View Full Version : TB at the gym?

05-29-2015, 05:49 PM
After buying two substantial bags (S19 and A30) plus a number of accessories in the last two months, I am now contemplating yet more TB applications (stop me now!). I am curious what different set ups (including accessories) people use for workout/gym bags. I am currently using my A30 but it seems a bit overkill. Here are the things I'd like to accommodate for normal "workout at work" days:

workout clothing (ranging from shorts and a T-shirt to tights and two layers on top, depending on the season)
socks, shoes, sports bra, and underwear
microfiber travel towel x2 (one for my body, one for my hair)
large hairbrush
running shoes in all fabric A30 end pocket cube
toiletry 3-1-1 bag with shower stuff
waist belt with small water bottles
GPS watch, iPod, mini flashlight
Some snacks

Right now I have the little things in the PCSB inside the main compartment of the A30 (but again, a bit overkill for an everyday gym bag and I have way too much in there now--definitely more than listed above).

Some things I'd like:
1. Place to put sweaty clothing without it getting too nasty in a couple of hours
2. Ability to carry easily with S19 and SCB (my current EDCs)
3. Ability to organize the small stuff

Any and all ideas are welcome!

05-29-2015, 06:13 PM
So what about the NFTD? Smaller, cute. Also, I LOVE the SS laundry bag! I use the pool, and wear my suit from home. So into the "clean" side of the laundry (read about it) I put underwear while going to the gym. After the pool, when I get dressed, I use the other side (black drawstring end" for my wet bathing suit. When I can I use towels from the gym. If I use mine, it'll go into an ordinary plastic bag.

My gym bag itself is not TB.

05-29-2015, 06:16 PM
I used to go to a gym (stopped due to injuries) - I used a large shop bag. I went before work, so I wore my gym clothes going to the gym. Carried work clothes (my office casual) in the LSB. After gym, gym clothes went into the LSB.

LSB stayed in the trunk of my car until I got home. I am fortunate in that my sweat and thus my gym clothes do not stink bad. But I always washed my LSB when I got home in the evening. Hang it upside down and and it will be dry and ready in the morning. However, I have several LSB, and I always packed the bag in the evenings to avoid morning forgetfullness.

I packed LSB:

Dress shoes + cheapo flipflop to use in the gym shower in a #4 travel stuff sack (or repurposed grocery plastic bag) in one of the side pockets.

Toiletries, comb and a bottle of water in the other side pocket (I don't wear make-up).

1 large towel, work clothes and a roll of paper towels + bottle of spray disinfectant in the main compartment. The latter are to clean the machines - many of the people just left their gunk on them and the gym staff did not exactly rush to clean them. I carried the roll of paper towels + disinfectant in one of those freebie promo bags that cinch close or grocery plastic bags. Also carried trash bags to collect the dirty paper towels I used.

Now I go to yoga/pilates - still use a large shop bag. Similar set up, except no more carrying paper towels + disinfectant and the yoga towel I carry is larger. I go after work. I change at the yoga club, carry my work clothes home in the LSB. The pockets are generally empty, unless I carry my Side Effect (leave my EDC in the car trunk) into the club. The Side Effect fit nicely in the pocket of the LSB.

05-29-2015, 06:19 PM
Trailrunner -- what size shoes do you wear? I ask, because the one Tom Bihn bag that has been my "miracle gym bag" has been the Packing Cube Backpack for the Aeronaut.

The trick is to use the bottom compartment to stash your shoes. It ensures that your shoes will be separate from the rest of your stuff.

You sound like you have various packing cubes and whatnot; I'd play around with the configuration to see how you can pack the main compartment. The smaller stuff, you can clip onto the O-ring with a strap.

The amusing part is that, as much of a fan as I am of the Packing Cube Backpack, my love affair is with the Tri-Star/Western Flyer model, NOT the Aeronaut model. I've never liked the bottom compartment because if it's empty, your backpack winds up looking really funky.

It was really a lightbulb moment when I realized I could fit my running shoes in there. Then everything fell into place!

That said, it's the ONLY time I ever use it... but it sounds like you're an Aeronaut fan, so the Aeronaut PCBP will probably fit right into your collection!

05-29-2015, 06:26 PM
@lani, my non-TB bag, a "sling" type bag, has that kind of bottom. (The bag is larger than the PCBP). I use the bottom for the shampoo/conditioner/soap/washcloth. If something accidentally comes open, the guck stays there. My main compartment has towel, hairdryer if I don't get a gym one, my SS laundry bag, a couple ordinary plastic bags, and while I'm swimming, my clothes. In the summer, I wear flip flops so they can be worn in the shower. In the winter, the flip flops go into the gym bag while I trudge through snow, and the shoes go in the locker with my bag.

05-29-2015, 06:27 PM
Lots of interesting ideas to ponder. @Lani My shoes are US women's size 8.5--you think they would fit? They easily fit in the A30 end pocket cube but don't know how that compares. I had no idea the PCBP was so big. @marytatoo I've been eyeing the SS laundry bag--would a pair of shorts, bra, socks, and T-shirt and two wet microfiber towels fit in there? NFTD is an interesting idea...

05-29-2015, 06:29 PM
By the way, it's one more reason I'm still hoping TB will come out with a large Packing Cube Shoulder Bag that is essentially the size of our current PCSB. Because it's a lot easier to sling that around like a gym bag than to carry it vertically with a backpack strap.

05-29-2015, 06:32 PM
Lots of interesting ideas to ponder. @Lani My shoes are US women's size 8.5--you think they would fit? They easily fit in the A30 end pocket cube but don't know how that compares. I had no idea the PCBP was so big.

My shoes are women's 7.5 and they fit fine. You will want to stack them on top of each other, laces together (soles apart) where the toes on one shoe meet the back of the other (does that make sense)? I think they will snuggle in better that way.

Also, if you're wearing Hokas, it might get a bit tight in there... I'd play around and see how the fit is if you have a chance to try one (if you're planning an order anyway, you can get one, and always send it back).

You can also take measurements of your shoes stacked, and see if they fit the dimensions of that bottom compartment. :)

05-29-2015, 06:33 PM
Lots of interesting ideas to ponder. @Lani My shoes are US women's size 8.5--you think they would fit? They easily fit in the A30 end pocket cube but don't know how that compares. I had no idea the PCBP was so big. @marytatoo I've been eyeing the SS laundry bag--would a pair of shorts, bra, socks, and T-shirt and two wet microfiber towels fit in there? NFTD is an interesting idea...
Whether they'd for depends on your build. I am plus size. I easily fit my suit and washcloth. My towel isn't microfiber so it wouldn't fit. But I already carry underwear in it, and shorts and a T would fit. So if you're not plus size you should be fine. At the very least take a plastic bag just in case.

05-29-2015, 06:35 PM
@Walker I am also a night packer (or rather pack after unpacking from the previous time) because I am always rushing around like a madwoman in the mornings! I was thinking about getting some shop bags anyway (for other purposes) so I might easily try your system out. I am guessing I will prefer something for this purpose that closes completely just to contain the odor :).

I much prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, but because of my schedule, sometimes I am running at lunchtime and sometimes at the end of the day. I don't always need the shower stuff depending on when I do it, but it is just easier not to unpack it and repack it.

05-29-2015, 06:40 PM
@Lani I have Altras which are more clown-like but less high than the Hokas, so I hold out hope!

As you point out above, the one downside of the PCBP is that it would be tricky to carry with my S19.

05-29-2015, 06:49 PM
You could also try the Swift. It's a very useful all-purpose tote bag. If you're packing in a hurry and just want to throw everything into your bag, the Swift has the added benefit of having a bit more structure than the LSB and having more organizational options as it has 6 interior O-rings (including 2 in each zipper pocket). It also has a secure button closure that will prevent your stuff from falling out. Like the LSB, it will also accommodate stuff of various shapes and sizes, from large shoes to flatter items.

Oddly enough, the first bag i associate with "gym bag" is the Swift. I have the NFTD and PU (which others use) but I think the one that provides the most hassle-free packing experience for rushed individuals (like myself) is the Swift-- it's a "throw and go" bag if you KWIM. The only downside I can think of is that it looks like a giant basket i.e. not very sporty.

05-29-2015, 07:14 PM
I use my WF PCBP as my gym bag, and I have been very happy with it. I put my running shoes in a zippered bag in the bottom, clothes in the middle, and hat, sunglasses, etc on top. Then I use the outer pocket for any toiletries type items. Either of the PCBP would work great I imagine; I just prefer the open design of the WF one. It is fantastic being able to completely unzip the bag to access what I need at the gym.

Here is a photo I had posted a while back of typical gym carry for me.


One consideration though is this might be awkward to carry if you are already carrying a S19. A shop bag might be a good easy to carry alternative with your current carry set-up.

05-29-2015, 07:17 PM
Very helpful picture NHWhikergal! Anyone know how a WF PCBP would fit in an A30 for travel?

05-29-2015, 07:26 PM
Since I don't have an A30, I don't know how it would fit fully packed in an A30. But if needed, the PCBP in dyneema can roll up fairly small, and I am guessing it would easily fit in a corner of an outside pocket or in an unused spot of the interior. When I was traveling recently, I fit a rolled up PCBP in the bottom section of one of the front Pilot pockets.

05-29-2015, 08:43 PM
I use the Parental Unit as a gym bag. Here's a link to a thread with pics and list of what I carry in it: http://forums.tombihn.com/photos-videos-and-reviews/8852-parental-unit-gym-bag.html

05-30-2015, 02:48 AM
11898@adalangtdon Somehow missed your post before, but the Swift is a good idea too. Do you think the whole list above would fit? I guess the thing I worry about most for both the Swift and the PCBP is the waist belt with water bottles. Here is a picture of it- not huge (the water bottles are 4.75") but kind of bulky. I am guessing the PU would be big enough though - thanks brendabethman! Keep the ideas coming- these forums are so helpful!

05-30-2015, 02:51 AM
11898@adalangton Somehow missed your post before, but the Swift is a good idea too. Do you think the whole list above would fit? I guess the thing I worry about most for both the Swift and the PCBP is the waist belt with water bottles. Here is a picture of it- not huge but kind of bulky.

Let me try and test pack all that for you. I used to run half-marathon distances so I should have your belted bottles somewhere. I am, however, a size 6.5 in shoes and XS for clothing... but no biggie, in all likelihood. Back later with pics!

05-30-2015, 03:10 AM
NWhikergal: just noticed you have a similar waist pack to me--does yours have two bottles or one? Can't tell from the photo. Also, do you have any toiletries or towels? Looks like it might be a tight squeeze with my list?

adalangdon: I am a medium, but it should be helpful regardless!

05-30-2015, 04:01 AM
Here are some pics. I packed them into both my Cork and Dyneema Swifts to give you an idea of your fabric options. Sorry, my ballistic Swifts are currently stowed away but the Cork is nearly as rigid. Although it looks bulgier, my recommendation is the black dyneema Swift if you want to go this route as it's smart enough for many workplaces, is more flexible, and looks sporty too.

-Some of my stuff is smaller, whereas other stuff is (hopefully) bigger so that you can gauge how it'll fit. In particular my towel is pretty big and I suspect 2x microfiber towels will take up much less space... same with Sharpies standing in for toiletries.
- I could only find my spare small bottles, so I used 3 of those instead of the belt :(
- I assumed that you only need to pack 1 set of workout clothing. I fit all the clothes (including socks) and the brush into the TSS.
- I packed this by stacking stuff on top of each other-- I didn't fit anything sideways.
- Snacks (approximated using long instant coffee tubes) can go into the Swift's clear pockets straight, as can the watch, ipod, flashlight and earbuds.
- I have a PU too and this didn't fit.
- To avoid stink, I'd just put the smelly clothing in a plastic bag and then bag that up in the TSS.
- If you want to use pouches, you may want to avoid urethane as it will stick to the urethane pockets in the Swift, and that's a pain when things are packed tightly.





05-30-2015, 08:13 AM
@trailrunner, I have the exact same waist pack, just with a purple zipper (that is the only one I have found that doesn't move around a bunch on my waist). I can fit all of that with a packtowel, but a regular towel would be a too big. I keep liquid toiletries, brush, etc, in the outer pocket. I wear a size small with size 7.5 running shoes in the main compartment, and usually bring either tights or shorts and shirt, thin running jacket, hat and sunglasses, and waist pack. If you wanted to bring bulky layers, it might be tough. The option with the greatest flexibility would be a large shop bag, if you don't mind having an open top to your bag, as the inner side pockets are great for corralling toiletries or smaller things, especially since it could be dual purpose during travel, though a dyneema swift also looks like a good option, after seeing adalangdon's photos.

I don't have time to take photos, since I am getting ready to head out on a hike, but if I am back at a decent hour tonight, I can show you a better photo of what fits in a PCBP if no one else has by then.

05-30-2015, 08:50 AM
@trailrunner, I understand about wanting a bag that zips. Zipper top for the shop bags has been put on the wish list numerous times. Maybe one day.

I also used to use the PCBP - TS/WF and A45. But I preferred tthe open top of the LSB so my gym clothes air out while sitting in the trunk of my car.

Hope you find your gym bag soon.

05-30-2015, 10:54 AM
The PCBPs are great! I find it helpful to look at the volume measurements of the bags to help visualize what will fit. The volume of the WF version is 20 liters, the volume of the Aeronaut version is 16, but I don't know if that includes the bottom part or not.

Both will roll up/fold up to fit in the A30. The Aeronaut version folds in on itself to make a smaller packing cube which is really great. The photos of this are on the Aeronaut PCBP page. Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut 45) - Travel Packing Cube converts to an ultralight backpack - TOM BIHN (http://www.tombihn.com/backpacks/TB0925.html) What is also helpful to see is the video on that page (scroll to the bottom) where the man packs many of the items you list into the A-PCBP.

I have both of these and would be happy to take photos if you would like, although I do not have the items on your list, except the Altra shoes. :-)

Hope this helps!

05-30-2015, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the photos adalangdon --that is really helpful! And thanks for the comment on the PU--I guess I assumed that was bigger--thanks so much for confirming that it itsn't. Seems like a bit of a tight fit in the Swifts as well. I'm a little concerned about cool weather and slightly bigger loads that come with it. As a funny aside--my paddle brush (got it at my local Aveda store) is almost the same exact one as yours! I love it--totally worth the space it takes up.

I am a bit confused by the pictures/video and stats on the TS/WF vs A PCBP --the stats seem like the WF one is slightly bigger (18L (or 20 according to Kipplan's post?)) vs (16L) but the A one really does look bigger in the video (plus the width seems better suited for my super wide Altras). I like the idea of the 3 sided zip for the WF one. If anyone has one or the other for comparison that would be helpful.

I think I am going to get a LSB anyway (for other purposes), so I definitely could try that at least, but normally I don't leave ANYTHING open and sweaty in my car during the day. :) The Swift may be problematic from that standpoint as well. I guess I need to think about it and maybe try a "stink test" this week.

@NHWikergal I love that waistpack as well. I keep trying to convince my husband to replace his Amphipod one that moves all around (that he never wears) with one like mine. I think I need the version with the bigger water bottles though (unfortunately you can't just swap out the bottles).

05-30-2015, 12:35 PM
Great to hear you've made a choice. I really look forward to hearing more about your setup because I *will* have to start my exercise routine again when I become an office warrior.

That paddle brush is frickin' genius. I paid 30+ bucks (Singapore dollars) for it but it's a godsend for misbehaving long hair... Worth every cent and square cm, I agree. (Kent also makes a fantastic barrel brush for blow-drying, but I digress...)

05-30-2015, 12:38 PM
I haven't made a choice yet. :) Keep the ideas coming--still contemplating options. I just wanted to get a LSB anyway--still not sure I want to use that for the gym bag though. Seems like the PU is out, but otherwise hard to make a decision!

My brush has an Aveda imprint on it but it looks exactly like yours, adalangdon, and cost a similar amount--worth every penny.

05-30-2015, 12:38 PM
I think the volume of the A-PCBP might be the top part only, but I don't know. These two pieces hold a lot of stuff. Maybe these photos below will help?

Here they are side by side. Pardon the wrinkles! The black dyneema is 400d, the steel is 200d.


Here is the A-PCBP folded inside itself to be used as a packing cube.


The A-PCBP folded as a cube in the center of the A30. I arranged it to fit as if it were full. It doesn't take any (if much) space from the side pockets. I didn't photo either PCBP folded/rolled, but they will fold small.


And lastly, here is the A-PCBP with a pair of women's Altra size 9. Plenty of room for shoes and other stuff. You might even get two pairs of shoes in here.


Hope this helps!

ps I didn't take a photo, but when they are stacked on top of each other, they appear to be the same size.

05-30-2015, 12:48 PM
That is super helpful Kippiann (sorry I got your username wrong before--without my reading glasses i's look like l's)! I really like the idea of a separate place for the shoes and the Aeronaut one does appear to be slightly bigger in your picture. I definitely think bigger is better at that size. A30 is overkill but it sounds like 13L (PU) is too small. Carrying with the Synapse seems like the biggest hangup with these. Trying to decide if that is a deal-breaker.

05-30-2015, 01:45 PM
I think Kippiann has given such a thorough review of the two PCBPs that there is little I can add on comparisons (owning them both also myself) that hasn't already been covered.

I can't discern a noticeable difference in volume of carry although (subjectively) the WF cube feels thinner when carrying v the A45 one (ie long and thin 'v' shorter and stubby). There's only really a few cm's in the dimension differences but I guess that can make a difference overall.

I think this idea fits the bill as a gym bag and can double up as a packable day bag with your A30. Either style will work of course but I guess the A45 one will be more practical being the correct shape for your Aeronaut.

If it helps at all, I reach for my WF PCBP for business stuff (I think rectangular and clean lines looks more formal) but it's always the A45 PCBP that I grab for leisure use. The bottom separate pocket can be a hindrance when empty but often is used to good effect (shoes, towels, wet clothes etc).

For info I also used to have a LCB which I know you are also considering. I think the A45 PCBP is a simpler design for this purpose and less to 'get in the way'. Less is more as they say.

So if you do go ahead with the A45 PCBP it's just a colour choice which may be hard. My 2 WF/TS ones are both 400d in Nordic and Steel. My A45 one is 200d steel.

I don't really notice the difference in the weights of the material 200 v 400 in practical use so I'd simply go for the colour you like. I really like steel with red zipper pulls but that's just me.

Happy decisions.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

05-30-2015, 01:48 PM
@trailhiker and @NWhikergal, do your waist packs fit an iPhone 6 or 6+? I have the SPI belt for my phone on my runs (which I love) but am thinking about a water belt for me longer runs. I do have one of those bottles that strap to your hand, but my hand gets so sweaty.

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05-30-2015, 01:55 PM
In this thread is @Taminica's FANTASTIC review of the PU as a gym bag. I can't use it as such, but you will get ideas.


05-30-2015, 03:08 PM
Pokilani: My phone is hopelessly out of date (4S with essentially no remaining battery life) which fits fine, but since I am likely to be looking for a replacement soon, I'll be sure to take my belt along to "try out". I'll let you know if I figure it out in the next week. Actually thinking of only upgrading to a 5 since the 6 seems so big. I am a bit skeptical for an iPhone 6 fitting in mine, but they may have changed the design in the two years since I bought mine.

I actually don't usually carry my phone with me since it kind of hits my spine a bit when I am running longer distances. Shorter distances (under 5 mi) seem fine though.

05-30-2015, 03:28 PM
Not that I use them, but have you considered an arm-band case for your phone at the gym? If you listen to music they are convenient.

As for larger phones, I know it's a preference but I LOVE the larger phones. I'm an Android person and have had the Notes 2, 3, and currently the 4. I use my Note for everything web-related. I seldom use a tablet anymore. (I'm retired). I play a few games, mostly WWFs, and it's quick and easy to play from my phone.

05-30-2015, 11:25 PM
@trailhiker and @NWhikergal, do your waist packs fit an iPhone 6 or 6+? I have the SPI belt for my phone on my runs (which I love) but am thinking about a water belt for me longer runs. I do have one of those bottles that strap to your hand, but my hand gets so sweaty.

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@Pokilani, it fits an iPhone 5s in a Lifeproof case with a little bit of spare room; I have not upgraded my phone yet. I think a 6+ would be tight likely. I used this waist pack when I did my half marathon last year and I use it for long runs, and it works great.

06-19-2015, 10:23 PM
lol.. wow you guys carry a lot to the gym. i usually just throw in a small towel or plastic bag flip flops. phones/keys/$/locks etc in compartments, huge water bottle in the middle front. All this in the s19.

06-20-2015, 08:09 PM
I've been using either the LSB or DLBP. Change of clothes, shoes (in an eagle creek shoe bag that I've had since practically the beginning of time), and a lock fits just fine through one of the o-rings. I live <5 minutes from the gym and go straight from work, so I don't generally fuss with bringing any sort of shower/grooming things. on yoga days, it's the same setup, but with a couple clean washcloths for wiping my sweaty mitts thrown in, and no shoes (my mat is too big to fit in either bag, so it gets schlepped separately in a mat bag).