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Best gym bag 2023: The most stylish and practical gym bags to buy from £20

Find the best gym bag with our top picks and buying guide

Finding the best gym bag can be a game changer. You can go for a run or a workout wearing whatever you want, but you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you opt for a pair of trainers and some lightweight, sweat-wicking clothes. The same principles apply to gym bags. You can use any old bag to carry your gear to and from the gym, but the benefits of owning a dedicated gym bag become clear the first time you use one, if only because it keeps your sweaty clothes away from your other belongings.

A good gym bag should be practical, but that doesn’t mean it has to lack style, with plenty of great bags available that score highly on both counts. Below you’ll find an array of stylish bags suited to all manner of tastes, but first let’s run through what you need to know before picking out your new gym bag.

Best gym bags: At a glance

How to choose the best gym bag for you

When do you go to the gym?

If you like to squeeze in a training session at lunchtime or before work, you should consider buying a larger gym bag that doubles as your office bag – and that has practical features such as a laptop sleeve. Alternatively, if you go straight home after your workout, a smaller bag that only carries your gym gear should suffice.

When it comes to picking how big your gym bag is, it’s also important to check how large your gym’s lockers are, and whether you need to bring toiletries and towels yourself.

What do you do at the gym?

If you’re a keen swimmer you’ll want a waterproof pocket in the bag to stash your wet swimming gear away in. And those who want to carry their own yoga mat to and from the gym should look for a bag that’s long enough to accommodate it, or has straps to attach it to the outside.

What features do you need?

The best extras a gym bag can offer are separate pockets for your sweaty gear and shoes. A shoe compartment, in particular, is important if you don’t want anything and everything else in the bag to start smelling a little funky. If you opt for a larger gym bag, it’s also a good idea to get one that has straps that allow you to carry it like a rucksack, which will be more comfortable than slinging it over one shoulder when full.

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What material should the bag be made from?

What material you choose largely comes down to personal tastes. Leather is both tough and stylish, but is harder to clean, which is worth considering when you’ll be chucking sweaty clothes in it constantly. Canvas bags aren’t so durable but don’t tend to get too whiffy, while nylon and polyester bags are much more long-lasting, but can trap smells in. One final consideration is whether the bag is waterproof, which is useful for stashing wet gear in and if you walk or cycle through the rain to the gym.

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The best gym bags to buy in 2023

1. Nike Brasilia: The best gym bag under £40

Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at NikeNike Brasilia gym bag

The Nike Brasilia is an ideal bag for your gymming needs. The large main compartment is plentiful, with ample space to hold your clothes, towel and personal items. There are two pockets for the essentials, one small inner pouch for valuables and a zip pocket along the outside. What makes this bag a little gem is the addition of a shoe pocket underneath, allowing you to keep all your belongings and equipment in one place without having to force your shoes in on top of your clothes. The holdall also benefits from two carry straps, including a padded section in the middle for easy transportation. Simple and practical, the Nike Brasilia is excellent value for money.

Key specsSize: 380 x 230 x 240mm (WDH); Capacity: 41 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Polyester

Check price at Nike

2. Kipsta Sports Bag: The best gym bag for £20 and under

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at DecathlonKipsta Sports Bag

This handy Kipsta Hardcase bag has four compartments designed for carrying your sports equipment with ease. With one central compartment for your clothes, a side zip for personal items, an inner pocket for valuables and a separate section for your shoes, it does everything you could ask for. The rigid structure of the bag and reinforced bottom allows for good load resistance and tensile strength, making the Kipster durable as well as practical. The polyester lining and polyurethane coating also makes the bag water resistant, adding a little more protection for your belongings. With a two-year warranty, the Kipster is an all-rounder that won’t break the bank.

Key specs – Size: 490 x 290 x 310mm (WDH); Capacity: 45 litres; Weight: 1050g; Material: Polyester and Polyurethane

Check price at Decathlon

3. Herschel Novel Duffle: The most stylish gym bag

Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at House of FraserHerschel Novel Duffle

The Novel Duffle marries style and function perfectly, with its sturdy nylon fabric available in a huge range of patterns, meaning it can be used as a weekend bag as well as your gym bag. The clever shoe compartment is accessed from the end of the bag, and there’s also an internal mesh pocket to help keep your gear organised. The Novel Duffle can be carried by the reinforced leather handles, or a removable padded shoulder strap, and boasts a roomy 42.5 litre capacity, so you should have no trouble fitting in a week’s worth of gym gear if needs be.

Key specs – Size: 520 x 260 x 290mm (WDH); Capacity: 42.5 litres; Weight: 1kg; Material: Nylon

4. Sleek Backpack: The best rucksack gym bag

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Gymshark

Sleek Backpack

When you’re looking for a gym rucksack, it’s difficult to find one that holds everything you need, and even if you do it’s not always practical. This functional backpack from Gymshark aims to tackle all of these problems while staying stylish. With one main entry, two side pockets, a padded laptop sleeve, internal pocket organiser, wet kit pocket and 23L volume, the Sleek backpack boasts impressive usability. The outer coating is also waterproof polyurethane, so if you’re heading to the gym from work or just need to carry everything all at once, this rucksack is certainly up to the job.

Key specs – Size: 200 x 350 x 550mm (WDH); Capacity: 23 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Main: 100% Polyurethane. Lining: 100% Polyester

Check price at Gymshark

5. North Face Base Camp Duffel Small: The most durable gym bag

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at North Face

North Face Base Camp Duffel Small

Forget the flimsy things you get at supermarket checkouts, this is a real bag for life. The durability of the Base Camp Duffel is legendary, and it’s just as good a gym bag as it is an expedition hold-all. The main compartment even in the small size is huge and the strap system allows it to be carried as a rucksack or by the handles. If you want a separate end pocket for dirty clothes, you’ll need to opt for the 71-litre medium size bag, but it’s fair to say the small size should fulfil all the needs of most gym-goers handily. If you only ever want to shop once for a gym bag, you won’t go wrong with this duffel.

Key specs – Size: 530 x 325 x 325mm (WDH); Capacity: 50 litres; Weight: 1.23kg; Material: Laminated nylon

Check price at North Face

6. Speedo Unisex Teamster 2.0: The best gym bag for swimmers

Price when reviewed: From £45 | Check price at Amazon

Speedo Unisex Teamster 2.0 gym bag

If you’re heading to the pool, be sure to take the Speedo Teamster 2.0 with you. Boasting a 35L capacity and five separate compartments, the teamster can hold your laptop, toiletries, flip flops and wet swimming gear all on the same trip. The newly designed mesh pocket includes air vents to help dry wet clothes while in the bag, making for convenient packing if you’re not done for the day. Its polyester coating also makes the backpack water resistant, taking away the worry of plonking your bag down in the changing rooms or side of the pool. If you’re looking for a functional rucksack to fulfil your swimming needs, look no further.

Key specs – Size: 508 x 432mm (LW); Capacity: 35 litres; Weight: 650g; Material: Polyester

7. Babolat Evo Court: The best gym bag for tennis players

Price when reviewed: £42 | Check price at Amazon

Babolat Evo Court Gym bag

This is the ideal, practical bag for tennis players. Specialising in tennis, Babolat create its products with the player in mind, and the proof is in pudding. With a 35L capacity and room for up to three tennis rackets, the Evo Court offers ample space to transport everything you need to and from your games. As well as the main compartment and side pocket for your water bottle, the bag is also equipped with a handy shoe pocket on the underside for simple loading. Removing your gear is also a breeze, with the sturdy inner lining designed to prevent snagging, making life easier and meaning constant use won’t cause damage to the bag. Made from 100% recycled polyester canvas, this bag is both durable and water resistant, protecting your belongings in a sturdy, quality backpack.

Key specs – Size: 260 x 300 x 490mm (WDH); Capacity: 36 litres; Weight: 550g; Material: Polyester

8. Stolt Alpha Business Backpack: The best gym bag for active commuters

Price when reviewed: £119 | Check price at Stolt

Stolt Alpha Business Backpack

This rucksack is stylish enough for the office, comfortable to wear while running or cycling and also roomy enough to swallow all of your gym gear, a pair of shoes and your office essentials. The waist straps that make it great for running can be tucked away into the back of the rucksack when not in use, and there’s an expandable front zipped pocket that you can use for gym gear or shoes after you’ve finished your workout.

You might not even need that extra space, because the rucksack’s main compartment is also impressively roomy, and there’s a separate section at the back that contains a laptop sleeve large enough for 16in computers. It’s a brilliant, do-it-all bag as it is, and you can also buy accessories for it like a garment box that fits inside the main compartment to keep your clothes crease-free while you run or cycle. The material used for the rucksack is water repellent and resists odours, and you can buy a high-visibility, waterproof cover for it if you want extra protection from the elements.

Key specsSize: 280 x 150 x 460mm (WDH); Capacity: 20 litres; Weight: 1.2kg; Material: Nylon

Check price at Stolt

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