For the modern on-the-go man, it isn’t always practical or reasonable to go home before hitting the gym. And chances are you wouldn’t want to if you could. Because having your stuff on hand is both more convenient and more easily transportable. Especially if you’re an urban commuter. Driving, biking, or taking the train or a taxi from home to work and back again is bad enough as it is. Trying to then change and head back out to get in a workout is an unnecessary pain that can be avoided simply by bringing your gear with you.
Luckily, there are literally hundreds of options on the market for bags in which to carry your clothes, shoes, and whatever else you need to get to – and through – a workout. But not all of them are well constructed, thought-out, or designed. And it can be hard to comb through crowded shopping malls and the ever-expanding web to find the perfect bag for your workout needs. So we’ve done our due diligence and rounded up 20 of the best choices out there. The following gym bags are our favorite offerings available on the market right now, so you can discover the one that suits you best.
Adidas Scorch Team Duffel
As far as bang-for-your-buck gym bags are concerned, the Scorch Team Duffel is one of the best out there. Made from 600D polyester with an internal ripstop liner and featuring a sturdy #8 zipper on the large main compartment, this unassuming bag has over a 60 liter capacity, a separate FreshPak wet/dry ventilated compartment, extra external zippered pockets for more expansive stow options, a TPE bottom for increased durability, and includes an adjustable and removable shoulder strap.
Under Armour Isolate Duffel
If small and simple is more your speed, you might want to check out this bag. One of the few companies to take on Nike without getting trampled, Under Armour has become the favored brand of many of the top athletes around the world. Though it may be simple, this 100% polyester constructed, 29 liter duffel is still sturdy enough to last and offers up just a bit of UA’s signature flare. And it is DWR finished for a water-repellent exterior that’s still breathable and features a single easy-access zippered outer pocket.
Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag
This Detroit brand has been creating reliable and highly durable work clothes for over a hundred years. And now you can get that same legendary durability in this, their Legacy Gear Bag. Made from 1200D polyester, coated with Rain Defender water repellent, and featuring a Duravax abrasion-resistant base, this bag has a capacity of over 34 liters, has a large main compartment with a separate internal zippered pocket, an adjustable shoulder strap, and is triple needle stitched for extra reinforcement.
5.11 Tactical Recon Outbound Bag
With its large main zippered compartment (44 liters of storage space), fleece-lined eyewear pocket, an internal toiletry slot, and integrated shoe pouch, this bag would be impressive were it just a normal bag. But it isn’t. It also features a hidden pocket for a concealed carry option. So this durable and rugged weather-resistant tactical bag gives you the option to bring your firearm with you. Just be sure you are licensed to do so before using this bag in that manner.
Goruck Gym Bag
As the name might suggest, this is Goruck’s take on a classic gym duffel bag. But there are a couple of bonus caveats. Namely, as is the case with everything they make and sell, this bag is manufactured entirely in the United States of America and it comes with Goruck’s limited lifetime warranty. That means any normal wear and tear – as well as manufacturing defects – is covered free or at low cost (depending on the type of damage), should you so desire a repair to your bag. This simple, 100D Cordura, water-resistant duffel features three zippered pockets, as well as a 20 liter internal capacity.
The North Face Apex Gym Duffel
Though this bag’s silhouette may seem slightly odd, it was designed this way for a purpose. Namely, the ‘ears’ of this 45 liter capacity bag are built to collapse and clip onto the sides of the bag, so – if you’re not lugging the full 45 liter capacity worth of stuff – you can pair the bag down a bit, making it easier to carry. Made from 900D polyester with TPE lamination and PVC coating, this spacious duffel also features a separate ventilated panel for wet clothes or shoes and external zip pockets for easy-access to small items.
Patagonia Arbor Canvas Duffel Bag
This bag’s 30 liter capacity is room enough for most people’s daily haul and its 600D recycled polyester construction can be depended upon through repeated use, but pair that with the fact that Patagonia, a company so rooted in utility and durability, is behind it and you can be sure that the overall package is worthy of your time. It also has an external zippered pocket for easy access to small items, a padded base, and water repellant coating to keep all your gear safe and dry.
Nike Sport Backpack
Good gym backpacks are few and far between in a sect of carry that is so dominated by duffel-style bags. But shoulder-strapped or suitcase-carry bags are not right for everyone. If you want to keep your hands unencumbered and free up your range of motion, the Nike Sport backpack is the bag for you. This lightweight 100% polyester bag features 40 liters of storage, a fold-over top with buckling closure, a separate zippered shoe compartment, and multiple accessory pockets to keep your smaller items organized.
Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag
At first glance, this bag may look like your standard single-compartment duffel, but Herschel has, in fact, equipped this bag with a separate, cleverly disguised, external-access shoe pocket. The Novel has a 42.5 liter capacity, an internal storage sleeve, a waterproof two-way zipper, reinforced articulated carry handles, and a removable padded shoulder strap. And this very functional bag features Herschel’s signature striped fabric liner and handsome timeless styling.
Flowfold Stormproof Conductor
A big problem with many weather-resistant bags is that either their construction materials or their coatings can add a lot of extra weight, forcing the user to choose between greater protection or less cumbersome carry. Flowfold didn’t like that compromise. So they made the Stormproof Conductor. This bag is made from X-Pac material, a fabric that is water-resistant, durable, extremely lightweight, and has the best strength-to-weight ration on the market. So, even though this bag has a capacity of 40 liters, it weighs in at only 12.7 ounces. For those keeping score, that’s less weight than a can of beer.
J. Crew Harwick Duffel Bag
This smart bag plays on the styling of a classic duffel, but also expands upon it. Perfect for the commuter who needs a spacious gym duffel, but also wants to keep well-organized and well-styled, the J. Crew Harwick features a more than 36 liter capacity, a water-repellant nylon construction, a two-way zippered large main compartment, multiple zippered external pockets, a removable interior drawstring bag, a removable shoulder strap, and stately-yet-functionally-durable leather carry handles.
Speedo Tri Clops Backpack
Not all athletes are alike – which goes without saying – but triathletes are on another level entirely. With the intensity of such competitions perched upon the top levels of competition, saying that a triathlon participant is an athlete is kind of like saying that a .50 caliber sniper rifle is just a gun. And that kind of competitor requires a different kind of gear. Which, in turn, requires a different way to carry it. Enter Speedo’s Tri Clops. Built specifically for triathlons, this 50 liter bag – complete with easy-access dedicated compartmental storage, a 100D double ripstop nylon construction, and 3D molded shoulder straps – is the perfect carry companion for anyone brave enough to compete in the gauntlet.
Topo Designs Classic Duffel
Topo boasts that this 42 liter capacity bag – made in Colorado from ultra-durable 1000D Cordura with seatbelt straps, leather handles and accents, and USA made YKK zippers – is tough enough to stand up to the kinds of punishment it might receive from airport baggage claim or Central American cab drivers. And, judging from the method and materials involved in its construction, they aren’t fibbing. And its sleek and simple styling betrays the fact that it actually has several internal zippered pockets for better organization and more expanded carry options than your standard duffel.
Fjallraven Gear Duffel
Fjallraven’s proprietary G-1000 HeavyDuty fabric – from which this bag is made – is hard-wearing, water-resistant, windproof, offers UV protection, is breathable, and – believe it or not – mosquito proof. And it has an impressive list of features on top of that. It weighs less than 2 pounds, has a 23 liter capacity, an internal safety pocket, large exterior zippered pockets on either side, metal hardware, leather details and trim, and double layer webbing handles for ease and security of carry.
Aer Duffel Pack
One of the most wildly popular bags on the market right now, Aer’s Duffel Pack offers up a lot more than meets the eye – which is pretty impressive considering how stylish and functional this bag looks externally. With an array of storage options – including a large main compartment, dual quick-access side pockets, and a padded back compartment that’s perfect for a laptop, and a separate ventilated shoe compartment – this bag has more than enough space (read:24 liters) and storage options to keep all of your gear on-hand and well-organized. And it will stay protected within this bag’s water-resistant 1680D ballistic nylon exterior and waterproof YKK zipper.
Jbird Co. JIM Duffel
The phrase ‘made in America’ is synonymous with high-quality and this duffel by Jbird Co. is an exemplification of that very real relationship between excellence and U.S. craftsmanship. With it’s exterior made from waxed canvas and leather shell and a 1000D Cordura lined interior, this water-resistant bag – paired with its water-resistant YKK zipper – not only looks good, but is guaranteed to last through years of punishment. In fact, Jbird Co. is so sure of it that they’ve tacked on a limited lifetime warranty for every one of these bags.
Bradley Mountain Weekender Duffel
Proudly constructed in San Diego, California and made from locally sourced materials, this handsome Martexin Waxed Canvas bag is a duffel that seems anachronistic in both its quality and styling. Reminiscent of a time when men were more rugged and the world was an unforgiving place, the Weekender features 34 liters of carry space, a UCAN zipper, copper rivets, and custom oiled and waxed leather straps and tags. And, not only is it built to last, but over time the canvas will age and wear uniquely. If you want a stand-out bag that’s singular in its appearance, go no further.
DSPTCH Gym/Work Bag
If you’re a professional who isn’t looking to carry around multiple gear-specific bags, getting a catch-all gym and work bag – like this one from DSPTCH – is certainly worth your consideration. This 23 liter bag has a compartmental system with separate pockets for your gym gear, shoes, laptop, and even a hidden security pocket on the floor of the bag for your valuable items that you don’t want found. And it comes with the DSPTCH lifetime guarantee.
Defy The Ultimate Overnighter
One of the hardest things about finding the perfect duffel bag is finding one which looks as good as it functions. There are a lot of milquetoast options out there on the market, so getting your hands on one that is both ruggedly durable and sharp-looking can be nigh impossible. That’s why Defy made this bag. Designed to be the toughest duffel available, its exterior is constructed from the canvas of an actual M35 Army cargo truck, its interior lining is ripstop nylon parachute material, and the straps are made from 2 inch wide seatbelt straps. With about 35 liters of storage, this bag goes above and beyond all gym duffel expectations.
Killspencer Weekender 3.0
This duffel by Killspencer represents the upper echelon of luxury and quality of construction. Made in their Los Angeles workshop, this 37 liter bag is built from high-quality leather and features bullhide leather handles, 2 zippered external pockets, and a 1500 pound Mil-Spec nylon webbing shoulder strap. Inside, the bag is lined with IFAC class 1 fire retardant waterproof nylon and features 3 internal pockets – one zippered for an iPad or iPad mini and the other two pouches for organizational storage. And every one of these bags can be monogrammed with up to 3 initials onto a bullhide leather patch to be sewn onto the outside of the bag. But you better be sure about it, because all monogrammed sales are final.
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