February 9, 2014 10:36 PM   Subscribe

Just want to field some opinions: I have to carry food (that's lunch, dinner, and snacks) and gym stuff with me to work. My backpack can fit work stuff plus food; or work stuff plus gym stuff. I can carry 1 additional bag at most. Gym stuff in backpack and carry separate lunch bag? or lunch in backpack and carry separate gym bag?

pros and cons of each option:

- gym stuff in backpack+lunch bag: slightly more comfortable configuration because of how the weight distributes; I don't have to worry about spills onto my laptop; I can use a proper cooler to make sure cold foods stay cold

- lunch in backpack+gym bag: I am not a huge fan of stinky workout clothes in my backpack on my way home; it's easier to pack my backpack this way

Thoughts? experiences? ideas?
posted by redwaterman to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Put your stinky workout clothes in a big sealable ziploc bag and put that in your backpack. (You can squeeze all the air out of it to compress and flatten it.)
posted by tully_monster at 10:51 PM on February 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Locker -- so worth it if you can do it. Or if you work out at your workplace gym, keep your shoes and toiletries under/in your desk and just bring shorts/tee/socks rolled up military style in your backpack with your laptop.

Lunch in a separate bag with a strap.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:51 PM on February 9, 2014

Can you take your lunch in a bag big enough for your gym clothes? Clean clothes in backpack on the way to work, dirty clothes in "lunch bag" on the way home?
posted by HermitDog at 10:52 PM on February 9, 2014

I have a similar problem. I keep my work clothes at work in a locker and wear my gym clothes to and from work (I go to gym after work, occasionally run at lunchtime).

It takes a bit of organizing but I've been doing it for years now and is has become second nature. My shoes/suits/shirts/pants etc for work rarely leave the work place - except to go to the dry-cleaners of course.
posted by evil_esto at 12:51 AM on February 10, 2014

I go with a laptop backpack with all my work gear - including a compartment for lunch. I have a small duffel bag from a corporate event that contains workout clothes, including shoes, associated snacks, and even a small portable blender.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:13 AM on February 10, 2014

I think of gyms as dirty places and would never bring my lunch into a gym (gyms are just a tiny bit above public restrooms) I'd go with the lunch in the separate bag, just by my cleanness preference.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:21 AM on February 10, 2014

You're taking lunch, dinner, snacks, gym stuff to work and work stuff. That's a lot. It sounds, above all, like your working life is quite hectic.

Smelly gym stuff is horrible. Having food near electronics is a terrible idea. Having food near gym stuff is not great. In short, if one thing has to go out on its own, it's food. You have the bonus now if putting it in an insulated bag if you need to.

But my first advice is that if you can organise yourself in advance you might be able to remove the issue. For example, how many days do there have to be when work stuff, food and gym stuff all need to be in the same bag. If you took food for multiple days in on a day when you knew you didn't have to carry work or gym stuff would that make a difference? If you planned your workflow or gym visits better could you eliminate the need for work and gym stuff to occupy the same bag.

Secondly, as others have said: use storage if you can. Lockers are brilliant. You can put multiple days of food in a fridge. Or use a separate bag at work to hold stuff if you're going in the middle of the day, for example.

Thirdly, use containers that seal. Use bags that compartmentalise. Medical bags can be good for this because they are padded and comparmentalised. E.g.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:48 AM on February 10, 2014

Have you considered getting a bigger backpack?
posted by oceano at 8:16 AM on February 10, 2014

Food WILL spill/leak/drip/etc. some day. Even if it is only once, you'll regret it. So separate (insulated, even!) bag for food.

Large wet-bag for stinky gym clothes to keep them separate from everything else without adding bulk to your bag, and then you can toss the wet-bag in the washer every couple of weeks.
posted by anaelith at 6:36 PM on February 10, 2014

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