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Favorite Zip-Top Tote

A tote is basically a large packing cube with handles. (Duffles are included as well.). What is your favorite?

Posted by
597 posts

We LOVE the Rick Steves HideAway tote sold here on this page in the 'shop online' section. We have several of them. They weigh nothing, fold up into themselves for easy packing into a purse, the handle is the perfect length. Look for it in the RS store and be sure to watch the video on it. We've had ours for years and it goes to Europe with us every time we go. We have gifted them to others also. We love to buy it when they are 30% off. Be sure to sign up for emails and you'll know when it goes on sale.

Posted by
847 posts

For checking-in, I like Eagle Creek's No Matter What duffel.

For carrying-on, I like Muji's super lightweight Paraglider Cloth Foldable Boston bag. Sadly, this product has been discontinued.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/224761420102

Both come with a strap that enables the bag to be attached to the handle of luggage.

Posted by
931 posts

For decades, I carried a leather zip-top tote made by Magellan. I loved it a lot but it finally fell apart in Iceland about 3 years ago. I just recently ordered the Sherpani Sojourn bag. My daughter has the same bag and loves it, so I'm going to check it out and see how it works. It's heavier than I would like, but it has carry handles AND a backpack option, which is nice. It was on sale at REI as it has been discontinued.

https://www.rei.com/product/168684/sherpani-sojourn-tote-womens

Posted by
610 posts

Another vote for the Longchamp Pilage tote. I have over a dozen of them in various colors and swear by them. They are so durable yet stylish. Years ago a full bottle of white wine spilled on my red one and to this day there are no visible stains. I have used them for overnight trips and use them daily as my purse.

Posted by
610 posts

Thank should clarify. I use both the regular tote purse as well as the bag that unzips yo become larger. I also have the xl travel duffel bag. Yes, I love this line of bags😉

Posted by
13045 posts

I use a Kiplinger zip-top tote as my carry-on personal item and day bag while in Europe. Like this one, although mine is a different color/pattern:

https://www.kipling-usa.com/jodi-m-tote-bag/KI3923.html?dwvar_KI3923_color=761#uuid=c1145ae47a297a1208075fefd4

Do not be fooled by the photo of the woman carrying one—-that is a larger size. Mine is the 15 x 12 x 5 size described in the text. It has inside and outside zipper pockets, as well as the zippered top. It carries my iPad, water bottle, sunglasses, maps and guidebook, etc. on the plane and on daily walks. I carry it over one shoulder and under my arm, where is is comfortable and feels secure. The brighter color ( not black or brown) means I am unlikely to leave it behind anywhere ( almost did that in a Scotland taxi with a black day bag, so I switched to something more visible).

Posted by
459 posts

The ones we've found in thrift stores. Some are name brands, but all good-to-great quality & durability, good carbon footprints & nice prices. Recycle, people! Spend your money on sidewalk cafes in Paris :)

Posted by
931 posts

Stewart&Vicki, I agree about reusing, reducing and recycling but I think it's also okay to buy new. As I mentioned above, I bought my Magellan tote bag in the late 1990's and kept it and used it for 20 years until it finally fell apart a few years ago. I hope to keep my current bag that long as well. Most people here are buying good quality bags from reputable brands and using them over and over.

Posted by
9675 posts

The jury is still out because I've just gotten this tote and don't travel for another 3 weeks 6 days (hahaha!!). I will say that it has packed pretty easily. It has handles as well as a shoulder strap for cross body carry. I like that the interior zipper pockets are big and deep and that the interior is light colored.

https://www.baggallini.com/any-day-tote-with-rfid-phone-wristlet/ADT336-BG-B0938-NS.html

I had previously used either a Lite Gear Day pack or a Kiplinger or LeSportsac tote. When I traveled in October I was having trouble packing the soft-sided totes and went with the day pack. I decided I wanted to try something with more structure so went for the Baggallini Any Day Tote. I was slightly shocked that I'd lost my packing mojo over the pandemic so hoping this new bag will bring it back, lol!

Posted by
438 posts

I just ordered this bag called the Foldie, so cannot verify it’s usefulness. It is exactly as advertised, and works just like the video I linked. It seems durable. I am particularly pleased that is has a trolley sleeve so it can ride on my wheeled cabin bag. As an added bonus the company has a commitment for ecological endeavor for each bag sold.
https://www.the-foldie.com/products/the-original-foldie-bag-1?gadid=542163640964&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhrThgsfL9gIVcxh9Ch3CMQ9BEAAYASAAEgKmJ_D_BwE&utm_campaign=14434312527&utm_content=130104563201&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=google&utm_term=the%20foldie

Posted by
1538 posts

Thanks for all the responses. I’m having fun looking up the bags. The Sherpani looks sharp and useful to me. Thrifting is a lot of fun also. Never know what will turn up. There’s a thrift store across the street from my office.

I checked on Boston Bag using the above link to Muji. However, the Boston bag term doesn’t seem specific. Can mean anything from a fine leather satchel to a generic over shoulder travel tote to an old fashioned, canvass boat and tote.

There’s also LLBean and Land’s end totes, patagonia tote pack, osprey daylite tote pack.

I need backpack straps rather than over shoulder bags.

Posted by
27 posts

Regarding Longchamp bags, buy in Europe. I've found them to be cheaper and you get the VAT refund. In addition, the Longchamp stores have more colors and different styles than I've found in the US.

Posted by
3336 posts

I love my Longchamp Pliage Tote 14 1/2x 10x 5 1/2. It has been my go to “workhorse” bag. I have had it over 10 years and it still looks new. So durable! I also have a medium that I have had for a number of years. Great bags. My current favorite lightweight personal carry on is the Hedgren Swing Large Tote, made in Belgium. Dual carrying handles & detachable, adjustable shoulder strap. It’s durable, and weighs 1 lb. 1oz. Best of all it has a zippered trolley sleeve that fits perfectly on my Travelpro luggage.

Posted by
1656 posts

Not sure if you're after a daily use item or something else. I use this packable tote for overflow items while traveling and then use it as my carry on item coming back home (I check my bag on return). It's lightweight and has shorter handles for the vertically challenged. Mine didn't come with a shoulder strap as shown in the pics, but that could be handy. I also have this bag in a different pattern that is heavier and less packable, but I like the shape and it is tough as nails.

Posted by
2316 posts

LeSportsac makes a lightweight but sturdy full zip-top tote--I sometimes use it as my carry-on, also good for long day trips that need me to bring a jacket or might include some shopping. They fold up nicely, but not to be confused with those really lightweight shopping totes that I tuck in my purse.

Posted by
2705 posts

I bought THIS TRAVELON ONE and I love it. It is lightweight, is easy to fold up into the packable size when needed, has a zip top and sleeve for sitting on a rolling suitcase…basically it’s perfect. I use it on the plane, it holds my purse and other items as my underseat personal item. Then at my destination it can be a grocery bag, beach bag, hold overflow items for the return…

Posted by
1716 posts

@Travelmom I bought The Foldie for our recent trip to Costa Rica. It is good quality and held up well. But by the time I packed an extra set of clothes for my husband and I, meds, iPad, travel documents, phone and camera in it, it was so heavy that I really hated lugging it around the terminals. I guess if you are carrying on your luggage and can put it on top it wouldn’t be so bad. It is large so it is easy to put too much stuff in it.

Posted by
186 posts

I second the recommendation for the RS Hideaway tote. Just used it to bring home clothes, etc. from a recent trip to France. We packed wine bottles in cushioned sleeves in our suitcases with clothing to cushion and remaining clothes in tote for carry on. Also, the wine made it through checked bags with NO breakage. I did not pack heavy items in the tote but it was perfect for the task! Always pack it when I travel.

Posted by
5110 posts

I am going to dissent on the support of the Rick Steves hideaway tote. Perhaps I received one from a bad lot, but the material frayed almost immediately which made zipping it open and closed a nuisance because there was always frayed material in the way. It is in the back of my closet somewhere, because it simply wasn't good enough quality to use.