1 sol & selene all star backpack | $90
2 Alexander Wang Marti | $850
3 Marc Jacobs Easy tote | $325
4 MZ Wallace Medium Sutton tote | $245
5 Marc Jacobs easy backpack (alternative, the biker backpack, which is cheaper and smaller) | $350
6 Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Backpack (made in the US) | $190
7 Tumi M Tote | $295
I’ve been looking for a travel tote/backpack/bag for quite some time; I’m looking for a substantial, high-quality bag I can use in conjunction with my carry-on suitcase for traveling and that I can use as a handbag at my destination. I’ve included here some I’ve been looking at, and some suggestions by readers as well.
I’d love to find something nylon, and prefer for it to have NO LEATHER AT ALL, which is nearly impossible to find – most nylon bags have leather straps, or some leather detailing somewhere, which in some circumstances makes sense, but in others is superfluous, honestly. Both Marc Jacobs bags have no leather (no where does it indicate “leather trim”, the Sol & Selene bag, and the Tom Bihn bag (the only one that’s made in the US and remotely responsible, sadly). Even Everlane insists on using bits of leather trim on their backpacks, and I wish they wouldn’t, because then they’d be an excellent vegan option*.
Anyway, I looked in person at both Marc Jacobs bags and was impressed generally, with the nylon (heavier, substantial) and ease of use. I ruled out the tote though, because while the handles fit over my shoulder, the bag wouldn’t be comfortable to carry that way at all, it’s strictly a tote. I loved the backpack, and was able to get the straps to adjust comfortably for me (which is a problem for a lot of backpacks). The side pockets were good, useful if you don’t need to secure something, and the drawstring top was easy to get into. And the front pocket is such that even though the zipper opens from only one side, nothing is in danger of falling out when it’s open.
Of course, I’m smitten with the Alexander Wang backpack, and have loved that style for years, but don’t like the silver zippers (I want minimal hardware, and whatever hardware there is, I prefer matte, or black). And I’m heavily leaning towards the Tumi tote because it’s definitely the most practical of the lot, and I do love a good tote with lots of pockets. I’d not have a problem using it as my handbag at my destination. I wouldn’t be excited about wearing any of the other bags as a handbag, honestly, except the Alexander Wang…
*there are TONS AND TONS of vegan bag options out there, and I’ve done posts about them before, but it’s time for a new one – stay tuned!!