The best gym bags 2018: carry all your gym kit with ease and style

Work out the best way to carry your kit with our guide to the best gym bags, from classic sporty styles to fashion-forward holdalls

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Whether you’re pounding the treadmill at 6am, or have to drag yourself to the gym after work each evening, we all approach exercise in different ways.

But no matter your level of expertise (and ability to not repeatedly hit the snooze button), the humble gym bag is an essential bit of kit - and speaking of essentials, you should check out these wash bags, too.

How to buy the best gym bag for you

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 seperate.

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 are good for the swimming gear and shower stuff, but the inferior airflow of these bags mean 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.

Our pick of the best gym bags to buy today

1. Best Made Company SWS Cordura Duffle Bag

A trendy duffle bag for all of your gym kit

Specifications
Best for: Practicality
Material: Cordura
Reasons to buy
+Water resistant+Stylish
Reasons to avoid
-No separate shoe compartment

This duffle bag has a capacity of approximately 19 litres, is fully lined, and sealed across the top with a zip. The bag can be carried either by hand with its two handles, or over the shoulder if you prefer.

The bag is designed to stand up to abuse and is made from durable Cordura. It is lined with water-resistant coated cotton-twill, so your damp towel shouldn’t cause any damage, and it is available in either subtle black or stand-out yellow.

Nike Golf Sport Fold Top Backpack

2. Nike Golf Sport Fold Top Backpack

The gym backpack for those on the go

Specifications
Best for: On the go
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Shoe compartment+Easy to carry
Reasons to avoid
-A little small-Quite pricey

It might have been designed with golfers in mind, but the Nike Golf Sport Fold Top Backpack is ideal for those who walk or cycle to the gym. It features a separate shoe compartment to keep dirty soles away from clean clothes, and a fold-down top for quick and easy access. People love this bag for its many pockets, which keep things like keys and coins close at hand, but it’s a little on the small side compared to other gym bags, so consider something like the North Face Duffle for more capacity. 

Under Armour Undeniable 3.0

3. Under Armour Undeniable 3.0

The locker-friendly compact gym bag for savvy packers

Specifications
Best for: Small lockers
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Unisex
Reasons to avoid
-The small option is limiting

This gym bag is great for those who carry the bare essentials. Whilst the Under Armour Undeniable 3.0 is available in small, medium and large sizes, the small option does the job and its compact nature makes it one of the best gym bags for lockers. It features handy external mesh pockets which are great for keeping sweaty, wet kit separate from the rest of your belongings. The many pockets and colour options have proven popular with both men and women, but if you’re not good at packing light, it’s not the one.  

North Face Base Camp Duffle

4. North Face Base Camp Duffle

The all-purpose holdall for those who have a lot of stuff

Specifications
Best for: Lots of kit
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity+Variety of colours
Reasons to avoid
-A bit bulky-Expensive

This gym bag is huge. With a whopping capacity of 95L, you could say carrying it is a workout in itself, but it’s handy for those who need to carry more than just their gym kit. This is ideal gym bag for personal trainers who meet their clients outdoors for workouts. The interchangeable straps mean you can carry this bag as a holdall or a backpack, plus it’s weatherproof, so it could easily double as a camping or adventure bag. If the size of this puts you off but the style is ideal, it's also available in small and medium options.

5. Adidas Training Core Bag

An affordable and compact gym bag from Adidas

Specifications
Best for: Compact
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Multiple compartments+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Not large enough

This well-priced sports bag features the iconic Adidas three-stripe design, has multiple compartments for storing items of various sizes, and can be carried by hand or over the shoulder thanks to an adjustable strap.

Nike Brasilia 6

6. Nike Brasilia 6

A classic-looking gym bag for sportspeople of all stripes

Specifications
Best for: Everyday use
Material: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Shoe compartment
Reasons to avoid
-Too many pockets-Not as sturdy as some

This Nike gym bag is a true classic. Featuring a spacious main compartment, and a separate shoe section providing optimum ventilation to eliminate odours, it’s the ideal bag for every leisure activity you can think of. Carry as a duffle bag, or over the shoulder using the detachable strap, for the convenient convertibility of the North Face Duffel at a more pocket-friendly price. 

Adidas 3 Stripes Performance Team Sport

7. Adidas 3 Stripes Performance Team Sport

A trusty gym bag for those on a budget

Specifications
Best for: Budget buy
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Very spacious
Reasons to avoid
-Plain

If your irregular gym habit makes the prospect of shelling out for an expensive bag galling, then the Adidas 3 Stripes Performance Team Sport bag should do nicely. It has a large capacity with an easy to access main compartment and separate shoe pocket with ventilation, and while it’s not the most exciting-looking bag, it’s a great entry-level model from a well-known brand, with a classic gym bag look and feel. Footballers looking for a bag that can hold their kit, towel, change of clothes and boots; this is the one.

Herschel Supply Co Novel Duffle Bag

8. Herschel Supply Co Novel Duffle Bag

A timelessly stylish bag with a generous capacity, great for the everyday gym-goer

Specifications
Best for: Style
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Stylish+Large capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The stylish Herschel Supply Co duffle bag comes in a range of styles, but this classic model proves most popular amongst customers, and with good reason. Many have been surprised by how much they can cram into its 42L capacity, and its internal mesh pocket and inspired shoe compartment keep things organised. Its Nylon construction mean it’s durable and easy to clean, but doesn’t compromise on style. 

9. Mulberry Medium Clipper Pebble-Grain Leather Holdall

Looking for a little luxury when you work out? Try this duffle from Mulberry

Specifications
Best for: Luxury
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Luxury brand+Classy details, including padlock
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe too nice for your sweaty gym stuff?

Described as an “investment piece”, this Mulberry holdall is incredibly pricey for a gym bag, but it boasts pebble-grain leather with a water-resistant finish, beautiful leather details, and a Mulberry-branded padlock.

The bag features a pair of handles to carry by hand, as well as a detachable shoulder strap and it has a large capacity of 38 litres, so even a bulky pair of trainers and a wash bag should fit in with everything else. Inside, the bag is fully lined and contains several zipped pockets for keeping everything tidy.

10. Coreal Duffle Bag

A great gym bag for those on a budget

Specifications
Best for: Value for money
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Low price+Separate shoe compartment
Reasons to avoid
-Generic looks

At just £20, this bag represents excellent value for money, even if it won’t win too many design awards. It features handles and a removable shoulder strap, and there’s a separate zipped compartment for your stinky trainers.

Available in seven different colours, the bag has a water-resistant finish and strategically placed protective padding to keep your smartphone and other devices safe.