Like a portable filing cabinet for your gym gear, the best gym bag holds everything you need, a few things you might need (and plenty that you don’t), and holds it all just the way you want it. Some of us are happy tossing everything into one big compartment, while others prefer to live life a bit more compartmentalized with pouches, zippered pockets, and dividers galore. Same with style: For every backpack wearer, there’s a messenger, tote, or duffle devotee.
No matter your style or your sport there’s a bag out there for you. We scoured the reviews to compile this list of favorite go-to totes, duffels, backpacks, and more.
Adidas Studio Hybrid Tote
Its trim look stands out in a crowd of slouchy bags, but otherwise this carrier simply does its job. An outer zippered pocket keeps your keys at the ready, while the inner pockets hold your toiletries and wallet so you can grab them easily. Otherwise, the inner space is devoted to your gear. And the shoulder straps are a comfortable longer length.
Sherpani Finn Bag
Unsnap the sides to release more space if you need it—that clever design and the recycled-material outer make this bag special. The inner compartment is roomy, even in “small mode,” and it has one mesh pocket and several sleeve pockets on the opposite side. Plus, there’s a shoulder strap and handles.
Lululemon Go Getter Bag
Laptop pocket, check. Heat-resistant pocket for your hair straightener, check. Exterior pocket for sweaty gear, check. Big hauling capacity, double-check. The 17x9x12-inch dimensions let you pack everything you’ll need for a weekend destination race and still carry the bag comfortably over your shoulder.
MZ WALLACE Medium Metro Tote
This lightweight, water- and stain-resistant bag swallows nearly everything. There are two interior cell pockets, a card slot, and a protective laptop compartment. The bottom has little leather feet to protect the bag from dirt and moisture, and the handles taper for a good-sized grip.
Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole Gear Tote
Like a highly evolved farmers’ market tote, this ripstop nylon bag carries nearly anything you need for a long day. But unlike the bare-bones tote bag, the Black Hole has an interior pocket, a reinforced bottom, and sturdy handles.
Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag
Canadian bag company Herschel gives you a separate shoe compartment accessed from outside to segregate the dirty from the clean. Inside, there’s an interior mesh pocket, and there’s a detachable shoulder strap.
Thule Sub Terra Convertible Duffle
This 40-liter-capacity nylon bag, shaped like an elongated diamond, does double duty as a weekend-getaway bag, with space for a few outfits, or your bike clothes and helmet, towel, and toiletries. If you need a little more space, unsnap the sides to unfurl bonus capacity. Plus there are carry handles and a detachable shoulder strap.
Vooray Stride Cinch Top Backpack
This bag has a lot of nice features: padded straps, an inner pocket, lots of space, and a cool vibe. If you’re tempted to change your bag every few months, this might be the pack of your dreams—at least this month.
Adidas Squad 3 Duffle
Some gym bags don’t pretend to be anything else: The Squad 3 is one such honest broker. It looks exactly like what it is: an awesome locker-room valet. A side-accessible pocket will swallow your muddy shoes, a mesh pocket on the other side holds your drink, and the capacious inner area takes care of everything else.
SKYLE 3-Way Travel Duffel Bag Backpack
Whether you’re looking for a duffle bag, shoulder bag, or a backpack, this lightweight convertible gym carryall is for you. It has front zipper pockets, an interior pocket, and a designated area for your dirty shoes and gear. It’s also super durable and expands quite a bit so that it can double as a carry-on.