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Men’s Gym Bags: How to Choose the Right One

Buying the right gym bag sets you up for success. It keeps you organized and helps you create an easy and efficient workout routine.  Yet, buying the right one may prove tricky. There are a variety of different types. And the last thing you want is a gym bag that falls apart within only a few months use. Or a bag where small items get lost in an endless abyss.

It’s important to consider a variety of factors, such as size, type, material, and compartments. You want all the right features for your unique needs. 

For instance, if you head to a yoga class every week, you’ll likely want a gym bag that has a convenient place to put your yoga mat. If you’re a weightlifter, you may want a small pocket to keep a notebook or your weightlifting gloves. Some individuals also prefer showering at the gym. As such, they may want a compartment to keep their shower gear, as well as their dirty gym clothes. Again, it comes down to you and your needs. Continue reading to find out what you should consider when buying a gym bag and why.

Optimal Gym Bag Size

Ultimately, the size of your gym bag depends on what you use it for. Small gym bags may work for the businessman who prefers to carry a briefcase when jumping from one meeting to the next. Bigger gym bags may be more practical for the guy who requires one bag for their entire day and commutes to work via public transportation. What are your unique needs?

In the end, your needs will determine whether you should look into small gym bags or big gym bags. Below, we compare gym bag sizes to uses. What should you take into consideration?

Gym Bag Size Depends on the Use

You may plan on using one bag for work and then another bag for the gym. Or perhaps you’d prefer one bag for all of the above. Let’s take a closer look at your options! That way, you can make an informed and smart choice when it comes to your next gym bag.

Small Gym Bags for Men

small gym bag for men

Small gym bags are great if you require a bag just for the gym. It also may work better if you shower at home or don’t necessarily need a lot of gear besides clothing, a water bottle, and shoes.

Large Gym Bags for Men

Large gym bags can serve as a more practical and multi-purpose option. If you want a bag for multiple uses and items, a bigger bag offers more compartments and space for just that. Think about what you want to carry in your gym bag, then go from there.

Do You Prefer a Multi-Purpose Bag Instead of Different Ones for Different Uses?

A multi-purpose bag is bigger in size. It also keeps things simple and efficient. You won’t have to be lugging around multiple bags throughout your day. It also ensures that you never forget critical items or gym gear at home. Ideally, a multi-purpose bag makes the most sense. But your lifestyle and work may not make this possible. In that case, you may want a simple and small gym bag that functions just for your gym needs.

Bag for Travel & Gym

Travel may include your commute to work or even a quick overnight flight for work. Ideally, a two-in-one travel and gym bag would be ideal. You’d have separate compartments for your gym gear and separate compartments for your overnight items - all in one convenient carry-on bag. In this case, you may prefer a bigger gym bag with a variety of compartments.

Bag for Gym & Work

If you’re on the hunt for a gym work bag, a smaller bag may do the trick. However, the size may depend on your work needs. Do you need to carry a laptop to and from work? Do you have files that you take home and bring back? These are things you may want to consider before buying.

Bag for Travel, Gym, & Work

bag for gym, travel and work

Do you need a bag for all three? A bigger and multipurpose gym bag is likely the way to go. No matter what you need, you’ll be able to make it work. It could also function as an easy go-to bag for a weekend away.

Type of Gym Bags to Consider

Sizing is just one aspect of it all. There are also a variety of different types of gym bags. There’s gym duffel bags, backpacks, drawstring gym bags, bags with wheels, and more. Which should you choose?

Duffel Gym Bag

A gym duffel bag is great if you intend on using it for weekends away. It’s a very versatile option. It’s easy to store. It has tons of space. It’s relatively waterproof (depending on the material). And it’s comfortable.

Gym duffel bags also tend to be durable - meaning they are great for travel. You won’t catch this type of gym bag falling apart on you.

The downside? If you like organization, a gym duffel bag might not offer you the compartments you want. Generally, most duffel bags include one main and spacious compartment, with possibly a few smaller pockets. Weigh the pros and cons, as well as your unique requirements. If you want one bag that just won’t quit, the duffel bag may be the right selection for you and your life.

Backpack Gym Bag

A backpack gym bag serves as a casual and easy-to-carry option. It also gives your shoulders a bit of a break - meaning if posture is a problem, this could help you out. Yet, if you’ve got back problems, it might not be for you.

gym backpack with laptop compartment

If you commute to work via public transportation or biking, this type of gym bag might be more up your ally. Another factor to consider here is that backpack gym bags may come with a laptop slot. This could be exactly what you need if you bring your laptop to and from work. Although, it’s always important to double-check this fact before buying. 

Drawstring Gym Bag

A drawstring gym bag keeps things ultra-simple. It’s small, and everything goes in one main pouch. This one’s your basic no-fuss gym bag. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about a zipper breaking, especially when you’re in a rush.

Gym Bag with Wheels

A gym bag with wheels may work for the frequent traveler. It makes it easy to go from the gym to the airport or train station. Plus, your shoulders and back won’t get sore from lugging all your gear and overnight items around. These bags also tend to have good structure and various compartments. 

Gym Tote Bags

A gym tote bag offers a little more style. These are also great for the more organized man with multiple compartments. Further, these types of gym bags are a more professional option for the gym-to-work or work-to-gym kind of guy.

Gym Bag Materials

Why bother discussing gym bag materials? The material impacts the durability of the bag, as well as its appearance.

Further, the material may matter depending on your use for it. For instance, a leather bag might not bode well if you walk a lot. It may just add extra weight. You may also want to consider breathability of the bag and whether or not it’s waterproof. Undoubtedly, the type of material influences these aspects. So, let’s take a closer look.

Leather Gym Bag

A leather gym bag is often considered a luxury. Many men also prefer it for their personal style. In truth, many designer gym bags are made of leather. Frequently, these types of gym bags come with a bigger price tag. However, leather is also very durable. A luxury or designer leather gym bag will likely last you for years down the road. 

On the other hand, leather also has a tendency to retain the smell left by your dirty gym clothes. If you purchase a leather bag, you may want to consider putting your dirty clothes or gym shoes in a bag inside your bag.

Nylon Gym Bag

Many men’s designer gym bags come in nylon material. This type of material is easy to clean and surprisingly, stain-resistant. It also has a sleek look, with durability and waterproofing. In fact, nylon - along with leather and canvas - is one of the more commonly used materials for men’s designer gym bags and gym bags in general.

Canvas Gym Bag

Canvas material is super durable and super light. If you walk a lot, a canvas gym bag may be the right option for you. It’s durability also means it’s excellent for travel. These bags also tend to come with plenty of space and compartments. All in all, a canvas gym bag is long lasting and great for multi-purpose use.

Waterproof Gym Bag

A waterproof gym bag isn’t a bad idea - especially with the mix of showering, water bottles, and sweat. It’s also great if you’re outside a lot during your commute or day. If it rains, your gym or work items are less likely to get soaked - even if you forgot that umbrella.

Mesh Gym Bag

The best thing about a mesh gym bag is its breathability. It gives your gym clothing and gear space to breath and dry. It’s also very lightweight. However, you may want to reconsider this option if you intend on bringing your gym bag into the office. The last thing your co-workers want is the smell of dirty gym clothes in the air throughout their busy work day.

Your Gym Bag Essentials Will Determine Your Choice of the Bag 

What do you want to carry around in your gym bag? What gear do you need? Do you need shower items? Do you want a spot for your water bottle? Do you store your bag at work? What items do you take to work? Your gym bag essentials and other factors will also determine the size of the gym bag you need. Further, your decisions and preferences regarding what to put in a gym bag and what to pack in a gym bag will make all the difference in what kind of bag you require, such as the number of compartments, the size of compartments, and more. Consider these aspects when making your decision.

Compartments in a Gym Bag to Consider

It pays to be organized. Compartments give you just that - an easy way to organize your gym gear, work items, personal effects, and more. In turn, that gym trip could prove a lot simpler and a lot easier.

Let’s take a look at the main compartments you may want to consider for your next gym bag.

Shoe Compartment

A gym bag with a shoe compartment is ideal. In fact, many gym bags come with

gym bag with shoes compartment

these compartments built-in. Imagine the germs and dirt that get on the bottom of your shoes. It keeps those germs and dirt outside of your main pouch and away from your clothing or other personal items. Bonus: You also won’t have to hunt through your bag for your second shoe each time.

Laptop Compartment

A gym bag with a laptop compartment offers an easy transition from the gym to work. A laptop gym bag further provides the security and protection that your laptop needs. You won’t have to worry about your expensive hardware getting thrown around with your gym gear and other items.

Wet Clothes Compartment

The last thing you want to do after a workout is throw your wet gym clothes in with all your other stuff. It doesn’t smell great, and you may not want other items to become damp or smelly. A wet clothes compartment separates your dirty gym clothes from the rest of your bag. This compartment often seals nicely, ensuring the wetness and smell stays away from your work items and other gear.

Water Bottle Compartment

A water bottle compartment provides easy access to help you stay hydrated on your walk to and from the gym. You also won’t have to worry about any spillage when your water bottle is in a separate and upright pocket. Most men consider this a must-have in their selected gym bag.

Dirty Clothes Compartment

Wet clothing and dirty clothing frequently fit into the same compartment. However, if you’re a swimmer, you may want to separate the two. Find a gym bag that suits your needs and has plenty of space for both. With so many options, it is entirely possible.

Compartments or Pockets for Valuable Items

That nice and expensive designer watch is likely not meant to be worn in the gym. Lucky for you, many men’s gym bags come with little pockets and spaces for these exact items. It keeps them in a safe and protected spot, so you won’t have to worry about losing or damaging them.

Gym Bags for Different Uses

Everyone has their “it” sport or exercise preference. After all, finding something you enjoy is the key to sticking with a regular workout routine. And your gym bag should fit into your preferred type of exercise. So, what different uses can gym bags serve?

Crossfit Gym Bag

Got your own personal jump rope? A towel? Your water bottle? Maybe you want to also bring pre-prepared lunches and snacks. And perhaps you want compartments for all these Crossfit essentials. Many Crossfitters prefer a bag that’s easy to carry, such as a backpack, and that has various sections to organize and store their necessary gear. Consider the items you regularly take to your Crossfit workouts. Select a suitable bag based off that.

Yoga Gym Bag

Yoga is all the rage. It’s good for you. It also serves as a great recovery activity. Yet, lugging around your yoga mat plus a gym bag is a bit much. Luckily, you can buy a men’s gym bag with a yoga mat holder, making it easy to use and carry around with you. It also secures your mat in place so you won’t have to worry about it until you need it.

Basketball Gym Bag

A basketball gym bag comes with a compartment for your shoes and even your basketball. It keeps your gear organized, as well as provides easy access to it. This way, you can bring your basketball with you, without it taking up almost half the bag.

Tactical Gym Bag

Tactical gym bags are frequently quite durable. It’s everything you need for tactical training and more. It also serves as a great place to keep tools or equipment used out on the field, such as for police forces and army personnel. It’s also an excellent choice for those undergoing tactical training or tactical gym classes. Tactical gym bags are made with tactical forces and training in mind.

Bodybuilding Gym Bag

Bodybuilding gym bags are large and able to handle heavyweight. They frequently come with specific compartments for all your items, including a shoe pocket. Generally, these bags are also fairly spacious and durable so that they last you throughout all your training needs.

Gym Bag for a Swimmer

Gym bags for swimmers come with waterproofing material and compartments for dry and wet clothing or items. That way, you keep your cell phone and other non-waterproof items dry, while having an easy space to store your wet items after a session. The key here is to not forget to air out the wet space after each use.

Military Gym Bag

Frequently made with tough materials, like canvas, military gym bags are made to withstand impact and travel. They're also quite big, providing you with the space you require. 

The Bottom Line

Each individual is different. Assess your needs. Determine what you want to carry in your bag. Then, make an educated and informed decision. With so much versatility, there are gym bag options for every type of exercise and every type of man. The main thing is to determine what you want and what you need. Once you have that down, you can start hunting.