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12 best gym bags for women

There are so many gym bags out there that it can be tricky to know which one will best meet your needs. In case you're finding gym bag shopping a bit overwhelming, we’re here to guide you through our pick of the best gym bags for women.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated Mar 2, 2022

Woman getting ready with gym bag

Duffel bags, tote bags, backpacks, shoulder bags, gym sacks… There really is a gym bag out there to suit everyone.

You may be looking for a serious duffel bag to show that you mean business when you step into the gym or a fun backpack that will make a splash at the pool.

Everyone has their own views on what makes the perfect gym bag, but size, comfort and a good amount of pockets are all universal considerations. Not to mention price.

So with this in mind, we’ve trawled the Mumsnet forums to find out which gym bags our users recommend.

Here are the 12 best women’s gym bags to buy this year.

1. Best overall gym bag: Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote Bag

longchamp le pilage bag

Price: £125 | Buy now from Amazon

“I resisted buying one for ages but they're so useful. Cost per wear is negligible for me now and still looks as good as new.” CantChoose

“Also came on to say Le Pliage. I bundle everything in mine and it hasn’t started to wear or get tatty at all.” Jaimx86

Gym bag, work bag, changing bag… is there nothing the Longchamp Le Pilage can’t do?

There are dozens of Mumsnet threads devoted to this timeless classic, with many recommending the Le Pilage as a good choice for transporting your gym kit. 

These spacious shoulder bags have a simple, chic exterior and roomy Mary Poppins-esque interior, plus they are waterproof to boot. They have a handy zip-up pocket for valuables, but no other internal pockets or compartments. 

If you fancy separate compartments for different bits and bobs, a bag organiser insert can be bought separately to slot inside.

Pros

  • Roomy
  • Hard-wearing

Cons

  • Lacks internal storage compartments and pockets
  • Pricey

Key specs 

  • Material: Nylon canvas
  • Capacity: 21.4 litres

2. Best budget gym bag: Lonsdale Barrel Bag

lonsdale barrel bag

Price: From £5 | Buy now from Amazon

“Mine was £6 from Sports Direct. It's a purple Lonsdale one. It fits in the locker, my clothes fit in it, and it has a bag for my trainers inside, too.” GingerCuddleMonster

When it comes to a quality, budget gym bag, there really is only one winner. The Lonsdale Barrel Bag is designed with a workout in mind, and is spacious enough for all your kit – plus, it costs less than a tenner.

This bag has one single side accessory pocket, dual carry handles and adjustable shoulder strap for comfort.

Pros 

  • Affordable
  • Comes in a variety of colours

Cons

  • Lack of internal pockets 

Key specs

  • Material: Canvas
  • Capacity: Not stated

3. Best designer gym bag: Stella McCartney x Adidas Studio Bag

stella mccartney and adidas studio bag

Price: £80 | Buy now from Adidas

“I have a few Stella Adidas bags and love them all. They're great quality and have lasted years without a scuff.” LaLaLolly

As you would expect from a Stella McCartney design, this Adidas bag manages to be functional as well as fashionable. There’s a small external zipped pocket for smaller items, a mesh pouch to store your water bottle and adjustable padded strap for comfort. 

Understated and durable, you'll be carting all your gear to and from the gym in style. And the best bit is that the bag is made with recycled content, which is exactly what you would expect of a designer with Stella McCartney’s environmental credentials.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Made using recycled materials

Cons

  • Pricey

Key specs 

  • Material: 100% recycled polyester twill
  • Capacity: 28 litres

4. Best gym duffel bag: Loietnt Overnight Weekend Bag

loietnt overnight bag

Price: £29.95 | Buy now from Amazon

This huge no-nonsense holdall is the perfect gym bag for anyone who likes their kit organised and easy to find. The Loietnt Overnight Weekend Bag has no less than five pockets - one main (zipped) , one internal (zipped) , two open and one outer (zipped)  -   plus leather handles and a detachable shoulder strap. 

If you’re pregnant, the Loietnt is also highly recommended as a hospital bag.

Pros

  • Lots of pockets
  • Spacious

Cons

  • Straps aren’t padded

Key specs 

  • Material: Canvas with PU leather straps
  • Capacity: 44.8 litres

5. Best gym and work bag: Sweaty Betty Icon Luxe Kit Bag 

sweaty betty icon luxe gym bag

Price: £95 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“I have the Sweaty Betty one and I absolutely love it (though I must confess to not exactly being a hardcore gym user!).” thedayismine

This quilted Sweaty Betty bag is practical enough to take to the gym, yet professional enough for the office.

This bag has a separate pocket for wet kit, one for trainers and a zip pocket for valuables. Plus, it has straps on the bottom if you prefer to take your own yoga mat to class.

So whether you’re going to an early spin class or a dip in the pool after work, Sweaty Betty has got you covered. 

Pros 

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Yoga mat strap

Cons

  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Material: Synthetic
  • Capacity: 36 litres

6. Best gym bag for runners: SPIbelt Running Belt 

SPIbelt running belt

Price: From £15.04 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use an SPIbelt. It’s brilliant for holding my phone plus virtually any other bits and still fits comfortably when I’m running.” CrystalTits

“I wore it when I ran the London Marathon and it held gels, some energy blocks and my lip balm. It will easily hold my iPhone6, keys, a bank card and some money and probably a bag of Haribo.”  TheOrigRights

The SPIbelt is the perfect solution to the age-old question of what to do with your phone while running.

Whether you’re taking on the London Marathon or just joining your local Parkrun, the SPIbelt will look after your phone, keys and cash with no bouncing or chafing. The belt is also available in a huge range of colours and patterns, so your belt can look as discrete or as vibrant as you want it to.

Pros 

  • Comfortable
  • Stays in place during vigorous exercise
  • Large colour choice
  • Adjustable

Cons 

  • Can move around if not secured properly

Key specs

  • Material: Spandex
  • Capacity: Expands up to 6.5 x 3 x 2 inches

7. Best large gym bag: FitBeast Sports Gym Bag 

fitbeast sports gym bag

Price: £25.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Another bag if you love a pocket or two, the FitBeast Sports Gym Bag comes with no fewer than nine compartments: four inside and five outside the bag.

There’s a wet compartment, which is big enough to hold sweat towels, and a separate shoe compartment with air holes for keeping sweaty post-gym trainers away from the rest of your things and releasing any unpleasant odours.

Pros 

  • Large capacity
  • Lots of pockets
  • Separate area for wet gear and trainers
  • Adjustable shoulder strap

Cons

  • Only two colour options available

Key specs 

  • Material: Polyester (double layer)
  • Capacity: 35 litres

8. Best commuter gym bag: Nike Brasilia Extra Small 

nike brasilia bag

Price: From £21.44 | Buy now from Amazon

Small but perfectly formed, the Nike Brasilia Extra Small is ideal for commuting, with a padded shoulder strap to add comfort to train and tube journeys.

The bag comes with a separate shoe compartment and is highly durable, making it a great investment for daily use. Due to its compact size, it’s also a great choice for ferrying children’s swimming gear around.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Five colour options

Cons

  • Small capacity if you want to transport bulkier items

Key specs 

  • Material : Polyester
  • Capcity: 25 litres

9. Best lightweight gym bag: Nike Heritage 2.0 Gymsack

nike heritage gym sack

Price: £14.95 | Buy now from Nike

An absolute classic in terms of design, the Nike Heritage drawstring bag is perfect for when you want to pack light. 

There’s a zipped pocket for small items so they don’t get jumbled up with your gym gear and the strings are slightly padded for additional comfort. This gym sack is also ideal for school PE kits.

It goes without saying though that if you’re looking to carry loads of towels or other gym paraphernalia, then you may be better off looking for something a bit more robust.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Simple design

Cons 

  • Small capacity
  • Some may find the straps uncomfortable
  • Not suitable for bulky or sharp items

Key specs 

  • Material: Polyester
  • Capacity: Not stated

10. Best gym tote bag: DAY ET Gweneth Tote Bag 

Day ET Gweneth tote bag

Price: From £25 | Buy now from House of Fraser

“Look up the Day Birger Gweneth tote bags from John Lewis. I've got a khaki tiger print one and it's perfect for gym stuff, if a little big.” Mrslebon

“The Gweneth from Day Birger is great.” linetta1

While not strictly a gym bag, Mumsnetters reckon the Gweneth Tote Bag does the job along with the best of them.

This bag has one large main compartment to accommodate your gym gear with a small zip-up internal pocket for valuables, plus an external open slip pocket. Just chuck it all in and off you go.

Pros 

  • Simple internal layout
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Long straps for comfy carrying

Cons 

  • Lack of internal compartments

Key specs

  • Material: Polyester/nylon
  • Capacity: Not stated

11. Best waterproof gym bag: Rains Weekend Duffel Bag 

Rains weekend duffel bag

Price: £65 | Buy now from Rains

“I've also bought several Rains bags in the past, including a weekend bag, a gym bag (which is way too big for a gym bag) and my work rucksack.” DaisyBD

When it comes to waterproof bags, the first word that springs to mind is Rains. The Danish firm specialises in making all-weather bags for every occasion and has quite a fanbase at Mumsnet. 

Mumsnetters love the Rains Weekend Duffel Bag for its roomy interior and sturdy webbed handles, which means that you can fit in quite a lot and carry it comfortably.

Rains also features in our pick of the top laptop backpacks in case you are looking for another excuse to expand your Rains collection.

Pros 

  • Spacious
  • Unfussy interior
  • Detachable shoulder strap

Cons

  • Lack of pockets

Key specs

  • Material: 50% polyurethane and 50% polyester
  • Capacity: 30 litres

12. Best backpack gym bag: Superdry Women's Repeat Series Montana Backpack 

superdry montana backpack

Price: £29.59 | Buy now from Amazon

“Superdry bags are very robust. My 18-year-old DS still has his Year 7 bag knocking about - he’s torn the front pocket off, but the actual bag is still sound.” Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies

“DP has a Superdry one - the quality really is outstanding.” RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie

If you’re looking for a gym backpack which is built to last, then the Superdry Repeat Series Montana is the bag for you.

This funky-looking backpack features padded straps, one main zip compartment and two small inner pockets. While this design might not be to everyone’s taste, it’s strong and oozing with attitude to match your workout. Other colours are also available from the Superdry website.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Long-lasting
  • Affordable

Cons

  • May look too much like a school bag for some tastes

Key specs

  • Material: Polyester
  • Capacity: 21 litres

How do I choose a gym bag? 

There are a myriad of gym bags available to buy, so there really is one to suit all needs and tastes. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing the best gym bag for you.

  • Size and weight: When picking a gym bag, think carefully about what clothing, equipment or accessories you need to take with you to the gym, pool or studio. Once you have established the size of the bag you need, check whether it has a shoulder strap or handles. If you’re commuting or if you’re going to be carrying the bag around with you for a while, it will need to feel comfortable to transport.
  • Material: Consider whether you need a bag to be strong and durable, waterproof, or perhaps even made out of sustainable materials. 
  • Organisation: Some gym bags come with a multitude of internal pockets so you can make sure all your gym essentials are organised and easy to find. Some gym bags come with special compartments for shoes or wet towels and clothes. Or you may prefer a bag with just one large main compartment for convenience. 

What should a woman have in her gym bag? 

Don’t forget your gym kit! Always make sure you have the appropriate clothes for the sport and everything you need to freshen up, post-workout. 

Your gym bag may include the following:

Which bag is best for the gym?

Recommended by countless Mumsnetters, the spacious, practical and stylish Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote Bag is our top pick for the best gym bag for women.

How we chose our recommendations

We scoured Mumsnet forums to find out which gym bags our users rate highly - and which ones they weren’t impressed by.

We also consulted consumer watchdogs and took note of what they looked for in gym bags and which brands they were recommending to their readers.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which laptop backpacks had received the best recommendations.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.