Playing outside isn’t all beach yoga and summit pics. It usually requires some unsexy schlepping between home and that secluded cove or secret powder stash. Whether you’re lugging a soggy swimsuit or a quiver of skis, you’ll need the right bag for the job. We’ve rounded up five athletes’ favorite carryalls that will get your gear where it needs to go.
Osprey Transporter 65 ($140)
James Mills, Adventurer, Author of ‘The Adventure Gap’
This bag is good for any activity. Adventurer and mountaineer James Mills uses his 65-liter Osprey Transporter to travel, haul gear to the crag, and stash his boots and hip waders when he’s heading to the river to cast a fly rod. “It pretty much goes wherever I go,” Mills says. “It’s tough as hell, with 840-denier nylon fabric that’s coated for good water resistance.” The bag can be carried like a regular duffel bag with its shoulder strap or like a backpack with its hideaway suspension system. Plus, Mills says, “It’s super roomy on the inside,” with a side compartment that’s perfect for wet clothes or shoes.
L.L.Bean Women’s AT 38 Daypack ($169) and Adventure Pro Duffel, Medium ($129)
Kikkan Randall, Cross-Country Skier, Five-Time Olympian and Gold Medalist
When Kikkan Randall—five-time Olympian and winner, along with Jessie Diggins, of the first-ever U.S. gold medal in cross-country skiing—heads out for a day on the trails, she uses this women’s-specific 38-liter daypack as her boot bag. The top-loader offers plenty of room to carry extra layers, boots or shoes, snacks, and a water bottle. “I also use it as a backcountry ski pack, because I can strap my skis onto the side, and it works great for longer day hikes with the family,” says Randall, who is also an L.L.Bean ambassador.
For off-season workouts and dry-land training, Randall uses this 44-liter duffel made from weather-resistant 420-denier ripstop nylon. “I love the versatility of this bag,” she says. “It’s great for throwing in all the possible gear I would need for a training session, and it has compartments for keeping wet gear and smaller stuff organized.”
Burton Rider’s 25L Backpack 2.0 ($100)
Caitlin Pascucci, Yogi, Founder of Sangha Studio
Caitlin Pascucci, founder of Sangha Studio, Vermont’s first and only nonprofit donation-based yoga studio, doesn’t bother with a typical yoga mat bag. When she’s on the move, Pascucci hitches her mat to this backpack using vertical-carry straps originally designed to haul snowboards. Why? “A lot of yoga mat bags are horizontal, which makes it hard to fit through doorways,” she says. And while yoga mat bags usually can’t hold much, this 25-liter pack fits a change of clothes, towel, and water bottle with plenty of room to spare.
L.L.Bean Sportsman’s Rolling Gear Bag, Medium ($199)
Lynne Cox, Long-Distance Open-Water Swimmer
In 1987, Lynne Cox became the first person to swim the 2.7-mile Bering Strait between the United States and the Soviet Union. She’s also been searching for the perfect bag ever since she began crossing the globe as a teenager. “Most of my life is spent traveling and swimming, so I need a bag that can be used for both activities,” she says. This 52-liter duffel bag on wheels meets most airlines’ carry-on dimensions and is her favorite pick so far. “Its configuration works well for me. I can put my damp swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles in one side compartment to keep them away from my dry clothes in the central compartment,” Cox says. She also likes the bag’s soft 1,000-denier nylon construction and the fact that it comes in several colors. “I can squeeze more clothes into it than into a hard suitcase,” she says. “And I can choose a color other than black, so I can find it easily.”
Thule RoundTrip Ski Roller ($260) and Boot Backpack ($100)
Chris Davenport, Big-Mountain Skier, Ski Guide
Traveling with ski gear is a monumental pain, but having reliable bags can make a world of difference, says Chris Davenport, the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in less than a year. He uses this ski bag with “bomber” zippers and wheels, stiff structural support that prevents sagging, and internal padded dividers and straps that keep cargo safe. “I’m on the road most of the year, so my luggage has to be durable, spacious, and easy to haul around,” Davenport says. “This bag has withstood dozens of international flights.” It’s also roomy—he can fit at least two pairs of alpine skis or three pairs of lightweight touring skis, ski poles, extra layers, and equipment like shovels, ice tools, and ropes.
When rolling through town or the airport, Davenport attaches the Boot Backpack to the top of his ski bag. “It’s my carry-on for flights when I can’t risk losing my luggage and need the essentials with me,” he says. Davenport stashes his ski boots, shell, pants, goggles, hat, and gloves in the bag, which has separate compartments for hard and soft goods and a protected goggle case.
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