The best gym bags will help you carry around your sweaty workout gear in style

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best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens
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You’ll need the best gym bag now that gyms are open for business again (for the time being, anyway). If you don’t want to carry your gym kit around in a plastic bag, a decent gym backpack or duffel bag can help house all your sweaty gear in a mannerly fashion. Unlike fashion backpacks, gym bags are versatile, hard-wearing item carriers designed to be hurled over to the nearest empty bench or locker as soon as you arrive at your chosen gym.

Many – if not most – gym bros will tell you that the only way to establish dominance in the gym is to carry your gym kit around in a duffel bag, but don’t be fooled so easily. Real pros will house all their sweaty gym gear in a backpack as it distributes the weight evenly between the two shoulders. Want to learn more about how to pack a gym bag? We’ve got you covered. We can also tell you which type of gym bag is better: duffels or backpacks?

Whether you’re pounding the treadmill at 6 AM or have to drag yourself to the gym after work each evening, we all approach workouts differently. However, no matter your level of expertise (and ability to not repeatedly hit the snooze button), the humble gym bag is an essential kit for beginners and pros alike.

Need some new gym gear? Check out T3’s best workout shoe guide, best workout top and best workout shorts guide for inspiration. For advice on supplementation, you might also want to read through our best protein powder and best protein bar guide, not to mention the best weight gainer roundup.

Best gym bags to buy right now

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

1. UA Project Rock Duffle Backpack

Best gym bag overall

Best for: Everyday gym bag

Material: 100% Polyester

Capacity: 36 litres

+ Can be used as a backpack or holdall

+ Water-resistant finish

+ Large main compartment

+ Separate shoe pocket

– Project Rock branding could be subtler

What’s better than a gym backpack? A gym backpack that can be carried around like a duffle. The UA Project Rock Duffle Backpack is this kind of bag; it’s super versatile and offers a slew of features you expect to see in the perfect gym bag.

For one, the bag features weather-proof UA Storm technology that will help your bag stay dry when you’re being rained. The bottom of the bag is made of tough, abrasion-resistant nylon, so it won’t fall apart if you treat the bag like a ball and kick it to the other side of the locker room. 

The main compartment is large enough to house a basketball and opens up in a clamshell fashion for easier access. Your dirty workout shoes can be stored separately from the rest of your gear in the gusseted laundry/shoe pocket placed at bottom of the bag. There is even a soft-lined laptop sleeve that can hold up to 15-inch laptops; what else can you possibly ask for?

Our rating: 5 out of 5 stars

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

2. Chrome Industries Barrage Duffle

Best gym bag for storage

Best for: Hauling all your gear in one go

Material: 1050D Nylon with 500D TPE Tarp liner

Capacity: 55 litres

+ External and internal organisation pockets

+ Plenty of space for a variety of workout gear

+ Made of durable materials

– Seriously huge

– Won’t fit in smaller gym lockers

The Barrage Duffle works perfectly well as a large gym bag. The tote straps make it easy to carry the bag in hand or throw it over the shoulders, and there is just so much space for anything and everything you might want to include in your gym bag, including shoes, towels, skateboards, etc. I’m pretty sure you can fit a smaller foldable bike in the Barrage Duffle if you want to.

It’s not only spacious, but the Barrage Duffle is also full of compartments and pockets, so you can keep your used gym gear away from your laptop and paperwork. You’ve got a daisy-chain style net, too, that can be used to store your shoes or cycling helmet. Two additional smaller pockets on the outside can be used to house water bottles and wallets.

Read our full Chrome Industries Barrage Duffle review

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

3. THIS BAG IS ONE OF THE RANGE’S ORIGINALS – BUT IS STILL ULTRA-FUNCTIONAL!

Best gym bag for women

Best for: Gym queens with a lot of workout gear

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 30 litres

+ Removable water-resistant pouch

+ Easily accessible main compartment

– Quite bulky when it’s full

The ‘This Bag Is One Of The Range’s Originals – But Is Still Ultra-Functional!’ is a gym bag aimed at people who like to embrace their feminine side. It kind of looks like a giant marshmallow with its puffy exterior, but don’t get fooled: this bag is as functional as it is pretty.

The 30-litre capacity is more than enough to store all your gym essentials, and the removable waterproof pouch is just perfect for carrying toiletries around. The main compartment opens fully, so it is super easy to find your stuff in the bag, no matter how much stuff you got in there.

A slight downside is that you will need quite a lot of space to lay the bag flat, and considering gym lockers are not famous for people having a lot of room to change, it might be a bit harder to locate stuff in them. Size can also be an issue when you carry the gym bag around. You might want to throw it on your shoulders, and based on how the handles look, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. All can be forgiven, though, as this bag is just so dams cheap.

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

4. Adidas Convertible 3-Stripes Duffel Bag (Medium)

Best cheap duffel bag

Best for: Practicality

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 43 litres

+ Ventilated zip shoe pocket

+ TPE-coated base

– Ripstop nylon fabric cover would be nice

– Plain vanilla design

Can’t really go wrong with an Adidas duffel bag, can you? Especially in this case, for the price, you’ll get a good-sized holdall bag with plenty of extra compartments to separate your used gym gear from the clean items.

The list of compartments is as follows: zip main compartment, ventilated zip shoe pocket, zip pocket on end, and you even get three inside slip-in pockets. The base of the bag is TPE-coated, so it can withstand some trashing around at least.

The ‘convertible’ part in the name might give this away, but Adidas’ duffel doubles up as a sort of backpack, if not a comfortable one. At least you can distribute the weight of the bag and its contents equally between both shoulders by throwing it on your back.

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

5. King Kong CORE25 Backpack

Best gym bag for powerlifters

Best for: Carrying your weightlifting belt and shoes

Material: Ripstop Nylon/600D Polyester

Capacity: 25 litres

+ External weight lifting belt holder

+ Ripstop nylon fabric

+ Separate compartments for shoes

– The bag is slightly heavier due to the thick materials used

There are loads of features that make the King Kong CORE25 Backpack an awesome gym bag. It’s made of Ripstop nylon material, so it can withstand some throwing around and all those times when you have to cram your bag into those tiny gym lockers. It is also the perfect size for any gym session – 25 litres – not unnecessarily big, neither too small to actually contain all the stuff you’ll need in the gym (and after the sesh).

The top flap opens fully so you can easily scan what’s inside the main compartment. There is a separate laptop compartment and a zipped compartment at the bottom so you can keep your shoes or towels away from your prepped meals. Multiple zipped pockets at the front and the side help organise your phone, wallet or whatever you would like to carry with you to the gym or elsewhere.

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

best gym bag 2022 fit for gym kings and queens

6. Lululemon Go Getter Bag 2.0

Best gym bag for lockers

Best for: Carrying the essentials

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 25 litres

+ Ideal size for everyday carry

+ Padded handles

– Only available in one colour (black)

It might only be available in one colour, but the Lululemon Go Getter Bag 2.0 is a great gym bag, nevertheless. It’s the perfect size for being your everyday carry bag, but it’s spacious enough to store gym gear if that’s what you need it for.

There is a quick-access phone pocket and a water bottle pocket on the external of the bag; you’ll find several pockets, and a padded laptop compartment inside that will help you organise all your belongings in an orderly fashion.

The Lululemon Go Getter Bag 2.0 is made of water-repellent fabric, which won’t be able to keep your stuff dry if you decide to walk around in torrential rain, but it’s good enough for keeping your sweaty workout gear tucked away nicely in the bag.

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

How to buy the best gym bag

There are no set rules to follow here, but plenty of considerations to weigh up when buying your gym bag. If you plan to exercise on your way home from work, you’ll need a bag to carry your kit and trainers, but also leave space for anything you take to the office – and, preferably, a way to keep them separate.

But, if you pick a bag with space for trainers, your packed lunch, and a laptop, then you should check out the lockers at your gym before buying, as some larger bags might not fit.

And of course, this being T3, how your gym bag looks is an important factor to consider. After all, who feels inspired to head out and hit the gym for an hour if the kit bag staring back at you is a tatty, smelly mess?

Speaking of which, the material of your bag is important if you intend to carry wet swimming trunks and a damp towel home each evening. Waterproof rubber or neoprene is good for the swimming gear and shower stuff, but the inferior airflow of these bags means they can start to smell if not aired out properly.

Canvas is better for starving off that distinctive damp smell but may wear out more quickly if used often. If you walk or cycle, look for lightweight bags made from Nylon or polyester. Finally, there’s leather, which gives you the luxury looks and even smells nice if your trunks don’t get involved – but brings with it a high price and some regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.

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