Ranking The Best Gym Bags Of 2020


How often should you wash your gym bag?A gym bag helps you to carry essentials to and from the gym in an easy and convenient manner. Regular gym-goers know that organization and planning help make the most of your time at the gym. Changes of clothes, shower supplies, and specialty equipment like straps, chalk, mats, or sport-specific gear are all necessary items to help you use your time as efficiently as possible. 

A specialized gym bag can help you establish a good routine at the gym. This can save you time rooting around for your things. It will also be easier for you to transport everything you need and to keep your equipment as clean and as tidy as possible. Of course, everyone has slightly different interests and needs at the gym, with every factor playing a role in determining which gym bag suits your needs best.

With so many gym bags on the market, it can be challenging to decide which gym bag works best for your workout goals and preferences. A boxer needs different gear from someone looking to log miles on the treadmill, while a powerlifter needs shoes, belts, and straps that can help them lift heavy weights. The soccer player will want to squat, hit the leg machines, and condition on the exercise bike. Each of these individuals need a bag with different features and storage, and each individual has their preferences for appearance and personal style. 

Hygiene plays a big role when determining which gym bag is right for you. For instance, a soccer player’s shoes and kit are more likely to get muddied when compared to a powerlifter’s workout gear. But each has the spare gear and the changes of clothes they need to keep clean and dry. A soccer player would probably look for a bigger bag with more compartments, but both want a stylish, comfortable bag to make their lives a little easier. 

Best Gym Bags   

1. Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0 

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Durable and practical, inexpensive, and crowd-sourced designed, the Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0 is the gym bag to beat. It’s not a big name brand bag like Nike or Under Armour, but the sheer practicality of this bag sets it apart from the others. Both our testers and our specs reviewers found that this bag checked all the boxes.

This bag has a variety of features for convenience and hygiene needs. The Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag includes: Water-resistant bottom panel for optimal gear protection, reinforced stitching, two wet pockets for sweaty or dirty item,  a shoe compartment, an oversized pocket for big phones, a protein shake pouch and a32-ounce water bottle pouch.This bag has also been drop- and stress-tested and boasts ten total compartments to help you optimize your time at the gym.  

While the Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0 is not one of the largest options on our list, it is very practical for gym goers who just want space for straps or some gear, but don’t need to pack a full set of protective team sports equipment. 

2. Canway Sports Gym Bag

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The Canway Sports Gym Bag ranks a close second. While it’s a simpler, less compartmentalized option when compared with the Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0, it combines fashionable minimalist detailing, durable design, and functionality with ease. It’s also only slightly more expensive than the Focus Gear Ultimate bag. 

The Canway Sports Gym Bag features one interior wet pocket, which allows gym-goers to store dirty or wet clothing easily. Like our top-ranking option, it also boasts a convenient shoe compartment. It’s made out of 600D polyester fabric, which is both tear-resistant and waterproof. With a 45L overall volume, it’s an excellent option for gym-goers who anticipate using their gym’s outdoor spaces for matches or workouts. This bag isn’t afraid to get dirty and is easily cleaned. 

The Canway Sports Gym Bag also comes in several colors. While it doesn’t have the full range of options that the Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0 does, its minimalist detailing makes up for the limited color selection. 

3. Nubily Gym Sports Bag

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A slightly more expensive option, what this bag lacks in a big brand name, it makes up for in its sheer multi-purpose functionality. Tear- and water-resistant, and with a separate shoe compartment, it checks all the boxes for gym bag durability. 

It also features padded straps and multiple carrying options. When combined with its sleek appearance and high overall volume capacity (45L), makes it an excellent choice for individuals who want their gym bag to double as their go-to travel bag. 

It only is available in black and grey. Its airline-friendly design and 11 pockets make up for the fewer color options. Whether you want a bag that holds your tennis gear, to help get you to and from your yoga class or a go-to weekend bag, the Nubily Gym Sports Bag is versatile and durable.

Overall, this bag excels in ease-of-carry and functionality, which placed it high on our list. 

4. Under Armour Undeniable Duffle

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As one of the biggest names in sports apparel, Under Armour has turned its attention to crafting the perfect duffle bag. With the Undeniable Duffle 3.0, it’s safe to say Under Armour created another must-have item for all your athletic needs.

This bag is well-designed with durable material and high-quality and comfortable straps. Its main appeal is that it comes in so many different options. With 22 color options and 5 different sizing options, it allows gym-goers to pick the exact color they love and pair it with the size they need. 

With this incredible customizability in mind, the Undeniable Duffle is made to work for almost anyone. Whether you need a bag that can carry shower essentials and a change of clothes or if you need all the training gear space that money can buy, this is the bag for you. 

However, this bag is not without its cons. It’s slightly more expensive than some of our other options on this list. It also doesn’t have the extensive pocket and compartment system that some bags offer.  

5. Wolf Warrior X Gym Bag

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This bag features a military-inspired design aesthetic, but it’s not just about rugged good looks. With a 68.6 liter capacity, it’s one of our larger options and is built for the serious sports enthusiast. It’s the only bag on our list specifically designed for men, but can be used by men or women who need a bag with a large carrying capacity. Its mildew-resistant fabric is made to be easily wiped down and maintained. Designed with lifelong usage in mind, this bag is also one of the most inexpensive options on our list. 

The Wolf Warrior X Gym Bag comes in 16 colors, from an understated black to a more eye-catching new camo. Its rugged design features heavy-duty, self-healing zippers that are both functional and pleasing to the eye. 

This bag also features multiple compartments and storage options, including space for wet or dirty gear and clothing. Its water-resistant material and large capacity make it a natural choice for soccer players, Ultimate Frisbee team members, and anyone else who likes to play hard. 

6. Kuston Sports Gym Bag

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This is a simple, functional option with a smaller capacity and a smaller price tag than many of our previous items on the list. At less than twenty inches long, it is perfect for individuals who want a lightweight gym bag option for their yoga class or workout and don’t require much heavy equipment. 

The high-quality material of the Kuston Sports Gym Bag is part of what makes this bag a good choice: it is waterproof, anti-theft, and breathable. Its straps are comfortable and well-made. In addition, it features a number of different multifunctional compartments, including one large central pocket for all the essentials, one waterproof zipper pocket for any wet or dirty clothing, a safe pocket for your phone and wallet, and a side access shoe compartment. 

While it’s not large enough for some, its small size, functionality, and 15 different color options make it a good choice for many gym-goers who don’t need a lot of accessories. 

7. MarsBro Water Resistant Sports Bag

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Neither a big brand name option nor one of the larger options, MarsBro has created another water-resistant duffle bag that’s perfect for exercise enthusiasts and frequent travelers. Designed using PVC coating and lining, it helps to simplify your upkeep. With frequent wipe-downs, you can easily keep your gym bag clean and functional. 

The ventilated shoe compartment, while certainly not unique to this bag, is both convenient and well-designed. An opposite side pocket makes for easy shower essential storage. 

Comfortable straps, anti-tear 600D polyester fabric, decent pricing, and 9 different color options earn this bag a place on our list. 

8. Adidas Diablo Duffle Bag 

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The Adidas Diablo Duffle Bag has two distinct benefits. This bag is available in 45 colors. It’s also a name-brand item, which adds a level of appeal and trust for many customers. With a lifetime warranty, it’s built to last.

While it just features one main compartment and is a relatively small bag, the lifetime warranty is nothing to scoff at. Its wide straps are designed for a comfortable carry. Easily washed and maintained, it’s best for a lightweight gym gear load.  

9. Puma Evercat Dispatch Women’s Duffle

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The Puma Evercat Dispatch Women’s Duffle is the only bag on our list that is made specifically for women’s body frames. It features a shorter shoulder drop, making it easier for a female of average height to carry. It contains one main compartment and one side compartment. At 18” wide, it is one of the smallest and most inexpensive bags on our list. 

While it doesn’t have the special features of some of our other options, it’s a reliable, basic gym bag. It’s suitable for women who just want a bag that can carry a spare change of clothes and shower essentials. 

10. Nike Brasilia Training Medium Duffle Bag

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This item is last on our list, but a score of 83 is still a solid B-grade bag, and it’s tied with the Puma Evercat Dispatch. It’s another basic, functional, name-brand bag.

If you love Nike products, this bag features a roomy main compartment, comfortable straps, side pockets, and interior mesh pockets. It doesn’t come close to the functionality of some of our other gym bags, but it’s still a worthwhile investment. 

How We Rank

The first thing we looked at, when ranking our best gym bags, is functionality.  When we tested for functionality, we examined several primary factors: waterproofing, ease of carrying, and interior organization. Bags that featured a waterproof exterior or a waterproof section, like the Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0 and the Canway Sports Gym Bag tended to rank higher on our list, as they allowed users more functionality and usage. We also gave priority to bags with padded straps and more carrying options. Bags with more pockets for interior organization options, like the Nubily Gym Sports Bag also ranked higher on our list.

Next, we briefly considered price. While some bags are worth a little extra money, bags that did the same job for less tended to rank higher.  This often resulted in knocking down name brands like Nike and Adidas because of the price increase associated with using their name.

Third, we looked at the material. We looked for material that is easy to clean and durable while also remaining aesthetically appealing. Products like the Under Armour Undeniable Duffle and the Kutson Sports Gym Bag ranked highly here.

Lastly, we looked at the brand and reputation. While the brand name is not everything, it does add a level of appeal to a gym bag. However, functionality and design, trumped brand name in the end.

After all this, we determined the top 10 best Gym Bags on the market.

Benefits

Gym bags are practical for multiple uses. Gym bags are obviously made for the gym, but their practicality doesn’t stop there. They also make for very efficient travel bags. They’re soft, flexible, and easy to fit into a tight trunk space or overhead compartment on an airplane. Their multiple compartments are just as useful for traveling as they are for all of your more everyday adventures and challenges. 

Gym bags are made for carrying larger loads. Sometimes, your favorite reusable bag just doesn’t cut it: you need a gym bag to comfortably carry all the gear you need for your next round of boxing training or soccer match. 

Gym bags don’t just have more room than the average backpack or reusable bag–though of course, their many large compartments help a lot. Gym bags feature straps that are made for carrying larger loads and distributing a substantial weight evenly across the shoulders. You don’t have to worry about straps cutting into your shoulders or a heavy load pressing down on your back: the cross-body style helps you transport everything you need in relative comfort. 

Gym bags make your time at the gym more efficient and productive. A good gym bag helps you stay organized. This means that you don’t waste time rooting through a massive backpack for your gear, and you don’t have to dump all of your gym equipment in the back seat of your car. That wastes precious time, and time is a costly commodity in today’s fast-paced world. 

Gym bags make more workouts possible. Without the convenience and practicality of a gym bag, many workouts just wouldn’t be possible. You wouldn’t be able to easily and practically carry a pile of gym gear in a backpack on the subway. 

Instead, these bags provide you with more workout opportunities, whether it be after work or while you travel. Their practicality makes it easier for you to carry around the equipment you need over the course of the day, and so you don’t have to miss the gym.

Gym bags are made to last. If you get a high-quality gym bag, you know you have a bag that’s made to last. It will get you to the gym and through airports, across the country on long road trips, and through the locker rooms. And investment in a good gym bag will pay off in longevity, durability, and versatility. 

Side Effects

Gym bags may cause poor hygiene. Gym gear is often sweaty and smelly. If you take part in a sport that has you diving in the mud or working up a serious sweat, you know that your gym bag can quickly become a disgusting mess. 

What’s more, there are some health risks associated with dirty and unkempt gym bags. Dark, damp places provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus, all of which can be dangerous to your skin, your equipment, and your health. 

As you search for your perfect gym bag, be honest with yourself about how grimy your gym experience tends to be. You want a bag that is easy to clean and helps you avoid fungal infections. Clean your bag regularly to avoid both smell and health complications. 

Gym bags can be bad for your neck and back. Carrying and wearing an ill-fitting bag can create or exacerbate neck and back problems, leading to muscular pain or stiffness. Each individual is different, so it’s hard to predict how one bag will affect spinal health. 

However, it’s worthwhile to think about how heavy you’re going to pack your bag and what kind of support you will need. If you have a lot of gear to carry but struggle with an old neck injury, consider consulting a physical therapist or chiropractor. These professionals can help you choose a gym bag that won’t exacerbate your neck and back pain.

FAQ

Are canvas bags worth considering? Canvas gym bags are durable, but they also hold dirt in the fabric more easily than other synthetic materials. They’re also very heavy when wet. If you’re a gym-goer in a relatively dry climate and you don’t engage in particularly muddy or messy activities, a canvas bag might be worth considering. The more natural fabric is also more eco-friendly, as it will biodegrade more quickly than synthetic fabrics. 

Do gym bag-to-backpack conversion bags provide a better level of comfort? This all depends on what kind of gear you’re carrying. Heavier loads or bulky gear that protrudes through the fabric of your bag place greater strain on your spine. However, lighter, softer gear is easy to carry on your back. 

It also depends on how far you’re carrying your gym bag. If you’re going across town with heavy equipment, opt for a bag that can be comfortably carried in several different ways. If your shoulder gets tired of carrying your gear in an across-the-body fashion, you can switch positions and give yourself a break. 

If you are concerned about back muscle, neck, or spinal ailments or injuries, contact a medical professional to seek further counsel. 

Do I need a waterproof section in my bag? A waterproof section in your bag isn’t a requirement because you can put the dirty or wet clothing in a plastic bag if necessary. However, a waterproof section does make your life a lot simpler and allows you to transport wet shoes or clothing with greater ease. In addition, a bag with a completely waterproof exterior can protect your gear from damp conditions in the locker room or outside. 

What’s the best way to transport dirty, muddy, or damp clothing? The key to keeping your bag clean is to section off dirty or damp clothing in a waterproof section or in plastics bags, and to wash your dirty gear promptly. If necessary, clean your bag with fabric-safe antibacterial wipes or sprays after each use to ensure its longevity and your personal hygiene. Test these wipes or sprays on a small area of your gym bag first to ensure it won’t damage the color or material.

Can you recycle old gym bags? If you’re passionate about your health, chances are you’re also passionate about the health of the planet. While it is unlikely that you’re able to put an old gym bag by the curb with your plastic bottles and soda cans, you can separate the different materials of your gym bag for recycling.

If that sounds like more work than you’d like, there are several other possible options. You can donate a gym bag to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, where another individual can give your bag a second life. However, if your bag really is past the point of salvaging or repurposing, consider ordering a zero waste box from TerraCycle, who will recycle your bags in an eco-conscious way.

What are gym bag essentials, no matter the sport? Every individual will have a different set of clothing and gear, depending on their sport of choice, climate, and personal preferences. However, in order to make the most of your gym time, pack the items you use frequently at the gym in order of use so you can access them quickly. 

Shower essentials are a must, no matter the sport or workout. Pack body lotion to protect your skin after a hard workout, and to restore your skin from the harsh hot water of the gym facilities. Also consider packing facial moisturizer, lip balm, and hand sanitizer. Include gentle face and body wipes in case you’re pressed for time and have to skip a shower, along with some dry shampoo. You will also want a change of clothes, extra layers in cold weather, hairspray, and extra hair ties and pins.

What are the health risks of an unhygienic gym bag? In many ways, it’s not the gym bag itself you have to worry about: it’s the germs that your gym bag comes into contact with throughout the course of your exercise session at the gym. Besides catching a nasty cold or flu virus, you could also contract a staph infection, which can be life-threatening. Whether that’s your sweaty clothes, muddy shoes, or gym surfaces, there’s a lot to be concerned about. Let’s break this down. 

What goes in your gym bag? First, you have what goes into your bag, like clothes, shoes, water bottles, and shower equipment. To prevent the spread of gym germs, you’ll want to clean these items after each use. In the case of your gym shoes, wipe down the soles to prevent the spread of pathogens. 

If you leave dirty equipment in your bag, you encourage the growth of bacteria and the spread of viruses and other pathogens. You also encourage mold and mildew, which can seriously circumscribe your bag and gears’ lifespan. 

When you go to the gym, you have to set your bag down somewhere. Unfortunately, gym surfaces tend to feature high rates of contaminants. The floors of gyms are obvious dirty spots, but so are free weights, weight machines, exercise balls, exercise mats, locker rooms, and showers.

Even if your gym bag doesn’t touch these spots directly, your hands transfer some germs or pathogens from the gym environment to your bag. While it’s not worth stressing about, it is worth wiping down your bag after each use and washing it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This can help keep your bag well-maintained and keep you healthy.

Two particular hot spots to watch out for are water bottles and shower rooms. 

When it comes to water bottles, your hand goes straight from weights, machines, or a mat to touching your water bottle. This is why it’s important to wash your water bottle after each use and to wipe out your water bottle pouch on your gym bag daily. 

For shower equipment, keep your essentials in a small, portable shower caddy or bag that allows you to keep the individual bottles off the floor. That way, you can just wipe down the caddy or bag with an antibacterial wipe before placing it back into your gym bag. This decreases the prevalence of contaminants in your gym bag. You should also wear waterproof flip-flops or sandals in the shower to prevent a fungal foot infection, and bring a plastic bag to store them in until you can rinse them off at home.

How do I launder my gym bag? Each gym bag comes with specialized care instructions. Some bags can be machine-washed, while others might need to be hand-washed. Follow these care instructions in order to promote maximum gym bag longevity. 

What can I do to keep my gym bag clean in between washes? Keep antibacterial wipes in your car, in your bag, or by the door of your home. Wipe down any surface of the bag that came into contact with the gym floor or locker. Always empty your bag of dirty, sweaty, or smelly gear and wipe out compartments where you stored the dirty equipment. This will help prevent mold, mildew, and bacterial growth, which can protect the longevity of your bag and your equipment.

What are the differences between gym bags for men and gym bags for women? We only featured two gender-specific gym bags on our list: the Wolf Warrior X, a men’s gym bag, and the Puma Evercat Dispatch, a women’s gym bag. The primary difference between these two bags was the size and strap design. Most gym bags are gender-neutral and feature different color choices for those who decide to gender-code their gym bags.

Of course, in general, women tend to be shorter than men, so a smaller or lighter bag may make more sense. This does depend upon each individual’s sport of choice. A female rugby player will need more gear than a male rower who just comes to the gym to train on the ergometer. 

Ultimately, every individual has a unique set of physical traits, preferences, and athletic passions. It’s important to choose the bag that’s right for you, rather than the bag that is made with your gender in mind. 

Can I bring a gym bag on a plane? Yes you can bring a gym bag on the plane as long as it replaces any other personal item baggage you may be bringing. However, it’s important to check the rules of the specific airline you are flying to make sure.

How many litres should a gym bag be? Around 30 litres or so is a good starting point for many gym bags.

Can I wash my gym bag? Most gym bags are safe and machine washable. Just make sure to remove the sturdy, non-washable, plastic base.

How often should you wash your gym bag? There is no standard rule for washing a gym bag and you should wash it as needed.

What are some gym bag essentials? Some gym bag essentials include sneakers, a water bottle, gym clothes and a towel. Some athletes like to have wireless headphones and recovery nutrition as well in their bag.

What is another name for a gym bag? Gym bags can also go by a duffel bag, or a kit bag.

Are gym bags water proof? Unless specifically specified, gym bags are probably not waterproof and should be treated as such.

What should a powerlifter included in his or her gym bag? Most powerlifters should include the essentials, such as a water bottle, training gear and wireless headphones, as well as a powerlifting belt, chalk, proper squat and deadlift shoes and a foam roller.

Who invented the duffle bag? The origins of duffel or duffle came in the mid 17th century from Duffel, the name of a town in Belgium where the cloth was originally made.

Recap

Gym bags play a central role in each gym-goer’s daily experience. They help you to organize your time at the gym, work out more efficiently, and keep everything in one place. They’re also incredibly multi-functional, with many gym bags easily doubling as airline carry-ons or perfect weekender bags. 

As seen in our ranking system, different bags come in different sizes and offer varying levels of functionality. Some bags boast waterproof compartments, shoe storage, multiple straps and carrying options, and even multiple size options. 

Whichever bag you choose, it’s important to follow hygiene protocols and to maintain the integrity and cleanliness of all your gym equipment, from weight-lifting straps to gym bag to shower caddy. This can help keep you happy, relaxed, and healthy, and it will keep you coming back to the gym as opposed to staying home with a cold. 

Ultimately, your choice of gym bag comes down to your requirements for space and storage compartments, your budget, and your aesthetic preferences. Some bags are minimalistic and sleek, while others come in bright, bold colors. 

If you choose a gym bag that will promote your preferred activities and help make your life easier, it’s hard to go wrong.

For FitBug’s #1 gym bag recommendation, click here.

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