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.
The best gym bags at a glance:
• Best large gym bag: UA Undeniable 5.0 Large Duffle Bag - view on Amazon.co.uk
• Best recycled gym bag: Nike Brasilia 9.5 - view on Nike.com
• Best drawstring gym bag: UA Undeniable Sackpack - view on Underarmour.co.uk
Gone are the days of the bland zip-holdall as these days the best gym bags are a lot more functional and stylish. 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.
Whether you need to ditch your old gym bag that’s on its last legs, or you simply 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’re going to want something that has 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
This gym bag is made for serious gym-goers who like to have everything with them, their lifting
- A very large amount of storage space
- Shoe compartment
- Available in blue, black and grey
- Some may find it too big
Best recycled gym bag
You can always rely on Nike for some great quality products. This 41L duffle bag has been partly
- Available in black, blue and grey
- More sustainable option
- No dedicated water bottle holder
Best drawstring gym bag
Drawstring bags may be seen as a little old school, but this one definitely has a modern, fresh
- Very affordable
- Available in two colours
- Quite small
Best big backpack
This backpack by Built For Athletes is beastly and one of their bestsellers. With a 45L capacity,
- Very durable, rip-proof fabric and water-repellent
- Available in different sizes and colours
- Tested to carry items up to 15kg
- Fabric is quite stiff
Best 2-in-1 gym bag
Another great gym bag from Under Armour is this backpack that also doubles up as a duffle bag with
- Durable with water-repellent fabric
- A backpack that doubles up as a duffle bag
- Decent size, with great compartments
- Limited colours
Best budget gym bag
Puma is another great, reliable sports brand. If you're on a bit of a budget and just want
- Very affordable
- Attractive, simple design with multiple storage pockets
- Made with at least 20% recycled materials
- 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
- Nice colour
- Decent size — 55L
- Has a shoe compartment
- Not available in additional colours
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.
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.
Bryony Firth-Bernard is a Health and Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best. She specialises in strength training.
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.