For those of us who need to go to the gym before/after work, finding the right bag that can be used as a work bag plus enough space for our gym stuff can be a nightmare.
So, here’s a list of a bunch of bags I think do a great job of pulling double-duty.
This is what I call the “badass bargain option.” Everything you need in a daily carry, organized innovatively so it stays fun to use, and it’s super affordable.
- Just Right Organization: the thing I love so much about this bag — and I’m speaking personally here — is that there’s just the right amount of tech organization. Not too much, not too little. Goldilocks style.
- Not Too Flashy: the look kind of flies under the radar — doesn’t show off, doesn’t say too much.
Aer bags don’t tend to have the best feel to me (the lining feels a bit cheap), but you get a TON of good stuff for the money on this one. Super affordable.
And, honestly, this bag is a delight to use. It’s small and light, it fits plenty of stuff for daily carry (if you don’t need to carry too much) and it’s organized really well.
This is my favorite on this list for those of you who need something quick, small and easy.
The Everyday backpack from Peak Designs is so thoughtfully designed and innovative that it deserves to be in a damn museum!
- Techy Look: First and foremost, this sucker has a techy look, like it’s a backpack made for Robocop. That turns some people off right away, but the features are good enough to win most people over in the end.
- Excellent Organization & Accessibility: the organization, configuration and access of this bag are off the charts. Totally customizable inner main compartment with side access from both sides, as well as deep organization and quick access… this thing is stacked for however you want to design your own carry.
- Great for Photography: the Kodra fabric has padding and insulation, and the inner compartment has these customizable padded dividers, making for a very safe, customized and secure carry of your photo gear… however you want to organize it.
- Drone People: you drone and photography enthusiasts should be drooling with the possibilities.
- Build Really Well: From the fabric to the padding to the straps and reinforcements throughout the bag, this thing is solid.
A killer bag that, if you love the look, will be able to get you through every daily adventure you can throw at it (and even some minimal travel as well!).
Honestly, get this bag if you want to discover a new feature you didn’t even know about 2 and a half years from now. You’ll be like, “Holy sh*t, didn’t even know this hip strap was here!”
I dig this bag for the innovation, organization and durability. One of those bags that will be a loooooong term companion for you on your journeys.
Lots of space and customizability in this bag, so you can set it up however you want for your gym/work needs.
The Wandrd Prvke (pronounced “provoke” or “perrrrvrkeeee”) is one of our favorite bags of all time for both daily carry and minimal travel. Built rugged, good looking, water resistant with tons of pockets. It comes in 2 sizes — we like the 20L for daily carry and minimal travel and the 30L for bigger bodies and longer trips.
The rolltop expands to fit so much stuff! This is one of my favorite features of this bag. You can expand it to fit a literal ton of shit, and then, pull the shit out and roll it up so it looks like a regular bag again.
I also love the organization and accessibility of this bag. It has tons of little pockets hidden throughout, as well as zippered access to larger internal pockets. That Zippered access is a must for me on a rolltop because I find it annoying to roll and unroll the bag every time I need to get into it.
This bag does a great job of tech organization too. The laptop compartment, the optional camera insert, and the pockets throughout make it a seriously functional companion to the digital nomad.
And I have to say how rare it is to find a bag that you can both travel with AND use as a daily carry. It’s similar to the Synapse 25 that way. And that’s why these two are a couple of my favorite bags currently.
If you can swing the look of this back at your job, the capacity and organization on this bag are hard to beat, with plenty of room for a smaller workout bag inside for your shoes and sweats.
The GoRuck GR1 is one of those bags I have loved since the first moment I saw one online years ago. The look of this bag is simple, understated, but powerful.
- Unbelievable Build Quality: the quality of materials, sewing and construction on this bag is off the charts.
- Excellent Warranty: the bag is bombproof, and the SCARS warranty is there for everything else. Basically, you never have to worry about this bag because they’ll repair or replace it.
- The Aesthetic is Killer: it just looks so good. Simple + sturdy, minimal + uncluttered, utilitarian + comfortable. Just a gorgeous looking/feeling bag.
- Multiple Sizes: the bag comes in a few different sizes. I like the 21L for daily use and the larger sizes for minimal travel.
- Daily Carry & Minimal Travel: the 26L is definitely doable for minimal travel!
- A Life-Long Companion: this bag will be with you through SO MANY ADVENTURES. Buy one and forget about other bags for a couple decades.
Simple, minimal, tough, bulletproof, classy as f*ck. What more can I say? I wish there was a better quick access pocket and a little more organization, personally. But this thing is a life-long companion.
This bag will serve you not just as a gym/work bag, but as an anything bag for a very long time.
Ok, these bags from Nomatic are chock full of pockets. There are 2 different bags: the Travel Pack expands up to about 30L, perfect for short trips and minimal travel. The Backpack is 20-24L daily carry. Both are very sleek and, like I said, so many pocketzzz!
I mean, these things are a pocket lover’s wet dream. There are so many nooks and crannies and pouches and zippers on this sucker it’s like a BDSM outfit.
They’re both plenty comfortable as far as bags go. The straps are soft and padded, and the bag is rigid, so it feels solid and in place on your back.
The zippers leave me a little worried, to be honest. There’s nothing ostensibly wrong with them, I just don’t love the way they feel. They get a little stuck-up sometimes, and they feel kinda thin.
I’m also not personally crazy about the look of these bags. They seem a little too jet-pack-y for my personal taste.
Ultimately, tho, these bags are excellent for the organization-minded person. So, if you like the way it seems in the video, you’ll know it!
I’m thinking of the expandable “Travel Pack” specifically for gym and work. That expansion area is plenty big for your shoes and workout needs, and you won’t have to sacrifice any organization.
The Aer Duffel Pack is not the tool for every job, but for particular uses it just might be perfect for you.
If you need to carry quite a bit with you in daily carry, but want to have a kind of “sleeker” looking bag, this could be what you’ve been waiting for.
There’s plenty of room for lots of stuff in the main compartment. I will say that the midline zipper kind of limits your ability to get big items in and out of that compartment very comfortably (thinking of textbooks and stuff like that).
This bag also has a built in shoe pocket, so if you carry work shoes with you as you bike to work, or gym shoes for the workout after, this pocket can come in handy.
The materials are solid, and it’s a comfortable bag to carry around.
Not my favorite looking bag, but if you need the size, like I said, it might do a killer job for what you need.
The 24 Hour Tin Briefcase from Filson is easily my favorite briefcase-type bag I’ve ever used due to it’s excellent materials, organization, and classic aesthetic.
It’s called the “tin” briefcase because it uses Filson’s tin cloth, a thick cotton canvas with an oil-finish wax applied. It’s got such a beautiful look and feel, and the wax can be applied again and again over the years.
I truly love the organization and access on this bag. The two big pouches on the front make me pine for this kind of design in every bag I use.
And yea, sure, it’s expensive. But the best thing about this bag is it’s going to last FOREVER. The leather, the buckles, the canvas, it’s all gorgeous and it’s gonna last for ages and never go out of style. So, you know, amortize the cost over 50 years and you’ll realize it’s actually an affordable bag.
If you need a bag for the office or cafe or just for your Hemingway halloween costume, this is the one for you.
One of my all time favorite bags for it’s utterly functional design and rock solid manufacturing (made in the USA). To me it may not be the best looking bag on the street, but its accessibility, organization, comfort and capacity make it a LEGENDARY BAG. Seriously.
More often than I care to admit I simply grab this bag because I KNOW it won’t let me down. That’s how I feel about this bag.
All the organization is on the outside of the bag, which makes it insanely easy to access everything you need.
Then the capacity inside the main compartment is surprisingly roomy. I’m amazed that I can travel with this bag for 3 weeks and beyond (as long as I’ve got access to some laundry :).
Also, it’s very comfortable to travel with, even when it’s completely loaded to the brim. When you pack it for minimal travel all the clothes rest up against your back, so it’s soft and comfortable (compared to most bags which place the laptop against the back). I was surprised to see how much I noticed the comfort of this setup.
Tom Bihn also sells loads of accessories you can use with this bag. I use the laptop cache and a few of their pouches that connect to “O” rings inside the bag.
And it needs to be said how much I love the fact that I can use this bag as both a travel bag AND a daily carry bag. Similar to the Wandrd Prvke in that regard, and a feature I find myself really hungry for these days.
If I could combine the functionality of this bag with the look of a GoRuck bag I’d be in heaven. That being said, I reach for this much more often than I reach for the GoRuck. Love this bag!
Updated “Guide Pack” Look:
Note: there is a new updated look for this bag. I’m partial to the blue myself. Here’s the video about it:
It’s not the most “worky” looking bag out there, but the functionality (and capacity) make it a killer for gym/work needs… if you can get away with the look.
The Guide Pack from Tom Bihn is a bag geek’s boner pill. It’s classic design and exceedingly excellent manufacturing make it more like an heirloom than a bag. But this bag also performs great as a travel bag!
Pockets: The top flap has a spacious pocket which I use as a quick access pocket while traveling. Then there’s the accessory side pockets which are removable; I use one for my water bottle and the other for whatever I need it for. Then there’s just the inside of the bag… cavernous. There’s no frills or thrills, but Tom Bihn makes accessories like their laptop cache and freudian slip which can help you organize this inner compartment for your tech goods.
Another big bonus of this bag: it works as a travel bag AND a daily carry bag. It’s hard to find a bag that can work as a daily carry once you get to your destination. This is one of them.
It’s one of my favorite all time bags because it’s simple with a classic look, works well as a travel bag and a daily carry bag, and I know it’s going to last my entire life.
That said, the “no frills and thrills” thing can get a little annoying. That main compartment of the bag has literally nothing; it’s just a sack. And it’s deep and dark in there. So, in use, I tend to prefer a bag that can open much more, laying flat if possible. But, then again, my inner dialogue easily tells me to stop being a little bitch when I complain about shit like that on a bag like this.
However, in my opinion this bag is world class and you don’t get it because it has every pocket or every functionality you want in a bag. You get this bag because you want a bag that will last forever with a classic look that will stay classic forever (or until Elon gets us all to space).
Quality of build, throwback aesthetic, customizability. This is one of those bags that if I had to throw out every bag but one, it just might be this one. It’s spendy, but it’s an heirloom…
Lots of space for gym/work setup in this bag if you can get away with the look at your job. Many people can’t go this casual in a look, but I include it here for those that can… because #heirloom.
The Wilderness Rucksack from Tanner Goods is a gorgeous, artisan, hand-shucked heirloom bag that your grandpa would be proud of (whichever one of your grandpas was more badass).
First of all, the materials are absolutely killer. Every material, from the fabric to the buckles and the leather has a story. These Tanner Goods folks are excellent at creating handmade pieces that just ooze class.
It’s got tons of capacity. You can fit whatever you need to in this bag. Whether it’s minimal travel or just a good deal of stuff you need to bring to the office.
And the overall aesthetic is classic. Whether you’re sporting a top-knot at a cafe in Portland, or a board room in NYC, this bag takes it up a notch.
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Thanks for reading and hope your working and gym-ing get you loving the shit outta your life. Bon voyage!
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Created by Chase Reeves