Remember when footballer Harry Maguire turned up for his first England camp with his gear in a bin bag? How we laughed! There are lots of things to admire about Maguire, his noble slab of a head being number one, but we urge you not to follow in his footsteps when it comes to kit bags.
Instead peruse this list, which includes bags to suit all needs. Whether you’re after a functional bag full of different compartments for organising your gear, or something more stylish, we have the perfect gym bag for you right here. Leave the bin bags in the bin.
New Balance Player Duffel
Storage and sturdiness are the key selling points of this duffel bag. The storage comes in the form of a large main section with a zipped valuables pocket, a zip side compartment for your shoes and a drop-in mesh pocket on the other side. On the durability front the base is water-repellent and abrasion-resistant, and the hardy strap and handles will last several years of slinging the bag around locker rooms.
Buy from New Balance (opens in new tab) | £44
Osprey Transporter 40L
This is the gym bag for anyone who just has to carry a huge amount of kit with them at all times. The Transporter’s cavernous main compartment has a clamshell opening so it’s easy to rummage around the ridiculous amount of stuff you’ve crammed in it. A semblance of organisation is provided by the inside mesh pocket for valuables at one end, and an outer pocket on the other end for easy access to your gym pass. The single shoulder strap has a comfy bit of padding, but there are also hidden backpack straps to break out if you have to hump the bag a long way.
Buy from Osprey (opens in new tab) | £100
Jim Bag Camel Duffle
British-born Jim Bag has one simple idea – to strike the balance between traditional functional sports bags that only look good in the locker room and high-end weekend getaway bags that you’d be reluctant to use for your gym kit. We’ll let you check out the range, including this weighty drawstring duffle, and judge whether or not Jim Bag has nailed it (clue: it has).
Buy from Jim Bag (opens in new tab) | £37.99
Herschel Packable Duffle
If you’re not the type to have a closet dedicated to your collection of bags, but don’t want to sully your day bag with sweaty gym kit, you’ll be pleased that this duffle bag packs up into its own internal pocket making it easy to store in a draw on non-training days. You might think the lightweight nature would make it flimsy but Herschel is one step ahead of you, lining the bag with a tough, waxy material so it’ll stand up to whatever you throw in it.
Speedo Team Rucksack III
Swimmers with a lot of gear take note: this rucksack boasts an ample 30 litres of space, so you can pack your fluffiest towel. The rucksack also has a waterproof pocket for swimsuits and the base is made from a water-resistant fabric, so it can sit on wet floors without the contents getting drenched.
Buy from Speedo (opens in new tab) | £45 (currently reduced to £31.50)
How do you like to carry your gym bag? One diagonal strap over the shoulder? Two-strapping it like a rucksack? In both arms in front of you like a sack of rice? This canny bag from Adidas gives you all those options, though we wouldn’t recommend the sack-of-rice style – it’s just not very practical when out and about. As well as the convertible straps, this duffle has a separate ventilated pocket for shoes and an array of small internal pockets to stow your valuables in.
Buy from Adidas (opens in new tab) | £34.95 (currently reduced to £20.97)
Domyos Fitness Bag 30L
When hunting down a cheap and cheerful option it’s always worth checking out what’s available at Decathlon, and its in-house gym-gear brand comes up with the goods when it comes to gym bags. Six separate compartments allow you to organise your gear (read: quarantine your sweaty socks), and there are designated pockets for gym essentials like your locker padlock, shower gel and water bottle. There are also straps on the bottom to hold a yoga mat – ideal if you’re fed up with lying face-down on the sweaty shared mats at your gym.
Buy from Decathlon (opens in new tab) | £17.99 (currently reduced to £11.99)
MarsBro Gym Bag
If you’re the type of person who likes everything to have a place, this bag is a great pick. There’s a side compartment for your shoes, one internal pocket for your valuables and an external one for valuables you need to have to hand, as well as a side flap for the contents of your washbag. Then of course there’s the main compartment, which is a sizable 30 litres. It’s not bad to look at, either.
A worthy upgrade on the basic drawstring bag, the Nike Brasilia is made from a durable, water-resistant fabric, has an internal divider to organise gear and features a zipped pocket for valuables.
Buy from Nike (opens in new tab) | £10.95
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Under Armour Hustle 4.0 Backpack
This rucksack is a great commuter/gym bag combo, with a laptop sleeve and plenty of useful pockets for work accoutrements, as well as space for your workout gear including a separate shoe pocket. The Hustle 4.0 is also water repellant, so your valuables and kit won’t get wet if you travel to the gym in the rain, and it comes in a pleasing range of colours.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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