Finding The Right Laptop Backpack For The Gym

During the pandemic, our homes served as both our gyms and offices. But now that the world is open, we can't make a quick stop in our bedroom as we transition from work to working out. So, we need an everyday bag that’s ready for full days out of the house, including hitting both the gym and the office.

Unfortunately, carrying both a gym bag and a separate work bag every day is both uncomfortable and, at times, can feel unprofessional. This problem isn’t surprising, since most bags, and especially gym bags, are designed for specific uses, even though our days are dynamic and unpredictable.

Read on if you want to understand how to solve this problem and the key things to look for in a bag that will serve equally well in both the meeting room and the locker room.

Gym bag vs backpacks

Gym bags and work backpacks are worlds apart in terms of design, even though going directly between the gym and work is extremely common. Most backpacks - particularly the ones that you take to work- are designed with multiple compartments and pockets to organize the many things you need for your job, whereas gym bags usually just have a single large compartment. Gym bags don't have separate protected pockets for your laptop and tech gear while your work backpack doesn't have separate compartments for your gym clothes, towel and shoes. Yes, you could put your dirty shoes and sweaty clothes in a work backpack or you could dump your laptop into a gym bag, but do you really want to?

 Woman in gym with laptop gym bag

What makes a great laptop backpack for the gym?

If you’re a workout fanatic that needs to look the part of a working professional, the following tips will help you find a backpack that can do it all and go pretty much everywhere with you. 


Most gym bags are designed to look sporty with bright patterns, mixed materials and big logos. They tend to have duffle carry handles that flop and a shoulder strap that usually can't detach. Since they tend to use lightweight materials, when they’re loaded with all of your gym gear, they tend to bulge and sag in all the wrong places. If you need to look professional for your job, so does your bag.

Look for bags that hold their shape, and that do not have loud colors, patterns, or logos. Handles and straps should be able to be tucked away when you are not using them. And the overall bag design should be streamlined so that your coworkers won’t be able to tell what you have inside your bag. 

Space for your gym gear

It goes without saying that any bag that you take to the gym needs to be large enough for your gym stuff. You need to fit your shoes, a towel, your water bottle, snacks, and potentially a change of clothes. And you want to keep all these things separate from your work items but you want to keep your bag compact and lightweight. 

Knack Pack laptop backpacks have a super organized main compartment for all your everyday work items. But what also makes them a great bag for the gym is that they have a separate, hidden expandable compartment that adds up to 16 additional liters of space to your bag (which is enough room for all of your gym stuff). These two compartments make sure your work things and your gym things never share the same space. 

Laptop backpack with compartment for gym things


Antimicrobial lining

Besides aesthetics, the other reason that most people don’t use one bag for their gym and work stuff is because they don’t want their work stuff to pick up the smells from their dirty gym things. All Knack Packs are made with an antimicrobial lining, so that your bag will always smell fresh, no matter what you put (or forget) inside of it - damp towels, sweaty t-shirts, and even your sneakers.

antimicrobial lining in a laptop backpack


If you’re hauling both your work and gym stuff around in a single bag, it may get pretty heavy. Backpacks do a much better job than gym bags in distributing weight across your shoulders and hips. Look for a backpack that has padded, adjustable shoulder straps, as well as a padded back panel. Ideally, the back panel should be breathable, just in case you’re biking, walking, or commuting on a hot summer’s day. 

Weight Distribution

As we mentioned, good weight distribution is an important factor in finding a do-it-all backpack. Look for pocketing that keeps the heaviest items you carry every day, like your laptop, closer to your back. For example, Knack Pack's separate padded zip laptop pocket lies against your back so that when your laptop is packed, it doesn't pull the bag away from your body like backpacks with laptops in front or middle pockets. Similarly, the Series 1 Knack Pack’s bottom cable pocket can double as a shoe pocket for smaller shoes. This pocket allows you to keep your shoes at the bottom of your backpack where you should always pack heavier items in order to distribute their weight to your hips.

Check out what Anthony of Biking Punk blog has to say about using his Knack Pack as a commuter bag for work:

“I haven’t used the subway or public transit in over 100 days! Biking everywhere in NYC means carrying everything on your back. If you are like me and don’t pack light, check out Knack Bags to get there and back.”

"If you plan on using your Knack Pack as a commuter laptop bag, make sure to pack the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag, for better stability!"

Man on bike with laptop backpack


A gym bag with a laptop compartment

Of all the stuff you bring with you to work, your laptop is probably the MVP. That’s why Knack Packs have a padded, zippered, and separate side-access laptop pocket. Not only is your laptop protected from everything else in your bag, it’s easy to access. 

woman with laptop gym backpack

One-bag solutions for work, gym, and everyday life

If your backpack can go with you to the gym and to work, it can probably go with you everywhere else. Knack Packs are the ultimate one-bag solution for everywhere your day takes you. Here's what Knackpacker Gio, who runs a nonprofit and also loves to work out, has to say about his Knack Pack:

“There’s a compartment for everything. Whether I’m packing my laptop up for work or heading to the gym, there’s a spot for everything to fit AND be secure. When you have a Knack Bag, it’s the only bag you need. I’m looking forward to taking this bag on my next travel adventure which I’ll be off to soon!”

Man with backpack going from work to gym

The best commuter bag

Gym Bag with laptop

If you’re interested in trying out a Knack Pack for your commute to work, the gym, and everywhere in between, then check out our new Knack Convertible Duffel bag. Our newest style lets you convert an everyday laptop backpack into a spacious duffel that carries your gym things (or travel things). The Duffel's many organization pockets keep your work tech safe, while the expandable main compartment gives you a little, or a lot, of extra space that you need for a whatever the day holds. It's the perfect One Bag for work and the gym.