Everyday Carry

10 Gym Bags to EDC Back to School

Authored by:
Mikey Bautista
Reviewed by:
Bernard Capulong
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
14+ Years Reviewing EDC Products
10 Gym Bags to EDC Back to School

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Heading back to school, your schedule is probably packed full of activities. Between class, extra-curriculars, and hobbies, for many of you there’s also the matter of sneaking in some fitness and health activities into your schedule. But try as they might, a lot of EDC bags just aren’t built to carry a full day’s load and an extra change of clothes, too—we’re sure you’d prefer not mixing in your dirty laundry with the rest of your gear. We’re here to help with this list of 10 EDC bags fit for class, the office, the gym, and beyond. By pairing tough construction with thoughtful features built for an active lifestyle, these bags help bridge the gap between work and play.

Lululemon More Miles Backpack

You may know Lululemon best for their yoga-inspired gear, but their athletic design philosophy goes well beyond just comfortable pants. Their sleek More Miles backpack is a top-loading urban backpack that fits the urban commute while accommodating more than just your school or office essentials. Its water-repellent fabric exterior construction is easy to wipe clean, accented by nice exterior touches like sealing zippers, dual water bottle pockets, and straps to adjust on your sternum, waist, and to compress the main compartment itself. This space holds 25.5L worth of gear, including a padded laptop/tablet pocket and a “sweaty” compartment to segregate your used clothes from the rest of your gear.

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RYU Locker Pack Lux

With an ultra-slick, minimalist design and premium touches that befit its name, RYU’s 24L backpack is all business, whether that’s protecting and organizing your work essentials or giving you extra functionality for your more active pursuits. The Locker Pack’s exterior is built from a blend of polyester, cotton, and canvas, with a wax-treated face and PU-treated backside to create a water-resistant shell, accented by leather straps and zipper pulls. And speaking of, a molded internal shell retains the bag’s shape for ease of packing, and further complemented by a drop front opening for easier to access your gear, especially when it includes larger items like packing cubes or a pair of shoes for the gym. Zippered and mesh pockets give you plenty of organization on the inside for both your work and play essentials, while a secure zip pocket under the top flap hides access to a separate laptop sleeve.

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Hydro Flask Journey Pack

Unlike most EDC daypacks, the Hydro Flask Journey pack comes in a narrower profile. It rides tall and close to the body, which gives it a more compact and tight carry that’s good for active movement like hiking, biking, or navigating a crowded commute. The DWR-coated fabric it’s made of comes with taped seams and laminated weatherproof zippers to keep moisture out and away from your gear, and it’s puncture-, tear-, and abrasion-resistant while staying lightweight. In addition to the 10L or 20L capacity you get two internal compartments with stretch mesh pockets to accommodate your gear, as well as external top and side pockets for quick access to essentials. A bottom storage compartment lets you segregate heavier/bulkier gear like laptop chargers. There’s plenty of space for the day's essentials, and even when you have to overload fully adjustable shoulder, sternum, and hip straps ensure an ergonomic carry.

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Patagonia Planing Divider Pack

If you’re expecting to get wet on your next activity, then leave it to Patagonia’s Planing Divider pack to get you sorted—literally. Thanks to an exterior perforated pocket, it’s easy to stash your change of clothes as well as stow away your wet and used ones after you’re done. A recycled polyester exterior with TPU-film laminate keeps the rest of your gear dry, while mesh pockets and breathable/hydrophobic shoulder straps round out its exterior features. Inside, the 30L pack is a padded laptop sleeve for a machine up to 15“ and an interior pocket to organize smaller essentials.

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Timbuk2 Recharge Duffel

If the day calls for an extra large helping of gear, nothing gets the packing job done like a solid duffel bag. Timbuk2’s a name you would normally associate with some of the best messengers on the market, but their Recharge Duffel gives you plenty of room and organization within its 34L 400D nylon crinkle metallic construction. On the outside are padded grab handles with lots of clearance for slinging over a shoulder, and compression straps let you pack a yoga mat, blanket, or jacket without eating into its internal storage. A water-repellent top zipper opens into a wide mouth and the Recharge’s interior, which includes an organization panel, zip pocket, and a mesh pocket for your water bottle.

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Aer Fit Pack 2 X-Pac

If it's one thing Aer has on lock, it's their ability to combine top-tier materials with a sleek urban look, all while maintaining the functionality of their products. This is especially true with the new Fit Pack 2 that comes in VX-42 X-Pac sailcloth fabric, a highly durable and waterproof laminate designed to withstand the harshest conditions. This limited edition upgrade comes with sealing YKK zippers with reflective pulls while still making smart use of space to maximize its front pocket for packing an extra set of clothes and/or pair of shoes. It cleverly segregates your gear from its main compartment where you can carry your laptop and other accessories, giving you the ability to go from office or school to the gym with a single, 18.8L bag.

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Filson Medium Dry Duffel

There shouldn’t be any scenario where your gear gets completely submerged, but if somehow lightning strikes and the worst happens, you’ll wish your essentials were in the Filson Medium Dry duffel bag. A watertight roll-and-cinch closure pairs with PU-coated 840D nylon for the ultimate in waterproofing, while retaining and exterior that’s both flexible and abrasion-resistant. There’s plenty of space inside its 54L main compartment, secured with a dual-lock fastener on the top closure for added security. While the bag is sparse on organization, it makes up for it with robust carry options like a removable shoulder strap and nylon webbing handles that wrap around the bag to ensure the transport of heavier loads.

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Osprey Transporter Zip Top

Bucket-style bags offer a unique, quick-access route to your essentials, demonstrated by Osprey’s Transporter Zip Top backpack. The outdoor-inspired (and outdoor-ready) design is just at home in the urban jungle. As its name suggests, its top opening zips open to reveal its 30L worth of contents, including a padded 15“ laptop sleeve, document sleeve, internal organization slots, and plenty of space for the rest of your gear. Rounding out its features are dual water bottle pockets inset into the main compartment to maintain the Transporter’s sleek silhouette, a heat-embossed, scratch-free, zippered slash pocket, and a front attachment point for a blinker light.

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Topo Design Backdrop Bag

With a design inspired by an ice climber’s pack, Topo Design’s Backdrop backpack ticks all the boxes for both EDC and the gym. Its colorful exterior is built with tough 1000D nylon, accented with front and side daisy chain webbing that’s perfect for hanging carabiners and other accessories. Dual mesh side pockets take care of water bottle duty, while a front vertical pocket opens into an organizational panel. A U-shaped zipper entry accesses the 22L main compartment, which includes a shoe pocket to segregate a pair or extra clothes. Finally, a top handle, padded shoulder straps, and sternum/removable waist straps offer plenty of options for a comfortable carry.

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Fjällräven Splitpack

This Splitpack from Swedish equipment makers Fjällräven is as functional as it is unique, with its namesake dual compartment system. Its total 35L of volume is halved down the middle into two compartments split by mesh dividers, allowing you to perfectly divvy up your gear as needed. The Splitpack’s exterior is built from Fjällräven’s signature hardwearing, water-resistant G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, itself made from recycled polyester and organic cotton with a polyamide lining. Three zippered mesh pockets on the inside and two zippered outside pockets handle the essentials, while padded straps and handles on both ends let you carry the bag as both a backpack and as a duffel.

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Mikey Bautista

Director of Everyday Carry Operations

About the Author
Mikey Bautista is an everyday carry (EDC) expert who has been working with the EverydayCarry.com team for nearly a decade, starting with an interest in EDC as a hobby and ending up as a writer for the site in 2014. Through the years, he’s led the site in editorial content and writing about products across every category, from knives to bags to flashlights and everything in between, as well as discovering, bringing exposure, and building bridges with many brands in the industry. Today, he is the site's Director of Everyday Carry Operations, leading the editorial team and managing day-to-day operations.

He has lived through many personal and professional lives, spending nearly a decade in the workforce management industry, a minor career in gaming, and has lent a hand with entrepreneurial efforts back home in the Philippines. He has also been an active participant and helped build a number of significant social communities online, both for EDC and his other hobbies.

Mikey has been at the cusp of gaming, technology, and the internet since the ‘90s and continues to lend his experience, expertise, and authority to all his pursuits. When not online, in a game, or watching movies, you'll find him in the gym, speedrunning his next hobby, or talking at length about EDC with anyone willing to listen.

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Reviewer
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, Outside, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

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