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The 14 Best Tote Bags To Haul Around Your Daily Essentials
— Updated on 28 September 2023

The 14 Best Tote Bags To Haul Around Your Daily Essentials

— Updated on 28 September 2023
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

A divisive fashion article, which is occasionally disdained by the red-blooded male establishment (the “ludicrously capacious” dig from season four of Succession certainly didn’t help), I’m still of the fiercely held opinion that there are few modern daily carries offering the best of all worlds quite as tote bags do.

In a perfect world, the archetypal tote must satisfy a couple of requirements. Regardless of shape or… capaciousness, it should sport a construction that allows it to pull double duty at the office and on weekend adventures.

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It should also tend towards a handsome, somewhat schleppy aesthetic: the pivotal test being whether your preferred style looks as good filled with groceries/a nice bottle of rosé as it does the typical assortment of office paraphernalia.

Finally, it needs to be a cinch — dare we even say, a joy? — to pack; kitted with just the right amount of pockets and dividing space so that you’re able to retrieve what you need with minimal ferreting.

I like to think that the 14 tote bags we’ve curated exemplify these virtues in a big way. Granted, some are large and lavishly styled; whereas others work better for the efficiency-geared operator. Whatever the case, if you’re in the market to upgrade your daily carry, consider the options below.



14 Of The Best Tote Bags To Haul Around In 2023

Gucci Ophidia Large Tote Bag

tote bags

DETAILS

  • Canvas & leather
  • Iconic double-G logo
  • 17″ x 13.8″ x 7.3″
  • Made in Italy

Emblazoned with the iconic double-G monogram that came to public attention during Guccio Gucci’s era, the eponymous Italian marque’s ‘Ophidia’ tote is a bombastic way to transport your various personal effects.

Common points of abrasion (e.g. corners and handle joins) are reinforced in anthracite calf leather; while two internal pockets — both of the zip and non-zip variety — help you to secure sensitive cargo in the vein of a watch roll, passport, or traveller’s wallet.

Admittedly, the drop between the top of the bag and its handle means that you don’t really have the option of carrying the Ophidia in the crook of your arm; but the addition of a crossbody strap (secured using D-ring attachments) gives you more than one way to play.


Acne Studios Suede-Trimmed Distressed Denim Tote

DETAILS

  • Canvas & denim
  • Distressed light blue
  • 9.4″ x 13.8″ x 16.9″
  • Made in Italy

A tote that would certainly benefit from being sold with a strong tagline (we’re thinking “jeans, reimagined”) Scandi label Acne Studios’ latest effort lays it on thick with the proverbial wabi-sabi.

The design features a “distressed” aesthetic, typified by large alternating patches of mid-blue and natural denim; along with a selection of smaller details that allude to the bag’s inspiration in the realm of trousers (bonus points to Acne for repurposing rivets as pocket buttons).

Build quality is visibly sturdy: with reinforced stitching applied to straps and all along the length of the bag’s base. The inclusion of an external ID pocket also makes this a great option to tote whilst travelling.


Porter-Yoshida Tanker Tote Bag

DETAILS

  • 3-layer nylon
  • Sage green
  • 32cm x 32cm x 11cm
  • Made in Japan

A bag & accessories maker that is at the tip of the spear insofar as the whole ‘Made In Japan’ movement goes, Yoshida products are a common sight on the person of gorpcore enthusiasts and well-practised travellers — both camps of tote bag user with a knack for functional luxury.

The ‘Tanker’ is one of the most fantastic and archetypal representations of what Porter has excelled at since 1962: a medium-sized tote in a classical shade of green, unadorned save for the signature “Yoshida & Company” label — located discretely on the bag’s right-hand front pocket.

Externally, this tote is dressed in Porter’s signature triple-layer nylon: a proprietary textile that performance clothing nerds absolutely love for its colour fastness, durability, and uncanny ability to shake off dirt and water.

A super-flattering piece of kit: even if your own personal style is more mid-level corporate than Comme Des Garçons.


Rains Tote Bag Mini

tote bags

DETAILS

  • Water-resistant polyurethane
  • Sand (available in 5 other colourways)
  • 36cm x 35cm x 13cm
  • Made in China

Made to satisfy a range of lifestyles and daily activities, Danish label Rains’ signature tote bag has been designed with both the daily office commute and your average grocery run in mind.

In spite of its “Mini” moniker, this tote opens up to a single, undisturbed compartment about 36cm in depth: ideal for tablets, a handful of personal effects, and maybe even your water bottle.

Helpfully, Rains grades the weather resistance of all of its products on a 1-5 scale (“5” being the most impervious). The Mini is certified with the company’s “W3” rating: featuring a waterproof polyurethane shell that’s more than capable when you’re out and about in an urban setting.


Frank Clegg Chèvre Commuter Tote

tote bags

DETAILS

  • Vegetable-tanned goatskin
  • Black (available in 3 other colourways)
  • 14″ x 15″ x 6″
  • Made in USA

Inarguably in the top 20% of most well-crafted tote bags to grace this Buyer’s Guide, we’d recommend the Frank Clegg “Commuter” tote in chevrè for a more refined and sartorial iteration on the typical cloth carry-all.

Handmade by Frank Clegg in the Bay State of Massachusetts, the Commuter design has long been one of the company’s heaviest hitters. Despite a deceptively compact look, wearers have been known to fit all of their weekend essentials into its Sunbrella-lined interior.

Additional slip pockets, sewn onto the bag’s ventral and lateral sides, let you fit in a few documents and key personal items: a helpful detail for those who spend more time clearing customs than they do their supermarket cash register.

Clegg’s decades-long expertise in leatherworking has also resulted in its selection of some truly stellar goatskin; with the chevrè in this particular tote sporting a butter-soft handle and tightly patterned grain. Despite the fact that it’s not technically a performance material, this is leather at its most remarkably durable.


Connolly CB Canvas Beach Bag

DETAILS

  • Canvas & leather
  • Natural canvas
  • 45cm x 30cm x 20cm
  • Made in Spain

A well-rounded, gender-neutral option that will serve many a tote-bagger well over the upcoming summer months, Connolly’s “CB” beach bag is a timeless hodgepodge of robust cotton canvas and veg-tanned leather.

Emblazoned with the handsome (and immediately distinctive) Connolly Brothers logo, the brand’s designers cooked this up for the express purpose of being the ultimate haulier to accompany your coastal excursions. The artfully cut side walls, secured on each side by a discreet set of snap fasteners, are capable of easy expansion: meaning that you’ll have ample space to stow away your poolside garb, along with a towel and even a change of clothes.

In an ode to Connolly’s selection of more traditional, fully leather baggage; the CB’s base is fashioned out of a single piece of calf leather — a beautiful flourish that has the practical benefit of ensuring the bag remains structured and at all times sits flat.


Bennett Winch Suede Tote

tote bags

DETAILS

  • Moss-backed suede
  • “Storm” grey
  • 42cm x 10cm x 48cm
  • Made in England

The ultimate fusion of classic good looks and modern manufacturing, this “storm grey” tote from British bagmaker Bennett Winch is the picture of understatement: an outwardly seamless article, where the biggest aesthetic flourish is a crossed-robin logo etched into the bag’s front.

Most of what is properly luxe about this number hides stealthily in plain sight. The suede exterior, for instance, was developed with an Italian partner factory that hit upon the idea to back the material in moss — spawning a material that’s “completely waterproof”, despite the unmistakable nap of pure lamb suede.

In a testament to their incredibly astute eye for detail, Bennett Winch’s designers opted to extend the length of the handles out to 25cm: a tweak that makes this tote a comfort to carry — whether in hand or over the shoulder. Made in extremely limited quantities.

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Haulier Medium Utility Tote

tote bags

DETAILS

  • 24 oz. cotton canvas
  • Marine blue (available in 11 other colourways)
  • Made in Portugal

Yet another excellent day-to-day option, independent Sydney label Haulier’s straightforwardly named “Medium Utility Tote” has been selling like hotcakes since it debuted in late 2022.

On paper, these Portuguese-made canvas totes don’t exactly scream “groundbreaking”; but even a cursory examination in the flesh (or is that cotton?) reveals designer Jeremy Hershan’s sensitivity to blending robust build quality with irreverent colour palates.

Of the current 12-bag lineup, we’re very partial to the “Marine Blue” colourway: a spot-on choice for summer that keeps the details simple — so shoppers are better able to appreciate the positively ironclad quality of the bag’s selvedge construction.


The Armoury Cotton Canvas Goliath Tote

tote bags

DETAILS

  • Takeyari cotton canvas
  • Natural/navy
  • 25″ x 16.5″ x 8″
  • Made in Japan

Far and away the largest tote bag to grace our list, The Armoury’s “Goliath” lives up to its name with a vast, all-encompassing interior; where the lion’s share of space may be packed in whatever manner you deem most appropriate.

There are a handful of slip pockets and a large zippered compartment; but really, this is the sort of article that’s at its best on holiday — utilised as a last-minute Hail Mary when you’re feverishly trying to cram all your impulse purchases (not to mention, duty-free goodies) into any bag that still happens to be half-empty.

Interesting factoid: after a period of extensive research, The Armoury team settled on making these “Dayware” totes in shuttle-loomed cotton from Takeyari — a Japanese manufacturer in Okuyama known for its extremely strong, traditionally made canvases.


Filson Rugged Waxed Twill Tote Bag

DETAILS

  • Waxed twill
  • Camo
  • Made in USA

American workwear enthusiasts of a certain age are bound to have fond memories of Filson. Founded in 1897, the company’s signature offering throughout the early part of the 20th century was its selection of rucksacks and duffles in “tin cloth” — a heavy-duty waxed cotton treated for maximum water resistance.

This limited run of camo-coloured totes carries forward that tradition; embellished with typical heritage details including slip pockets on all four sides of the bag’s exterior and extended top handles fashioned out of bridle leather.


RIMOWA “Never Still” Tote Large

DETAILS

  • Canvas & leather
  • Black
  • 32cm x 41.5cm x 17cm
  • Made in Italy

Part of the small assortment of Rimowa products that aren’t manufactured at the brand’s facilities in Cologne, this “Never Still” tote was designed chiefly with flexibility in mind. Here, the signature “luggage with the grooves” motif is reimagined in fuzzy black canvas; with that matte material contrasted against the bag’s glossy undercarriage (the latter section made in calf leather).

Of course, being Rimowa, this tote has also been designed to seamlessly integrate with your preferred polycarbonate or aluminium check-in — attachable, via flexible webbing, to the latter’s telescopic handle.


Fauré Le Page “Daily Battle” Vertical 30

DETAILS

  • Canvas & leather
  • Steel grey
  • 30cm x 36.5cm x 9.5cm
  • Made in Italy

Much like its historic counterparts in the form of Moynat and Goyard, Parisian luxury house Fauré Le Page got its start as a specialist manufacturer — originally in the production of 16th-century firearms.

Today, the company has relinquished that martial craft in pursuit of what it winkingly refers to as “weapons of mass seduction”: a discerning selection of handbags, pouches and small leather goods; many of which are decorated with the signature ecailles scale motif.

This 30cm-wide “Daily Battle” is an assured choice for tote wearers who are partial to cool graphic prints on a large scale; and whilst the top cannot be zippered shut (an unusual occurrence for most of the inclusions in this guide) the long, tubular design lends itself well to organising your essentials.


Bellroy Tokyo Wonder Tote

DETAILS

  • Recycled fabric & eco-leather
  • Deep plum (available in 2 other colourways)
  • 29cm x 35cm x 10cm
  • Made in China, India, and The Philippines

A fantastic affordable option from a brand that’s certifiably homegrown, Bellroy’s “Tokyo” is the sort of feature-packed tote bag one might envisage YouTubers describing as “handy” or “highly organisable”.

Snark aside, for buyers who abhor messiness and have a penchant for keeping the contents of their bag precisely categorised; it’s hard not to congratulate Bellroy on a job well done.

Case in point: beyond all the usual ‘smart luggage’ gadgetry (e.g. a trolley pass-through and mesh zip pocket) the brand’s designers have even included a built-in key clip. Clearly, a response to one too many clumsy fumbles with the inside pocket of more generically made hand luggage.


Palmes “How Long Gone” Tote Bag

DETAILS

  • 15 oz. cotton twill
  • Ecru
  • Made in Portugal

More of an accessory than the definitive daily carry, Palmes’ 15 oz. twill tote nevertheless makes our list thanks to its inexplicable cool factor.

Simple and unstructured, it is unadorned save for a generously sized front pocket. Palmes’ own e-store recommends that users put their “phone, keys, and the like” in this smaller slip-style space: freeing up the larger compartment to be used for storing other more exciting fare. Tennis whites anyone?

Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].

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