Whether you’re a spin class fanatic or just want to hit the weights, you’ll need a few pieces of essential gym gear gear to maximize your workout. Plus, it’s not just what to pack, but how you pack your bag. Here’s exactly what you should take to the gym for a powerful workout—and an easy cleanup session afterward.
When it comes to working out, they say that “putting on your shoes is half the battle.” Well, we might argue the other half of the battle is packing the perfect gym bag—a mission that just got a whole lot easier thanks to our nine-point checklist.
Best Gym Bags for Men & Women
It all starts with choosing the bag itself. Both men and women should start with a couple key points when selecting the perfect gym bag. You see, rather than selecting something that’s designed exclusively for working out, opt for a carrier that can do double duty for exercise and travel,
● Cargo Hauler Duffel: This versatile duffel is ultra-light and features extra durable, water-repellent TPU coated fabric—that means no amount of sweat is going stop you when packing and unpacking your gym bag. The five fun colors also mean that anyone can select the gym bag that best motivates them to put on their shoes and head out for a workout!
● Migrate Duffel: The 40L size of this compact, functional, and budget duffel is ideal for a gym bag. Bathtub construction on the base of the duffel means it won’t get wet if you end you end your workout with a swim, and this bag handily converts into a backpack when you need a bit more mobility. The bag is easy to clean and you can feel good about using it too—Migrate Duffels all have a water repellent coating developed by harvesting windshield plastics from landfills in Asia.
● Packable Duffel: This budget friendly option is ideal for both men and women gym-goers because it’s so slim and low profile when not in use that you can pack it away between gym trips, or simply slip it into a corner in your closet once you’ve refreshed your clothes so it’s grabbable and ready for your next workout.
What to Pack in a Gym Bag
Once you’ve selected your perfect gym bag, fill it with these exercise essentials.
1. Refillable Water Bottle
Be friendly to your wallet—and your planet—with a refillable bottle for the most efficient rehydrating liquid there is, water.
A simple pair of flip flops will keep your feet safe from bacteria when showering at the gym (and give your toes a much needed breather on the way home).
3. Workout Fuel
Avoid eating unhealthy treats when pre- or post-workout hunger strikes by keeping high protein, healthy snacks on hand such as apples, nuts, and protein bars, in your workout bag. A packing sac is the single best way to keep these smaller food items from rolling around in your bag (and from getting any gym funk on them!).
4. Hand Sanitizer
If your gym doesn’t provide disinfectant wipes for cleaning weights and machines, combat germs with a small bottle of hand sanitizer by your side. These are a few additional ways to protect your gym bag and gear from bacteria.
5. Spare Toiletries
Keep an extra set of your shower products in your gym bag’s toiletry kit at all times to avoid that post-treadmill, pre-board meeting realization: that you forgot deodorant. If your gym lacks space, use a hanging toiletry kit with a hook so you can easily take care of your post-workout routine.
6. A Shoe Bag
Keep bacteria and odors contained with a Pack-It™ Isolate Shoe Sac for your sweaty sneakers. This sac will lock up the odors (and it’s machine washable)—trust us, the rest of your gym bag will thank you.
7. Gloves and Band-Aids
Weight lifting gloves will improve grip and help avoid blisters (and band-aids will pick up the slack should they fail). Use another small packing sac to keep backup band-aids in your bag at all times.
8. Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
It’s unlikely you’ll ever forget your music-loaded smartphone when you hit the gym, but you might not have any way to listen to your tunes without a set of headphones. Splurge on wireless headphones for the ultimate convenience and then you can also easily tune into the TV stationed on or above cardio workout machines.
9. Clean-Dirty Packing Cube
The last thing you want to do after a sweaty workout is to spread that sweat around to your other gear! One thing you have to put in your gym bag is a clean dirty packing cube, which allows you to pack clean clothes on one side and dirty on the other. It’s machine washable as well, and ultra-light so it won’t weigh down your bag. Bonus: If you’re working out at hotel gyms and then packing your suitcase, these cubes are an essential way to keep everything separated until it’s freshly washed.
No matter what type of workout you have planned, pack your essentials using the Pack-It System for the ultimate convenience and organization.
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
How to Keep Your Valuables Safe While Working Out
Buying Guide: Pack-It Packing Organizers and Compression Bags
By Alexandra Baackes on October 20, 2020
Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her third year of living as a full-time nomad.
* With Additional reporting by Eagle Creek
Image: Sam Firth