The Best Workout Bags: Small Gym Bags, Gym Backpacks And More
Product & Style

The Best Workout Bags: Small Gym Bags, Gym Backpacks And More

clock-circular-outlinePosted 18 Mar 2024

Your gym bag should be comfy and make getting organized a breeze. Extra marks for a stylish design, and bonus points for every pocket available.

As an avid gym goer, packing your gym bag the night before the following day’s session is one of the oldest tricks in the book to ensure there are no excuses for getting up and out the door to the gym come crack of dawn.

We know that having a good quality gym bag makes getting organized for the gym a lot easier. That's why, this season, we’ve upped our gym bag game and introduced some serious contenders to the mix. With a selection of durable, spacious, high-quality, and stylish silhouettes to match your active lifestyle, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect workout bag from our latest roundup. Scroll on to explore our selection of the best gym bags to carry your gym bag essentials, equipment, shoes, toiletries, meal prep, post-workout clothes, and more.

How Do I Choose A Good Gym Bag?

When choosing a good gym bag, you want to look out for features to help keep your workout gear well organized. Depending on whether you need to carry a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, or gym equipment will also determine what size bag you’ll need. Those coming straight from work to the gym may need a larger gym bag then if swim, steam, and sauna are on the cards, you’ll want to ensure you choose a gym bag that’s waterproof or has separate compartments to store your wet clothes. We’d recommend looking out for these key features when choosing a gym bag;

  • Multiple pockets including zip compartments for small items

  • Dry and wet pockets

  • Waterproof material

  • Comfortable and adjustable shoulder straps and handles

  • Multiple ways of carrying (handles/straps)

  • Large compartment for storing shoes/equipment/clothes

  • Side water pocket

  • Durable fabric

  • Laptop compartment for hybrid use

  • Shoe tunnel

What’s The Difference Between A Gym Bag And A Duffel Bag?

A duffel bag is a multi-use bag typically used for weekend trips, traveling, or moving as these bags are large and spacious enough to carry a lot of stuff. You can find duffel bags for the gym and can use your duffel bags to hold your workout equipment, but they tend to be a lot bigger than gym bags and usually won’t feature the same specs that make them more suitable for sport, like wet compartments and shoe tunnels. Duffel bags tend to feature one large compartment that can be packed full and zipped at the top, which can be handy sometimes, whereas a gym bag may differ by containing multiple compartments that can separate your items.

Which Bag Is Best For The Gym?

There’s not one gym bag that’s best for the gym, it all depends on your workout and what you need to carry. Small gym bags are great when you’re traveling light to the gym, and are especially good for the warmer months when you don’t need to pack lots of layers for after the gym. Or if you’re attending a workout class, a small gym bag is perfect as you don’t need the space to pack any equipment, simply show up with your little bag and you’re ready to go.

If you’re always on-the-go, a gym backpack might be the right workout bag for you, as the hands-free design is comfortable to wear and carry for long periods of time. If you’ve got a lot of heavy kit, instead of carrying a bag with your hands, or over your shoulders, a gym backpack is a good option as the weight can spread evenly across your back muscles instead of weighing you down.

That’s not where our offerings of gym bags stop; find the best gym bag for you with our range of duffel bags roll-top backpacks, tote bags and barrel bags.

We also have small bags that aren’t quite fit for the gym, but are made for your everyday essentials. Take a look at our collection of everyday bags for side bags, cross-body bags, mini backpacks and more.


7 Of The Best Gym Bags For 2024

Large, small, stylish, and functional; we’ve got a gym bag for your HIIT workouts, heavy lifting sessions, and hybrid conditioning days.

Best Gym Bag With Shoe Compartment

Medium Everyday Gym Bag

If you have to carry your gym shoes to and from the gym every day, it can be pretty frustrating if you don’t have the right size bag to fit them in, or have to squeeze them in soles first next to your freshly folded workout ‘fit. Well, no more stumbling to the car trying to carry your shoes, bags, coat, and keys; we’ve got the perfect solution to your qualms with our Medium Everyday Gym Bag, the perfect mid-size gym bag equipped with a built-in shoe tunnel and multiple pockets. It’s got the classic 90’s duffel bag design, and while this one won’t be stuffed with money like in all your favorite cult movies, it does offer a wealth of storing options with slip pockets, zip pockets, and a large storage compartment for all your gym essentials.

Best Large Gym Bag

Large Everyday Gym Bag

Are you going to the gym or on a camping trip? You’ll have the space for both excursions with our large Everyday Gym Bag, our biggest duffel bag made for moments that require that extra legroom. You might be surprised to know how much you can fit in our large Everyday Gym Bag; your shoes, workout kit, barbell pad, bands, snacks, shaker bottles, towel, and toiletries fit in without a fuss, with room leftover for any extra bits and bobs you forget. So if you like to bring a lot of sports equipment to the gym, this is the bag for you, with a huge 57L capacity, this is the best large gym bag to take to your workouts, camping trips, city breaks, and more.

Best Small Gym Bag

Small Everyday Gym Bag

Not every gym session calls for a great deal of workout gear, some sessions require you to rock up with your headphones in, cute gym ‘fit on, and water bottle in hand. The tiniest of our Everyday Gym Bags is a conveniently sized duffel bag that can still store up to 34L, but its smaller dimensions make it easy to carry from A to B, especially if you have a walking commute to the gym. Our small gym bag has the same number of compartments as the other members of the Everyday bag family, so you’ll easily fit your shoes and workout kit in this small gym bag, and store a few other workout essentials away in zipped pockets. It’s practically sized for the necessities without weighing you down.

Most Stylish Gym Bag

Premium Lifestyle Barrel Bag

Stylish gym bags are the best option for those of you who like to match your accessories to your personal style and enjoy beauty in your belongings. Your gym bags might be getting thrown around a lot, but they can still look cute, right? Our fashion pick is the Premium Lifestyle Barrel Bag, a stylish bag crafted from matte-effect nylon for a premium look and accentuated with elegant branding details and statement metal accents. It’s a pinch more sophisticated than your usual gym bag but with the same functional features like a separate zip pocket, large zip compartment, comfy shoulder straps, and double strap handles. Look no further for your choice of stylish gym bag.

Best Gym Backpack

Sleek Roll Top Bag

Roll-top bags are a popular style of bag with cyclists because of their durable, waterproof qualities and ability to expand to larger dimensions. Our Sleek Roll Top Bag will be your best gym backpack for those exact reasons. Coated with a sleek water-resistant PU finish and unique branding and available in three gorgeous neutral color tones, this gym backpack carries everything you need for the gym and looks good doing so. With the roll bag closure, it can expand to fit in more stuff, so if it’s too warm to wear your pump cover after leaving the gym, no worries, just shove it in your gym backpack. You’ll have a field day with the organization options too; water bottle pockets on the side, a zip pocket at the base for shoes or wet items, and a separate laptop compartment at the back for hybrid use, this gym bag truly has it all.

Best Gym Bags For Women

Everyday Gym Tote

Following the classic tote bag silhouette, with the added benefits of zips and pockets, the Everyday Gym Tote marries form and function perfectly. This is one of the best gym bags for women who like to book lunch dates and plans with friends after their workout and want a stylish and comfortable bag to carry around for the rest of the day. It’s one of our most popular bags because it offers a lot of versatility, and looks good as a work bag, gym bag, or shopping bag. It has a large entry space as you know tote bags do, three front mesh pockets to store your bottle and large bits, and a back zip pocket so you’re not scrambling around at the bottom of your tote for your little trinkets. It’s a hardy gym bag too, and a reinforced base makes it even more durable for carrying around your gym kit.

Best Gym Duffel Bag

Pursuit Duffel Bag

You can’t go wrong with a duffel bag, and this one has a commanding presence with its tactical design that looks ready-made for the industrial interiors of a dimly lit warehouse gym. With pockets galore, this is our best gym duffel bag for those who adore functionality and design. If you need to carry your whole life with you to the gym this is the bag for you, with a hefty 50L volume, it’s got you covered for overnight trips too. This gym bag has a large main compartment with multiple storage options including velcro and mesh slip pockets, extra side pockets, a shoe tunnel, and internal zip pockets to separate some of your more losable items. We love how the mesh overlays the large Gymshark logo at the front for a dramatic addition to the bag design, and the interesting finer details like the rubber zip pullers.

Wondering what to wear for your next workout, or in need of some gym ‘fitspo? Head over to our product and style category here on Central to find styling inspiration and the best products for all your workouts.

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