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15 Best Gym Bags For Men Reviewed: Top Backpacks & Duffels Of 2021

Gym bags aren’t just for the gym these days. The modern man needs something that’s versatile enough to bring to the office, gym, or for a quick weekend getaway. And with so many options available now, there’s no need to compromise on features or style. With that said, we combed through an enormous number of bags and found the 15 best gym bags for men. 

Whether you need room for multiple shaker bottles, shoes, and a change of clothes or you’re an avid swimmer and need a spot for your wet trunks, we have something you’ll love. 

Let’s get right to the reviews…

Our Top Picks:


1. Under Armour Undeniable Duffle 3.0 – Our Top Pick


The Under Armour Undeniable duffle is our top pick for your everyday men’s gym bag. It’s made from durable polyester that’s easy to clean, comes in multiple sizes ranging from extra small to extra large, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. 

The polyester material is water-resistant to help protect your electronics (like your cell phone or laptop if you bring it to work/travel) and dry clothes. 

If you’re using it for the gym, I’d go with a small or medium for your normal gym gear. The small can fit several protein shakers, a change of clothes, a towel, and your basics like gloves and lifting straps. The medium is a good choice if you’re bringing another pair of shoes or double purposing the bag for travel. 

The large and extra-large duffle bag can be perfect for kids’ games or if you’re coaching the team. The main compartment is big enough to fit a few soccer balls, cones, and most of the other stuff you would need. And for your quick access items, it has a small pouch in the main compartment that can be used to store your phone, sunglasses, and other small items.

Additionally, it has a large front zip pocket, a vented pocket for shoes or dirty clothes, one mesh pocket, and an additional zip pocket so you can store basically anything you need for the gym. The bag is also comfortable to carry with an adjustable padded shoulder strap and padded grab handle. Even if you have a ton of stuff loaded into the bag, you won’t have any issues with the strap. 

Is there any downside?

Some but not necessarily a huge deal in our opinion. While the bag’s machine washable, the shoulder strap is not removable. Also, there is no separate pocket for the water bottle. So if you’re carrying bottles of pre-workout and protein, then you’ll have to make sure your shaker bottles are solid and won’t leak on your gear. 

Other than that, it’s a top-notch bag that’s super affordable and checks most of the boxes for things you need. 


2. Adidas Defender III Duffel Bag – Runner Up 


The Adidas Defender III is a classic style gym and travel bag that comes in multiple sizes and more colors than you can shake a stick at. It’s made from a lightweight polyester material that’s moderately durable but the bag comes with a lifetime warranty so if anything does happen, you can exchange it for a new one.

The main compartment is big enough to hold all your essentials and has the unique property of standing tall so you can pack it without it losing shape in the process. 

The Adidas Defender III is reinforced with 3d ripstop material, which is both tear and wear-resistant. Two zippered end pockets and one front drop pocket provides storage for keys, phone, and random smaller items you use frequently. The side pocket is wide enough to fit smaller shoes but if you’re over a size 9.5, you’ll have to put one shoe in each end or accept the fact that there’s not really a shoe compartment. 

Unlike the Under Armour Undeniable 3.0, the shoulder strap is detachable. A few people reported a “squeaking” in the shoulder strap and the small-sized bag doesn’t come with the pad on the strap. You have to buy the larger version to get the pad.

That being said, this is a solid men’s gym bag for daily use and a close runner up to the Under Armour bag. 


3. Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag – Most Stylish  


From understated to loud floral, the Herschel Novel Duffle bag has a design for you. And with thousands of 5-star reviews, this is one of those bags that pretty much any man can appreciate. 

It’s offered in mid-volume (33L), classic (42.5L), and one-size. The larger (classic) can fit your shoes, several pairs of clothes, gloves, straps, water bottles, and whatever else you need. If you’re the type of guy who does Jiu-Jitsu and the gym, you can easily fit your gi and gym gear in the bag all at the same time.

However, there is a distinct lack of compartments on this bag. There is just the main large compartment, a simple mesh pocket on the inside, and the separate shoe compartment on the side. You can store your phone, keys, and gym card in the pocket but your straps, gloves, etc. will all have to fend for themselves inside of the larger compartment. 

As far as easy carrying goes, it has a detachable shoulder strap and two shorter carrying handles that are both comfortable. However, a number of people have reported that the clasp on their strap broke and their zippers broke. This is a pretty big deal and if this does happen, it’s basically useless. 

With that said, most people don’t experience these issues. Just make sure that if you do get this bag, you vet it and return it if it looks like you’re going to have any problems with the zippers or strap. 


4. Puma Men’s Contender Bag – Best Value Bag  


The PUMA Men’s Contender is a well-built men’s gym bag that’s small but has plenty of room for your towel, change of clothes, swim shorts, gloves, and a separate pouch for shoes that expands into the main compartment. 

On the ends, it has a plastic frame that helps hold it up for easy packing and unpacking (but it’s not super rigid so you can still squish the bag down). This makes it a lot easier than fumbling around with a shapeless bag that collapses in on itself. 

It has both short handles and a long detachable shoulder strap for easy carrying. It also has a padded bottom panel that’s abrasion-resistant and helps to protect your more sensitive items. 

The only complaint here is that there are no separate bottle holders (like many of the gym bags we’ve seen) but you have room to put your shaker and water bottles in the main compartment. 

If you’re looking for a cheap men’s gym bag that’s small but has enough room for essentials, the PUMA is a good option. It has quite a few style options available as well so you can definitely find something you like. 


5. The North Face Medium Berkeley Duffel – Top Premium Choice


The North Face Medium Berkeley duffle bag is a 49L capacity bag made of recycled polyester. This environmentally-friendly bag has a large zip opening for easy access and organization. 

A zippered end-cap compartment can fit your shoes, and two external compartments can carry all your smaller items for quick access. It’s a smart, stylish bag that comes with a removable shoulder strap and sturdy leather finish grab handles. The leather on the handles is super soft and the buttons that join the handles click together nicely. The zippers are also premium quality and you can tell you won’t have to worry about them. 

The shoulder strap can be divided into two halves to convert it into a backpack. They’re not padded though so it can get uncomfortable if you plan on double proposing it for hiking or something like that where you’ll need to wear it for hours at a time. As a gym bag, and even for biking to the gym while wearing the bag, the straps are comfortable enough.  

Within the main compartment, there are no smaller pockets. But with the outside pockets, you have storage for all of your smaller items. Overall, this bag is excellent as a nice gym bag or as a perfectly sized carry-on that fits in the overhead compartment. 


6. WolfWarriorX Men’s Gym Bag – Best Extra Large


The WolfWarrior gym bag is a super big 68L capacity bag that has 4 main compartments. The primary compartment can fit all of your gym gear and more. It’s great if you’re someone who carries a few changes of clothes, shoes, a towel or two, a lifting belt, and you need a surplus of space. 

On the side, there’s a large pocket for dirty shoes or clothes. On the other end and on the front, there are zippered pockets for smaller items like keys, wallet, phone, etc. 

One notable feature is that the material on the inside is mildew resistant and it’s easy to clean with a simple wipe down. This is especially useful in a gym bag because, let’s face it, dirty gym clothes can cause mildew and smell. And if you can’t clean it, you’ll eventually have a gym bag that smells worse than your dirty clothes. 

If you pack heavy for the gym, then this bag is the right choice for you. It’s a high-quality durable bag for heavy travelers.  


7. Speedo Teamster Backpack – Best For Swimmers


The Speedo Teamster Backpack is specially designed for swimmers and it’s one of the most well thought out swim bags that we’ve seen. 

It’s made of abrasion-resistant and water-resistant material with a rubber coating on the bottom to prevent any water from seeping into your bag. Within the bag, you have ample storage for your gym gear including a removable wet bag for dirty clothes or swimsuits. 

If you use your gym bag outside of the gym, you’ll be happy to know it has a laptop compartment that can hold a 15” laptop. A unique feature of this one is the removable bleacher cushion. This is designed for watching swim meets but works as a padded seat for any environment.  

Overall, this bag is ideal for swimmers but equally excellent as a normal gym bag or even as a bag for work and school. 


8. Adidas Alliance II Sackpack – Best For Simple Items  


Looking for a super basic gym sac? The Adidas Alliance II is as simple as it gets. It’s a basic sac design with one large main compartment, a zippered front pocket for small items, and mesh water bottle holders on the sides. 

This particular bag comes in several styles and has a lifetime warranty. It’s also super affordable so if you just need something to carry a change of clothes, towel, and wallet, you’re good to go. 

The downside of the sac style bag is the narrow carrying straps and lack of padding. Items will poke into your back and the experience of wearing it isn’t the most comfortable. If you’ve worn a bag like this before, you know how it feels. 

If that isn’t an issue for you, and you don’t need to carry separate shoes, you’ll appreciate the simplicity and convenience of this lightweight men’s gym bag. 


9. Under Armour Hustle Gym Backpack – Most Durable 


The Under Armour Hustle Gym Backpack is a durable, highly water-resistant bag that won’t disappoint. The outside of the bag is made from the element battling storm technology that keeps your clothes and other sensitive items dry. 

In the bag, there are two main compartments. In one, you have a padded laptop pocket for a 15” laptop and storage space around it. On the other, you have smaller pockets for things like keys, phone, etc. Then on the front, there’s a zippered pocket that can also store small items and on the bottom, you have a shoe compartment. 

Overall, we love the bag. However, the shoe compartment is cramped. There’s no way you can keep both shoes and dirty gym clothes in there at the same time. Additionally, when the bottom compartment has shoes in it, it pushes up into the bag which then limits your space. Also, you’ll have to smash your shoes in if you wear anything larger than a men’s size 9 which is a bummer. 

That being said, if you want a very sleek and durable bag for the gym or work/school, you can’t go wrong. The compartment at the bottom is great for dirty gym clothes or if you wear smaller shoes. 


10. AmazonBasics Gym Duffel & Overnight Bag – Best Budget Option


The AmazonBasic duffel is great if you want a straightforward budget-friendly workout bag. While the overall appearance of the bag leaves something to be desired, it does have the space you want including a separate dirty shoe/laundry compartment. 

On the outside, there are two zippered pockets and one mesh. The mesh pocket’s great for smaller water bottles and the zippered pockets are ideal for smaller items you need quick access to. 

It comes in a medium and small size but the small is 40L and more than enough for the gym or weekend trips. The only downside is that the shoulder strap is long. Even when tightened all the way, it still hangs low. This is a little annoying if you’re biking to the gym or carrying it for any length of time. 

That being said, if you need a budget bag that’s durable and has plenty of storage, you’ll love the AmazonBasics gym duffel. 


11. Gregory Alpaca Large Duffel – Best Large Duffel  


The Gregory Alpaca comes in sizes ranging from 45L all the way up to 120L which is enormous. For a large gym bag, the 45L is a perfect size. The outside of the bag is TPU coated and very water-resistant. It’s built very similar to the rugged outdoor bags Patagonia makes and you can definitely feel the quality when you pick it up. 

When it comes to storage, you have plenty of room. The main compartment can carry any and all of your gym gear with room to spare. On the side, you have a zippered pocket that’s vented with mesh so you can fit your shoes, and then on the inside, there’s a zipped compartment for smaller items. It also has detachable shoulder straps so you can carry it like a duffel or wear it as a backpack. 

This is a bag that’s built for mountaineering and super rugged outdoors stuff like that. So, it’s very durable. You notice the quality as soon as you pick it up. If you’re using it primarily as a gym bag, the smallest size is going to be ideal for you and your locker. 


12. Nike Brasilia Training – Best Medium Duffle Bag


The Nike Brasilia Duffel Bag is very spacious and has all the features to get you through your day from the gym to the office and home. It’s made with excellent quality, strength, and durability – just like you’d expect from Nike.  

The Nike Brasilia Duffel Bag has a main compartment with a dual zipper and plenty of room for clothing and accessories. 

On one side, you have a shoe compartment, on the other side, you have a mesh pocket, on the front, you have another zippered pocket, and then within the bag you have a few smaller zipper pockets. Needless to say, you can store whatever you need in here and find it with ease. 

When you’re ready to hit the gym, you can grab your bag by the detachable shoulder strap or the two handles and carry it like a medium duffel bag. Overall, this one is great to use as a daypack for work or simply an easy bag for your daily trips to the gym. 


13. Cico Rider Waterproof Duffle Backpack – Most Versatile


The Cico Rider Waterproof Duffle Backpack is multifunctional and is designed for both men and women. A 3-in-1 functional gym bag can be used as a backpack, handheld bag, and shoulder bag. The shoulder straps are all detachable and easy to zip away in one of the many pockets. 

This duffle bag is made of high-quality PU leather on the sides and bottom and 900D polyester on the front and back. The inner lining is made of water-resistant nylon.  

A nice feature in any gym bag is the shoe compartment. Fortunately, this duffle bag has a separate, water-resistant shoe compartment with an air hole. There is also a separate waterproof pocket designed for your wet stuff, dirty clothes, and swim accessories.

This weekender bag has a total of 8 pockets, including five outer pockets and four inside pockets. It’s a perfect choice for a gym bag and as a duffle or backpack. 


14. Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag – Most Outdoorsy


The Carhartt Legacy Gear Bag is a rugged gear bag that’s water-resistant and built to last. 

It has two zip compartments. The main large compartment and one on the end for either shoes or smaller items. The outside of the bag is made from water-repellent material and the bottom is made from a heavy-duty Duramax material that’s also abrasion-resistant. 

There are several sizes available ranging from 20” to 30”. If you’re using it specifically for the gym, the 20” should be enough. However, if you’re also taking it on travel and vacations, the larger one will still fit in the locker but also works for a few days worth of clothing. 

The main drawback of this bag is the lack of compartments. There’s no shoe pocket (yes you can use the zippered pocket on the end but it’s not designed for this), no water bottle pocket, and the main compartment doesn’t have any zipper pockets inside of it either. 

That being said, if you know you don’t need a bunch of pockets and you want something that’s both reliable and stylish, you can’t go wrong with the Carhartt Legacy bag. 


15. Champion Men’s Expedition 24″ Duffle – Best Champion Bag


The Champion Men’s duffle bag has 3 compartments that make it great to keep your stuff organized. The one side compartment can be utilized for your shoes and the other side compartment can be utilized for your accessories. The spacious main compartment can store your clothes or other necessary items and there’s a smaller zippered pocket for your valuables. 

This bag is 100% polyester with a 100% polyester lining which is lightweight, water-resistant, and easy to clean.

However, polyester isn’t always the most durable material. A few people have reported minor punctures turning into big tears in a short time. And if that does happen, it quickly renders the bag useless.

That being said, it’s affordable and decent looking. If you’re committed to the Champion brand, this one can match your other gear. However, we feel like there are much better bags on this list in the same price range. 


Buyers Guide: How To Choose A Men’s Gym Bag 

open gym bag with gym essentials to the side

There’s no doubt you have a personal criterion in mind when you’re looking for a gym bag. But we thought we should include a few key points to pay attention to while you’re shopping around.

Size

The size of your gym bag is critical. Most come in several sizes so it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need. The larger bags are ideal if you’re carrying lots of equipment like clothing, towels, shoes, straps, lifting belts, bands, your own clips for the bar, etc. but these may not fit in the locker (depending on the gym you go to). 

Smaller and medium bags tend to be the best fit for most people. You can fit a change of clothes, towel, shoes, and basic gear (usually with a little room to spare). 

Material

The material matters for a few reasons. You want it to be durable, water-resistant and easy to clean. And finally, you want it to be as lightweight as possible. 

Many of the men’s gym bags are made from polyester, canvas, or nylon which is great. But if you’re looking at other bags, pay attention to whether or not the material can withstand water, if it’s durable, and how much the bag weighs. 

Leather, for example, looks great. But it’s high maintenance, you can’t wash it, and it can carry smells. 

Price 

The price of your bag, like any item you purchase, depends on the quality, brand, materials, and additional features. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a quality men’s gym bag though. 

On this list, we’ve included budget bags that are great and won’t immediately break down on you. 

Men’s Gym Bag FAQ’s

man packing shoes into gym bag

What’s the best gym bag available? 

Our top choice is the Under Armour Undeniable Duffel 3.0. It has plenty of pockets, lots of style and size options, and it can carry anything you need at the gym. It’s a quality men’s bag at an affordable price. 

What should you pack in a men’s gym bag? 

We like to bring a change of clothes, gym shoes (if you work out after work), towel, lifting straps, supplements, a protein shaker, water, and sandals for the showers. Those are the basics but you should evaluate your goals and lifting style to determine whether or not you need other things. If you’re a CrossFitter, for example, you might also want tape and a chalk bag, for example.  If you’re a bodybuilder, check out our review of the best gym bags for bodybuilders & weightlifters.

Can you use a backpack as a gym bag? 

Yes and no. Backpacks typically have the storage but the layout is all wrong. A normal backpack is designed for long slender items like books and laptops. They don’t have compartments for dirty clothes, shoes, etc. Additionally, you often have to reach down to the bottom of the bag for items that settle and the material tends to hold odors. 

If you only have a few items, you can use a standard backpack. But if you lift often, or you have a few extra bucks, just get the gym bag. You’ll have a better experience and you won’t make your backpack smelly. 

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