I have a bit of an preoccupation with finding the right bag. Not only does it need to be good looking and practical, but as someone who spends a fair amount of time on public transit and on foot, it also needs to be lightweight. Have you heard of Every Day Carry? It’s all about carrying stuff efficiently. (That site seems to be all men, and most of them seem to carry knives, but I digress.) I like applying the idea of Every Day Carry to myself. My problem is that I’m a bit like my mother — I carry a bunch of items on me just in case (band-aids, small tape measure, nail clipper, tissues, etc). But I also want to lighten my load as much as possible. So, heft is a deal breaker when it comes to bags. I’ve been looking for a nice lightweight leather bag and haven’t found the perfect one yet. But in terms of a fabric option, behold: the Everlane Twill Zip Tote.
It has one inside open pocket, leather straps (which lend it an elegant look), and a zipper across the top. I got one in reverse denim. A few months into carrying the bag, the stitching around the zipper started coming undone! I wasn’t even carrying anything really heavy like a laptop in it. When I let Everlane know, they sent me a new one and took the old one back to examine it. I’ve had the replacement bag for about a year now, and here’s what it looks like now.
Not bad, considering I carry it all the time. There’s a water mark inside from a water bottle spill, but it doesn’t show on the exterior. There’s also some wear to two of the corners, but otherwise it’s held up pretty well. And it can fit a lot.
Here’s what I usually have with me: water bottle, change purse, transit card, a magazine or book, and a handbag organizer with my wallet, sunglasses, a notebook, pen, lip balm, and a whole bunch of other little things. The handbag organizer changed my life. It has pockets galore for everything and makes it so easy to switch bags (not that I do that often). Originally I had a Muji organizer, which was quite sturdy, but not big enough. It was also not as light as I wanted. I found this one on Amazon, which claimed to weigh only a bit over three ounces. It’s floppy and the netting on the outside pockets isn’t holding up well as you can see, but it is light, and the zippers work well.
Oh, the tote comes in a dipped version too if you like a two-tone look.
In December, I became aware of a new Everlane tote: the Pocket Tote.
It comes in three colorways: white, black, and reverse denim (all with black leather straps). Being a creature of habit, I got the reverse denim. (I do think it’s the best looking one.) It has a zipper, and an inside pocket with a zipper as well.
Here’s how they compare size wise:
I love the original Twill Zip Tote and highly recommend it. It’s lightweight, holds a lot, and is decently priced at $48. (The dipped version is $60.) The Pocket Tote is also $48 and also ethically made in Vietnam. I like the outside pocket, which is handy for things you reach for often. But there’s one problem with it. See how the bottom sags and doesn’t keep its squared-off shape at the bottom? The Twill Zip Tote doesn’t do that. I think it’s due to the way the bags are constructed. Below is a comparison of the interiors of the Twill Zip Tote and the Pocket Tote, below it. The Pocket Tote has more depth (6″ versus the 3″ of the Twill Zip) and a seam at the bottom of the bag.
I experimented with putting a piece of cardboard at the bottom to see if it helps it keep its shape. It does! I wrapped the piece of cardboard in white contact paper to make it a little more attractive. The dimensions are 12″ by 5.5″
I also highly recommend using Scotchgard on these totes (or any fabric tote for that matter) as soon as you get it to protect it from stains. Make sure you cover up the leather parts before you spray! I used painter’s tape, which doesn’t leave sticky residue. Scotchgard and leather do not mix. Sadly, I know this from past experience: it will leave marks on the leather.
UPDATE 7/10/17 – After carrying around the Pocket Tote for a while and seeing how the DIY cardboard piece has worn at the corners, I decided to give it a trim. Rounded corners are the way to go.
UPDATE 8/16/17 – Here’s what the Pocket Tote looks like out and about with a MacBook Air in it and my DIY cardboard piece. I placed the laptop in the middle with stuff on either side of it. Otherwise it slides to one side and sags the bottom of the tote. Also, please note that I’m not holding up the bag at all with my hand even though it appears that way. It’s just where my hand naturally lands.
UPDATE 11/28/17 – After about 6 months of carrying the Pocket Tote, the rubberized edging on one of the straps began cracking and coming off in bits. (I tried to glue the edging down to prevent further loss, but that doesn’t work at all.) This seems to be a defect as I’ve never had this problem with my Twill Zip Tote, which I’ve carried for longer. In October I contacted Everlane about this and they sent me a replacement. Gotta love their customer service!
This post is not sponsored. I purchased these totes myself. But if you enjoy or find my reviews useful, please use my referral link to make your first purchase. (Create your account before browsing.) I’ll receive a credit, which helps me keep reviewing Everlane items. Thank you. You can see all my Everlane reviews here.