To find the best gym bags, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your physical fitness routine. We recommend that you favor gym bags that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that offer some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in the rain or accidentally fall into the gym’s pool. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the gym bag you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your fitness essentials, such as clothing and towels, will fit inside. When buying a gym bag, always look for a durable build, a light form factor, and plenty of room for all of your most-used items.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Nike NK VPR Enrgy is the best gym bag on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags on the market.

Top 10 Best Gym Bags

 #1  Nike NK VPR Enrgy Gym Bag

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best gym backpack with a suite of robust features, including a dedicated shoe compartment, a convenient roll-top opening, and an extremely light form factor, weighing just 14 ounces.

Pros
  • Dedicated compartment for shoes
  • Convenient roll-top opening
  • Light form factor (14oz)
Cons
  • Only 1 color, black
  • Primarily intended for men

The Nike NK VPR Enrgy is the best gym bag with a shoe compartment, thanks to a spacious area that easily fits a full-sized pair of shoes. We appreciated the convenient roll-top opening, allowing for easy packing and removal of items, and the light and compact form factor, as this gym bag weighs just 14 ounces. We also liked the generous amount of space here for clothing, towels, fitness trackers, and other gym-related accessories and equipment.

Though sleek and attractive with a minimalist design, this bag is only available in one color, which is black. Additionally, this gym bag is primarily intended for men, with a design that may not fit all female consumers. Compare this with the best duffle bag for gyms with a capacity that can easily accommodate all of your most-used exercise clothing and equipment

 #2  King Kong Plus33 JNR Gym Bag

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best gym bags for CrossFit, with a highly water-resistant design, made from military-grade nylon, and heavy-duty steel buckles and YKK zippers running throughout.

Pros
  • Made from military-grade nylon
  • Highly water-resistant design
  • Light form factor (14oz)
Cons
  • Camouflage exterior may not suit all consumers
  • Weighs nearly 3lb

This King Kong gym bag is built specifically for CrossFit training and functions excellently as a standalone gym backpack, with a design made entirely from military-grade 1000D nylon that is tear-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and highly water-resistant, making this a great choice for wet clothes and towels. We admired the heavy-duty steel buckles and YKK zippers running throughout, for durability, and the individually-sealed shoe compartment.

Though the camouflaged exterior is aesthetically pleasing, it may not suit all consumers, thanks to the rather unique design. Also, this is a relatively heavy gym bag, at three pounds, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. Consider a much lighter option when shopping for the best commuter bag, so as not to get weighed down as you commute to and from work, school, etc.

 #3  The North Face Base Camp Gym Bag

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: High-grade gym bag with some serious features, such as a pair of durable back straps for wearing like a backpack and a design made entirely from water-resistant and tear-resistant nylon.

Pros
  • Durable back straps for carrying
  • Made from water-resistant nylon
  • TSA-compliant for a carry-on
Cons
  • Weighs nearly 4lb
  • Maximum capacity not the largest
  • On the expensive side

The North Face Base Camp is a high-quality gym bag with a robust feature set that includes a pair of ultra-durable back straps, allowing gym members to wear this like a backpack during transport. We loved that this gym bag is made from highly water-resistant nylon, which also happens to offer a fair bit of tear-resistance. We also admired that this bag is fully TSA-compliant, making it a great choice to use as a carry-on for flights.

Though we appreciated that this gym bag is TSA-compliant and suited for overhead bins, the maximum capacity here is on the smaller side, which should be considered. Additionally, the weight here is heavier-than-average, at nearly four pounds. Lighter options are available from the best bags that make for an excellent gym or sports bag.

 #4  Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Gym Bag

Award: BEST SECURITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Filled to the brim with advanced security features, such as an RFID-blocking pocket for identity protection, lockable zippers, and a design made from cut-proof steel mesh.

Pros
  • Made from durable nylon and polyester
  • Comfortable and adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Lightweight, weighing just 1.4lb
Cons
  • Relatively low max capacity
  • No dedicated shoe compartment

The Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Gym Bag is a great option for those who value personal security when it comes to their belongings, as some of this bag’s components are made from cut-proof steel mesh. Other personal security features include lockable zippers and an RFID-blocking compartment for wallets, smartphones, and other sensitive items. We appreciated the durable nylon and polyester exterior and comfortable and highly adjustable shoulder straps, the latter making for a comfortable carry.

Though we did appreciate the light form factor here, as this bag weighs just 1.4 pounds, we did notice that the maximum capacity is on the lower side. Also, this gym bag lacks a dedicated compartment for shoes, though it does feature a tablet sleeve and a laptop pocket. And if you need a specific carrier for your laptop, check out the best laptop backpacks for college students, travelers, and business professionals.

 #5  Thule Chasm M-70L Gym Bag

Award: BEST CAPACITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely generous maximum capacity, around 70 liters, with internal mesh pockets for organization, an oversized wide-mouth opening, and straps that easily convert from a gym bag or duffel to a backpack.

Pros
  • Oversized wide-mouth opening
  • Can be used as duffel bag or backpack
  • Internal mesh pockets for organization
Cons
  • Only 1 color and design available
  • Relatively heavy, at nearly 3lb

The Thule Chasm M-70L is a great weightlifting gym bag, thanks to an extremely generous maximum capacity of 70 liters, allowing for the storage of plenty of fitness gear and fitness equipment. We appreciated the internal mesh pockets, allowing for easy organization, and the oversized wide-mouth opening for packing and retrieving items. We also liked the fact that the straps allow easy conversion from a gym bag to a backpack, suiting the needs of different types of consumers.

Though this is an attractive bag, it is only available in one color and one design, which may suit the aesthetic tastes of all consumers. Additionally, this is a somewhat heavy gym bag, at nearly three pounds. Even college students will prefer the best college backpacks that are made from a light form factor.

 #6  Herschel Novel Gym Bag

Award: BEST FOR SHOES

WHY WE LIKE IT: Features a sealed-off and side-loading shoe compartment, making it great for easy retrieval, with an integrated shoulder strap for carrying options and a lightweight form factor.

Pros
  • Available in numerous designs
  • Integrated shoulder strap for carrying options
  • Lightweight form factor, at just 1lb
Cons
  • Max capacity just 42.5L
  • Not too water-resistant

This Herschel gym bag is a great choice for those who find themselves packing gym shoes on the regular, as it features a dedicated side-loading shoe compartment that is sealed off from the rest of the bag, which blocks foul odors from transferring. We loved the lightweight form factor here, weighing just over one pound, and the fact that it is available in numerous aesthetically pleasing colors and design options. The integrated shoulder strap also increases the number of ways you can carry this gym bag to and from fitness centers.

Though this bag is indeed light and easy-to-carry, the maximum capacity is just 42.5 liters, which is slightly lower than some bags on the market. Also, this bag is made primarily from cloth and traditional fabric, so it only offers minimal water-resistance. For your water-related activities, the best dry bag that is highly water-resistant is exactly what you need.

 #7  Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Gym Bag

Award: BEST COLOR OPTIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Available in over 30 colors and design options, to suit nearly any aesthetic preference, with a proprietary water-resistant finish and an abrasion-resistant bottom panel.

Pros
  • Water-resistant finish
  • Abrasion-resistant bottom panel
  • Pair of side water bottle pockets
Cons
  • Designed more to be worn than held
  • Relatively low max capacity

The Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Gym Bag is perfect for those who want a personalized experience, as this duffel bag is available in over 30 colors and designs, suiting nearly any aesthetic. We appreciated the durability and water-resistance here, as this bag has been treated with a proprietary water-repelling substance and boasts an abrasion-resistant bottom panel. We also liked the pair of side water bottle pockets and a dedicated laptop or tablet sleeve.

Though the shoulder straps are padded and comfortable, making this bag shine as a backpack, the top handle is not that comfortable. Additionally, this bag does feature a dedicated shoe compartment on the bottom, which can also be used for clothing, but the maximum capacity of this bag is on the lower end. Storage capacity should also be considered when purchasing the best travel backpack so you can be sure all of your travel essentials will fit inside.

 #8  Herschel Sutton Gym Bag

Award: BEST AESTHETICS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely attractive design, available in multiple colors, with a tear-resistant polyester form factor, high-grade zipper closures, and various carrying options, including a lengthy top handle, a removable shoulder strap, and a harness strap.

Pros
  • Made from tear-resistant polyester
  • High-grade zipper closures
  • Harness strap for carrying options
Cons
  • Max capacity 28L
  • No dedicated shoe compartment

The Herschel Supply Co Sutton Gym Bag is a gorgeous bag for gym goers that should fit the aesthetics of nearly any consumer, with availability in a wide array of colors and designs to further increase this bag’s fashionable status. We loved that this bag is made from tear-resistant polyester and that it features high-quality zipper closures, for easy opening and closing. This bag also boasts a variety of carrying options, including a lengthy top handle, an adjustable and removable shoulder strap, and a harness strap.

The maximum capacity of this Herschel Supply bag is on the lower end, at just 28 liters, which may not suit all consumers. Also, there is no dedicated compartment for shoes here, nor is there much organization at all throughout the interior. Organization is an important feature as seen with the best weekender bag for men whose interior has a total of 6 compartments.

 #9  Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Gym Bag

Award: BEST VALUE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-friendly gym bag with a robust feature set that includes a highly water-resistant design, allowing this bag to be machine washed, and a 15” shoulder drop to increase the carrying options.

Pros
  • Machine washable design
  • Available in 18 colors
  • 15” shoulder drop for carrying options
Cons
  • Unisex design, but too big for children
  • Backpack form factor may not suit all consumers

The Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Gym Bag comes in at a value-conscious price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as a 15-inch shoulder drop and an ergonomically designed top handle for increased carrying options. We appreciated the incredible water-resistance available here, thanks to a proprietary water-repelling treatment, allowing for machine washing. We also liked that this bag is available in 18 colors and design options.

Though this is a unisex design, which is nice, it is simply too big and bulky to be used by children, so we’d recommend consumers aged 13 or older to use this bag. Additionally, this is more of a backpack than a legitimate gym bag, which may not suit every gym-goer. You may compare this with the best sling bag that provides a reliable option as a daily carry thanks to its lightweight polyester design.

 #10  Sportsnew Gym Bag

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Perfect for budget-conscious shoppers, with availability in more than 10 colors and designs, separate compartments for both wet and dry items, and a variety of carrying options.

Pros
  • Available in over 10 colors
  • Separate compartments for wet and dry items
  • Dual top handles and a removable padded shoulder strap
Cons
  • Not the most durable bag on market
  • Machine washable, but must be hung to dry

This Sportsnew Gym Bag arrives at a budget-friendly price while offering a suite of high-end features typically reserved for more expensive competitors, including availability in more than ten colors and designs, suiting a majority of personal aesthetics. We also liked that this bag boasts completely separate compartments for wet and dry items, making it a great choice for the storage of wet gym clothes. We also appreciated the large variety of carrying options here, thanks to a removable padded shoulder strap.

Though this bag is fairly water-resistant, which is great, it is not too tear-resistant, so we’d advise caution with some sharp items. Also, this bag is machine washable, but it must be hung to dry. For working professionals, it’s good to know that some of the best backpacks for work are machine washable.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide array of popular gym bags, ensuring that they functioned excellently as a go-to option for working out at a nearby fitness center or gymnasium. To that end, we liked bags that were made of durable materials and those that could easily fit a wide array of useful items.

As for durability, we liked gym bags made from materials such as nylon and polyester, which offer a good amount of water-resistance, tear-resistance, and abrasion-resistance. We also liked bags with a generous maximum capacity, with bonus points awarded to bags with dedicated compartments for shoes and for wet clothing.

We ended up preferring bags with a wide array of carrying options, thanks to integrated top handles, padded shoulder straps, and even harness straps. We also admired bags that were on the lighter side, so gym equipment could take up most of the weight. Finally, we liked aesthetically pleasing bags that were available in a multitude of color and design options.

Best Gym Bags Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Durability and Water-resistance
    If you are shopping for a gym bag, you will want to make sure it is extremely durable, as you are likely to be filling it with fitness equipment and other items that could potentially cause a tear in the fabric. Look for bags made from nylon, polyester, or other durable materials. You will also want to pay special attention to water-resistance. In short, make sure the bag features some form of water-resistance, as you will probably be using the bag to store wet gym clothes and towels.
  2. Max Capacity and Storage Compartments
    The maximum capacity is of paramount importance, especially if you tend to overpack and travel to the gym with plenty of equipment in tow. Make sure there is room enough for small weights, clothing, random fitness accessories, and even larger items such as basketballs. You will also want to make sure there are dedicated storage compartments for wet items, shoes, and other must-haves.
  3. Carrying Options
    Gym bags have come a long way when it comes to how consumers carry them from location to location. Modern gym bags still offer traditional top handles but many also offer removable and adjustable shoulder straps, often padded, for wearing in a crossbody fashion. Some bags offer back straps, for wearing like a backpack, and even harness straps. Take a look at the fine print and make sure the bag you are thinking of buying is equipped with a multitude of carrying options.

Gym Bags FAQs

What is the best gym bag on the market?

The best gym bag on the market is one that is durable, with ample tear-resistance and abrasion-resistance. Fantastic gym bags are also often highly water-resistant and feature enough room for all of your fitness essentials.

What makes a good gym bag?

A good gym duffel should, first and foremost, offer enough room for all of your fitness gear, clothing, shoes, and related items. Good gym bags are also often durable and highly water-resistant, offering the perfect accompaniment when you hit the gym, with ventilated shoe compartments.

What should be in a gym bag for school?

When looking to fill a gym bag, or travel bag, for school or the ultimate gym experience, we’d recommend making room for your workout clothes, random pieces of gym gear, a pair of shoes, and a swimsuit, if applicable. You may also want to pack towels, dirty clothes, snacks, fitness gear, and related items. In other words, this will cut down on the number of bags to carry and can usually easily fit in a gym locker, for quick access.

Are gym bags worth it?

We like to think so. Gym bags are not just for going to the local fitness center, as many offer room enough for weekend trips and the like. Modern gym bags tend to be TSA-compliant, so you can use them as a carry-on when necessary. Some also offer a laptop compartment or laptop sleeve, exterior pockets, zipper pockets, backpack straps, internal pockets, shoe pockets, and side pockets for water bottles, sneakers, snacks, and the like.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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