Best women's gravel bike clothing 2024: close-fitting and relaxed tops and shorts, reviewed and rated

We tested women’s clothing across the gravel spectrum: from figure-hugging lycra to more relaxed tops and shorts - here are our favorites

Anna Abram wearing some of the best women's gravel clothing on a bikepacking trip
(Image credit: Future)

‘Gravel’ means so many different things to different people. On the one hand, you have the competitive racing side, where performance and optimization are just as paramount as when racing on the road - albeit perhaps with a few more pockets. 

At the other end, you have the bohemian social side - where anything goes and it’s all about feeling comfortable, having fun and just being out there in nature. Skin-clinging lycra can be left at the door, and more flowing and freeing clothing can take its place. 

But it wouldn’t be gravel if there were clear ‘rules’ to be followed! There are so many exceptions to those broad generalizations that setting too much store by those rough pigeon holes is almost wholly pointless.

Non-competitive gravellers might still appreciate the many pockets and the more secure storage offered by cargo bib shorts and skin-tight jerseys - you just can’t load up baggies the same way, and most definitely not to the same extent. Layering is also easier and more efficient, with options for gilets, arm and leg warmers - and sequence of jackets over the top. 

On the other hand, there’s nothing to preclude you from wearing baggies on a hard-and-fast blast, chasing your way up the climbs. 

With all that in mind, here’s my top picks across the gravel spectrum for women - from figure-hugging lycra to more relaxed tops and shorts.

The quick list

JERSEYS

RELAXED TOPS

CARGO BIB SHORTS

BAGGY SHORTS

OUR PICK OF THE BEST WOMEN'S GRAVEL CLOTHING

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

JERSEYS

The best gravel jersey overall

Anna Abram wearing the Velocio Women’s Concept Merino Jersey, which is among the best women's gravel cycling clothing

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

1. Velocio Women’s Concept Merino Jersey

Best gravel cycling jersey overall

Specifications

Sizes: XXS - 3XL
Colors: 5
Pockets: 4 (3 standard + 1 zipped)

Reasons to buy

+
Wide size range
+
Breathable and soft
+
Odour resistant
+
Close and comfortable fit
+
Zipped valuables pocket

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly see-through

So soft and very breathable, this is a merino jersey that excels in hot conditions, as well as  on cooler and damper days. Although it primarily uses merino wool, this is blended with nylon and elastane to help obtain the close fit and durability that this jersey offers.

We found that the jersey wicks really well and rarely feels clammy. The merino fibers are naturally antimicrobial and odour resistant, which is very useful for all-day rides and/or multi-day bikepacking. The hydrophilic and thermal regulating properties of merino wool are also very welcome when caught out by a shower! 

Its fit is a little more snug than other gravel jerseys we’ve tested, but it’s still comfortable when riding - which is the important thing. Unlike the super short sleeves of 7mesh’s Ashlu Merino Jersey, the sleeve length here is just where we want it: about halfway down to the elbow - not too long, not too short. 

Overall we found that the Concept Merino jersey provides close and comfortable fit. The low cut collar design makes it easy to breathe and eliminates unnecessary flapping. With three good-sized rear pockets - including a zipped valuables one -  the jersey ticks the practicality box too. 

The best gravel jersey for storage capacity

Anna Abram wearing the 7mesh Women's Ashlu Merino Jersey SS, which is among the best women's gravel cycling clothing

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

2. 7mesh Women's Ashlu Merino Jersey SS

Best gravel cycling jersey for storage capacity

Specifications

Sizes: XS - XXL
Colors: 4
Pockets: 5 (3 standard + 2 zipped)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent, sag-resistant pockets
+
Huge zipped pockets
+
High quality, comfy merio

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly baggy sleeves

Another merino option, but this time in a slightly more relaxed fit and with greater carrying capacity. The Ashlu Merino boasts a ‘floating’ pocket system, which is made from a polyester and elastane mix. This blend is much more supportive and springy than the merino wool which the rest of the jersey is made from - which meant we could stuff a lot of kit into these pockets without running into the issues of sagging which you typically get from a merino jersey. 

The jersey also has two side-loading zipped pockets beneath the traditional three rear easy access pockets. One of these zipped pockets spans the width of two standard - which makes it larger than any other zipped pocket we’ve come across on a jersey. It’s a very useful space for tucking away a large smartphone and other valuables. 

The main body is longer in length than the Velocio, so this jersey suits those who are riding in a more upright position. Plus, it also doesn’t look too out of place off the bike. Our only complaint is that the fit is a little baggy around the shoulders and the sleeves are shorter than most.

Overall, we were really impressed, though - this is a high quality merino jersey with plenty of spacious zipped and easy access pockets. If you are looking for a relaxed fitting jersey for longer adventures, the Ashlu Merino comes highly recommended.

The best gravel jersey for relaxed fit

Anna Abram wearing the Castelli Unlimited Sentiero 2 Jersey, which is among the best women's gravel cycling clothing

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

3. Castelli Unlimited Sentiero 2 Jersey

Best gravel cycling jersey for relaxed fit

Specifications

Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: 4
Pockets: 5 (3 standard, 1 zipped + 1 chest)

Reasons to buy

+
Relaxed
+
Good wicking abilities
+
Retro styling

Reasons to avoid

-
Loose around the arms

We found the fit of the Unlimited Sentiero 2 Jersey to be a lot more relaxed than the other gravel jerseys we’ve tested, such as the 7mesh Women's Ashlu Merino jersey. This makes Castelli’s offering a good option for those who care more about adventure than speed and expressly don’t want a figure hugging fit. The jersey uses a 92/8 polyester/elastane blend which has a slight stretch to it and excellent wicking capabilities.

Not only is the fit relaxed, we found that the jersey comes up larger than expected too. We had to swap our first sample for a smaller size than usual - worth bearing in mind if you have other jerseys from Castelli. If you’re usually towards the smaller end of the size spectrum, you might find that there isn’t an option small enough for you.

Three standard pockets line the rear of the jersey. Plus, there's a fourth zipped pocket for cards or other valuables. We don’t really see the point of the chest pocket - other than that it gives the jersey a very retro look. If that’s the style you’re after, then this is a comfy, relaxed top that’ll serve you well off-road. 

The best gravel jersey for close fit

Anna Abram wearing the Sportful Cliff Supergiara W Jersey, which is among the best women's gravel cycling clothing

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

4. Sportful Cliff Supergiara W Jersey

Best gravel cycling jersey for close fit

Specifications

Sizes: XS - XXL
Colors: 8
Pockets: 6 (3 standard + 3 mesh)

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of color options
+
So many rear pockets - six!
+
Sleek sleeve ends

Reasons to avoid

-
Fit is slightly tight across the chest
-
No zipped pocket for valuables

In terms of the fit and feel, Sportful’s Cliff Supergiara W Jersey is the jersey which most closely resembles what we’d typically ride out on the road - the only difference being double the number of pockets, and the (arguably) cooler, art-y styling! It features a stretchy fabric, a comfortable cut, and the sleeves have a seamless, raw cut finish that provides a secure fit.

For long distance gravel rides, the Sportful Cliff Supergiara W Jersey provides much more scope for pocket organising than a typical jersey - it has a total of six rear pockets, thanks to a layer of mesh which has been added to the outside of the three usual jersey pockets. 

This doesn’t serve to really functionally increase the amount of kit you can carry - if you fill up the mesh pocket, the resulting bulge means that there isn’t much space to fill up the jersey pocket behind. But it does mean that you can split up where you’re storing your phone, cards and keys to make access a bit easier and reduce the time you spend rummaging around for the right thing. Despite all those pocket options, there isn’t actually a zipped one for securely storing your valuables - worth bearing in mind.

RELAXED TOPS

The best relaxed top overall

Anna Abram wearing the Assos UMA GTC Jersey C2, which is among the best women's gravel cycling clothing

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

1. Assos UMA GTC Jersey C2

Best relaxed top overall