The 31 Essential Items That You Should Actually Keep in Your Gym Bag

Stay hydrated, organized, odor-free, and fabulous with these must-have products for hitting the gym.

By Megan Gray Jan 02, 2024 9:58 PMTags
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Whether you're a gym rat or just starting a new fitness routine, it's important to be well-prepared when you enter the building. Because the gym is rarely a place where you just enter and leave (and if you do, teach me your ways). You want to make sure you have the items that make working out, showering, heading off to work, and more, easier and streamlined. The list of must-haves can start adding up, so I've put together a roundup of the essentials you actually need in your gym bag.

Starting from the ground up, you want to make sure you have a breathable, water-resistant bag that can fit all your items and feels lightweight. From there, you need the items that can make working out and the entire gym experience more pleasant and tolerable. And finally, having your toiletries, beauty and skin accessories, and products that can get you ready for work, dinner, or coffee, will also be important. From a backup pair of earbuds to a rechargeable electric toothbrush, from deodorizing body wipes to a pair of flip flops, these are the items that you'll be glad you have on hand when you're working up a sweat.

Because beginners, pros, and new year's resolution keepers alike, can benefit from a little gym bag glow up. So keep on scrolling below, plus all the lifting, running, squatting, flowing, swimming, and spinning you're going to do.

Basic Gym Bag Essentials

ETRONIK Gym Bag for Women

This water-resistant gym bag has over 6,000 5-star Amazon reviews for good reason. It has a separate, vented compartment for your shoes (or for keeping your lunch separated from the rest of the bag), features a waterproof PVC lined pocket for sweaty clothes, and includes a charging port on the side for connecting a battery. Everything you need can fit in this bag, and the sturdy shoulder strap makes it easy to carry.

Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray, 3-Pack

Beloved by celebs and TikTok, Touchland hand sanitizer sprays are a must for any gym bag. They come in lavender, rainwater, and vanilla scents and actually moisturize your hands as you use them. Plus, they're easy to throw into a bag for when you need it.

Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 22 Supportive Running Shoe

Available in narrow, wide, and regular options, along with half-sizes, Brooks' shoes have something for everyone. They're cushioned for running at the gym or on the road, and offer a supportive fit for any kind of gym activity.

Wunder Train High-Rise Tight 25

Get these lululemon leggings before they sell out. They're on sale for just $49, and feature a breathable, sweat-wicking material that will keep you covered and compressed through squats and more.

ALVABABY Wet Dry Bags, 2-Pack

If your gym bag doesn't have a separate area for wet and sweaty clothes, you might want to get these wet/dry bags. They're made of waterproof polyester, feature two zippered pockets, and are easily folded for storage. Best of all, this pack features two so you always have a backup.

Alcala Deodorizing Body Wipes, 30-Pack

When you don't have time to shower or just need a refresh, these deodorizing body wipes are a solid pick. They're bamboo, measure 10 x 10 inches, and enriched with aloe, tea tree extract, green tea extract, and more. Plus, they're durable, good for sensitive skin (according to reviewers), and come in individual packets so you can throw them in your gym bag for later.

Saucony Women's Multipack Performance Heel Tab Athletic Socks, 8-Pack

A good pair of socks are invaluable for any kind of workout. And a great choice would be these Saucony athletic socks with over 90,000 5-star Amazon reviews. They're breathable and feature compression in just the right places so you'll feel comfy and supported.

Pogo Plastic Water Bottle with Chug Lid and Carry Handle

Featuring a chug lid, this dishwasher-safe plastic water bottle is perfect for getting in your H2O while you work out. It also includes a carry handle for easily carrying around the gym or attaching to your gym bag, and it's available in 18, 32, and 40-ounce containers.

Apple EarPods Headphones with Lightning Connector

There's nothing worse than getting on the treadmill, putting in your wireless ear buds, and finding that they need to be charged. That's why I always recommend having a backup pair of headphones (like these). They plug into your phone with a Lightning port, include a built-in remote, and don't need to be charged. And, it doesn't hurt to have a pair that plug into most exercise equipment like these ones with an aux port.

ZHEGE Combination Lock

Depending on the locker room situation of your gym, it's always good to have a small combination lock on hand. This one has a four-digit passcode, is easy to set, and since the lock weighs just 4.6 ounces, it won't feel too heavy in your bag.

Patterned Flip-Flop Sandals for Women (Partially Plant-Based)

You never know what the shower situation at the gym's going to be, so it's always advisable to have a pair of flip flops handy. I like to keep these partially plant-based sandals in my bag and only use them for the gym. 

AERLANG Mini Massage Gun

Post-workout recovery can be a little easier with a mini massage gun. This portable massager comes with a variety of heads for targeting your sore muscles, a carrying case, and one reviewer reported, "this mini one is a perfect size for carry in my bag to use outside of home."

Taegila Small Portable Charger iPhone

Keep your phone at max power with this portable iPhone charger. It's lightweight, features a built-in flashlight, and this fan raved, "I loved this charger as it's tiny and I can use it in gym as I need to use my iphone for looking up exercises. It looks neat and not heavy at all. It's charged very fast."

Arm & Hammer Deodorizer Odor Busterz, 3-Pack

Keep your gym bag smelling fresh with these deodorizing balls. They're filled with odor-eliminating baking soda and feature a fresh scent that will last up to 60 days. Reviewers have called it a "life changer."

Low-Effort Products To Try if Your 2024 New Year’s Resolution Is to Work Out, but You Hate Exercise

Dynamic Fleece Oversized 1/2-Zip Tunic

When you leave the gym, but still want to look chic, this oversized fit tunic is the way to go. It has thumbholes, zippered pockets, and delivers a cozy warmth that will preserve your post-workout glow.

Treefrog Traveler

Another item that's great for post-workout recovery are these packets of Treefrog gel. They're easy to slip in your gym bag and deliver topical pain relief to keep you going the distance.

UltraLite Rib-Knit Racerback Tank Top, 2-Pack

These rib-knit racerback tank tops are great to wear while you're working out or for keeping in your gym bag as a backup. They're soft, sweat-wicking and on sale now for just $8.

Gym Bag Beauty Essentials

Kitsch 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash Bar

Streamline your shower products with this shampoo and body wash bar. Not only does it save on bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but it's fragrance-free and designed to nourish your skin, scalp, and hair.

4Monster Fast Drying Microfiber Travel Towel

Sometimes the gym is out of towels or just doesn't offer them (both of these options are tragic). Or sometimes you just want your own towel on hand. That's why this microfiber towel is great to have. It's light, fast-drying, and comes in a carrying bag that can easily fit in your gym bag.

Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties, 8-Pack

Extra hair ties are a must-have for any gym bag. These spiral ties are waterproof, durable, and won't give you any hair headaches.

MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face

You don't need a separate moisturizer and sunscreen for your face when you have this mineral creme. That's because it's SPF 50 and feels like a luxe cream when you apply it on your face. It also comes in a compact size that easily fits in your bag.

SkinSmart Facial Cleanser

Just spray this cleanser on your face, chest, or back, and it'll fight bacteria, no scrubbing needed. It's safe for sensitive skin and one user raved, "this is a holy grail!!! I literally hate doing skin care sometimes I get so lazy and this works MAGIC! Also it's a gym MUST for all my girlies who break out from literally anything and everything this prevents breakouts caused by sweat and bacteria."

Alleyoop Portable Travel Razors

You don't need loose razors in your bag when you have this portable razor. It's made for travel and features refillable components, like a spray bottle, moisturizing bar, and two razor cartridges. This reviewer glowed, "This is staying in my gym bag forever and I'm going to get another one for my car … and for my purse and for all my friends!! lol"


ALAZCO Folding Hair Brush, 2-Pack

Brush your hair and tame flyaway strands with a handy folding brush. You get two in a set and they even feature a mirror for touchups on the go.

R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo

Rich in antioxidants, this dry shampoo is designed to absorb extra oil, add texture, and strengthen strands. If you're not washing your hair post-workout, it's a great solution. Just a few sprays and you're good to go.

Panleding Stretchy Headbands, 12-Pack

Since these stretchy headbands come in a 12-pack, you'll have plenty on hand for working out or throwing in your gym bag for later. They're perfect for keeping your hair out of your eyes while you're on the treadmill, or for keeping your hair in check when you leave the gym.

Gym Bag Essentials If You're Going Before or After Work

Native Deodorant, Buttercream & French Vanilla

Aluminum-free and made with baking soda, coconut oil, shea butter, and more, this Native deodorant will keep you fresh when you're on the move. Plus, it has a buttercream and French vanilla scent that one reviewer noted, "my favorite scent. i'm super picky about deodorant and vanilla. this is my holy grail, if i start sweating, it just smells like cake batter. it's sooo sweet and rich."

Amazon Essentials Women's Cotton Bikini Brief Underwear, 6-Pack

Made of breathable cotton with some stretch, these bikini briefs will keep you covered during your workout and after. Plus, they come in five, six, and ten packs so you don't have to do laundry every day (thank goodness).

CLIF BAR - Crunchy Peanut Butter, 12-Pack

If you're heading right to work after a workout, then a little snack can carry you through to lunch. I love these Clif bars because they keep me satisfied and they're not overly sweet. They also come in a ton of flavors if peanut butter isn't your thing.

Repel Umbrella The Original Portable Travel Umbrella

Stay dry and protected when you leave the gym with a portable, sturdy travel umbrella. It's easy to fit in a bag and features over 53,000 5-star Amazon reviews. 

PHILIPS Sonicare One by Sonicare Rechargeable Toothbrush

This rechargeable toothbrush is great for keeping in your gym bag or for any bag, for that matter. It comes in a sleek case that's easy for travel and the battery lasts for 30 days of use. There's even a two-minute timer with 30-second notifications to make sure you're brushing properly.

Looking for some deals on activewear? Then check out Old Navy and their $8 leggings.