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best gym bags for bodybuilders, powerlifting, and weightlifting - man in gym with bag

9 Of The Best Gym Bags For Bodybuilders, Powerlifting & Weightlifting In 2021

If you are a bodybuilder, weightlifter, or powerlifter, you already know how essential it is to have a bag that fits all your gear. And there are many gym bags for bodybuilders and powerlifters available but they’re not all built the same. A durable, functional, and high-quality bag can keep you organized and help you move through your workout with convenience and style. 

A bad one can do the opposite. 

Below, we put together a list of our top 10 recommendations. We combed through quite a few of the best bags available to narrow it down to the options below so we’re confident you’ll find something you’ll love and use for years to come. 

Let’s get right to it… 

Our Top Picks:


1.  Best Overall Bodybuilding Bag – Cobra Grips Backpack Duffel


The Cobra Grips Backpack Duffel combo is a spacious, comfortable bag with wet and dry storage for all your dirty gear. It can be used as both a classic duffle bag by its adjustable shoulder strap or you can convert it to a backpack with the adjustable double straps. The backpack is ideal if you ride your bike or run to the gym. 

It is made up of  PVC-coated 600-denier polyester fabric that resists wear and tear, and the bottom is reinforced with a board and protected by plastic strips for added durability. The main zipper compartment has a large U-shaped opening with 2 zipper pulls for easy accessibility. You can store all your essentials like gloves, lifting belts, lifting straps, towels, extra clothes, and anything else you need. On the side, there’s also a vented compartment for shoes or wet clothing. And, of course, there’s a front compartment for smaller items like your phone, wallet, and keys. 

Overall, the bags built to last for years and made with lifters in mind. 

Pros:

  • Large main compartment
  • Adjustable and detachable straps that can be carried like a duffel, shoulder bag, or backpack 
  • Reinforced bottom
  • Separate shoe or wet clothing compartments 
  • Fits in the gym locker
  • Comes with one year warranty

Cons:

  • There are no organizers in the main compartment
  • There is no dedicated water bottle holder
  • Available in only one color at the time of writing

2. Runner Up – Adidas Defender III Duffel Bag


The Adidas Defender III duffel bag is a huge bag that comes in multiple great colors. It has one big compartment to carry all your gym accessories, towels, clothes, and pretty much anything else you could need. There’s also a vented side compartment to keep your shoes separate from your clean clothes which is always a necessity in gym bags. 

On the inside of the bag, there’s a small zipped compartment inside the big compartment that can be used to carry your cards, wallet, and valuables for quick access. As far as choosing the size goes, the small bag can fit almost all of the stuff you need including shoes, clothes, towels, and your gloves, straps, shaker bottles, and belts. If you’re worried about space, you can always go with a medium. Any larger and you’re going to feel like you’re carrying luggage. 

As far as durability goes, it’s made of 100% polyester, reinforced 3d ripstop material, which is lightweight and easier to carry. It’s not as durable as canvas or other thicker materials though. A small hole can get out of hand pretty quick on this one. Fortunately, if that does happen, it comes with a lifetime warranty so you can send it back and get a new one. 

If you need a lightweight bag that works for the gym and other outdoor activities, this one has the space you need, a lifetime warranty, and it’s affordable. 

Pros:

  • Available in small, medium, and large sizes
  • Several colors available 
  • Generous storage space 
  • The polyester fabric stays clean for a longer time
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Cannot be used as a backpack 
  • The shoulder strap makes an annoying squeaky sound

3. Top Premium Backpack Duffel Combo – North Face Base Camp Gym Bag


The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag is a very attractive bag that has a spacious main compartment and mesh sleeve pockets for organized packing. It’s made from a durable nylon material that’s lightweight but can handle daily gym trips. This is a multipurpose bag that’s not just for the gym though. You can take this one on trips, backpacking, or anywhere else you might find yourself. 

On the end of the bag you have a separate zippered compartment for shoes or wet clothes. Within the bag, you have the large main compartment for your gear with a mesh pocket inside for quick access to your keys and wallet. 

The bag comes with detachable, adjustable, alpine cut shoulder straps that can be used as a backpack, shoulder, and even as a handheld bag. And while it’s a little on the pricey side, it does come with a lifetime warranty. 

Pros:

  • Can be used as both duffel and backpack
  • Has a separate compartment for wet clothes and dirty shoes
  • It has a water-resistant base
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Only available in black at the time of writing 
  • Straps are not wide, which may make it uncomfortable to carry

4. Most Durable – Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag


If you’re outdoorsy, you’ve probably heard of Carhartt. Their Legacy Gear Bag is a heavy-duty canvas bag that’s both roomy and durable. It comes in several sizes ranging from 20” to 30” in length. If you’re carrying a change of clothes and some essentials, the 20” is a safe bet. 

The outside of the bag is water-repellant and stays clean with a simple wipe down. Overall the bag is sturdy. The shoulder strap is lightly padded and detachable, the zippers are high quality, and the bottom is abrasion resistant. You’ll have no issues carrying it around or putting it in a locker. 

Pros:

  • A water-repellent exterior 
  • Abrasion resistant bottom
  • Durable material 
  • Detachable shoulder strap 
  • Large enough to fit whatever you need 

Cons:

  • Separate compartments are not available for wet clothes or shoes.

5. Best Smaller-Sized Option – Adidas Diablo Duffel Bag


The Adidas Diablo small duffel is a compact bag that’s great to keep in the trunk with your daily gym clothing and gear. Within the main compartment you can fit clothes, a towel, basic gear and even a basketball or items of an equivalent size (think weight belt, bands, etc.)

As far as durability goes, it’s made of 100% polyester which is super lightweight and moderately durable. The outside is water resistant, easy to clean, and tear resistant. However, if anything does happen to the bag, it also has a lifetime warranty so you can return it and get a new one. 

On the outside, it has two handles to carry it back and forth or a detachable shoulder strap for easier transportation. 

Within the bag, there are no pockets other than the main compartment. This is a bit of a pain because you’re going to end up searching for your keys, wallet, and other small items. If that’s not a dealbreaker for you, then this is a reliable, simple bag that has enough space for your daily gym trip. 

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty 
  • Plenty of storage in the main compartment 
  • Lightweight and easy to clean 

Cons:

  • No pockets other than the main one

6. Best For The Budget: PUMA Men’s Contender Duffel Bag


The PUMA contender is a durable, straightforward bag with one large compartment and several smaller zippered compartments. The bag looks small from the outside, but it carries more than you would think. 

Within the main compartment, you can fit your clothes, a towel, and the basics you would need. On the one side, there’s a shoe compartment that can fit about a size 11 shoe. On the other side, there’s a smaller compartment for your wallet and keys.

Overall, the PUMA contender is a simple bag that has all the essentials you need in a cheap gym bag. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight 
  • Plenty of space in the main compartment
  • Separate shoe pocket for size 11 or smaller 
  • Multiple styles available 
  • Detachable shoulder strap 
  • Very affordable 

Cons:

  • Shoe pocket is a little on the smaller side

7. The Best Crowdsourced Designed – Focus Gear Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0


Some unique added features make the Focus Gear gym bag a standout product. First, the bag main compartment opens all the way down the side. This makes it much easier to find all of your stuff – even those items in the bottom of the bag. 

When it comes to storage, the bag has 10 compartments which is just enough to carry whatever you need but not so many that you can’t find your stuff. On one end, there’s a zippered compartment for shoes or wet clothing. On the other, there’s a zippered pocket with a mesh pocket on the outside to hold water bottles. 

All in all, it’s a super affordable bag that’s been well thought out from a consumer perspective. 

Pros:

  • Well thought out design 
  • 10 pockets 
  • Two wet pockets – one for shoes and one for a swimsuit or other similarly sized wet items 
  • The main compartment zipper opens all the way down, providing easy access to everything
  • Tear-resistant, waterproof bottom
  • Made of heavy duty fabric

Cons:

  • Wet pouches are not vented
  • The mesh water bottle pocket is not large enough to store larger bottles

8. Under Armour Undeniable Duffel 4.0 Gym Bag


The Under Armour Undeniable Duffle Bag is a well known, durable gym bag that nearly everyone loves. One of the reasons so many people love this bag is that you can get a size and style that matches whatever your needs are. 

The outside of the bag is made of lightweight but abrasion resistant polyester and elastane. As far as the storage goes, there’s two zippered pockets on the front for smaller items like keys, wallets, and lifting straps. On the end, there’s a wet storage pocket for shoes or clothes. And on the opposite end, there’s a mesh pocket that can fit a slightly smaller water bottle or protein shaker. If you want to carry a larger bottle, you’ll have to store it in the bag. 

Overall, this is a perfect gym bag for weightlifting or martial arts. You can fit your gear, shoes, clothes, and accessories. It’s one of those bags you can put in the trunk and have everything you need for your afterwork gym trip. 

Pros:

  • Super water resistant
  • Available in lots of sizes and colors 
  • Separate shoe pocket 
  • Small item pockets on the front of the bag 
  • Has all the space you need in the main compartment

Cons:

  • There is no bottom stabilizer so it tends to lose shape 

9. Nike Brasilia Duffel Bag


The Nike Brasilia duffel is a bag from a brand we all know and love. The Brasilia is a very straightforward bag with a shoe compartment, several internal zipper pockets, and an external pocket on the outside. 

It has all of the basics you need. It’s lightweight, water resistant, has a removable shoulder strap, and comes in several sizes and colors. Overall the Nike Brasilia is a solid gym bag for weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and martial arts. Whatever you do, you can be sure this bag can handle your gear. 

Pros:

  • Separate shoe compartment that’s vented 
  • Lightweight, several sizes and colors 
  • Detachable shoulder strap 

Cons:

  • The material feels a little thin 
  • The bottom of the bag isn’t reinforced so it loses shape if it’s not full 

man putting items into workout bag

What To Store In Your Gym Bag  

Typically, you’ll have your essentials. You know what you like to carry. But if you’re unsure, some of the most common items we put in our bags are: 

  • Gym shoes
  • Workout clothes
  • Gym towel
  • Water bottle
  • Shower essentials
  • Gym accessories
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Some healthy snacks

Gym Bag Styles

The style of your gym bag can make a big difference in the experience you have. For example, a duffel is a common style. But if you ride your bike to the gym, for example, you might want a backpack.  

  • The duffle – This is a large soft bag. It’s characterized by a large main compartment with top zipper closure for easy access. Some duffel bags are convertible into backpacks and most come with a detachable shoulder strap. 
  • The backpack – We all know what a backpack is. It’s a simple bag with shoulder straps that make it easier to carry heavier items. 
  • Backpack Duffel Combo – This is one of the best gym bag styles. You have the benefit of a large top opening compartment but the convenience of carrying it anywhere like a backpack. These often have more storage pockets as well. 
  • Messenger Bag – A typical bag carried across the body, generally used by students, office going people, and cyclists. A messenger bag is a rectangular bag with a long shoulder strap. You can wear most duffels almost like a messenger bag as long as the shoulder strap is long enough. 
  • Tote Bag – It has large handles and a wide, deep open mouth. This is a better bag for women and it can be double purposed as a beach or weekend bag. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is a gym bag different from a backpack? A drawstring?

Unlike backpacks, the gym bags are simple, designed to accommodate bulky objects and other gym essentials. The drawstring bags or gym sacks are great if you’re only carrying a few items but typically don’t work for a gym bag. Having a dedicated gym bag to keep your sweaty clothes and shoes is better though because you’re putting wet clothing, dirty shoes, and other stuff in the bag. 

2. What are the things to look for when buying a gym bag?

Choosing a gym bag mainly depends on the essentials you need to carry and the style of bag you prefer. Things to consider before buying a gym bag:

  • Space: The size of the bag you choose is important. Get a bag that’s too big, and you’ll be lugging around a bag that folds in on itself and doesn’t hold shape. Get a bag that’s too small, and you’ll be equally disappointed. For most people, a small and medium sized bag is perfect. But if you’re carrying larger items like several outfits, weight belts, etc. then you might want to consider something slightly larger. 
  • Material: Tear-resistant, water-proof material, and quality zippers not only last longer, they make the experience of using the bag better.
  • Maintenance: Choose bags that are durable and need low maintenance. Just a regular wipe or occasional gentle wash should be enough to clean your gym bag. 

3. What materials are usually used for gym bags?

The most commonly used materials for gym bags are:

  • Nylon: Lightweight, relatively durable, water resistant. 
  • Canvas: Moderately lightweight, durable, long lasting. 
  • Leather: Fashionable, durable, typically ages well.  

Conclusion 

A perfect gym bag can not only store your belongings but can make your gym life easier. And when you’re searching for a gym bag specifically for bodybuilding, powerlifting and weightlifting, you’re serious about what you’re doing. So you need something that can stand the test of time and accommodate all of your gear. 

With that, we chose the Cobra Grips duffel backpack combo. It’s super durable, carries like a backpack but gives you the space of a duffel. It also has the separate shoe compartment and fits perfectly in a gym locker. Overall, this is our favorite gym bag for serious lifters. 

Get the Cobra Grips bag here

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