The 11 Best Gym Bags for Women of 2023, Recommended by Personal Trainers

The versatile Under Armour Undeniable Signature Duffel has all the room you need

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Woman walking on her phone carrying a gym bag on her shoulder

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Whether you’re new to the gym or you’re a regular, a well-designed gym bag can make your workouts more efficient, organized, and enjoyable. But before you buy, think about what kind of bag is right for you based on your workout routine, says Nicholas Duran, NASM CPT, a yoga instructor based in Los Angeles, California.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick, Under Armour’s Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag, is durable, lightweight, and waterproof. We recommend it for anyone wanting a versatile bag that is easy to clean and holds a lot of gear. For a budget-friendly option, we recommend Adidas’ Defender Duffel Bag, which has a water-resistant base and comes with a lifetime warranty.

“Are you going to take a class or are you working out on your own? Does it require special equipment like cycling shoes or anything else you would possibly need?” he says. If you play a team sport, you might need a bag that can hold accessories or bulky protective gear. But if you’re exercising by yourself, a more streamlined bag will be easier to carry. 

The right gym bag should be comfortable, durable, easy to clean, and spacious enough to hold all of your essentials. It should also be the right size and designed for your body to avoid back strain, even when it’s full. To help you find the best gym bags, we researched dozens of options on the market and evaluated them for size, comfort, design, durability, price, and more. 

Based on our research, here are the best gym bags for women on the market.

Best Overall

Under Armour Women's UA Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag

UA Women's Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag


  • Durable

  • Large exterior pockets

  • Easy to clean

  • Only one interior pocket

Who else recommends it? Reviewed also picked the Under Armour UA Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag.

What do buyers say? 88% of 1,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars. 

The lightweight, spacious Undeniable Signature bag from Under Armour is our top overall pick because it’s made from durable polyester and can hold plenty of gear without weighing you down. With separate compartments to keep things fresh, we like that it has pockets on both ends–a vented pocket for shoes or clothes and a mesh pocket for a water bottle or other essentials.

Its impressive side pocket extends the full length of the bag for gear, garments, books, or small electronics. The main compartment’s top-entry flap is easy to access while wearing. And we love that the large, interior mesh pocket keeps personal items handy, although some may need more interior organization. This stylish duffle comes in a palette of primary colors, cool pastels, and modern prints—and it can even double as a carry-on or weekender bag.

Dimensions: 22 x 9 x 11 inches | Storage Capacity: 31 Liters | Materials: Polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Adjustable crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $45 for Dash Pink/Hushed Pink

Best Budget

Adidas Defender VI Duffel Bag

Adidas Defender VI Duffel Bag


  • Spacious

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Convenient carry loop

  • Crossbody strap isn’t padded on the small bag

For the exerciser on a budget who needs a reliable and well-rounded bag, we recommend the Adidas Defender. Like our best overall pick, it has two spacious side pockets and an easy-access top entry. The durable, water-resistant base keeps contents protected from a wet field or locker room floor. Plus, Adidas stands behind the Defender’s reinforced stitching and overall quality with a lifetime warranty. 

The Defender comes in three roomy sizes that are available in several colors, making it a versatile staple for athletes of any age or sport. We like that the handles can be Velcroed together for a secure grip, and that the crossbody straps on the larger sizes have a shoulder pad. This budget-friendly duffel even has a carry loop on one end for quickly attaching gear.

Dimensions: 20.5 x 11 x 11.75 inches, 24.75 x 12 x 13 inches, and 29 x 14.5 x 14.75 inches | Storage Capacity: 44.5, 63.3, and 101.6 liters | Materials: Polyester | Water-resistant: Water-resistant base | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Adjustable crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $35 for 11.75" x 20.5" x 11" in Two Tone White/Black

Best Splurge

Caraa Nimbus Large

Caraa Nimbus Large


  • Detachable, padded crossbody strap

  • 14 pockets

  • Breathable mesh vents

  • Expensive

  • Limited color options

If you’re looking for an all-in-one bag, we recommend springing for this weekender with a chic, modern design. Featuring an impressive amount of pockets and compartments, the Nimbus can hold everything from water bottles to personal items. With a padded laptop compartment, a phone pocket, and a power bank pocket, it keeps electronics safe and charged. We also love that it comes with a pouch that can hold your pair of sweaty sneaks or post-workout clothes. 

Water-resistant, the soft, nylon duffel is easy to wipe clean and keeps items fresh inside with mesh vents. The functional, stylish Nimbus is lightweight, vegan, and comes in a few neutral shades for a minimalist look that goes with everything.

Dimensions: 13 x 18 x 8.5 inches | Storage Capacity: 33.5 liters | Materials: Nylon | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe clean | Straps: Detachable, padded crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $248 for Large in Black

Best Backpack

The North Face Women's Never Stop Utility Pack


The North Face

  • Made from recycled materials

  • Laptop compartment

  • Sternum strap for support

  • Small capacity

  • Expensive

We recommend the North Face’s Utility Pack for bicyclists, commuters, or anyone wanting a hands-free way to carry their belongings. Handy for gym-to-work days, we love its separate shoe compartment, laptop compartment, and additional pockets that keep everything organized and easy to access. Its sternum strap lends extra support to help minimize back strain.

Made from recycled materials that are water- and sweat-resistant, this sleek bag keeps its contents dry and breathing. While it’s smaller than other bags on our list, it still has plenty of room. We also like the exterior loops for attaching items like keys, water bottles, or even a yoga mat. With plenty of storage and a range of earthy hues to choose from, the Utility bag also doubles nicely as a work tote.

Dimensions: 12.5 x 6 x 19 inches | Storage Capacity: 26 liters | Materials: Recycled nylon and polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe clean | Straps: Adjustable padded backpack straps and top handles | Price at time of publication: $139 in TNF Black

Best Compact

Calpak Compakt Duffel Bag

Calpak Compakt Duffel Bag


  • Lightweight

  • Folds up for storage

  • Has regular and crossbody straps

  • No structure

  • Some may prefer thicker material

We recommend Calpak’s Compakt Duffel for anyone who needs a lightweight gym bag that’s portable—simply zip it up into its own pocket to easily toss it into a suitcase or closet. Compact but mighty, the bag’s durable construction can lug a lot between destinations. 

With both solid and printed options, we love the Compakt for its classic style, handheld and crossbody straps, and thin, water-resistant fabric. While it isn’t as structured as some of our other top picks, this bag does feature a separate shoe compartment and enough pockets for all of your must-haves.

Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 8 inches | Storage Capacity: 28 Liters | Materials: Nylon and polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Adjustable crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $56 in Cheetah

Best for Large Gear

Elite Convertible Gear Gym Bag and Backpack

Elite Convertible Gear Gym Bag and Backpack


  • Expandable

  • Laptop compartment

  • Insulated cooler pocket

  • Limited color options

This versatile, do-it-all bag expands to hold large gear. Elite’s heavy-duty, PVC-coated bag is water resistant, so your belongings stay protected. The bottom is rubberized and features grommets for ventilation, which makes the bag breathable and stable, even when it’s full. 

Mesh pockets and multiple entry points provide organization and extra ventilation. Plus, we love the insulated exterior pocket that keeps protein shakes and snacks cold. This bag even has a separate laptop compartment and quick-release backpack straps can be tucked away to convert it into a duffel.

Dimensions: 9 x 16 x 19, expands to 9 x 16 x 27.5 inches | Storage Capacity: 44.8 to 64.9 Liters | Materials: Polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Convertible and adjustable backpack straps, top handle | Price at time of publication: $45 in Black

Best for Swimming

TYR Big Mesh Mummy Backpack

TYR Big Mesh Mummy Backpack


  • Breathable

  • Many color options

  • Straps may not be supportive enough for heavy gear

For swimmers, we recommend this large bag, which can hold everything from kick boards to towels. Unique to many drawstring bags, the TYR Mesh Mummy has a zippered side pocket and water bottle pouch so items won’t get lost in the main compartment. We also like that the mesh allows wet items to dry quickly. 

Lightweight with adjustable straps, the Mesh Mummy comes in 11 bright colors and patterns. A barrel-lock closure keeps everything inside secure, but also easily accessible. However, the straps may not be strong or supportive enough to constantly lug around heavy gear.

Dimensions: 19 x 25.25 inches | Storage Capacity: 40 Liters | Materials: Polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Backpack straps and top handle | Price at time of publication: $25 in Black

Best for Tennis

Fila Fully Loaded Heritage Tennis Bag

Fily Fully Loaded Heritage Tennis Bag


We recommend this backpack by Fila because it’s the perfect court companion for tennis players. With a large main compartment and four accessory pockets, it can carry two rackets, plus all the practice gear, balls, and shoes you need to ace your next match. We also love the insulated pocket (like the Elite bag’s) that will keep beverages and snacks cool until game point. 

The sporty Heritage bag breathes well, thanks to its mesh construction, keeping belongings airy and odors at bay. And the clever shoe compartment stows shoes behind the lower back. However, it’s more expensive than other bags on our list, and there’s no dedicated space for a laptop or other electronics.

Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 19 inches | Storage Capacity: 43.4 Liters | Materials: Polyester and PVC | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Padded adjustable backpack straps and top handle | Price at time of publication: $93 in Peacoat

Best for Yoga

BAGSMART Zoraesque Bag

BAGSMART Zoraesque Bag


  • Concealable yoga mat strap

  • Hidden water bottle loop

  • Removable crossbody strap

  • Limited color options

  • No shoe compartment or bag

This stylish duffel with a concealed yoga mat strap has enough space to transport blocks, shoes, clothes, and then some. Unlike many yoga bags on the market, the Zoraesque is closer to a gym or weekender bag, with plenty of pockets and compartments that keep your essentials organized. We love that it includes a laptop compartment, a hidden water bottle loop, and anti-theft zippers for added protection. 

While this bag doesn’t come with a shoe or garment bag, it does have a sleeve that slips over rolling luggage for use as a carry-on. While the practical, neutral colors go with everything, there are only two options to choose from. But the removable crossbody strap adds to this bag’s impressive versatility.

Dimensions: 18.5 x 8.7 x 11 inches | Storage Capacity: 29 liters | Materials: Slub cotton and nylon | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Hand wash | Straps: Adjustable crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $46 in Pink

Best for Court Sports

Elite Born Tough Utility Training Duffel

Elite Born Tough Utility Training Duffel


  • Durable

  • Space-saving ball pocket with buckle

  • Convertible strap

  • Only one color option

We recommend this Born Tough bag for athletes who hit the court often. Suitable for court and field sports like volleyball, basketball, and soccer, the Utility Training Duffel is designed with a minimalist aesthetic. Made from heavy-duty, military-grade nylon, it’s waterproof and extremely durable. We like that the exterior ball pocket saves space and is collapsable when not in use. 

This structured bag has separate compartments for shoes, clothes, and other personal items. Like some of our other top picks, we love that it can transition to a backpack for even weight distribution. Just note that it only comes in basic black.

Dimensions: 12 x 18 x 10 inches | Storage Capacity: 35.4 liters | Materials: Nylon | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Convertible crossbody into backpack straps | Price at time of publication: $52

Best for Studio Classes

Nike One Club Duffel

Nike One Club Duffle


  • External bungee strap

  • Magnetic pockets

  • Made from sustainable materials

  • Expensive

  • Limited color options

We recommend this bag by Nike for exercisers who enjoy attending studio classes, like barre or indoor cycling. Whether you’re toting special shoes for class or a change of clothes so you can head to happy hour, this streamlined duffel keeps things tidy—we like that it offers a shoe compartment, magnetic pockets, and an exterior bungee strap. 

The modern One Club bag only comes in a few colors, and it’s more expensive than other bags on our list. But we like that it’s made from breathable, sustainable materials, including recycled water bottles.

Dimensions: 13 x 20 x 9 inches | Storage Capacity: 24 liters | Materials: Recycled polyester | Water-resistant: Yes | Care & Washability: Wipe Clean | Straps: Adjustable crossbody strap and handles | Price at time of publication: $67 in Black/Black/White

Final Verdict

For an everyday gym bag that can tote a ton of gear, Under Armour’s Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag is our top choice for its durability, versatility, and storage. Lightweight and water-resistant, it is easy to clean and comes in a range of colors and patterns.

We also recommend Adidas’ Defender Duffel Bag, which is budget-friendly and comes with a lifetime warranty. It comes in three different sizes and features supportive straps for those who tend to haul around heavy items.

How We Selected the Best Gym Bags for Women

To choose the best gym bags for women, we first spoke with personal trainers Nicholas Duran, NASM-CPT, and Amanda Barton, CPT, to get their expert advice on which features every gym bag needs. Next, we consulted academic journals and scientific findings to understand how a gym bag’s construction can make it safer to carry heavy equipment.

Then, we researched dozens of bags from the top, trusted brands. We only chose gym bags that ranked highly in key areas, including size, design, and storage. We also considered comfort, durability, any additional features, and overall value.

What to Look for in a Gym Bag

Size and Design

“Your [size] needs can vary based on not only the kind of class or workout you are doing, but more importantly [ensure sure you] have space for whatever it is you need before or after the gym,” Barton says. 

Depending on what you need to carry, the gym bag you choose should be large enough to hold all of your essentials. You'll also want to make sure your bag fits into the lockers or storage areas at your gym and isn’t too large for you to safely carry to avoid future back injuries.

Also, consider whether to invest in a bag that includes helpful features. Gym bags are often designed with specific sports in mind and may feature a waterproof compartment for damp items, a laptop compartment, or straps for securing yoga mats. These additions can help a bag fit seamlessly into your lifestyle and workout routine.


Polyester, nylon, canvas, leather, and vinyl are the most commonly used materials for gym bags. Choose materials that match your style, budget, and desired function. “I like the exterior to be chic and stylish, but with wipeable interiors that are water resistant and washable,” Barton says. We recommend a bag that’s lightweight but durable, breathable, and water-resistant. Also, choose high-quality zippers and closures to ensure your bag will last for years to come.

Water Resistance

Water-resistant or waterproof lining, sections, and coatings inside and outside of your bag will help protect your belongings. For swimmers, a wet bag or waterproof compartment is especially useful. Water-resistant linings can also help keep sweat or smells from soaking into the bag and are easier to wipe clean. Waterproof coatings on the outside can protect your gear from rain. Gym bags may be completely water-resistant or not at all, so shop accordingly.

Organization and Storage

Many gym bags come with pockets and compartments for organization. “My favorite organization feature is a specific compartment for sweaty clothing so that you can keep everything else separated,” Barton says. Others only have one or two pockets, so choose a bag that fits your personal organization style. 

Multi-use bags with extra storage are versatile enough to use for travel, the gym, or everyday. Make sure the bag you’re purchasing has enough room for everything you plan to carry with you, and that it can help you keep important items close by.

Comfortable Straps

A bag designed with a good support system, like a duffel with a crossbody strap pad or backpack with a sternum strap, will help prevent back injuries. Adjustable straps can increase comfort and support by ensuring a closer fit to your body. If you usually carry a lot of gear or heavy items, padded straps that don't dig into your skin or chafe are essential. Loading and wearing your gym bag properly will also keep you strain-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best ways to clean a gym bag?

    To clean your bag, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and machine wash or wipe it regularly (this will help remove and prevent odors). If your gym bag isn’t machine-washable, use a cloth with some disinfectant or a wipe for the interior and exterior.

    “I like to get gym bags that have a vinyl or military-grade interior that is easy to wipe down,” Barton says. “This is also great for storing a water bottle or snacks, knowing that the inside can be easily cleaned.” Spend some extra time around the seams and corners, where smells and dirt can linger.

  • How do you remove odors from a gym bag?

    With regular use comes unpleasant smells. Prevention is key, so utilize shoe, garment, and wet bags for sweaty or wet gear. Also, take any soiled items out and wash them as soon as possible, instead of letting them sit in your bag.

    If your bag does not smell fresh after machine washing, run it again on a rinse cycle to remove any excess detergent. “I like to keep a natural dryer sheet scented in lavender essential oils in my gym bag,” Barton says. “This keeps the bag smelling fresh, but lavender is also known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.”

  • What are the must-haves to pack in a gym bag?

    Gym bag essentials vary from person to person, but there are some basics that every exerciser should have. A water bottle will help you stay hydrated, while earbuds or headphones are a must for listening to your preferred workout playlist. If you shower at the gym, you may want to bring your own body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Packing a towel and shower shoes may also be a good idea. 

    If you'll be skipping a shower, dry shampoo can help refresh your hair. Face wash, makeup remover, extra hair ties, and bobby pins are also helpful. Duran suggests bringing a change of clothes, essential electronics (like your phone and a charger), and snacks, depending on how long your workout will be.

  • How big should my gym bag be?

    The size of the gym bag you need depends on your activity level, preferred workouts, and personal needs. It should be able to hold any equipment or accessories you need, like towels, balls, or shoes. “Make sure you have room for gym clothes if you're coming from work, or regular clothing if you're doing work or grabbing lunch or dinner after,” Barton says. And if you’re looking for an oversized gym bag for large gear, avoid loading it with too many heavy items to prevent back and shoulder strain.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A life-long athlete and certified personal trainer, Jessica Murtaugh, NASM-CPT, knows her way around the gym and regularly researches the latest and best options in fitness gear. She understands how beneficial an organized and durable gym bag can be. For this guide, she researched and prioritized brands that provide item durability, safety, versatility, innovation, and value. Dedicated to reporting authentic content to her readers, she is careful to recommend products and brands that are trustworthy, promote size, gender, and race inclusivity in their core values.

Additional reporting by Emily Stone

As an active gym-goer, Emily Stone has always been a fan of Lululemon’s versatile gym bags. The Define Duffle allows her to pack for the day, fitting both work and gym essentials (including a laptop). This chic duffel also doubles as the perfect-sized weekender bag for a quick trip.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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