The Best Gym Bags for Women to Fit Any Type of Workout

Tote your gear around in style with the Lululemon City Adventure Backpack

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A solid gym bag is integral to keeping you organized and ready to tackle a workout, whether that’s early in the morning or on your lunch break. It should be spacious enough to fit a change of clothes and your exercise gear and organized enough to keep the essentials separate—all without weighing you down. 

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is the Lululemon City Adventure Backpack because it has plenty of pockets to organize your belongings and is stylish enough to take anywhere. We also love the ban.do Work It Out Lady of Leisure Gym Bag for its affordability.

Depending on your lifestyle and when you fit a sweat session into your daily routine, you may prioritize certain features like water resistance or separate compartments for your work laptop and electronics. Padded straps are also a great feature to look for since you want the gym bag to be comfortable to carry around. We researched popular options with these helpful features in mind.

Here are our top picks for the best gym bags for women. 

In This Article

Best Overall: Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack

4.8
Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack

Courtesy of Lululemon

We love the Lululemon’s City Adventurer Backpack because it's designed to protect your gym gear and your work needs no matter where your day takes you. It boasts a 20-liter capacity with a large, expandable pocket to store your sweatiest clothes, plus an exterior padded pocket for your work laptop and a quick-access phone pocket for those urgent texts. It's made of 100 percent polyester that's water-repellent and is easy to spot clean (the brand does not recommend machine washing or drying). The extra-strong straps mean that this bag can handle plenty of weight without creating a second workout for your back and shoulders. We also love that it comes in three solid colors and two chic patterns, so you can find one that suits your personal style.

Lululemon reviewers loved how the bag’s multiple pockets helped them organize their workouts and the rest of their day and said it held up well during weeks in the city and weekend hiking trips.

Best Budget: ban.do Work It Out Lady of Leisure Gym Bag

ban.do Work It Out Gym Bag

Courtesy of ban.do

Just because you’re watching what you spend doesn’t mean you have to eschew fashion. ban.do’s stylish workout bag comes in eight color options that feature sayings like “After this we’re getting tacos” and “I did my best” to add a personal touch to your gym gear.

Several of them come with useful eyelets to thread your earbuds through, and the bag’s built to last with metal hardware and reinforced handles.

Reviewers loved this bag’s not-too-big, not-too-small size, and multiple customers mentioned receiving compliments on the bag’s cute colors and fun phrases.

Best for Yoga: Kindfolk Yoga Mat Duffle Bag

4.6
Kindfolk Yoga Mat Duffle Bag

Courtesy of Kindfolk

Once you’ve invested in yoga classes to get your zen on, you’re going to want to invest in something to keep your gear in shape. This beautifully-designed option fits all of your yoga accessories and makes a fashion splash, too.

Kindfolk’s duffle can fit up to a 26-inch wide mat on the inside, with additional straps for holding any sized mat on the outside. There’s also room for blocks, towels, and more. An included pouch allows for further organization, and with vegan, environmentally-friendly construction, this bag is the perfect choice for weekend yogis who care about inner peace as well as peace in the world around them.

Best for Swimming: Speedo unisex-adult Large Teamster Backpack

Speedo Large Teamster Backpack

 Lyst

Swimmers seeking a do-it-all bag for meets, practices, or workout laps need look no further than Speedo’s Teamster Backpack. It’s a must-have for varsity athletes and pool hobbyists alike: water and abrasion-resistant construction protect your swimsuit and laptop from unexpected splashes or drops, and an included dirt bag keeps your wetsuit separate from your dry clothes. The bag’s even got a pull-out bleacher seat to keep you comfortable while you’re eyeing the competition.

Speedo groupies gave accolades to this bag’s roomy interior, particularly because it allowed them to fit an extra pair of shoes as well as shower slides into their routine, and one noted that this pick lasted through three rough summer swim seasons in Florida.

Best for Boxing: Elite Sports Boxing Gym Duffle Bag

Elite Sports Boxing Gym Duffle Bag

Courtesy of Elite

Boxing is a great workout that improves your hand-eye coordination, helps relieve stress, and burns tons of calories in the process. Traditionally, boxing was considered a man’s sport, but more and more women are reaping the physical and mental benefits of boxing. If you love jumping in the ring and sweating it out for a few rounds (or just training hard with a punching bag), Elite Sports' duffel backpack is the perfect choice for toting your equipment.

This bag’s size is what makes it perfect for boxers: it’s large enough to fit a pair of regulation boxing or MMA gloves, shin guards, mouthguards, shorts, and whatever else you need to give your fitness plan a one-two punch. Waterproof compartments with mesh lining ventilate sweaty t-shirts after intense bouts, and the bag transforms from a horizontal duffel to a two-strap backpack for easy carrying. This durable bag's plethora of pockets will also help you organize all your belongings.

Best for CrossFit: King Kong Backpack II

King Kong Backpack II

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re a woman who’s invested time, cash, and effort into joining your local CrossFit program, you’ll want a bag that works as hard as you do. The King Kong Backpack II is a high-intensity bag for your high-intensity training, with plenty of options for storing the gear, food, and water you need for reaching your fitness goals.

You can load up this bag horizontally or vertically and shoes tuck into an external, space-saving compartment. This pack is roomy enough for multiple changes of clothes, jump ropes, weightlifting belts, and anything else that fits into your CrossFit sessions. It’s also got expandable side compartments for water bottles or protein shakes.

CrossFit aficionados gave this bag props for its roomy interior and durable, water-resistant nylon construction. They also loved how easy it was to organize and access their belongings in the bag’s multiple small outer pockets.

Best for Tennis: Fila Ultimate Tennis with Shoe Pocket

Fila Ultimate Tennis with Shoe Pocket

Courtesy of Amazon

Fila’s the go-to brand for tennis players, and their Ultimate Tennis Bag is a smart choice for toting your gear if you’re a woman who loves sweating it out on the courts.

The bag’s roomy interior has a dedicated compartment for your favorite tennis shoes, plus two rackets in case you break some strings during an intense match. An insulated cooler pocket for your water bottle helps you stay hydrated without an additional ice pack or pricey water bottle, and a soft-lined pocket for your cell phone prevents scratches and cracks when you’re trekking to and from the court.

Best for Dance: Horizon Dance 4366 Large Black Duffel Bag

Horizon Dance 4366 Large Black Duffel Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Just because you’re not sweating it out on the elliptical or pumping iron in the weight room doesn’t mean you’re not working hard. Dancing is a full-body workout that requires a level of dexterity, coordination, and strength that surpasses many other sports and exercise routines.

Whether you’re into ballet, tap, jazz, or modern dance, you’re going to need help when you’re toting around your shoes and leotards. Horizon’s large dance bag is very durable and fits everything that a serious female dancer needs to shine.

This bag’s got loads of exterior pockets for keeping your equipment organized and separated from sweaty post-workout clothes. A special bottom panel extends from the bag and retracts back in to keep your toe or tap shoes in tip-top shape.

Final Verdict

If you prefer to squeeze in exercise throughout your work day, Lululemon’s City Adventurer Backpack (view at Lululemon) has you covered for a seamless work-to-workout transition. Featuring water-repellent fabric for your sweatiest athleisure or wet swimwear, it also includes enough room for your electronics—while ensuring the two don’t mix. Designed like a traditional backpack, it can be used interchangeably for a day trip or overnight getaway. 

What to Look for in a Gym Bag

Size and Design

Think about what you plan to carry in your gym bag before making your choice. Gym bags are often designed with specific compartments, such as waterproof area for swimsuits or sweaty clothes; a shoe compartment for cleats, cycling shoes, or indoor gym shoes; or straps for securing yoga mats. You'll also want to be sure your bag fits into the lockers or storage areas at your gym or club.

Material

Polyester, nylon, canvas, leather, and vinyl are the most commonly used materials for gym bags. Choose a material that fits your style, budget, and desired function. We recommend a bag that’s lightweight yet durable, breathable, and water-resistant. Avoid cheaper plastics on the fastenings and choose high-quality zippers and closures to prevent breakage.

Water Resistance

Water-resistant or waterproof lining, sections, or coatings inside and outside of your bag help to protect your belongings. For swimmers or those that get sweaty, a wet bag 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.

Storage and Organization

Many gym bags come with multipurpose compartments for added organization such as a padded laptop sleeve, a shoe compartment, or a water bottle pouch. These multi-use bags are versatile for travel, gym, or everyday use.

Comfortable Straps

Adjustable straps can increase comfort by ensuring a closer fit to your body.  If you often carry a lot of gear or heavy items, comfortable padded straps that don't dig into your skin or chafe are essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

    Use a cloth with water, a little liquid hand soap, and vinegar to wipe down any bag with a water-resistant liner. Spend some extra time around the seams and corners where smells and dirt can linger.

    Soft material like cotton might be machine-washable, but it's important to check labels to be sure. Some other non-cotton, lightweight bags can also be machine-washed using cold water on the delicate or hand-wash cycle. Hang to dry.

  • How do you remove odors from a gym bag?

    Wash your gym bag often to prevent and remove odors. If your bag does not smell fresh after machine washing, run it again on a rinse cycle to remove any excess detergent. You can also store a dryer sheet or cotton cloth with essential oils inside your bag to absorb and cover odors.

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

    If you shower at the gym, bring along travel containers of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. A spray or gel deodorant is best as sticks can crumble. Bringing along your own towel and shower shoes is also wise. If you'll be skipping a shower, dry shampoo is a good alternative to refresh hair. Face wash and makeup remover, if you need them, are a good idea since wearing makeup during a workout can clog pores.

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