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Looking for Compact Tote Ideas

I would like to find one of those tote bags that folds up really small for days when we end up with extra stuff to carry. Does anyone have a brand and/or style they have used and like?

Thank you!

Posted by
292 posts

I usually like the reusable totes you can get at the Container Store in the States. In Europe, I love the foldable backpacks that Decathlon sells (plus it's kind of a souvenir!). This model is only two euros and 10 liters. Or there's a bigger one like this too.

Posted by
850 posts

Gagaku 45L is a nice foldable bag that can be taken in your luggage on your trip and then popped out to fill and use as a carry-on when you return.....check it out on Amazon. The outside canvas feels thin so I would recommend if you use it coming home to fill it with clothing so that you can squish it up make it fit in an overhead bin when you need to. We have done this many times!

Posted by
1662 posts

An idea:

If you are near a TJMaxx, check out their travel section.

I have seen, in their inventory, "packable" durable (but lightweight) nylon backpacks and tote with strong handles. They also can be found hanging with additional "last minute" travel items as you (wait) and go toward the cashier.

They come in black and purple and are "boxed." They fold into their own "self pocket." They come priced at $7 to $10.

Posted by
1221 posts

The one I have came from the gift shop at the Van Gough museum in Amsterdam

Posted by
884 posts

Amazon has a slew of choices. Just search for foldable totes. For $15 or less you can find ones with zippers and shoulder straps. Most about a pound in weight and many food into their own bag. I've used them for carryons as needed and even checked them (usually full of dirty laundry).

Or you can go with reusable shopping bags. They fold smaller and lighter but not as useful for carryon or even checked bags. I usually take at least one of these since shopping bags are often not provided free in europe.

Posted by
223 posts

Thanks everyone. Container store had multiple options and I found what I was looking for. Still considering the idea of a small packable duffle to check on return. Thanks again!

Posted by
5697 posts

IKEA has light nylon zippered sports bags that fold up to almost nothing for $4.99 !

Posted by
641 posts

Sea-To-Summit makes the lightest bags I have encountered. Their ultra-sil duffel bag weighs around two ounces, folds up to about the size of a baseball, and can hold 40 liters. It is amazingly sturdy, and I have even sent it through as check luggage on the return flight a few times. I pack one on every trip. They also make ultra-sil backpacks and totes, which I have yet to try. Their stuff is expensive, but I highly recommend them.

I have also had good experiences with:

  • Patagonia Packable Tote. (I am not as fond of their packable backpack, which I find a little awkward.)

  • Chicobags Hobo Bag. On the plane, it's my airplane comfort bag, holding toiletries, a shawl, and an inflatable neck pillow. On tours, I have been known to leave my backpack on the bus and use this bag as an overnight bag.

  • Chicobags Nomad Tote -- it's huge and a little heavy (about 8 ounces), but it's great for consolidating my laptop, camera bag and airplane comfort items into a single under-the-seat bag. (Yes, I am an electronics junkie.)