Do you hate your gym bag?
You’re not alone.
Whether you have no place for your water bottle, or your sweaty and wet clothes are stinking up the rest of your stuff, I’ve got your back.
Just think of me as your spotter, I guess.
In this post, I’ll point you to some great gym bags for guys with different needs.
If you’re in a hurry, just go and check out my top pick, the Timbuk2 Navigator Duffel, on Amazon.
The best gym bags for guys – 5 top picks
Best overall, for the serious Gym Rat: Timbuk2 Navigator
It shouldn’t be possible for a bag to be both compact and spacious, but the Timbuk2 Navigator manages to combine the best of both worlds.
This duffel is designed for maximum utility, with high quality construction that will serve all your storage needs.
The Navigator comes in 3 sizes, all with a large central compartment perfect for packing up your gym clothes. There are also external pockets for any odds and ends you need with you, and even a zippered compartment big enough to hold a pair of shoes.
Oh, and did I mention that you can convert it into a backpack? The straps can be configured to carry it on your back, sling it across one shoulder, or carry it by two handles.
No matter what kind of gear you’re hauling with you, the Timbuk2 Navigator has you covered.
- Storage, storage, and more storage
- Built to last
- Convertible straps
- No ventilated area for sweaty clothes
- A bit on the pricey side, but I’d say it’s worth every penny
All around, this duffel is a stellar option for a serious gym rat.
Most functional: OGIO Endurance 7.0
Well, if features are what you’re looking for, the OGIO Endurance has everything you could possibly want.
The creators of this duffle thought of everything.
The Endurance has a large central compartment, ventilated dirty clothes compartment, ventilated shoe compartment, and an external mesh for storing a helmet. Best of all, there’s even a crush-proof compartment for storing electronics, sunglasses, and other delicate items.
The outside is also made out of a highly reflective material that makes this bag easy to spot in low-light conditions.
Added to that, the Endurance, like the Navigator, has convertible straps to make it into a backpack if that suits your needs.
- Ventilated compartments for both shoes and sweaty clothes
- External storage for helmets
- Electronics compartment
- High-visibility material
- Smaller than some other options
If you’re looking for sheer functionality, the OGIO Endurance has the most high-tech features you’ll find. It’s another great pick for a dedicated athlete looking for a quality bag.
Best bag for Swimmers and Sweaty Clothes: Speedo Ventilator
Or maybe you’re a particularly sweaty exerciser?
I sure am.
Either way, I’ve got you covered.
Like the name suggests, the Speedo Ventilator Duffle Bag is the ideal choice for swimmers, or anyone else carrying around wet gear.
Whether you’re training at the pool or spending the day at the beach, this bag’s ventilated mesh compartment will let your swimsuit and towel air dry quickly and naturally. You’ll never have to worry about musty, mildewed clothes again.
Meanwhile, you can use the zippered side pocket to keep your phone and wallet safe and dry while you work out.
The Ventilator is designed to be both lightweight and durable.
It also has a padded shoulder strap, so there’s no need to worry about it cutting into your shoulder if you’re carrying a lot of weight.
- Lets your clothes air dry while you carry them
- Lightly built yet sturdy
- Dry side pockets
- Padded shoulder strap
- The whole bag is kind of see-through
- If you’re unlucky enough to get caught in the rain, your clothes can get wet through the mesh
The Ventilator provides a lot of great features for hauling wet gear, and does it at a relatively low price. That makes it a top pick for swimmers.
Best bag for Triathletes: Tri Clops Backpack
Another great pick from Speedo, the Tri Clops Backpack is a multipurpose bag perfect for triathletes and other multi-sport athletes.
This bag has so many pockets that you can organize it any way you want. It has an easy-access pocket on the front to store a bike helmet without getting the helmet mixed up in your clothes.
It also has a separate compartment for keeping dirty, sweaty, or wet clothing from ruining clean clothes.
In a stroke of true genius, the Tri Clops also has compartments specifically dedicated for holding running shoes and biking shoes, as well as fleece pockets for storing glasses and swim goggles.
If the bag gets heavy with all your gear, you’ll find it supported with comfortable ergonomic straps and an ergonomic back panel for easy carrying.
- Separate compartment for dirty or wet clothes
- Compartments designed for running shoes and biking shoes
- Pockets for storing glasses and goggles
- Ergonomic straps and back panel
- Convenient helmet storage
- No waterproof pocket
- Some customers have said that the shoe compartments can’t fit large shoes
The Speedo Tri Clops Backpack was designed with triathletes specifically in mind. Overall, this backpack has all the optimal features from someone combining multiple sports into one event.
Premium Triathlon Alternative: If you’re looking for similar features and are willing to get into a higher price range, the ZOOT SPORTS Ultra Tri Bag is another great option, with the added bonus that it can fit into a airplane carry-on compartment.
Best for Minimalist Style: Herschel Supply Novel Duffel
If you like these options but are looking for a more simple, minimalistic option, the Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag provides quality and functionality without an overabundance of gimmicks and features.
This bag has a recognizably classic design.
It has a spacious central compartment enclosed with a two-way zipper, as well as a convenient shoe compartment to keep your shoes separate from the rest of your clothes.
With its compact design and padded shoulder strap, the Novel Duffle Bag is a favorite for athletes and travelers alike.
As an added bonus, this one also comes in a variety of colors and patterns to suit anyone’s tastes.
- Fashionable design
- Shoe compartment
- Streamlined and straightforward construction
- Fits into an airplane carry-on compartment
- No ventilated compartment for dirty clothes
- Not as durable as some of the other options
All things considered, you can’t go wrong with this simple, elegant bag, no matter if you’re using it for a quick workout, a day at the lake, or a weekend trip.
Budget Alternative: That said, if you’re looking for minimalism at a lower price point, check out the MarsBro Weekender Duffel.
This bag also has a shoe compartment, as well as a ventilated compartment for dirty gear. To make things even better, the exterior is made from a water-resistant material.
While this one isn’t as pretty as the Herschel, it’s a good, simple bag for someone seeking a minimalistic option.
What features can be found in the perfect gym bag?
You’ve sweated blood to improve your health and get the perfect body.
You expect 100% from yourself.
Why should you expect less from your equipment?
It all starts with your gym bag.
When I’m choosing a bag for my workout stuff, I generally focus on 3 important features:
Storage and Organization
It’s a bag, isn’t it?
You’ve got to make sure that the bag you’re carrying can actually carry what you need. What this means, though, can depend on your specific type of exercise.
There are lots of gym archetypes:
- The minimalist exerciser, who just needs a bag to hold a towel and water bottle
- The gym rat, who needs a weight belt, wrist straps, resistance bands, supplements, water, protein bars, a change of shoes, and any number of other things to get through a long workout
- A swimmer, who will need a change of clothes, swimsuit and towel, and possibly other swimming-related equipment
- Triathletes, who need equipment for all three legs of a triathalon, and the need to switch between them easily
You get the idea.
If you’re a minimalist, a simple bag will generally do. Others have the need for large space, and possibly a lot of pockets to keep things organized.
A Separate “Wet Pocket”
We’ve all been there.
You change your clothes after a great workout, and your sweaty old stuff is in your bag. Maybe you don’t go home for a little while afterwards.
Your bag, shoes, and other stuff stink.
That’s why every guy’s gym bag should have a separate pocket for wet clothes.
Often, these are located off to the side or the bottom, and are made of mesh or other breathable fabric so that they can breathe a bit – outside the bag.
Not all of the bags I recommend here will have them, for reasons related to the third feature below.
If yours doesn’t, you can use a sealed ziploc bag or something else to hold your wet stuff, but it doesn’t have the breathability of a true “wet pocket.”
Go that route at your own risk.
Aesthetics and Style
How a gym bag looks is a big part of whether you want to carry it or not.
Heck, the site is called “Stylish Carry,” so obviously I care.
A great looking bag is a great asset for a guy.
It makes it so you’re not embarrassed carrying your gym stuff back and forth from the gym. Especially if you have a commute or you’re using the gym bag as a work bag as well.
Gentlemen, we need to look good.
Most of these bags, in my opinion, look great. I’m not usually a fan of the “sportier” ones, but that aesthetic definitely appeals to some.
So I’ve tried to pick a good variety of functional, sexy-looking gym bags for guys (that you can safely keep your sweaty clothes in).
Let’s check them out.
The Final Verdict
However, each gym goer has their own needs, so this post should have something for everyone.
Got another favorite? Post it in the comments!
In the meantime, check out this great video with some clever hacks for pimping out your gym bag: