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Travelon Crossbody Purse Opinions

Hi Everyone!
On my first (and only) trip to Europe in 2019 I used one of those 'high security' Travelon crossbody purses. I really liked the size and the pockets for organization. I also liked that it had side pockets that fit a water bottle. The downside? I noticed after several days that my t-shirts (admittedly cheap buys at Wal-Mart) had pilled where the crossbody strap rubbed on my shoulder and chest.

Currently, I'm getting ready for a 2nd trip to Europe (yay!) and I'm considering my purse. The only thing that's stopping me from taking the Travelon purse is the risk of it wreaking havoc on my tops! So I'm wondering if my experience was an isolated incident because of the cheapness of the t-shirts I took on the trip, or if other people have had the same experience with Travelon purses? I'm taking some nicer tops on this trip that I invested in for their sink-washable capabilities, so I'd rather not have them get pilled up too!

For the record, I do realize that these security purses aren't necessary to avoid pickpockets. I like my Travelon for the set-up and organizational features. I thought I'd switch to a Tom Bihn Cafe bag for this trip. In fact, last week I ordered both a small and medium sized one, and I'm not 100% convinced that they're the right bag for me, and I'll probably return both (the small was too small, and the medium a bit too big, haha). I also don't care for the lack of pockets. My everyday purse is a trusty Baggallini, but it lacks the side water bottle pockets that I find handy while touring.

So, has a Travelon purse ruined any of your tops?

Thanks in advance for any constructive comments:)

Posted by
7061 posts

I only had my Travelon purse for a short time (1 trip) and I didn't notice anything like that on my t-shirts (also cheap Walmart shirts). I gave up on that purse because it was so heavy, even when empty, and when I had all my stuff in it it weighed down my shoulder. Maybe they are lighter now as that was a long time ago. I gave it to Goodwill because of the weight and I knew I wouldn't go on traveling with it. I don't know how heavy you load the purse (with a water bottle it gets pretty heavy) and that my be why it rubs the material on your shirts. If you really like the purse and want to keep using it, you might try wrapping something soft like silk or some other fabric around the strap where it rides on your shoulder and that may stop the pilling of your shirts - just make sure it's not a color that might rub off on your clothes. I had a black canvas like purse once and noticed that it 'bled' on my light colored shirts, even when it wasn't wet or even damp.

Posted by
2859 posts

I’ve had no problems with rubs on clothes. I usually wear nylon or polyester shirts/ tunics over leggings and icefil sun shirts.
My first Travelon large purse cramped my neck after an hour. I gave it to my sister-in-law who liked it.
Then I bought an off brand because it held a water bottle. I liked it but my neck didn’t.
Last trip and the upcoming one I’m using an extra small Travelon. It holds very little but I like the features, it’s red and my neck is happy. Days I need to carry more I add a day pack. The back pack pills my cashmere cardigan so this will be the sweater’s last trip but the purse doesn’t pill anything.

Posted by
24 posts

I’ve had my red travelon cross body bag since 2017 and just love the organization and ability to use a small water bottle. Have not had any problems with
pilling. Usually wear Talbots shirts purchased on sale. Their quality is good but like most clothes in recent years less so than a few years ago.
Find the light weight and the ability to wash thebag perfect. Also, feel secure with the locking feature between zippers. That being said I do keep my hand on the pocketbook and stay aware of my surroundings.
Hope that another type of T shirt works with the Travelon. Happy travels. Heading to the south of Italy this fall with RS.

Posted by
979 posts

I had the same problem with a similar purse strap. I made a little bag strap cover out of some leftover satin and my strap now glides across my clothes with ease.

My strap was black so I just used some black satin. Hemmed up a rectangle then just hand stitched the seam around the strap.

Posted by
229 posts

Thanks for the replies! The ideas about modifying the strap to lesson the friction are quite helpful, and it's true that a heavily packed purse might be more likely to cause the pilling effect. Good things to keep in mind:)

Posted by
1309 posts

I have used a few different Travalon bags over the years and have loved them all. I have switched colors a time or two and also downsized.
I've never had an issue with damage to the shoulders of my jackets or shirts but I don't wear Walmart or such shirts because they don't hold their shape. (Perhaps you can try them again around your town or deliberately rub on your shirt to see if the damage happens again.)
I try to not overload them and I position them on my shoulder away from my neck.
I hope that you can find a workable solution.

Posted by
7399 posts

I’ve been very focused on reducing the weight of my suitcase the past five years. So, I also applied the same principle to my crossbody purse to prevent my shoulder from hurting. I took a photo of the contents of my purse last year, so I wouldn’t forget how little I actually needed to have in my purse when out sightseeing. (I wear my credit card, ATM card, passport in my money belt.)

Crossbody purse (I use a Baggalini):
Phone (used for camera, also)
Reading glasses
One paper - sometimes it’s a screenshot print of a portion of a map
A pen
A couple of Lifesaver larger mints individually wrapped.
Single use Purell sanitizer & a mask (2022)
A lightweight coin purse with Euros for a meal & coins for gelato and/or public transportation
Lipstick or lip balm

I’ve noticed a difference in the comfort of wearing it all day with less weight. The same would probably help your friction on your clothes.

Posted by
83 posts

I’m currently travelling with a small travelon crossbody and haven’t noticed any pilling. It is quite small and lightweight though with just enough room for phone and money/cards and a few other odds and ends. I really like it as the secure clasps are easy to use and I can wear it all day without really noticing. It also looks ok as a clutch for evening (I stuck a brooch over the ugly travelon motif). We have a separate mesh bag to wear on the back for water, extra layer of clothing etc.

Posted by
680 posts

For almost 20 years I have always travelled with my RS Civita Shoulder bag instead of a purse. It is lightweight and I like the cross body functionality versus the backpack day bag style, and it has side pockets to hold a water bottle. I have lived overseas most of my adult life and have used this bag repeatedly as I travelled a lot, for short and long trips. I literally wore the bag out. Just two weeks ago in Italy, the bag ripped, the straps broke off, first on one, then the other. Regrettably, that was the end of it. So I got a small cross body purse, but do not like it because I found it too small. When the Civita shoulder bag goes on sale I will buy another one. Size wise it is really not a big bag however it may be bigger than what you want, but take a look at it.

Posted by
68 posts

I have found the same thing over the years, when I have worn a bag that has a webbing-style strap (think seat belt type material) -- it has ruined several tops, some of them quite nice and not made of cheap material. So now I look for smooth straps, either leather or vegan leather, with no mesh or webbing. It is possible to get rid of some of the pilling with a sweater stone, even on cotton blend or polyester jersey, but the tops are never quite the same.

My current Travelon crossbody, which is no longer made, has a smooth nylon adjustable strap and lots of pockets and compartments but still lies pretty flat. The problem with weight is real, though, and even without a lot of stuff in it, the strap weighs heavily on my neck by the end of the day and my shoulders and back start to bother me.

Posted by
3 posts

Ive been using a travelon crossbody bag since 2019 and have had no issues. I brought it for a trip to Europe, but I liked the large amount if space so much that I use it as my everyday purse in the states. That being said, I don't wear a lot of t-shirts- I normally wear dresses - so the materials I’m wearing my purse with might be sturdier.

Posted by
11354 posts

I have used a Baggalini for years with no damage to my clothing.

Posted by
229 posts

Thanks again for the additional replies!

At least in this small informal survey, it seems like the issue here is either the t-shirts I took last trip, or the weight of the purse. Weight could be an issue, especially once you add a full water bottle. I’m leaning towards giving the Travelon another chance. My Mother is a great seamstress, I’m thinking maybe she could stitch up some type of strap cover to minimize friction like one of the previous posters advised:)

@Jean, I will take a brutal look at what I’ve got in my purse. My list is actually similar to yours but I may be able to find some alternatives to lighten the load from what I normally carry.

@Pat, thanks for the tip on the RS Civita shoulder bag. I actually have considered it, but couldn’t tell if the strap is long enough to make it crossbody. Does it work as a crossbody? The price is certainly quite reasonable:)

Posted by
4010 posts

I use Travelon crossbodies when I travel; I have never, ever had a problem with any blouse I was wearing. I don’t even understand how that’s possible.

My main purse is the Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bucket in black. Has room for a water bottle on the side too! But if you want keep your bag lightweight like I do, make sure the water bottle is a small one.

Posted by
680 posts

Yes, I always wear my RS Civita shoulder bag crossbody. I feel more secure with a crossbody bag that i can keep in front of me. It is a very lightweight strong fabric. The strap has an adjustable movable added cushioned protector for your shoulder. The photos make it look bigger, but check the dimensions. It is a medium sized bag and that is why I like it.

Posted by
229 posts


Thanks for the additional info about using the Civita as a crossbody-looks promising! You’re right, the pictures make it look bigger than it’s dimensions!