If you’re a guy who goes to the gym on a regular basis, you probably have a go-to bag to carry any appropriate gym items. Gym bags are a lot more diverse than the standard carry on suitcase, and all the different choices of styles simply comes down to personal preference. Some guys prefer the practicality of a backpack, while others may see them as something for the young guys. Other guys may prefer a duffle bag style – either of the athletic or professional type. Even a plastic grocery bag can be a gym bag if you have no shame! For those who are looking to make an upgrade from what they’re currently using, or buying their first gym bag, we’ve listed below our top picks for a variety of men’s gym bags.
There are mainly 2 types of duffle bags you’ll find men bringing to the gym – sport and casual. A sport duffle bag is typically made of polyester and made by a company like Nike, Adidas or our favorite: Under Armour. The casual duffle actually looks less like an athletic gym bag and more… well, casual. The casual gym duffle is made from cloth material or leather and looks like more of an everyday bag you can carry to work or travel with since it doesn’t scream “I’m on my way to, or returning from the gym!” Some even have a military look.
The sports gym bag market is incredibly crowded, the same companies duking it out trying to sell you sporting goods are also want you to buy their duffle. For fitness equipment and clothing transport, we encourage guys to go with a sport bag for a few reasons, they tend to be more durable and water resistant – two hugely important factors when picking a gym bag. Take a look below at our favorite from both categories.
The Best Sports Duffle Bag for the Gym
Large: 29” x 12” x 14”
Medium (Pictured): 22.8” x 13” x 11” | 1.6 lbs.
Small version: 10” x 22” x 11” | 1.8 lbs
If you love Under Armour, or aren’t a die-hard brand loyalist of Nike, Adidas, or something else, we absolutely love the Under Armour Undeniable Storm gym duffle bag. Odds are you can find a decent bag made by whoever makes your favorite pair of gym shoes, but Under Armour gets our top pick. This bag comes in several different color combinations including our favorite, black on black, and is available in 3 different sizes. The UD Storm line comes very highly reviewed on Amazon averaging 4.7/5 stars.
These bags are not waterproof, but they do an exceptional job at wicking moisture away while still being super breathable. There are big, vented pockets on the ends which are terrific places to put things that smell particularly bad.
The Best Casual Duffle Bag for the Gym
Dimensions: 12” x 24”
Northstar uses 3 words to explain their bags: “Simple. Tough. Value.”
Simple: There are no pockets in this bag, so if you need anything more complicated than that – this isn’t your bag. The only thing complex about this bag is that it’s available in several different solid, mild colors.
Tough: Don’t let the price fool you, this is an extremely tough bag with construction-grade zippers and highly-reinforced outer shell and inner shell materials.
Value: At less than $25, the value may be the best part of the equation. Tons of owners have come back to report that after several years, this bag is still holding strong. At a price like that, it’s a miracle that it can last as long as it does.
The Best Gym Backpack for Men
The gym backpack is the more practical option for most guys. As an added bonus, wearing your backpack during a workout can add a little extra weight for exercises like dips or chin-ups for an extra challenge. Any old backpack may work just fine, but if you are looking to get a new backpack to take to the gym, here’s our all-time favorite, followed by another solid option for those with a tighter budget.
Our Favorite: Under Armour Storm Hustle
It’s tough to argue with the numbers. Under Armour seems to make the best reviewed gym backpacks online. A good gym backpack has a place for a water bottle or shaker cup, and this bag has two side pockets just for that. If your bag starts to stink, throw it in the washer and wash it on cold. Not really fitness related but there’s also a built-in laptop sleeve that can hold laptops up to 15”. The bottom is extremely durable and made from abrasion resistant 600D polyester. The padded straps make it super comfortable no matter what you’re carrying. There are a ton of color options, and to be honest, there are a few other Under Armour lines that are just as great when it comes to good quality gym backpacks.
Other Solid Choices:
We’ve written about the top 5 best backpacks for travel in a previous article, and we recommend checking those out as well as the above Under Armour bag. A good backpack is a good backpack and we’re not here to pretend like you can’t take a Jansport to the gym. If it fits your belongings, has what the kind of pockets and features you want, buy it! If you’re not sure where to start, check out our suggestions and read what actual owners had to say about the quality, durability and value of some great backpacks – gym or otherwise.
The Best Gym Sackpack for Men
The market for these bags hasn’t quite agreed on one name. You will find these bags under a wide variety of different names. A few common names are the carrysack, gymsack, drawstring backpack, cinch pack – and what we’ll call them for now: sling packs. If you want the simplest gym bag possible, try one of these out. They’re extremely light obviously, but adding a lot of extra weight can cause the drawstrings to dig into your shoulder. If you have heavy stuff – get a backpack. If you want something light and simple, check out our favorite sackpacks below. A fair warning though, there are a LOT of cheap sling packs out there. Cheap sling packs will be a complete waste of money, so don’t just get the cheapest option.
Our Favorite: Adidas Alliance Sport Sackpack
Upon reading various owner reviews, you’ll notice that this is one of the most loved sackpacks available right now. Over 675 people on Amazon have given an average of 4.6/5 stars – which is amazing for a bag that’s been reviewed that many times. This is a little larger than the average sackpack, so pay attention to the dimensions of this one (17”x14”). We’re pretty big fans of the two side mesh pockets for water bottles as well as the separate zipper pouch in the front for keys or a phone. It’s less than $20, and with a lifetime warranty, you really can’t go wrong.
- 17″ High
- 14″ Wide
- 27” Shoulder strap
The Best Stylish Gym Bag for Men
For some guys, their gym bag is more than a cheap way to transport their fitness belongings – it’s a fashion statement. If you’re looking for a more stylish gym bag, check out our favorites – fair warning, they’re not cheap.
Leather gym bags
We dedicated an entire post to the leather duffle bag and they also make good gym bags. They look great and are very durable if they’re made from quality leather. Just be careful because they are not machine washable, and gym bags tend to get pretty gross after a while.
The Cheaper Alternative:
Rothco Canvas Sports Duffle Bag
For the minimalist, there is the Rothco duffle bag. They’re available in black or brown, and cost less than $20. This is the perfect basic gym bag for guys who just want something simple and tame. It’s less than 20 inches long, so you won’t be able to fit a ton of stuff. Overall we’re extremely impressed with this and consider it a very solid pick for the best gym bag for men. Good deal and good quality.
- 19” Length
- 9” Width
- HW Cotton Canvas material
- Brown or Black
*Bonus – What should I put in my gym bag?
You don’t need us to tell you what to put inside your bag – you already know. We did, however, make a list of some of the top items that guys put in their bag, and a link them to the best place to buy.
Something to drink – Ideally water or some sort of amino acid/electrolyte beverage.
Headphones – Bluetooth is ideal, and surprisingly affordable.
A towel – If you’re in the gym, you should be sweating.
Shoes – Wearing your shoes into the gym is quite alright, but if the weather is bad it’s just good etiquette to change your shoes.
Clothes – Gym clothes, swim trunks.
Lifting gloves – Get a better grip and protect your hands from calluses.
Lifting straps – Take some pressure off your hands when doing deadlifts or shrugs.
Personal items – The usual: wallet, keys, phone.
Supplements – Not necessary, but you’ll find guys supplementing with some sort of pre-workout energy booster, intra-workout amino acid mix, and/or post-workout protein.