The best gym bag will keep you organized and prepared wherever your workout takes you.
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Woman with gym bag
Credit: urbazon/Getty Images

Personal trainers often recommend finding a workout buddy for some fitness motivation. And who says that buddy can't be a bag? It's an accessory to which you're *literally* attached at the hip. Besides, having the right gym bag is a must for keeping your workout attire organized and neat. And while it's true that whether you transport your workout gear in a faded canvas tote or a shiny, sleek designer duffel won't affect your fitness routine, owning the best gym bag ever that's practical and trendy might propel you to actually work out more often so you can show off your style. (More: 15 Stylish Gym Bags That Might Make You Want to Work Out More)

Here are the 11 best gym bags in various sizes and styles that'll meet all your workout needs, whether you're an active athlete or an indoor cycling class newbie. Some are even proudly recommended by dance and fitness experts, who consider these bags their must-haves for staying organized and prepared for anything in the gym, studio, and beyond. Read more on why each of these cool gym bags is the best in their category, below.

Best Small Gym Bag: Nike Brasilia

Best Medium Gym Bag: Adidas Defender III

Best Large Gym Bag: AmazonBasics Large Duffel

Best with a Shoe Compartment: Boost Sports Gym Bag

Best for Yoga: Y.U.M.C Yoga Gym Bag

Best for Your Back and Shoulders: Under Armour The Works Gym Bag

Best Small Gym Bag

Nike Brasilia X-Small Duffel

You won't have any issues squeezing this smaller duffel into thin gym lockers. At 15.8-by-9.8-by-9.8 inches, this mini gym bag is made of easy-to-clean polyether material and has a large front pocket adorned with Nike's famous swoosh logo. The shoulder strap has plastic clips instead of metal ones, so it won't dig into your skin when carried. Additionally, this duffel offers a dual-zip main compartment that provides secure storage; a customer review noted it fits a volleyball, two water bottles, and a pair of shoes nicely, but it does not have a separate shoe compartment or any additional internal compartments. Even after some wear and tear, the bag maintains its oval-like duffel shape and doesn't bunch up like an accordion, making it a great value. Summarizes one reviewer: "I would totally recommend [the Brasilia] if you need for basics."  Other reviewers like that it's a "compact bag that carries essentials" and calls it the "perfect size". 

Best Medium Gym Bag

Adidas Defender III Small Duffle Bag
Credit: Dick's Sporting Goods

This mid-sized gym bag has the added bonus of being taller than most; many customers said it nicely held all their martial arts and boxing gear due to its taller size. The shoulder strap is removable and padded; if you choose to carry the bag with your hands, the handles are easy to grasp and tightly reinforced. The main compartment is roomy, and there are two additional pockets on each end of the bag along with an outside zippered pocket that's perfect for stashing smaller essentials like keys and facial wipes. This duffel is made of reinforced rip-stop material, meaning it won't tear easily along the zippers and seams. And while it's one of the best gym bag options, at 24-by-13-by-12 inches, the Defender also makes for a nice weekend travel bag. 

Best Large Gym Bag

AmazonBasics Large Travel Luggage Duffel Bag
Credit: Amazon

This large nylon gym bag is an Amazon's Choice product with more than 1,300 positive reviews (so you know it's popular!). Available in three solid colors, it's lightweight yet roomy: The 32.5-by-17-by-11.5 inch bag weighs just one pound but can hold up to 50 pounds of sporting gear and attire in its 6,000-cubic-inch capacity. It has two pockets, including a zippered interior one and an outer pocket, and it's collapsible for easy storage between uses.  It also comes with soft top handles and a shoulder strap, so you can carry it in more way than one. Fans call it stylish and rave about its unique exterior zipper feature — it unzips along three sides: up one end of the bag, across the center to open the main portion, and then down the other end, which makes organizing your stuff much easier. Another reason it's in the running for best gym bag ever? This budget-friendly find is just $20. 

Best Backpack

City Adventurer Backpack
Credit: lululemon athletica

"This bag has a pocket and compartment for everything," says Danielle DeAngelo, former Radio City Rockette and co-founder of Jane DO, a fitness brand with classes in New York City and New Jersey. "The bottom zip is great for sneakers or post-workout sweaty clothes, while the inside has a designated spot for my water bottle, a small zipper for personal items like hair ties and tampons, and still enough room to throw in sunglasses and other miscellaneous items." She adds, "There's a separate padded section for a laptop, and my favorite is the small, super accessible side pocket perfect for keys." For DeAngelo, when it comes to gym bags, "the less bulky, the better, and most often, backpacks are my main preference. They allow me to be hands-free so I can multitask phone calls, coffee, and finding my cash and card." (One editor loves this Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack so much she's worn it every day for more than a year!)

Best Wet/Dry Bag

Nike Radiate Club Training Bag
Credit: Amazon

"Nothing is worse than when your sweaty clothes are flirting with your post-workout snack inside your bag," jokes Jacey Lambros, another former Radio City Rockette and the other co-founder of Jane DO. Lambros prefers gym bags that have separate compartments for wet clothes that are ready to be washed post-workout and dry clothes that you'll change into after a good sweat session. This chic Nike bag meets her needs with a carrying strap, a large side pocket, a sturdy bottom, and most importantly, areas to separate wet and dry clothes. "It also comes equipped with an internal, very ventilated shoe compartment. It's subtle and functional; and fashion-wise, it compliments any variety of leggings." 

Best with a Shoe Compartment

Boost Sports Gym Bag with Shoes Compartment Wet Pocket
Credit: Amazon

There was so much online buzz about this best-selling bag that I had to see what all the fuss was about — and I'm sold. Basically, it's a hot-commodity Amazon's Choice duffel that meets your needs at a decent price point and caters to a variety of sports and activities. And it's not made of canvas or nylon like most gym bags: Instead, it employs a lightweight fabric that's stretchy and breathable. Reviewers like its versatility, saying it's suitable for everything from basic workouts and sports to traveling, hiking, and camping. The large main compartment can hold all of your essentials while the rest of your items can fit in the front and side pockets, the inner waterproof pouch, and the handy shoe compartment on the bottom. It comes with an adjustable strap so you can carry it or wear it across your body, and without anything in it, it weighs just slightly over one pound. (Related: The Best Hiking Backpacks for Women)

Best for Motivation

ban.do-big-city-canvas-tote-after-this-we're-getting-tacos
Credit: Ban.do

Truth: Working out isn't always fun. You probably (ok, definitely) have days where you need all the support you can get just to pack your gym bag. That's why this tote for taco lovers is one of the best gym bag picks: It adds a little whimsy to your workout outfit and will put a smile on your face to help you get through HIIT class. It's a roomy, lightweight bag made of a durable canvas — pretty simple and compact overall, making it perfect for quick sweat sessions. In a never-ending sea of black duffel bags, why not stand out?

Best Leather Gym Bag

Cuyana Classic Structured Leather Tote
Credit: Cuyana

Even if it's not meant as a gym bag, a simple tote works nicely if you plan to go straight from the studio to a night out. This one is large enough to fit your gear, but won't read "gym bag" when you transition from day to night. Plus, it comes in 15 color varieties and has the option for monogramming. The Meghan Markle-approved bag features a microsuede lining. The outside is made of genuine pebbled Italian leather made in tanneries certified by the Leather Working Group, an organization that assesses the environmental impact of leather manufacturing facilities.

Best Luxury 

MZ Wallace Small Sutton Bag
Credit: Nordstrom

This sleek and stylish bag is so beautiful, you might be hesitant to use it for a gym bag. You can argue that it's really a purse, but it fits much more than a wallet and lip gloss — it's perfect for carrying all of your basic accessories for a quick morning workout when you're already dressed in your activewear. Made of lightweight quilted nylon, the carryall is reinforced with sturdy (but soft) double handles and can also be worn as a crossbody thanks to the longer strap that's also included. It has a flat bottom, which helps the bag stand on its own (great for leaning into if you need to grab a mini towel from it in the middle of Zumba class), and it's fully lined on the inside, which includes a removable zippered pouch to hold additional valuables. Additionally, it's water-resistant and folds flat for easy storage. 

Best for Yoga

Available in medium and large sizes and three cute colorways, this is one of the best gym bag options available — especially for yogis. It has two large front pockets, a wet/dry pocket to divide your sweaty and clean clothes, a separate shoe storage area, a large main compartment, and, of course, an easy-to-reach place to store your rolled-up yoga mat. Made of waterproof, breathable fabric, this bag is both tough and trendy. The built-in yoga mat strap is very secure, so you'll never have to worry about your mat slipping out when you're in transit. And in a busy yoga studio, items can get lost easily, so it's nice to have a bag with several pockets to help keep you organized. As one satisfied customer writes: "The mat can be held on the top of the bag, so it doesn't tip over. The material is very sturdy and easy to clean, and there are so many pockets and places to keep things, and plenty of space for shoes." (Related: The Best Yoga Towels for Even the Hottest Hot Yoga Sessions)

Best for Your Back and Shoulders

adidas Defender III Duffel Bag
Credit: Amazon

Carrying around a gym bag that's comfortable and doesn't strain your neck, shoulders, or back is just as important as getting in a good sweat sesh. And this Under Armour option is not only practical, according to Lambros, but it's also really easy to transport and doesn't cause any unnecessary body pain. "As a Rockette, I had to carry a large bag to accommodate all our dance shoe varieties. With 8-hour rehearsals 6 days a week, my bag of choice — this one! — had to have a stash for used rehearsal wear, snacks, and, on occasion, clothes for cocktails. So, comfort was also a must." It has four pockets total and comes with a laundry bag for shoes or sweaty clothes, a safe "hot pocket" for a curling iron (really!), and exterior straps to carry a yoga mat. And though the cushioned bag is pretty roomy, when used correctly (don't fill it with bowling balls or something), it also won't put extra strain on your shoulders or back when carried around all day. "With its padded straps and incredible washability, this bag kicks butt," says Lambros.