Active Travel



Making Space for Workout Gear in Your Carry On Bag

Jun 7, 2016 | Kit, Running | 6 comments

Open North Face bag

I often pack my fit kit first when I’m going away for a few reasons; trainers can be heavy and bulky, and I never want to forget my sports bra, however I know not everyone is as strange as me when it comes to packing.

With Summer holiday season fast approaching, (Tom and I are off to Portugal tomorrow, yay!) here are some top tips to ensure you can fit your sports kit into your carry on luggage or weekend bag, without sacrificing space for knickers…

  • Invest in good carry on luggage – the photo above is of my favourite The North Face Rolling Thunder travel suitcase, it fits as carry on luggage but is really hardwearing, waterproof and easy to carry (it has multiple straps to make hauling it around easier). Plus there are tons of pockets to stuff those last minute socks, running watch and chargers into. Its actually reduced at Blacks at the moment – might have to buy one for Tom too! 
  • Make your trainers multi-task by choosing a pair that you can wear to the gym or out on a run as well as with your jeans. I find this works particularly well with black or white trainers, rather than brightly coloured pairs.
  • Bring ziplock or carrier bags to separate sweaty and dirty kit from the rest of your clothes

Trainers for packing

  • Stuff your underwear and socks into your trainers to maximise space.
  • Bring reversible leggings  – not great if you’re really sweaty but perfect if you want two different looks (for Instagram, obvs).
  • Re-wear your kit, a little gross in hot climates, but sometimes necessary. Pack some washing liquid and hand wash essential items in the sink.
  • Roll all of your clothes to reduce creasing and take up less room (note – I did not do this in the above pic, because I packed approx 10 minutes before leaving the house and subsequently forgot my gym shorts. FAIL.)

Zara activewear

  • Similarly with your sports kit, opt for tops and leggings that can be mixed and matched in with your ‘normal’ clothes BEFORE wearing them to the gym. That way you’ll get double usage out of them, and be really comfortable on your trip. I’m currently loving the grey Zara tank I bought last week and wore it non-stop in Stockholm.
  • Use it as an excuse to go shopping for more kit, it’s a great way of finding international brands that you haven’t tried before – just make sure there’s space to bring your new purchases home.
  • Sneak some stuff into your plus one’s carry on bag!
  • If you’re really pushed for space, pack a swimming costume and goggles and scout out the hotel, local pool or lake for your workout!

What are your top packing tips? Is there always space for workout wear in your bag?


  1. Kathy

    Great tips! I always stuff as much as I can into my trainers and pack them first so not tempted to leave them out. Also do the multi use of items, including wearing my pj shorts to yoga in Mexico!

  2. TaleOfTwoRuns

    I am as strange as you LOL! We are off to Greece on Friday for two weeks and the first thing that i’ve already pack is my fit kit!! Just “a few” outfits – said no runner ever! hahaha!! Have a great time!

  3. CARLA

    ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ROOM….and then I hand wash stuff.
    Alot 🙂

  4. Brittany Campbell

    Some hotels (such as Westin in the US) are now lending workout gear too. I took advantage of this on a recent trip to Vancouver and for $5 I got a pair of shoes, shorts, and tee (to return) and a new pair of athletic socks to keep. Totally worth the space in my bag on this particular business trip! I have been thinking for awhile I need to switch from my neon running shoes to something gray or black so they go better on trips haha

    • charlotte

      That is SO awesome and such good value!

  5. Jess

    I am totally the same!! Running kit has to go in first- if you forget normal clothing you can probably do without it, but forget your sports bra or shoes and it’s game over!! Holiday ruined….


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