Men's Gym Bag Essentials

Finding a quality gym bag that can carry all of the essentials is crucial for a top-quality gym experience. The best gym bags for men will have space and features that keep your items organized and have enough space to carry them all. A high-quality gym bag that carries all of the essentials will optimize your workout and prepare you for whatever you need to do after you leave the gym.

As you decide how to pack and select an athletic gym bag, you'll need to keep in mind all of the items you plan on taking with you in your gym bag. From hygiene to clothing to "fuel," there are several categories that the savvy gym goer takes into consideration as they prep their gym bag. Below are a variety of gym bag essentials that make up a proper gym bag checklist for men:

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1. Hygiene

Before, during and after a workout, you'll want hygiene to be a top priority for yourself and others who are at the gym. On top of keeping you clean, proper hygiene makes sure that you aren't negatively affecting someone else's gym experience with unappealing body odors. The following are some of the essentials that you should be carrying in your gym bag:

  • A small towel: Though many gyms will have a complimentary towel, many people like to bring their own, so they don't have to use towels used by other people. If you need to shower at the gym, you may also want to bring a larger towel so that you can dry off quickly.
  • An extra tube of deodorant: Since you're going to be sweating at the gym, keeping a spare deodorant in your gym bag is crucial to making sure that you're smelling good while at the gym. They are easy to forget, so having one dedicated to your bag is essential.
  • Spray for your bag: To keep your gym bag smelling fresh, even after dirty clothes have been left in it, you'll want to find a spray that can eliminate smells. It's probably best to choose the scent-free option so that other artificial smells don't build up in the bag.
  • Soap and shampoo: If you're someone who goes to the gym and then straight to work, then having products to wash with is going to be crucial for you and your coworkers, for that matter. Bringing everything you need to get a good shower in is a smart decision when you're packing a gym bag for work.

2. Comfort and Convenience

To make your workout and what follows as comfortable as possible, you should consider taking the following items:

  • Earphones: Sometimes the music blaring at the gym just isn't your style. Listening to your own music or podcast can make your workout that much more enjoyable. Depending on your preference, you can choose between wired or wireless headphones to keep in your gym bag as a dedicated pair of workout headphones. Though wireless headphones might not seem secure enough, there are many options available that will stay in your ears regardless of how intense you're exercising.
  • An extra shirt: If you expect to be going on errands or seeing people after you finish your workout, you'll want to be able to switch out your sweaty shirt for something cleaner.
  • Cushioned flip fop: What's better than taking off your shoes after you finish a long-distance run on the treadmill or dominate a spin class? Get that feeling immediately after you work out and prepare to go home by bringing a pair of cushioned flip flops in your gym bag. Along with wearing them home, you can take the flip flops into the shower at the gym if you want to avoid putting your bare feet on the communal shower floor.

3. Security

You'll want to keep your bag and yourself safe while at the gym. The following products are ways that you can protect your possessions and yourself:

  • Lock for gym bag storage: As some gyms do not provide locks for their lockers, you should bring your own lock to ensure the security of your gym bag while you're completing your workout. Hauling your bag around the gym is going to get old fast, and you probably don't want to leave your bag unsecured in the locker room, out of your sight.
  • First aid kit: To make sure that you can stay safe and react quickly if accidents do happen, you should bring a first aid kit that has tape, gauzes, bandaids and other basic first aid materials. The heavy weights and the occasional sharp edge of an older machine can cause some damage if mishandled, so keeping a basic first aid kit should be a precaution that you take.

4. Fitness Gear

Fitness gear helps you looks good and maximize your performance. Consider making the following staples of your gym bag:

  • Gym shoes: One of the most annoying gym experiences is showing up only to realize you forgot to bring the right shoes. You probably aren't going to want to do your workout in dress shoes, so making it a habit to keep a gym-appropriate pair in your bag.
  • Pair of socks: You have to have socks at the gym. How long they are is up to you, however. Whether you want ankle high or no show socks, you'll want to keep an extra pair in your gym bag. Try to find some that are designed specifically for exercise, as they will often be able to wick away moisture for maximum comfort.
  • Wrist wraps: More specialized than other pieces of gear that an average gym-goer will need to bring, wrist wraps are perfect for someone who's ready to lift some heavy weight. Wrist wraps will support the wrist and prevent hyperextension with better joint positioning. Not only will the wraps put less pressure on your wrists' joints, but they will increase performance too. Stash a pair of these in your gym bag so that you're ready to take on an extra lifting challenge.
  • Semi-compression underwear: For men, semi-compression underwear is perfect for a gym setting, as it's comfortable and functional. With a pair on, you can be confident during your leg workout that you aren't, well, showing a little too much skin. Some will come with anti-odor materials built into them and have stretchable fabric that forms to your body.

5. Fuel


When you're at the gym, maintaining your energy level is key to a consistent, high-quality workout. Additionally, proper pre- and post-workout nutrition can make sure you're getting the most out of your exercise. Below are some items you should bring to set yourself up for success.

  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is important during your workout, especially if you're doing a cardio-heavy routine. There are usually water fountains, but if you want to skip the line and have quick access to water, keep a reusable water bottle with you to bring to the gym.
  • Pre-workout supplements: A quality pre-workout supplement is going to prepare your muscles for the gym and give you an energy boost to increase your focus and endurance. When looking for pre-workout, make sure to check the ingredients and do some research. The quality of supplements and the ingredients contained within change from company to company.
  • Protein powder: Protein powder is a great source of nutrients after a workout, regardless of whether you're trying to bulk up or slim down. Find a brand that you like and start bringing it in a blender bottle to make it a part of your gym routine.
  • Blender or shaker bottle: If you're going to take protein powder to the gym, a bottle that you can mix it into along with other liquids is going to be a must. Almost no one wants to eat straight protein powder, so some sort of bottle should be a mainstay in your bag.
  • Energy bars: An energy bar is a healthy snack option that aids muscle growth. Rather than stopping to get fast food on your way home, you can find bars that provide you with superfoods and high levels of proteins to satiate your hunger before you can make yourself a nutritious meal.

6. Technology

With the newest technologies on the market, there are fresh ways to recover after a workout and gadgets that can use your personal data to provide deep insight into the effectiveness of your exercise routine.

  • Fitness tracker: To track your heart rate, calories and miles run, among other features, an accurate and reliable fitness tracker can help you keep a log of your workout and meet goals. Even outside of the gym, a fitness tracker can provide other benefits like counting stairs climbed and steps taken during the day.
  • Roller stick: After you're done with a workout, you'll probably be sore. A roller stick helps to alleviate muscle cramps as you apply pressure to the sore muscle and increase blood flow to the affected muscle.
  • Workout app: While not exactly kept in your gym bag, downloading an app that can assist your workout to your phone or fitness tracker is something that you should do before you hit the gym. A workout app can be especially helpful if you're trying to get into a routine and need some assistance. The better apps will even collect your personal data to craft a workout plan designed for your needs.
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Packing a Gym Bag for Work

To properly pack your gym bag, you should attempt to have everything sectioned off in its own place so that you can access it quickly and stay organized. It's also a good idea to have the things that you'll need to use first on the top and anything that can wait till the end at the bottom. Ultimately, the way you pack your gym bag is going to come down to personal preference and the functionality of the bag.

What to Look for in a Men's Gym Bag


As you select a gym bag, there are a few qualities you should look for:

1. Size

Think about what you plan to bring to the gym regularly and choose the size of your gym bag accordingly. If you need to shower and have a change of clothes at the gym, you'll probably want a bigger bag. You'll also want to note how big the lockers at the gym are if you plan to store your bag in them while you exercise.

2. Compartments

To keep your items separate and access them quickly, you should look for a gym bag that has plenty of compartments. For example, some bags will come with a shoe compartment that can keep your shoes away from cleaner items like a fresh change of clothes. Depending on what you plan to bring, the number of compartments that you need will vary. If you're someone who likes to feel like everything has its place, you should probably aim for a bag with lots of compartments.

3. Material

You can choose from gym bags made out of a variety of materials. Each type will come with its own benefits and visual appeal, and finding the material that meets your goals is important.

  • Polyester: Polyester is one of the most popular materials due to its many advantages. The water-resistant material is durable and can be cleaned easily. The main issue that comes with a polyester gym bag is its breathability. Due to its poor airflow, bacteria and mold can grow if you don't clean the bag consistently.
  • Vinyl: Sometimes called synthetic leather, vinyl is an inexpensive option that prevents staining. Its downside is that it will scratch easily and end up with a battered appearance faster than other materials.
  • Canvas: Canvas is a very lightweight and inexpensive material. It's also machine washable, which means that it's perfect for those who are constantly storing sweaty gym shoes and clothes in them. One drawback is that it will need more time to dry than other materials and can have issues with holding in odor if its consistently in contact with wet clothes and is not washed regularly.
  • Nylon: Nylon is easily stained and damaged. Some still choose to use it as it's lightweight and inexpensive.
  • Leather: A leather gym bag has a classy, luxurious appearance that will hold up well against the other materials. As it both attractive and reliable, it will often come with a higher price tag. It also can stain fairly easily and will hold in odors.

4. Comfort

Since you're going to be carrying your gym bag from place to place, you'll want it to feel comfortable whenever you carry it. To ensure maximum comfort, a gym bag should have handles or shoulder straps that don't feel painful or dig into your shoulder. The more you plan to use the bag, the more of a priority comfort should be.

Interested in Finding a Gym Bag for You?

SVS sports has a variety of options from adidas to Nike to Under Armour men's gym bags. If you're not sure what's best for you, one of our friendly representatives can help you find the men's duffle bag that's the right for you.

You can find your ideal gym bag on our online marketplace or come visit your local store to speak with a representative in person.

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