The Best Gym Bags by Personality Type
No two people are alike, and as fate would have it, the same goes for gym bags. While they may fool you at first as you make the blanket statement, "they're all the same," you can't judge a gym bag by its cover. Let's examine the nuances of different gym bags — from duffels to backpacks to totes — and see what works for each lifestyle and personality. Which is the right bag for you? Don't rush into this decision; really think about your needs and expectations, as well as your habits, so you can find your soul mate — I mean gym bag. The One.
As a fitness editor, I've been able to test quite a few of these styles, and they all serve different purposes and have different pros and cons. The right gym bag for you is waiting: let's take a look!
The Over-Packer: Lululemon Urban Warrior Duffel
Is your handbag reminiscent of Mary Poppins's bag, full of everything from Tide To-Go pens to super glue and a sewing kit? Then you need a gym bag that can handle your Type A, hoarding ways (I mean this in the nicest way possible; I fall into this category).
This is the closest bag to the one I actually carry every day (for reference, mine is the old model, the High Mileage Duffel). Although there are some subtle differences, the best parts are the same: zippered exterior shoe pocket for your sneakers (or dirty clothes), a thousand compartments, water-repellent material, cushioned (removable) strap, laundry bag, and all the bells and whistles a bag should have. And trust me, I put it all to good use . . . if you've seen my gym bag, you know it houses a mysteriously large number of things, including an electronic toothbrush, a Clarisonic, Band-Aids, extra underwear, a mobile charger . . .
The Work in Progress: Ban.do Work It Out Gym Bag
Fitness is not your favorite activity, and that's okay. You get an A for effort, and so does this bag. While it lacks the bells and whistles of the aforementioned Lululemon style, it does its job at being a bag, it can carry gym-related items as well as pizza, and it's got a positive outlook. You probably really identify with this bag (as do I, honestly), and to that we say "cheers" (we're toasting with pizza, though).
The Adventurer: Topo x Chaco Rover Pack
You know that phrase, "balance is the key to a healthy life"? Well, you live it! You're not confined to a gym, but you're also not afraid of it, either, and you keep your workouts in an even rotation by mixing traditional fitness with unconventional activities.
You love the great outdoors and staying active while you travel — but since you're always on the go, you need a sleek way to stash your stuff that isn't bulky. This subtle yet sophisticated pack speaks to your free-spirited soul and works for just about any activity you've got in the lineup.
The Multitasker: Fitmark the Sport Duffel
Are you the person who has to pencil time into your schedule for relaxation? You're getting up at ungodly hours of the morning to get to the gym before you head to the office — an office from which you don't typically depart for lunch — and perhaps squeeze in a little more gym time before you head home.
Fortunately for you and your crazy schedule, this gym bag from Fitmark is basically you, except for the fact that it's a bag. It has oversized compartments for both your gym shoes and your lunches; it has a "removable meal management system with two containers and a special slide-out compartment. You're giving the Marry Poppins Over-Packer type a run for her money right now.
Fitmark The Sport Duffel ($140)
The Outdoorsy Type: High Sierra Loop Backpack
From backpacking through the mountains to camping in the woods, your workouts rarely take place indoors. You don't care about frills, and that makes sense, since you're usually covered with a fine layer of dirt thanks to your usual earthy excursions.
High Sierra has sturdy, durable packs on offer, with a variety of adjustable and practical features. You can even add in a packable water bladder for hydration on the go, because that's more pragmatic than carrying water bottles, and you appreciate that.
The Gym Star: Nike Victory Metallic Gym Bag
You take your gym time seriously, and you look damn good while doing it. But also, can you please explain to us how your makeup looks so good after SoulCycle, and where you got those amazing sneakers? Oh . . . right . . . they're custom.
If this is you, you want a bag that makes a statement, in and out of the gym — but one that still totally performs. This one from Nike carries the essentials and is lightweight, but is a more serious bag than the pizza one, so you feel validated. Of note: our senior content director Susi has this bag, and she loves it.
The Studio Star: Sol and Selene Flying High Weekender
Do you spend the bulk of your time in ballet barre and pilates classes? Perrrrrfect. This is a great bag for you. It's stylish, beautiful, and perfect for lightweight items like studio socks and tights — and it'll make a great travel bag for what I imagine are your glamorous weekend getaways, because I assume everyone who takes barre leads a very glamorous life.
This bag is transitional thanks to its classic silhouette and color, yet functions quite well as a workout-specific carry-all. Keep the load you're carrying to a minimum, as the shoulder strap isn't padded, and can be a bit uncomfortable if you're lugging too much around (see: The Over-Packer).
The Commuter: Fitmark Yoga Me Backpack
You're likely a city dweller, and always on the go. And when your day consists of taking the train to work and squeezing in a yoga class at lunch, the Fitmark Yoga Me Backpack is your friend.
It's lightweight yet durable, ergonomic (it won't hurt your back), secure, and has clip-in straps for your mat. When all you need is a change of fresh clothes and maybe a small towel and water bottle, a backpack is a solid option in lieu of a gym bag. From personal experience, I got lots of compliments on this little number — it really is a sleek backpack.
Fitmark Yoga Me Backpack ($50, originally $75)
The Traveler: The North Face Apex Gym Duffel Bag
Your frequent flyer miles are unrivaled, and you spend your weekends jetting off to snowboard trips, urban escapes, and coastal retreats. If your most frequent commute is from the gym to the airport, and your gym bag doubles as your carry-on, you'll like this versatile duffel from The North Face.
It's large and sturdy, has removable straps and zipper pockets, and features a designated spot for shoes and clothes. Side clips let you convert the bag to a smaller size when you're not carrying as much.
The Yoga Pants Enthusiast: Sol and Selene Metropolitan
Ah, yes. Hello, Yoga Pants Enthusiast. How is that green juice? I'm not judging you, I'm actually just jealous.
Fitness is just one form of your style expression, so your gym bag should match, right? Marble is sooo on trend, and this lovely nylon tote is versatile enough to go from Barry's Bootcamp to brunch with style and ease. It comes with a laundry bag and a removable strap, making it just as functional as it is fashionable.
Sol and Selene Metropolitan ($110)