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Best gym bags 2021: The most stylish and practical gym bags to buy from £15

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Find your perfect gym bag with our buying guide

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.

How to buy 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.

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.

READ NEXT: The best fitness apps for running, calorie counting and more

The best gym bags to buy from £15

1. Nike Brasilia: The best gym bag under £30

Price: £23 | Buy now from Argos


This practical bag is designed to last for years. It’s made from durable polyester fabric and has a waterproof, reinforced base, so you can put it down on wet or sweaty floors without worrying that anything will seep inside. You can use the two handles to wear it like rucksack, or sling it over one shoulder with the single strap. The Nike Brasilia has one large main compartment plus a separate shoe pocket that’s large enough to squeeze your sweaty gear inside, along with your gym kicks.

Key specsSize: 500 x 280 x 260mm (WDH); Capacity: 40 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Polyester

Buy now from Argos


2. Domyos Fitness Bag: The best gym bag under £20

Price: £15 | Buy now from Decathlon


This bargain bag has all sorts of clever features such as elasticated straps on the bottom to carry a yoga mat, and numerous pockets for storing your valuables, locker padlock, gym card and toiletries, among other things. There’s also a large pocket where you can stash your gym clothes after your workout, and the hardy fabric can be wiped clean if it gets dirty. It might not be the most stylish bag, but the Domyos Fitness Bag is designed to fulfil all your basic gym needs, and does so admirably.

Key specs – Size: 520 x 210 x 320mm (WDH); Capacity: 30 litres; Weight: 574g; Material: Polyester

Buy now from Decathlon


3. Herschel Novel Duffle: The most stylish gym bag

Price: £85 | Buy now from John Lewis


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

Buy now from John Lewis


4. Jim Bag Camel & Black Rucksack: The best rucksack gym bag

Price: £50 | Buy now from Jim Bag


British company Jim Bag makes colourful bags in all shapes and sizes – duffels, rucksacks, holdalls, wash bags, you name it. This rucksack catches the eye thanks to its classic design and impressive capacity – you can pack 32 litres of your belongings in it. The canvas fabric is lightweight and easy to clean, while the padded shoulder straps make the rucksack comfortable to carry even if you fill its generous main compartment to the brim.

Key specs – Size: 300 x 230 x 470mm (WDH); Capacity: 32.4 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Cotton canvas

Buy now from Jim Bag


5. Lululemon All Day Duffel: The best all-day gym bag

Price: £128 | Buy now from Lululemon


It’s not cheap, but the Lululemon All Day has enough impressive features to make it worth the outlay. Along with its durable, wipe-clean fabric and 31-litre capacity, this gym bag has a 15in laptop sleeve, a handy pocket for your phone and even a heat-resistant pocket where you can put hair straighteners without waiting for them to cool after use. There are straps to hold a yoga mat that stow away when not in use too, and there’s a dedicated pocket for sweaty gear. Whatever your waking hours might hold, the All Day Duffel should help ensure you’re well prepared.

Key specs – Size: 470 x 230 x 320 mm (WDH); Capacity: 31 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Not specified

Buy now from Lululemon


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

Price: £110 | Buy now from North Face


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

Buy now from North Face


7. Sweaty Betty Luxe Gym Bag: The best office-to-gym bag

Price: £95 | Buy now from Sweaty Betty


Another gym bag that shows style and practically can go hand in hand, the Sweaty Betty Luxe has a dazzling array of pockets, including a separate zipped section on the bottom for sweaty clothes and shoes. There’s also a water bottle holder, and the main pocket is split into several compartments so you can organise your belongings neatly, with a lined pocket for toiletries. There are straps for a yoga mat on the bottom of the bag which can be pulled tight so they’re not visible or in the way when you’re not carrying a mat. Finally, the woven fabric is hardy, lightweight, and easy to clean.

Key specs – Size: 430 x 240 x 260 mm (WDH); Capacity: Not specified; Weight: Not specified; Material: Quilted woven fabric

Buy now from Sweaty Betty


8. Speedo Team Rucksack III: The best gym bag for swimmers

Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon


Due to the dampness of the environment they spend so much time in, swimmers need a little more from their bag than other gym goers. The Team III rucksack is made from a water-resistant fabric and has separate pockets to store wet swimsuits in. Special attention has been paid to the base of the bag, which will happily sit on wet floors without letting any water get through. The rucksack is big enough to take a chunky towel, and you can roll the top up or down to increase or reduce its size depending on how much space is needed that day.

Key specs – Size: 27 x 12 x 3 cm (WHD); Capacity: 30 litres; Weight: 0.5g; Material: Polyester

9. Babolat Pure Backpack: The best gym bag for tennis players

Price: £54 | Buy now from Amazon


Most keen tennis players will already have a huge bag with enough space for several rackets and all the paraphernalia required for a match – but you don’t need to carry all of that to a training session or friendly knock about on your gym’s tennis courts. The Babolat Pure Backpack is a great minimalist alternative to a standard tennis bag, especially because you’ll make far fewer enemies when negotiating packed public transport on your way to the game.

The Pure Backpack has a dedicated racket compartment with an extendable zip cover for the handle, which sticks out of the top of the bag. It also has two ventilated sections for your dirty shoes and clothes, while the large main compartment is spacious enough to accommodate a couple of tubes of tennis balls plus any nutrition you need to get through a sweaty five-setter. All of those features – bar the racket compartment – will be just as useful if you’re heading to the gym for a regular work-out, too.

Key specs – Size: 320 x 440 x 260mm (WDH); Capacity: 29 litres; Weight: Not specified; Material: Not specified

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

Price: £149 | Buy now from Stolt


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

Buy now from Stolt


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