“I need to get in shape. If I were murdered right now, my chalk outline would be a circle”
By Jaunty Staff
Best Gym Bags 2020
You’ve committed to doing the work! Once inside the gym/studio, you’re burning calories on the elliptical or spin, downward doggin it in yoga or mastering the weight machines. Transformation to a toned, yet flexible, super being is within your grasp!
So what’s with the beat up, smelly gym bag? Back in the day, would you have sent the kids off to school with a beat up, smelly old book bag? Of course not!
You’ve made the commitment to being healthy. Treat yourself to the best gym bags of 2020. The bags we’ve researched are high quality, full of useful compartments & easy on the eyes!
We’ve put our gym bag suggestions in Men’s & Women’s sections, below. Frankly, many bags are really Uni-Sex in design, so don’t let the labeling dissuade you.
What makes a great gym bag?
The right blend of durable materials & clever design.
Materials Considerations –
Polyester – is durable, water resistant and easy to clean. As it’s derived from plastic, look for manufacturers that use recyclable materials in creating the bag.
Nylon – lightweight, extremely durable.
PU Leather – Polyurethane/ Faux Leather provides the rich texture of leather, minus the cow. It cleans easily and is water resistant.
Canvas – lightweight &, although unlined canvas is more likely to absorb odors, it’s also machine washable.
Metal Zippers – heavy gage, metal zippers help to avoid that single point of failure that renders your bag useless, should it break.
Design considerations –
Ventilation – proper ventilation keeps odor and bacteria at bay (Stay healthy…check out our cleaning suggestions below).
Carry Combinations – Top handles, Side handles, shoulder straps, backpack straps. Many of the bags we recommend provide one or more carry options, adapting to your needs.
Multiple Compartments – Change of clothes, keys, wallets, laptops, paperwork, sweaty gym gear, water bottles, yoga mats… find the bag that fits your needs. Whether your a “throw it in & go” or “a place for everything & everything in its place” packer, we’ve provided lots of gym bag options options.
Eye Catching – Dammit, you‘ve earned the right to sport a sharp, highly functional gym bag! Coming from the office? Going back? Meeting friends afterwards? All the bags on our list are as functional as they are good looking!
Cleaning Your Gym Bag
The reason you immediately throw your soaked workout clothes into the clothes hamper is the same reason you need to periodically clean your gym bag. Odor & bacteria can build up quickly. There are lots of quick ways to tackle this issue…but you absolutely need to periodically address it!
Consider some of these solutions –
Diluting Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap with water is an non-synthetic, organic cleanser. Great for wiping down the bags lining and not harsh on your bag.
SmellWell’s scientifically developed blend is designed to actively removing bad smells. These “wet stuff” pouches are infused with a fresh scent designed to leave your gym bag clean & crisp.
Eco-Fused deodorizing Balls for Sneakers & Gym Bags help keep gym bag odors at bay
Sweat X sport extreme odor eliminator spray is a multipurpose non-toxic deodorizer for stinky shoes, gym bags & sports equipment. No Washing Required. Eco-Friendly, skin safe, & biodegradable.
Looking for a natural solution you might already have in your kitchen cabinet? Check out this article from Pop Sugar regarding killing germs with a white vinegar solution. We’ve had success using this on gym bags & our son’s hockey gear. If your a hockey player (or hockey parent), you know there’s nothing quite as odiferous as hockey gear!
Best Gym Bags – for Guys
Aer Duffel Pack 2
I’ve been carrying this bag for 6 months. Looks the same as when I bought it. Sleek, understated & filled with compartments. I carry my laptop and chargers in the padded compartment, all the time. Water bottle holder and separate compartment for used gym clothes/shoes get plenty of use too.
Minor complaint: The bottom of the backpack is slightly angled, which looks cool/sleek, but requires propping the bag against a wall in order to stand it up. Yes, I’m aware that I could simply lay the bag down 🙂
- Length: 21.5″, Width: 12″, Depth: 8″, Weight 2.4lbs
- 900D eco-dyed polyester exterior
- Front-load main compartment for spacious storage and easy access
- Ventilated shoe compartment (fits up to men’s size 13 shoes)
- Padded laptop pocket (fits up to 15.6” laptop)
- Quick-access top pocket for small valuables
- Multiple internal pockets for accessories
- Carry using backpack handles or side handle
- Expandable water bottle pocket
- Padded mesh back panel for enhanced comfort and breathability
- Sternum strap for comfort and stability
Everlane – ReNew Transit Backpack
Attractive backpack stye, made from environmentally conscious materials (100% recycled polyester).
- Height 17.5” x Length 12” x Depth 7.25”
- External & internal water bottle pockets
- Recycled polyester lining
- Internal document sleeves
- Water resistant finish
- Zipper pulls and shoulder strap buckles are made out of metal
- Separate compartments for your things
The North Face Flyweight Duffel Bag
For the minimalist, this super lightweight bag is, clean lined, provides a few compartments & is highly durable. The bag can also fold up into its own internal pocket, making it perfect for tossing into a larger bag when going on trips.
- Height 13.5″ X Length 20″ X Depth 8.5″
- Weight 6.7 OZ
- 210D X 70D Nylon/Elastane Mesh
- Lifetime Warranty
- Removable shoulder & top grab handles
- Durable, lightweight material
- The Flyweight packs down into its own internal zippered pocket
Fred Perry Classic Barrel Bag
This classic style duffle, sports crisp leather looks, is water resistant and clean easily. The cool, retro-look, functional compartments & durability make the Fred Perry an attractive option.
- Length 18.3” x Diameter 10.23”
- 100% Tough Polyurethane, faux leather
- Webbing handle & detachable shoulder strap
- Silver toned hardware
- Double Zip closure
- Outer Slip pocket
- Inner Zip pocket & Zip compartment
- Debossed branding
- Not machine Washable
Filson Small Field Waxed Cotton Duffle
Filson’s heavy duty Small Field Duffle is made with water-repellent, abrasion-resistant fabric and fully lined with nylon. It features quick-drying webbing handles and shoulder strap for carrying comfort in all weather conditions. FYI -Waxed canvas is cotton that has been saturated with a paraffin wax or natural beeswax, giving it an extra layer of protection against the elements; another great feature of the Filson!
Note: Yes, you can re-wax this gym bag (or any canvas bag). Ether focus on areas like seams, creases, and high-flex areas or coat the entire bag. We’ll put some wax products on the shop page. Rub the wax on the canvas like a bar of soap, using broad, even strokes.
- Length 18″ x Width 11″ x Height 10″
- Weight 1 lb 11 oz.
- 2 stow pockets
- Made of abrasion-resistant, water-repellent fabric
- Fully lined with nylon
- Meets standard airline carry-on size requirements
- Sturdy, quick-drying nylon webbing shoulder strap and handles
- 15-oz. oil finish Tin Cloth fabric + matte nylon lining
CARE – Do not wash or dry clean – brush or wipe clean with a damp rag. Rewax as needed to maintain maximum water resistance. To prevent the transfer of oils, we recommend avoiding prolonged contact between Filson oil finish goods and light-colored fabrics, especially in warm weather.
Owen & Fred Army Green “Work Hard, Play Hard” Duffel
The Work Hard Play Duffel is so popular that it was on back order as of this writing. It’s good looks and the sharp design might be worth the wait!
- Length19.5″ x Height 9.75″ x Diameter 9.75″
- Exterior: #8 18 oz Duck Canvas with 1000 Denier Nylon bottom.
- YKK zippers and nickel hardware, with leather pull tabs
- 4″ leather nickel button-closed grip for comfortable carrying
- Interior – 420 Denier Nylon with three pockets – one large, internal zipper pocket 7.5″ high by 6″ long, and two small non-zipper pockets 4 7/8″ high by 4″ long for small notebook, passport or smartphone
- Fits under a standard airline seat or overhead bin
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Top Women’s Gym Bags
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall
This ultra versatile everyday duffel really stands out with it’s unique premium neoprene design
- Length 14.5” x Width 7.5” W x Height 9”
- 1.7 lbs Weight
- Neoprene luggage-handle sleeve
- Premium Neoprene and Performance Air Mesh
- Nylon Lining
- Color-plated Zinc-Alloy Hardware
- L 13” x W 8” Laptop Sleeve with Elastic Closure
- Top Opening: 12” snapped, 20” unsnapped
- 11” Handle Drop
Care – Neoprene products can be hand washed with a mild detergent in cold water. Make sure to reshape while wet and lay flat to dry, avoiding direct sunlight. Hardware should be handled delicately. Neoprene products are not machine washable, as hardware chipping may occur. Avoid harsh solvents such as alcohol, acetone, and oil, which could harm the exterior of your bag.
Think Roylan Women’s Wingman Bag
The perfect stylish tote bag. It’s as attractive as it is functional. ”Everyone needs a BFF by their side to keep life on track, and this is ours.” – Think Roylan
- Height 12 1/2 “ x Width 22” x Depth 7”
- Solids and prints are 100% polyester shells. Shiny Foils are
- 100% nylon shell
- Horizontal quilted fabric
- Plenty of pockets for organizing essentials
- Extra shine coating
- Down like quilted polyfill
- Pockets include: Inside zip pocket, inside water bottle pocket, outside front pocket.
- Adjustable guitar strap
- Nailhead canvas bottom with embossed
Topo Designs Cinch Tote
“Our Cinch Tote has a durable 1000D nylon body fully lined with nylon pack cloth, and four deep external pockets to prevent small items from lost at the bottom of your bag. A removable strap allows you to carry the Tote over your shoulder or take it off when you don’t need it.” – Topo Designs
- Height 15” x Width 14.5” x Depth 4”
- 1000D nylon, 400D nylon pack cloth, 210D nylon pack cloth liner
- Fully-lined pack cloth interior for easy cleaning
- Small internal zippered security pocket
- Four deep exterior pockets
- Cinch top collar closure
- Extended carry handles
- Removable adjustable shoulder strap
Everlane mover pack
Everlane’s mover pack provides the portability of a backpack with the extra roomy function of a duffle bag. With 3 different carry handle options & a plethora of compartments, the mover pack provides maximum flexibility.
- Height 12ʺ x Length 22ʺ x Width 12ʺ
- 68% Nylon, 32% Polyester—
- lightweight, durable
- water-resistant, and easy to clean
- Spot clean only
- Top and bottom haul handles
- Contoured, ventilated mesh shoulder straps
- Wide U-zip opening
- Separate shoe compartment
- Mesh zip under-lid pocket
- Quick-access outside pocket
- Bottom zip access to main compartment
- Rubberized zipper pulls
- Included enamel Everlane logo pin is movable and removable
Sherpani Camden backpack
Easy conversion between tote, backpack and crossbody make the Camden highly versatile. Built in anti-theft features also make the Sherpani design unique from the others we’ve discussed, making this backpack an ideal option for travel as well!
- Length 11″ x Height 16″ x Width 4.5″
- Weight 22 oz
- Made from 100% certified recycled repreve material
- 100% Vegan
- Wear three ways
- Large, zippered main opening with Two interior, large slip pocket
- Two external, quick access, security zippered pocket
- Convertible back pocket to luggage pass-through
- RFID protected lining
- Water Resistant
- Key FOB
- Compatible with 15″ laptops and padded laptop sleeve
- Water bottle pockets are large enough to hold most sized water bottles
- Color may vary on detachable key chain feature.
Sherpani Soleil AT
Another great option from Sherpani to consider…
- Length 11” x Height 15.5” x Width 4.5”,
- Weight 26.63 oz
- Easy conversion between tote, backpack and crossbody
- Soft, adjustable crossbody, shoulder bag or backpack strap(s)
- Large, zippered main opening, two exterior zipper pockets
- A deep main zipper compartment,
- laptop sleeve compatible with 13″
- Convertible back pocket to luggage pass-through
- Chair loop wire lock
- RFID protected
- Anti-slash bottom
- Zipper loop lock system
- Key FOB
- Water bottle pockets are large enough to hold most sized water bottles
Sweaty Betty All Sport Backpack – From London
From our friends across the pond, Sweaty Betty’s All Sport Backpack offers it’s stylish take on transporting your gym wear…
“This customer favourite backpack is designed to take you from barre to bar. Lightweight scuba style fabric is filled with essential pockets to keep kit and valuables separate. There are even straps for your yoga mat, happy commuting.” – Sweaty Betty
- Height 15.9” x Width 16.9” x Depth 9.4”
- 100% Polyester Strap: 100% Polyester. Lining: 100% Polyester.
- Durable scuba style fabric is lightweight for easy carrying
- Adjustable shoulder straps plus straps for your yoga mat
- Features 6x compartments: 2x outer pockets, 3x inner pockets
Care – Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Calpak Luka Soft Side Duffle Bag
“Our gym tote bags for women are a worthy investment that will help you have the best workout experience possible. We work to craft them at the highest quality and style, and to help make your life as convenient as possible.” – Calpak Travel
- Length 16” x Height 12” x Width 7”
- Strap Length 34” to 64”
- Scratch resistant, soft fabric
- Lightweight ballistic nylon
- Reinforced, durable metal hardware
- Extra padded premium shoulder straps (adjustable)
- 9 compartments… a spot for everything
- Very easy to clean and maintain the eye catching looks
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