My flimsy gym bag is falling apart and I need a new one — not to mention I’m pretty sick of hauling my messenger bag and gym bag all over New York. It’s time to converge the two into one bag to fit it all — shoes and laptop, dirty laundry, and Kindle.
So I asked some folks at the Beast about it and everyone generally agrees there are two ways to go about this: A gym bag focus and a work bag focus, each its own priority in a bag that will cover all my necessities. There are many options, and of course, they depend on your taste and specific routines. My focus is simple: I want a bag to hold all of my gym gear before and after I work out, and for the bag to not only hold and protect my tech but also look good enough for to show up with at a client meeting. If I wasn’t prone to dropping things, I’d very likely grab a tote bag and call it a day, but for now, am searching for something more… traditional.
Let’s dive in.
Gym Bags That Work at Work
On this end of the spectrum, we’re going to prioritize fitness features above the rest. That’s not to say bag’s style isn’t important, but it’s relegated to the second tier.
Caraa’s Athleta collab is a convertible backpack that can turn messenger when you want it to, and its bottom shoe compartment separates it from the rest of your belongings. I’m particularly drawn to the removable pouch on its front and the 15-inch laptop pocket on the interior. Big ups for looking so stylish and minimalist and maintaining some pretty unique function.
Lululemon’s Go Lightly Duffel is simple and covers all my bases: it’s waterproof and features an expandable pocket for post-gym sweaty clothes, includes a pocket for your phone (and a heat-resistant one for a hair straightener), not to mention a laptop compartment.
The Cruiser Backpack, also from Lululemon looks incredible but I’m guessing my partner would say I could find something, well, sexier. But wow is this thing packing. It has a structured sunglasses holster, laptop protection, built-in yoga mat storage, a bottle holster, and an exterior padded pocket for a 15-inch laptop. This is backpack-only territory and if I was still commuting to work in Washington, D.C., by bike, this would be my pick. The Everywhere Backpack is likewise striking in its simplicity.
Nike’s Sport III will fit your shoes and electronics but doesn’t offer hard protection to the latter — which is also unnecessary depending on your environment. The Adidas Squad III is another versatile option and comes in a million colors.
Work Bags That Work Out With You at the Gym
For the more professionally-minded are bags whose aesthetic rules their function, as opposed to the other way around. This is a welcome respite from some of the bags I see at the gym, to boot.
Dagne Dover’s Landon Carryall is beautiful, to put it simply. I’d probably grab the large size if I were planning to use it on the daily since I’d be getting an expandable main compartment, a padded laptop sleeve, a shoe bag and pockets lining its insides (and a few on it outside). I especially like the neoprene material, perfect for drive-by puddle bombs and occasional downpours.
An interesting option is a leather duffel, like this one from Gent Supply. I particularly found it unique in that it has a bottom compartment catering to different needs, like shoes or toiletries. It’s made of buffalo leather and will work just great for your work out but I would maybe shy away from taking it hiking.
The canvas duffel from Kemy’s gives you leather pocket tops and lots of high ratings. Its shoe compartment, size, and exterior pockets make it a workhorse of a bag but the accents and the style mean it won’t stand out in the office.
A similar take from Plambag is an affordable option and covers you needed functions, from sturdy zippers to several on the inside. The rugged spiked legs on its bottom also mean it won’t slide around on moving platforms, like trains or buses. Other notable canvas bags include the Toupons travel tote in multiple colors and a similar option from Kenox.
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