items and an adjustable padded strap. The bottom of the bag is also padded to help protect your items and the bag's shape. At this bargain price, it's a thumbs up from us.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Attractive, simple design with multiple storage pockets
  • Made with at least 20% recycled materials 

Cons

  • No dedicated 'wet pocket' or water bottle pocket, but there are alternatives you could use

Best value gym bag

Another great bag from Adidas that's made from recyclable materials. Everything about this bag ticks boxes — it's a good price, has nice colour, has plenty of space, a shoe compartment, and other useful pockets and all at a decent price. You'll feel confident going to the gym knowing you can fit everything you need and more inside it and, in our eyes, it's a great value bag.

Pros

  • Nice colour
  • Decent size — 55L
  • Has a shoe compartment

Cons

  • Not available in additional colours

Best work-to-gym hybrid gym bag

Gymshark's Medium Everyday Holdall is a fitness enthusiast's perfect companion. Crafted with polyester and a PVC outer, this holdall not only exudes a modern style, but also ensures durability to withstand the demands of an active lifestyle. It's medium style strikes the ideal balance between spaciousness and practicality, offering ample room for gym essentials without compromising on portability. Also, the thoughtfully designed mesh slip pocket, shoe tunnel, and wet pocket cater to organisational needs, keeping your gear neatly arranged.

Pros

  • Features an over-shoulder strap and padded carry handles
  • Has a separate compartment for wet/dirty clothes
  • PU base to stop the bottom getting wet

Cons

  • Having one main compartment might mean smaller items get lost unless in the pockets

Best gym bag for design

The Nike Gym Club Training Bag in this gorgeous anthracite grey is the epitome of sporty elegance for the modern fitness enthusiast. Its sleek design is not only visually appealing, but also showcases a dedication to practicality. The spacious main compartment provides a decent amount of storage for your gym gear, while the exterior zipped pocket on the outside makes small items easily accessible. Meanwhile the durable, water-resistant fabric ensures that your workout wear stays protected, even in unpredictable weather conditions.

Pros

  • Zipped pocket on the outside for easy access to necessities
  • Zipped main compartment with a wide bottom for enough space for your things
  • Dual handles and removable, adjustable shoulder strap to let you carry it a few different ways

Cons

  • 'Vintage' look might not be for everyone

Best antibacterial gym bag

The Dirty Kit Foldable Antibacterial Bag revolutionises the way we manage post-workout gear with innovation and hygiene at its core. Its antibacterial properties ensure a clean and odour-free environment for your used gym clothes and gear. The foldable design adds a layer of convenience, allowing you to carry it effortlessly in your gym bag (and expanded when needed). Embrace a new era of cleanliness and organisation by segregating your sweaty gear from the rest of your belongings.

Pros

  • Reduces the spread of odours
  • Kills up to 99.9% of bacteria
  • Handy size for workout clothes and trainers

Cons

  • The design is not the most aesthetic

FAQs

What to keep in your gym bag:

Not being prepped and fully prepared could jeopardise your workout. Depending on the type of training you’re doing will tailor what’s in your bag. Take a look at our checklist below to make sure you’re fully equipped and ready to go.

• Towel
Water bottle
Weightlifting belt
• Lifting straps
• Knee sleeves/knee wraps
• Chalk
• Wrist wraps
• Spare pants
Protein bar
Pre-workout
Resistance bands
• Deodorant

How do I clean my gym bag?

Whether it’s the protein shaker you’ve forgotten about or your dirty trainers, at some point your gym bag will start to smell. Luckily, keeping it clean isn’t too tricky a task.

Not all bags will be able to be thrown in the washing machine. Some materials, like canvas, don’t do well in hot washes and will therefore need to go on a cool, gentle wash with mild detergent. So, we advise spot-cleaning your bag when you can to avoid having to put it in the washing machine. Doing this with a damp cloth will do the trick. If you’re trying to combat a particularly bad smell, then try mixing some warm water, white vinegar and essential oil together and giving it a good wipe down. If your bag is machine washable, make sure you check the label beforehand so that you wash it on the correct cycle.

Just try and remember to empty your gym bag straight after your session. Don’t let smelly clothes or shoes linger in it for days and, for God’s sake, get rid of that protein shaker. Leave your bag open to the air. By doing all of this your bag should remain fresher for longer.

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.

Subscribe to the What's The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the rest of the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us