Our Editors' Ultimate Gym-Bag Essentials

The perfect gym bag needs to be able to do it all: carry your workout necessities, transition from the office to the gym, and hold up after being stuffed into a locker and packed with sweaty gear. For most of us, our gym bag acts as a second purse, so we expect it to score just as many points for fashion as it does for functionality.
We tapped four R29 staffers, each with a different exercise style, and asked them to unzip their gym bags for us. Click through for a peek at what fitness necessities they can't exercise without — from the perfect bra for barre to a stay-put headband to a mood-boosting yoga-mat spray. Whether you're into the whole sport-chic thing or want a more subtle look, your locker room is about to get a whole lot more stylish.
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Samantha Yu, editorial assistant
Workout: Barre


"My perfect gym bag is something that doesn't scream 'sport' — I'll often bring it with me to work, either after an early morning class or before I head to the studio after office hours. So, I want it to blend in as much as possible. This tote is spacious, durable, water- and stain-resistant, and super-lightweight. They've also got a fantastic collab with Glenn Ligon coming out this November, so I may have to swap my current one!"
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"I love this bra. It's not only sweat-wicking and supportive; it's also sleek and stylish. The extended hem provides more coverage than the typical sports bra, so I can feel comfortable wearing it by itself or under a T-shirt."
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"Until I discovered pre-wrap, I was always pushing hair out of my face, re-adjusting bobby pins, and re-tying my ponytail. Then, one of my soccer-playing friends from high school introduced me to this stuff, and my fitness life took a turn for the better. Double-knot the end of a strip of pre-wrap, and you've got a headband that's cheap, colorful, and easy to use. Best of all, it actually stays put."
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"First, I saw our executive creative director with this water bottle. Then, we featured it on the site. Finally, I purchased it for myself. Now, I want everyone to use it. In the middle of a serious training routine, fruit-infused water is hydrating and refreshing — just what you want before you go back to finish your next set of exercises.”
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Bari Lieberman, fitness and wellness editor
Workout: Boot Camp


“I’m always on the go, and I schedule my workouts between events, work, and meeting up with friends; there’s never a direct route from my apartment to the gym. Luckily, this bag is big enough to stash both my workout and work necessities — and, of course, plenty of snacks to keep me fueled throughout the day.”
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“I always have a stash of 'backups' in my gym bag, including extra hair ties (they always break), socks (so easy to forget), and this tank. Because, on too many occasions, I've gotten to the gym and realized that I forgot to pack a top. Keeping a basic, go-to tank in my bag means I never have to skip a training session."
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“My entire life is in my gym bag. I have makeup to take me from the gym to work, and I have face wipes to take me from work to the gym. I have a lock (in case I end up at an NYC studio that doesn’t have digital lockers), headphones, armband, and towel — I’m basically equipped for any workout, at all times. Without these organizational pouches, my gym bag would be an endless pit of chaos.”
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“Boot-camp classes require versatile sneakers — ones that are supportive enough for sprints, but also have enough cushioning and stability for high-impact exercises. These well-rounded kicks get the job done while looking good, too.”
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— SPONSORED —

Allison Daniels, staff writer
Workout: Indoor Cycling


"Indoor cycling combines all the things I need in a workout: It's low-impact, has pump-up music, and some classes even incorporate weight training, so I'm in and out in an hour. Since I hit the gym en route to work, I love that this black satchel looks on-point with my work uniform (skinny jeans and loafers). Plus, it's just the right size to carry all my workout-to-work essentials, like a change of clothes, toiletries, and a portable razor for last minute touch-ups."
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"More often than not, my hair is in a ponytail and I do my makeup on the subway. The one thing I'm religious about is washing my face before bed and before a workout; I've got makeup-remover wipes on my bedside table and in my gym bag. The ones by Burt's Bees are incredibly soft, and the pink-grapefruit scent just makes me happy."
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— SPONSORED —

"I don't remember the last time I took a shower that wasn't rushed. If I shave at all, I am not precise. I carry this Gillette Venus Snap portable razor in my bag EVERYWHERE. (It hugs curves, so I don't worry about nicks, and even comes with its own carrying case.) If I realize I'm not super-smooth, I can fix it in two minutes and avoid an all-day panic." Advertisement
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"I'm all about using hair accessories to make people think I spent time on my 'do. These shimmery headbands keep flyaways and sweat out of my face during Spin class and don't give me away if I show up to a meeting with one still in my hair."
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Amelia Edelman, content editor
Workout: Yoga


“Luckily, yoga clothes don't take up much space (no shoes required!) so I can toss them in my everyday tote, along with my keys, wallet, phone, glasses, calendar, lunch, snacks, giant hardcover novel, and un-mailed letters. (I'm basically Mary Poppins.)”
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“I'm 5'11" and finally getting an extra-tall mat was a game changer: I will NEVER be kicked in the face mid-vinyasa again! Plus, the extra-thick version means I don't always need blankets to protect my bony ass joints.”
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“I'm not Oprah enough to pull off multiple outfit-changes per day, so I like my workout-wear to be stylistically sneaky. Are these yoga pants, or picnic pants? Am I going to the movies, or going to bed? The world may never know.”
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“I’m pretty sure this is how happy smells. It's a great face-and-body spritz and yoga-mat cleaner, all in one.”
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