Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Everyone should have a tote bag or two. Whether you use them to go grocery shopping, pack them up for a park day, or just keep them full of emergency supplies in your car’s trunk, they’re just a useful thing to have around.
We’ve discussed all-purpose tote bags many times in the past, but today we’re delving into a more specific area: oversized totes. These are perfect for those of you who hate packing light or just want to keep your options open as to what you’ll need.
1) L.L. Bean: Boat and Tote Zip-Top
First up is L.L. Bean’s Boat and Tote Zip Top Bag, which comes in four sizes with two possible strap lengths. The smaller sizes are perfect for everyday tasks, like picking up a few things at the market or bringing your laptop and few other essentials on a day trip, but the extra large is what we’re interested in right now. This 24oz. cotton canvas tote holds 56L (and up to 500lbs.) of whatever you’re lugging. While this isn’t the most exciting looking tote, it’s well made (in their home state of Maine, no less), durable, affordable, and just about as big as they get.
Available for $50 from L.L. Bean.
2) Filson: Grab ‘n’ Go Tote
If L.L. Bean’s large tote seems a bit too cumbersome then Filson’s Grab ‘n’ Go Tote, with its 41L capacity and 15oz. oiled tin cloth exterior, might be the perfect fit. This tote features a nylon inner lining, which keeps the tin cloth’s oily finish from leaking onto your possessions, two small side-pockets, and one large pouch with zip top closure. While tote bags are by nature a bit floppy and thereby difficult to fill, this one is designed to stay open when not zipped shut.
3) Epperson Mountaineering: Packable Parachute Tote
At 19L, Epperson Mountaineering’s Packable Parachute Tote doesn’t have a massive amount of storage space when put next to some of the other options on this list, but when compared to most other tote bags it’s still rather spacious. Plus, it’s constructed from vintage 1970s/1980s US Army parachute fabric and durable nylon webbing. And when you need to pack this bag away it can be folded into an inner pocket, which keeps everything neat and tidy. Each tote is made in the USA which, when combined with the high quality fabric, ensures this bag will be around for years to come.
Available for $165 from Blue in Green.
4) Porter Yoshida: Force 2-Way Tote
Porter Yoshida produces some of the highest quality, made in Japan nylon accessories out there. Their Force 2-Way Tote has just about everything you could hope for in a tote: a sizable 24L carrying capacity, snapped closure, contrasting quilted lining, and both handles and a shoulder strap. It comes in several colors and with enough small pockets to carry both your large items and smaller valuables safely.
5) Engineered Garments: Carry All Tote
Engineered Garments is known for their unique designs, quality materials, and great construction, but it’s great to see them step away from their normal offerings with their Carry All Tote. Sure, it’s still made well from a durable nylon, but the design is much more understated than most of their clothing lines. It’s also large, with approximately a 40L carrying capacity, and the single stud closure will give you peace of mind that little will fall out without taking away from the minimalist design.
Plus One – Kapital Boro Tote
Anyone who is familiar with Kapital’s Boro Tote will not find it at all surprising to see it as the Plus One of this list. It’s patchwork design is put together from different indigo-dyed Japanese fabrics with sashiko stitching reinforcement. Each bag is unique, so no two will look the same, although they all have a single snap closure, inner pocket, and enough room for all your necessities.
Available for $338 from Glasswing.