Let’s break this down: your gym bag needs to be able to carry a lot of stuff. Between athletic clothing, sneakers, supplements, perhaps a gym towel, your favorite water bottle, and whatever else you need for your workout regimen, going to the gym isn’t a small trip. Plus, it would be ideal if your gym bag didn’t start to smell bad after a matter of weeks.
When looking for the best gym bags for men, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. You need to find the right bag that fits your gym-going needs. Whether it be a large duffel or a small backpack-style bag, your new bag should be tailored to how you’re going to use it.
That means it’s time to ditch your smelly old gym bag and start thinking about an upgrade. In general, the best gym bags have a few things in common:
- Ventilation to protect against gym bag smell
- Separate compartment for gym shoes
- Convenient carrying handles and/or straps
- Durable, long-lasting design
- Water-resistant material
From legacy athletic apparel brands, including adidas, Puma and Under Armour, to some you may not have heard of, here are the best gym bags for men in 2021.
1. Men’s Project Rock 60 Bag
BEST GYM BAG OVERALL
If you go to the gym, you’ve probably heard of (and/or worship) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When it comes to the gym, he knows his stuff, and this backpack he created exclusively with Under Armour makes for an excellent gym bag. It’s made with durable, element-battling fabric that has a water-resistant finish so it won’t get gross on the way to and from your grind sessions. The HeatGear adjustable shoulder straps are comfortable to wear, and it was a large carabiner clip on the side for attaching a protein shaker if need be. It’s made with Hypalon grip for multiple grab points across the bag, and it was a side zipper entrance to the main compartment so your gear is always within reach.
It has interior zippered pockets for keeping things organized, and the front pockets have snap closures for easy access. Best of all? There’s a protective laptop sleeve in the back, just in case your work follows you around as much as his does.
2. FocusGear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0
This gym bag from FocusGear is a top seller on Amazon with a 4.5-star rating after more than 5,400 reviews. It’s got durable, reinforced stitching and a water-resistant panel on the bottom for keeping your stuff dry. It’s been drop and stress tested and has 10 different compartments for everything from your protein shaker to your oversized phone, and it’s got two “wet pockets” designed with water-resistant paneling for wet things like swimsuits or sweaty clothing. It also has a full-length pocket for large shoes, and a wide mouth opening on the top for super easy access.
3. Lululemon Define Duffel
Lululemon makes a great luxurious gym duffel bag if you’re looking to go beyond the classic $20 gym bag. This 31 liter duffel bag is designed to be used on the move and is made using a water-repellent fabric, so spilled pre-workout or other questionable liquids on the floor of the gym shouldn’t be a problem. It’s got built-in exterior pockets for quick access to a water bottle for hydration as well as items like your phone or gym card, and an exterior padded pocket fits a 15″ laptop so you can go straight to work. It’s got an interior pocket for holding all your essentials and keeping your sweaty gear separate from the rest of your stuff. It also has an adjustable shoulder harness for comfortable carrying.
4. NUBILY Gym Duffel Bag
This gym bag is made of durable and water-resistant polyester material that’s shockproof, tear-resistant and has high-density nylon lining to hold it all together. It’s made with heavy-duty zippers and hardware, and has a separate shoe compartment for keeping your best lifting cleats in tip top shape. It’s got 11 different storage pockets for keeping all your items organized including a main compartment, side pockets and even a wet pocket for your sweaty gear. It’s got a detachable shoulder strap, a 40 liter capacity and can fit in most gym lockers as well.
5. Amazon Basics Medium Gym Bag
This bag comes from Amazon’s generic line. It’s relatively no-frills, but it definitely gets the job done. You can get the polyester bag in your choice of black, gray, green, navy, pink, red or light blue. It also comes with a padded shoulder strap, which can be detached when not in use. There are a few negative reviews, but they mostly point out that the bag is small. It’s definitely worth noting that this bag is a solid and affordable option for just those basic essentials. With that in mind, it’s a great option that people seem to really enjoy.
Editor’s Note: Due to high demand, the AmazonBasics gym bag is currently out of stock in every color. We’ll update this post when it’s available for purchase again.
6. The North Face Berkeley Duffel
BEST GYM BAG FOR WORK OR PLAY
This bag is great for the gym, but it’s also perfect to use for a little road trip. It’s made out of 100% polyester and features a large 35L main compartment with several smaller zipper pockets throughout. There are a few different colors to choose from, including black with brown accents or white with tan accents. To top it all off, the tote handles boast a handsome leather wrap with The North Face branding stamped smack-dab in the center.
7. Carhartt Trade Series Packable Duffel
BEST CANVAS BAG
This canvas bag is built tough and durable, just like you in the middle of your fifth circuit. It’s made of sturdy synthetic Carhartt fabric that’s been given a water repellent treatment, and it’s got a large zippered main compartment for all your must-have workout accessories. It’s got a removable shoulder strap for easy carrying as well as comfortable grip haul handles. The triple needle stitching enhances the durability, and it’s got a drawstring utility pouch you can use to hold smaller items or to separate out your sweaty clothes after you’re done.
8. Under Armour Undeniable Duffel 4.0 Gym Bag
This gym bag from Under Armour has a 5-star rating on Amazon after over 18,000 reviews, and we can see why. It’s made tough, just like all of Under Armour’s gear, with a abrasion-resistant bottom and side panels. It’s got two zippered organizational pockets on the front and an adjustable shoulder strap as well. It’s got a large vented pocket inside for laundry and a HeatGear shoulder strap for comfortable carrying as well. It’s got an 8″ shoulder drop so heavy equipment is easier to transport from place to place, and it comes in four different sizes so you’ve got flexibility based on how much gear you’ve got.
9. Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Duffel Bag
The durable 11″ H x 20″ W x 9.5″ D black gym bag is the perfect compact duffel to fit snug into your gym locker. Herschel Supply Co. makes some of the best bags for men in any category, and their duffle bags and backpacks are especially popular as gym bags. While this is definitely a premium option, you can trust a Herschel bag to last for many years to come. This black-and-brown gym bag also features a dedicated compartment for your shoes.
10. Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
BEST WATERPROOF GYM BAG
Sure, a lot of bags claim to be waterproof, but not many are as water-resistant as this number from Patagonia. Not only is this spacious duffel bag, which measures 24″ W x 9″ H x 13″ D, made of a weatherproof ripstop laminate fabric, but it’s also got a durable water-repellent finish. That’s double duty on the h20 protection front. The best part, however, is that it uses 100% recycled polyester to line the interior. The eco-friendly bag also features exterior daisy chain loops to hook a water bottle or keys onto.
11. Adidas Graphic Duffel Bag
BEST STATEMENT GYM BAG
This graphic from Adidas is as much a gym companion as it is a fashion statement, and it’s plenty spacious for all your gear even with the great design. The bold statement letters contrasted against the black make for a simplistic, unique duffle bag you won’t mistake for anyone else’s in the locker room. It’s got durable webbing carrying straps as well as an adjustable shoulder strap for heavier loads or longer carries. It’s made of 100% polyester fabric that’s simple to spot clean with soap and water if it ever needs a tune-up.
12. Lululemon Go Getter Bag
BEST FOR CITY DWELLERS
This sleek, stylish gym bag from Lululemon is an ideal cross between your standard gym bag and a fashionable accessory, and is much better than bulkier gym bags for schlepping across the city. It’s got stylish elements as well as water-repellent fabric so a sweaty locker room shouldn’t be a problem. It’s got padded handles that make trekking it on and off the subway easy, as well as a quick-access pocket for your phone to make grabbing it easy. The exterior water bottle is perfect for staying hydrated during your workout, and it’s got an interior pocket padded for a 16″ laptop, so it can double as your work bag if needed.
13. Fila Large Rolling Duffel
BEST GYM BAG WITH WHEELS
Yes, even though this duffel is ideal for weekend getaways or trips through the airport, it’s got all the makings of a great gym bag. Whether you’re bringing some extra gear to the gym or you’re a trainer that needs to come fully stocked, sometimes you just need a nice set of wheels to help carry the load. This polyester option from Fila has seven large pockets to keep you organized. Plus, it comes in black/blue (as pictured), or you can get it in gray/green, so you can choose the color combo that fits you best. Did we mention size? This large gym bag measures 30″ L x 13″ W x 13″ D, so there is plenty of room for all your gear.
14. Puma Men’s Contender Duffel
BEST BARGAIN GYM BAG
If you want the best gym bag under $25, this Puma Men’s Contender Duffel offers all the basics at an affordable price. The 100% polyester bag features three exterior pockets (one on either end and one in the front) with a 10.5″ x 19″ main compartment to store all your workout essentials. You also have five color combinations to choose from, including black/red (as pictured), navy/neon lime, grey/navy, black/grey and black/white.
15. Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Backpack
If you prefer to go the backpack route over the one-shoulder duffel, this backpack from Under Armour is made tight, compact and for prime organization. It’s got secure textile lining and a zip closure so everything stays inside. It has a comfortable 14″ shoulder drop and is made with UA’s Storm technology that’s water-resistant and durable. The fabric is made to battle the elements and keep your stuff dry no matter what the conditions are. The bottom panel is also built tough and abrasion-resistant. It’s available in a ton of colors, so definitely check out all the options before making your selection.
16. Y.U.M.C Travel Yoga Bag
BEST FOR YOGA
Calling all yogis! Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about ya. We know you need someplace to store that yoga mat of yours, and this option from Y.U.M.C has just the spot. The yoga gym bag has a perfect place for holding your mat as well as extra asana clothing, a water bottle, towels, your own strap and other equipment you might need. The mat is made of waterproof oxford fabric that feels like linen, stylish enough to look great while also being durable enough to hold all your goods. The top of the gym bag also has a built-in strap for securing your yoga mat in tight for the journey.
17. Earth Pak Waterproof Bag
BEST GYM BAG FOR ADVENTURERS
Sometimes, especially during lockdown with all the gyms being closed, the great outdoors is our gym. Whether your workout is a hike on the trails or you’re doing your HITT routine along the bay, you might need a little something to stash your workout essentials. This waterproof roll-top bag is the perfect bag for outdoor workouts, plus it’s available in 10L, 20L or 30L. The bag is made of a durable PVC material and comes with a waterproof phone case, so you can play your workout vids while keeping your tech from the elements. It’s available in an assortment of colors, ranging from green or red to orange or blue.
18. Under Armour Undeniable 2.0 Sackpack
BEST DRAWSTRING GYM BAG
If you’re already dressed for the gym, then there is really no need to use a large duffel bag — a smaller drawstring bag that’s big enough for your sneakers, water bottle and deodorant should do just the trick. The Under Armour Undeniable 2.0 Sackpack features two large front pockets, both lined with fleece to keep your phone and earbuds protected. You can also attach your keys or hook your water bottle onto the D-ring located on the front of the bag. It’s available in 10 different colors and also comes with a sternum clip to keep the strings tightly secured, and the bag closed as you carry it on your back.
19. Longevity Gear Mesh Bag
BEST LARGE GYM BAG
This bag is made of ventilated mesh for optimal airflow so your gear doesn’t break down from moisture after you’re done wearing it. The bag is made of high-quality, 600D polyester with vinyl backing for extra protection. The fabric is also sturdy and reinforced, easy to pack and unpack and offers plenty of storage space. It’s 20″ x 10.5″ x 10.5″ so it’s got plenty of room for sweaty clothes, swimsuits, weightlifting gear and water bottles. The bag also has dual handles as well as a shoulder carry so you can carry it however is comfortable for you.
20. Nike Brasilia Medium Duffel Bag
BEST MEDIUM GYM BAG
Sometimes you just need something basic and to the point. That’s exactly what this bag offers. The polyester duffel features a large main compartment that zips shut for secure and safe storage for all your belongings. It also has a zippered bottom compartment that can hold shoes, socks or dirty gym clothes that need to be washed — because we all know those should be kept separate. It also has an adjustable, padded shoulder strap so you can customize your carrying experience and make it as comfortable as possible.