Looking to get in shape in the new year? You're not alone. Losing weight and exercising more have been two of the top New Year's resolutions in recent years.
Unfortunately, staying motivated to improve your health and fitness every single day can be incredibly hard. It might not sound like a big deal, but setting up the little things—like your gym bag—to lead a more active day-to-day can be a gamechanger.
Having a workout bag that's never in your way but always ready to go (just like your EDC) means one less excuse to stop you from picking it up, walking out the door, and crushing your goals.
In this guide, you'll find versatile bags that work double-time in and out of the gym, whether you're working, traveling, or exploring.
EDC Backpacks and Duffel Bags for the Gym
DSPTCH Gym/Work Pack
When life gets in the way and work is hectic, sometimes your only shot at squeezing in a workout is on your way to the office (or during lunch, if you're extra dedicated). DSPTCH's Gym/Work pack is designed to accommodate your work life essentials as well as what you need to get some exercise, no matter what activity that may be. You'll find a dedicated, padded laptop compartment, a mesh dump pocket for smaller EDC essentials, a ventilated shoe compartment, and gusseted water bottle sleeves. And for everything else that's notoriously hard to carry, DSPTCH has an answer: an extended exterior pocket that's secured by adjustable nylon webbing and a magnetic Fidlock buckle. It can fit your training hoody, an extra set of kicks, and even a basketball, just to give you an idea of its versatility.
Maxpedition Gear Growler Duffel
While it may look like your run-of-the-mill duffel bag, the Maxpedition Gear Growler is anything but. It uses the same basic shape with about 30 liters of capacity so you can fit all your gym gear and more, and infuses every inch of the bag with rugged, high-performance tactical hardware. This includes a quadruple coat of polyurethane and Teflon on its 1000D Nylon exterior for sweat and water resistance, heavy-duty YKK zippers and slides, and military-grade nylon webbing for the Gear Growler's straps, handles, and attachment points. So while it has the looks of something you would find in the locker room, the Gear Growler can take on your travel and outdoor packing challenges with ease.
Lululemon Surge Run Pack
You'd think the idea of Lululemon (yes, the one that makes yoga pants) actually making an awesome EDC pack would be a bit of a stretch, right? Well, their Surge running backpack would prove you wrong. It's made super light from technical fabrics and hardware, complete with a water-repellent finish, breathable padding, reflective accents, and a ruggedized bottom panel. And for such a sleek and minimal silhouette, the Surge features a surprising amount of pockets: each of the straps have wallet-sized zip pockets on the front for easy access, the interior features a top-loading zip pocket and two internal water bottle sleeves, and the outside can conceal water bottles or smaller EDC essentials in gusseted stealth mesh pockets on either side. Its low-bulk form factor and stabilizing sternum straps make it perfect for running (or just running around).
Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag
With polyurethane-coated, water-resistant ripstop Nylon for its main panels and webbing as well as water-resistant sealed zippers, the Bomber Barrel comes with the rugged construction ideal for regularly hauling your athletic gear. At 16”x10”x10”, it's also sized for easy pickup so you can just grab it on your way out the door, while still having enough room to pack a pair of shoes and the rest of your gym essentials. One great benefit of the bag's construction: the ripstop material packs down small enough that you can fold it into a jacket pocket or the outer compartments of your luggage or other bags, making it quite the handy travel companion.
Aer Duffel Pack
In terms of storage, this duffel bag/pack hybrid is like having a gym locker on your back. Despite its narrow profile, it's surprisingly spacious. It accomplishes this by carefully placing pockets for water bottles and smaller items on the sides while separating its padded laptop compartment to the back of the bag. This leaves the center-zip main compartment uncluttered to stow away bulkier cargo like clothes, a towel, a weightlifting belt, and more. A ventilated shoe compartment, also separated from the main cavity, keeps things fresh. With its durable nylon build and weather-resistant hardware, multiple pockets, and different carry options, the Duffel Pack can serve as a bag for the gym, general EDC, and travel too.
Topo Designs Mountain Duffel
If staying active to you means making the great outdoors your gym, the Mountain Duffel from Topo Designs has you covered. With a huge 61.4L capacity, it's designed to haul plenty of gear for getting around the mountain whether you're skiing, hiking, climbing, or camping. This duffel's made with a 1000D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior and weather-resistant YKK zippers to get through tough conditions, so a little bad weather won't entirely throw off your routine. On the inside, ample padding and organized pockets protect your gear from knocking around.
5.11 Tactical NBT Lima Duffel
You can obviously use any old bag for the gym, but any old bag won't have the full nylon construction that gives both strength and resilience against water, both from the elements on the outside and your used gear on the inside. The Lima Series NBT Duffle not only brings you the full benefit of the material and pairs it with the best in heavy-duty fittings like YKK self-healing zippers and Duraflex hardware, but it also comes with the carry and organization options that make it an ideal bag for EDC. This includes a removable padded shoulder strap, three sets of grab-and-go handles, a precision-cut internal web platform you can use for modular customization, and a mesh pocket bag which itself doubles as a removable dopp kit or extra organizer.
GORUCK Gym Bag
When making the resolution to head for the gym, simplicity and efficiency is key. The GORUCK Gym Bag keeps it simple so you can focus on crushing your workout. It's built in the USA from tough, water-resistant 1000D Cordura nylon. External end pockets and an internal zip compartment lets you organize your essentials, while its main 38L compartment opens wide to accommodate all your gear if you're in a hurry. Thanks to reinforced high-stress points rated to carry over 400 pounds, the GORUCK Gym Bag can do its own heavy lifting for all your carry needs, so when you're done in the gym, it's right there with you whether going about your day, heading into a weekend outing, or getting on a plane for the next adventure.
How do you gear up for the gym? Let us know your go-to workout bag setup in the comments below.
Additional contributions by Mikey Bautista.