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Top Packable Tote Bags For Travel

One of the challenges with travel is ending up with more things than you started with.

I often start with plenty of bag space, but souvenirs can quickly overload my bag.

I also like to have something to use on short day trips to street markets and such.

In my opinion these are the top bags on the market.

#1 REI Co-op Tote Bag

I went to my local REI store to pick up one of these bags.
They are definitely a heavy duty material compared to other tote bags.
The bag is definitely a bit on the small side.
I wouldn't say it is going to handle a substantial amount of groceries, but for a few items at a market it could be a good option.
Shoulder straps are canvas webbing.
It packs up fairly small.
I would say it is small enough to fit into a normal guy's pocket.

    #2 Samsonite Foldaway tote

    On the larger side as far as tote bags go.
    You could fit most if not all of your shopping at the market in this bag.
    Comes in a variety of colors.
    It packs fairly large so this thing is definitely not going to disappear in your pocket.
    You're going to need a bag for your bag with this one.

      #3 Travelon Tote

      This bag is big enough for a moderate shopping trip to the market.
      While it seems well built with rip-stop nylon and canvas webbing for shoulder straps, that extra bulk is evident in it's pack-ability.
      This is another bag you aren't going to slip away in a pocket.
      You're going to need a bag for your bag.

        #4 Herschel Supply Packable tote

        This tote is a little bit bigger than the REI bag, but it also packs just a little bigger than the REI bag as well.
        This pushes it just outside of pocket-able territory.
        Herschel seems to have a cult like following, so if your a fan this is obviously the one to get.
        Overall I would say the Herschel bag gets a good score all around in categories like pack-ability, color options, build quality, etc.

          #5 The North Face Flyweight Tote

          This bag looks and feels great at first, but I just don't like it as much as I hoped I would.
          It packs fairly large so this is not going into your pocket.
          Not even close.
          It does have plenty of room for a market trip, but the pockets kind of take away from this thing being one large volume packing space.
          It's a good bag by any means, but it's not the best on this list.
          I also don't know if they are still in production.
          You may struggle to find this bag for sale.

            #6 Sea To Summit Ultra Sil Shopping Bag

            This bag is by far the smallest tote when packed.
            Will this bag hold everything you need ?
            Will it fit in your pocket?
            It could probably even fit in a pair of girl jeans.
            Sea To Summit shows people carrying it around on a key chain.
            The material is very thin, but Sea To Summit claims it is plenty durable.
            I don't think pointy boxes are going to rip this bag, but it won't last long against abrasion.
            Just don't let your kid drag it along the ground.
            It is also once of the cheapest bags on this list.
            Last thing to note, some people have complained the thin nylon straps are uncomfortable when the bag is loaded down.

              #7 Patagonia travel Tote

              Part tote, part backpack, the Patagonia travel tote is big.
              It will definitely hold everything during your trip to the market.
              At $79 it is the most expensive item on this list.
              It does pack down pretty small given it's size, but it's not going to fit in your pocket.
              If you are looking for something that will double as a pack able day pack, this would be your best bet.

                #8 Eagle Creek

                This is another backpack / tote bag design.
                It is a bit smaller than the Patagonia, but still packs to a similar size.
                The only argument for this bag over the Patagonia is it comes in at half the price.

                  #9 Matador Transit Tote

                  Most notable about this bag is it has the largest volume to packed size ratio.
                  It is very close to being small enough to fit in the average guy pocket.
                  I think depending on how tight you wear your pants, it will fit.
                  This bag does have a bit of that mom at heading to the beach look, but given that it's Matador built, I have a lot of trust in the build quality.
                  Build Quality trumps looks in my opinion.
                  Of all the bags on this list, this may be my favorite.
                  For sure it's a close match between this bag, the REI bag, and the Sea to Summit.


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