The best gym bags you can buy

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best gym bags

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  • A good gym bag will not only help you tote workout apparel and accessories to and from the gym, practice, or the game, but it will help keep clothing and gear organized.
  • The Adidas Defender II Duffel Bag is our top pick because it's durable, stylish, and the perfect size for most fitness enthusiasts.

If you regularly work out at a gym or practice and play a sport - or if you've made a New Year's resolution to start doing so - then owning a great gym bag is a good idea. When you have a dedicated gym bag, you can establish a routine that will make your prep before a workout more convenient, that will make your time at the gym more efficient, and your post-exercise transport, laundering, and storage of fitness apparel and gear easier and more hygienic, too.

A proper gym bag will have multiple compartments that can be used to create your own organizational system. You can appoint one or two pockets to store soiled, sweaty garments and shoes. You can reserve one section for clean clothing to be worn after a workout. One compartment might be reserved for water, energy bars, snacks, or supplements. And of course, you'll want to stash your phone, keys, and wallet somewhere safe, too.

When assembling a list of great gym bags, we only considered those with multi-compartment designs. Next, we looked at materials, well aware that while one person might value performance and durability over all other metrics, another person might value style; thus the inclusion of a leather gym duffel on the list. Finally, we looked for special features that set these gym bags apart from the competitors. While there are many gym bags on the market today, and while many are quite similar to one another, the bags that made it onto our list each have at least one unique factor that earned them a spot here.

When choosing the right gym bag for you, there are a few factors you should not overlook. First, simply think about the stuff you need to carry with you to the gym and then find options that can accommodate it all. Next, consider when and where you will be carrying the bag. Do you need to bring it with you on the train or bus? If so, a gym bag that's on the smaller side is a good idea. Got a long walk or a jog on the way to the gym? Then a backpack gym bag will serve well.

Finally, don't dismiss style as an important element here. You will carry your gym bag around in public many days out of the year (ideally, anyway!), so choose one you will be proud to have over your shoulder and on display.

Here are the best gym bags you can buy:

Updated on 01/02/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and formatting.

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

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The best gym bag overall

The best gym bag overall
Why you'll love it: The Adidas Defender II Duffel Bag is well made and refreshingly simple with a few compartments and two ways to carry it.

Talking you through all the specs of an Adidas Defender II Duffel Bag won't take that long, so let's do it. The bag has one large main compartment with enough room for a change of clothes and a towel, a water bottle, deodorant and shampoo, and so forth.

Within the main chamber is a smaller zippered pouch perfect for your wallet, keys, phone, and other small valuables. Each end of the bag has a compartment that can fit shoes, sweaty garments, and anything else you want to keep separated. The base is padded to keep your stuff safe, the fabric is rip- and puncture-resistant. The bag has both a shoulder strap and handles.

And that's it. But hey, that's really all you need out of gym bag. So why does this bag cost almost twice as much as other options on our list? Simple. It's remarkably well made. Adidas even offers a lifetime warranty. And when you think about it, that's an impressive amount of faith Adidas is putting in this gym bag. The company knows the thing is going to be hauled back and forth to the fitness center, to the track, the field, and everywhere else such luggage gets lugged.

It also doesn't hurt that the Defender II comes in nearly two dozen different color patterns, so you can easily find a duffel that will not only match your needs, but that will match your personal sense of style, too.

With well over 1,500 reviews logged on Amazon, the Adidas Defender II has a solid 4.3-star average rating. An owner named Brianna calls it "perfect for the gym" and loves how her duffel accommodates "shoes, clothes, water bottle, swim suit, towel, showering stuff and then some." A customer named Dan shared those sentiments, saying the bag earns "five stars in [his] book."

A writer with MuscleRig noted the Defender II's construction out of "thick parachute material that protects it from rain, dust and even scratches," while a video reviewer from SoccerSavings Semper Soccer said the bag offers "loads of storage" and praised the design.

Pros: Lasts for years of heavy use, simple intuitive design, comes in multiple colors

Cons: Medium and large sizes too big for many people

Buy the adidas Defender II Duffel Bag on Amazon for about $24.99 and up (prices vary by size and color)

The best affordable gym bag

The best affordable gym bag
Why you'll love it: The Everest Gym Bag's dedicated water bottle sleeve, versatile front pouches, and adjustable, padded shoulder strap make it a great budget-friendly gym bag.

The Everest Gym Bag costs less than twenty-four bucks if you don't count the tax. That's less than half the price of many similar gym bags, yet don't think for a second that this bag is half the quality.

In fact, the Everest is manufactured out of durable 600D polyester that resists scratches and tears and is even water-resistant. Don't submerge it in a bathtub while your iPad is inside or anything, but also don't worry about some drizzle as you jog from the subway to the gym.

The Everest Gym Bag has a large primary compartment with plenty of room for shoes, clothes, showering accessories, and more. Its twin front pouches are perfect for your phone, wallet, energy bars, and other smaller sundries. A central water bottle sleeve can handle most water bottles.

On one side of the bag you will find a zippered mesh pouch, and on the other, there is a closed compartment. Both can be extended into the main area of the bag, allowing you to stash sweaty clothes or muddy shoes away from the rest of your gear.

The only real drawback with this bag is that the side pockets in which you can store soiled gear must take up room in the main compartment to be sufficiently spacious, so it can be tricky to tell exactly how much room you will use in each area after a workout. After a few trips to the gym, though, you should have the balance down and can pack and plan accordingly.

The Everest Gym Bag has a 4.3-star overall rating among buyers, with one owner calling it "fantastic" and saying he was happily surprised to find it "holding up great" after heavy use despite its low price. A customer named Jessica was thrilled by its "pockets galore."

Wirecutter's review of gym bags ranked the Everest at the top thanks to its multiple pockets, quality material, and the water bottle holder, which were noted as "exceptional features for the price." A TenBestProducts write up called the Everest Gym Bag a "good value for the money" that is "sturdy and lightweight."

Pros: Great low price, dedicated water bottle pocket, keeps gear and sundries organized

Cons: Occasional issues with side pocket tearing

Buy the Everest Gym Bag on Amazon for $18 to $25 (price varies by color)

The best gym backpack

The best gym backpack
Why you'll love it: The Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack has enough space to carry a pair of shoes, a change of clothes, a full sized laptop, and a few accessories, and it distributes the weight of all your gear evenly across your torso.

Now yes, we just mentioned a lot of stuff that you can fit into a UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack, but to be clear, if you put a pair of sneakers, your gym apparel, a computer, and your wallet, phone, and keys in this bag, it would then be just about full. But that's just fine, because what else do you need to carry with you as you travel from the office to the gym and then home?

And unlike with traditional gym bags that must be slung over one shoulder or carried in your hand, this backpack distributes that weight evenly across your shoulders and down through your core, meaning you can transport all that stuff for miles and miles in comfort if need be.

Anyone with a long trip between the gym and the home or office should consider this gym backpack. Its padded laptop sleeve keeps that invaluable computer safe while the brand's UA Storm technology-treated exterior resists rain, sleet, or snow, keeping your stuff safely dry within. The bottom panel is abrasion-resistant and the entire backpack is rip-stop and puncture-resistant.

And also, the UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack comes in colors ranging from black to blue to pink to orange and more.

The Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 scores a 4.6 out of five-star rating on Amazon. One customer speaks for many when she says the backpack is this is "essentially [her] carry all." She is able "to [carry] about 6-7 water bottles, a pair of size 9 women gym shoes and a set of gym clothes... all while not being weighed down to one side because [she is] able to carry the weight evenly with little to no strain on [her] shoulders."

In a YouTube review, an UnboxedTV video showed off the quality of the hardware, including the zippers, the padding, and the durable exterior material. The video also showed off special features like the dual water bottle pockets.

Pros: Distributes weight evenly, water-resistant exterior, padded laptop sleeve

Cons: Capacity is too small for some athletes

Buy the Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack on Amazon for $40.99 and up (prices vary by color)

The best leather gym bag

The best leather gym bag
Why you'll love it: If you love the timeless styling of luggage from generations past, then this Komal's Passion Leather KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel is the gym bag for you.

Don't worry, you don't have to be a bare-knuckle boxer or 19th Century strongman to appreciate the Komal's Passion Leather KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel. While this leather duffel may have the look of a vintage piece of equipment, it's actually brand new and manufactured to modern standards and with modern apparel and accessories in mind.

There is a front pocket perfect for your smartphone and keys, there are side pockets that can accommodate shoes or sweaty gear, and there is a large main compartment perfect for a change of clothes, hygiene products, snacks, or whatever else you need to have on-the-go.

This durable leather duffel is the perfect size for use as a gym bag, but it's also great for the traveler. The bag is suitable for carry-on use and will easily fit in overhead compartments and will even fit under the seat aboard many aircraft. And it's hard to mistake this unique, handsome duffel with another traveler's luggage.

While of course there are drawbacks to using a leather duffel, such as the need to avoid heavy precipitation and the more complicated cleaning procedures, these mild issues are greatly outweighed by the KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel's classic charm for those who truly value style.

The KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel has a remarkable 4.8-star average rating on Amazon. A customer named Nikki raved that the bag was "even better than [she] imagined" in terms of quality and style, while an owner named John said he "couldn't be more pleased with this bag's quality for a such a reasonable price."

AtopDaily said the bag was perfect as a "travel bag, gym duffel, overnight bag," and more, noting the quality of the leather, the lining, the adjustable strap, and other features.

Pros: Beautiful vintage style, multiple compartments and pockets, versatile use potentials

Cons: Requires enhanced care and maintenance

Buy the Komal's Passion Leather KPL Vintage Leather Gym Duffel on Amazon for $79.95

The best rolling gym bag

The best rolling gym bag
Why you'll love it: Anyone with joint or shoulder injuries or issues shouldn't carry a gym bag by hand, so the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel Bag is just right for them.

Gym bags can get heavy quickly, what with all the gear most of us lug along to our workouts. There are shoes, changes of clothes, water bottles, energy bars, shampoo and a towel, and so on.

If you have strength or grip issues in your hands, shoulders, lower back, or really anywhere else, you should not be carrying a heavy gym bag, nor should you sling one over a shoulder. Doing so can throw of your center of balance and/or put undue strain on the sensitive area. With the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel, you can tote along all the fitness apparel and gear you want and then some while letting the wheels do most of the work.

At 22 by 12 by 12 inches this gym bag offers plenty of room to stash shoes and clothes, snacks and water, accessories, personal items, and more, but it's not so large that you can't easily bring it on the subway or bus and stash it under your desk at work. As the duffel has no fewer than eight pockets, it's easy to keep all of your stuff organized, not to mention keeping soiled gear separate from clean stuff.

When needed, such as when you encounter stairs or uneven terrain, the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel can be picked up by its handles and carried along. But the recessed, in-line skate style wheels — which turn smoothly thanks to metal ball bearings — and the retractable pull handle are what set this bag apart from the rest. Also, it costs only about thirty-two bucks.

Even with nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon, the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel has a respectable 4.1-star average rating. An owner named Sandy calls it "lightweight, easy to use and clean" and loves how smoothly the wheels roll. A customer called John appreciated the multitude of pockets that made organization easy.

A LuggageOnTour review praised the bag's multiple pockets and called this rolling duffel suitable for travel, but noted that it really is "more a gym bag than a business bag." Of course that's hardly a drawback for our purposes.

Pros: Rolling design takes strain off body, multiple pockets for easy organization, great price

Cons: Will not stand up straight, lacks sufficiently large compartments for some users' preferences

Buy the Olympia Luggage Rolling Duffel Bag on Amazon for $33.99 (price varies by color)
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