I need a bag to carry gym stuff and work stuff.
July 28, 2008 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a good gym bag/work bag combo?

I'm looking for suggestions for bags that can carry my work stuff (laptop, power cord, file folders, etc), my lunch and also my gym stuff.

I'm a male, so handbags/totes won't work, and I'm not hip or metrosexual enough to carry a murse.

A duffel bag has enough room, but it doesn't look professional. The computer/work bag I use now is too small for gym shoes and clothes. I'd appreciate any suggestions.
posted by tenaciousd to Shopping (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are you carrying your gym shoes and clothes to and from work everyday? I just keep mine in a small black duffel bag in the corner of my office during the week. I take it home on Fridays and bring it back in on Mondays.

The daily work bag is a separate messenger bag.
posted by junesix at 3:25 AM on July 28, 2008

Response by poster: I do carry my workout clothes and shoes to and from work. With a lunch, laptop, newspaper and an occasional book, there isn't much room for shoes and clothes.
posted by tenaciousd at 3:46 AM on July 28, 2008

How do you commute? If it's by car, then I'd just leave the gym bag in the car and switch things out when they get gross.

If you're commuting by public transit, I'd seriously consider getting a messenger bag. Timbuk2 is the classic brand, and their bags are very sturdy and some are quite large (I regularly use mine for overnight trips). However, I'd be kind of grossed out by keeping my gym clothes with my laptop and lunch, but I guess you could use plastic bags to keep everything separate.
posted by lunasol at 5:25 AM on July 28, 2008

This bag by Osprey is work-appropriate, has great interior organization, lots of space, a padded laptop sleeve, and enough structure that it's easy to look around inside without the bag collapsing on itself. My husband just got one for his bike commute, but it would also work great on the train or in a car. I think the colors look a bit more sporty and the black a bit more office-y.

I have a great bag by Sherpani (bag is called Flora Major) but it doesn't have the structured sides so it's harder to keep organized. Also it has a floral lining, which doesn't sound like your style.

I would recommend carrying a plastic bag wadded up in your messenger, so you can stick your gym clothes in it post-workout.
posted by TrixieRamble at 7:27 AM on July 28, 2008

I use the Wenger Pegasus. It has a separate compartment for your laptop (with a snapover harness to keep it upright), plus two HUGE additional compartments for clothes, shoes, books, whatever, and side pockets for keys, sunglasses, iPod, etc. The thing seems to expand endlessly and has Camelbak-style padded vents on the back for ease of carriage when you overstuff it. I routinely pack my computer, change of clothes, lunch, bike padlock, etc., into mine every day for my 23-mile bike commute, and it's never failed me. Plus, it's machine-washable.
posted by mykescipark at 7:28 AM on July 28, 2008

For a few folders, sneakers & gym clothes the bigger Tumi expandable cases, example, and knockoffs will just do it. Make sure you get the expandable version. But now I use a Mountain Hardware Enterprise bag, not super corporate but it depends on your culture.
posted by shothotbot at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2008

I use a timbuk2 with a laptop sleeve. Ideally I'd get the largest size possible, but I have the 15" (sleeve size) and it works fine. You can get an all-black one if you need something semi-formal. Timbuk2 bags aren't pretty (I hate the logo and two tone design in particular), but they are damn tough. I'll probably reluctantly buy another one after my current one dies (4 or more years with almost everyday use and still going strong).
posted by fishfucker at 7:53 AM on July 28, 2008

er, I should mention my 15" fits shoes, shirt, shorts, a bottle of water, a book and a laptop. There's still a little room to stuff crap in it with all that in there.
posted by fishfucker at 7:54 AM on July 28, 2008

TrixieRamble: "I would recommend carrying a plastic bag wadded up in your messenger, so you can stick your gym clothes in it post-workout."

If you're near one, Apple Store bags are great for this purpose. The drawsting works well and the plastic's thick enough that personally I've even occasionally rinsed it out and let it dry without making it go goofy.
posted by WCityMike at 8:26 AM on July 28, 2008

I have had a PAC Designs Bag for the past four years. It has proven to be not only sturdy to the point of indestructibility, but comfortable and large enough to accommodate way more than any other bag I own. They're kind of pricey, but if messenger bags are your thing, a PAC may be the last one you ever need to buy.

If you go this route, I'd advise you fork out a bit extra for one or more of the 'options', particularly the 'X-strap' and the laptop bag.
posted by Pecinpah at 9:07 AM on July 28, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good recommendations. A couple more caveats: I do take public transportation to work, and I don't want a backpack.
posted by tenaciousd at 2:20 AM on July 29, 2008

If you're willing to wear a 'courier bag' (or a bag in that mould), have you considered a Tom Bihn bag? Their Super Ego bag is absolutely cavernous, big enough for a well-protected lappy and a weekend's worth of clothes, as is the Empire Builder briefcase (which surely passes the 'classy enough for work' test unless you're a lawyer or Top Gun pilot); they've got other form-factors as well, if one-shoulder bags aren't your style.

For laptop protection I swear by these guys; plus, made in the U.S.A. 100%, if that's your thing.
posted by waxbanks at 6:39 AM on July 29, 2008

BTW - There's a whole universe of difference between Timbuk2 bags, which are great for holding formless items like papers but can get really uncomfortable when holding edged items, and the Super Ego bag I mentioned, which is a good deal more padded and less well-suited to actual bike courier work. Much as I have loved my Timbuk2 courier bag for five years, they can't compete with the Tom Bihn bags on comfort or multifacetedness, and the 'Brain Cell' (laptop holder) in the Bihn bag is tough as nails, on the scale of 'drop it from waist high without worry, stack dictionaries on it,' and so forth.

The Timbuk2 bags have much to recommend them but for work, for carrying a lappy and lots of day-to-day stuff, I'd take a pass.
posted by waxbanks at 6:44 AM on July 29, 2008

HA! I'm placing an order myself right now re: the Tom Bihn bag (thanks for this post, BTW, OP), and the site asks you to tell where you heard of them. And Ask Metafilter's a pre-existing choice on the menu!
posted by WCityMike at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2008

Wow, yeah, those Tom Bihn bags are gorgeous. When my Wenger craps out, I'm going that route.
posted by mykescipark at 7:30 PM on August 4, 2008

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