The Best Travel Tote Bags of 2022

Carra’s Studio Leather Tote is our top overall pick for its versatility and size

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The 11 Best Travel Tote Bags of 2022

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

TripSavvy's Pick

The Cuyana Classic Structured Tote (view at Cuyana) is a good leather bag with a shape that’s hard to miss. For something with more versatility, the Baggallini Legacy Avenue Tote (view at Zappos) will suit your needs. This tote can be worn in four ways thanks to its long and short straps.

The simplistic design of totes makes them extremely versatile as travel bags or for day-to-day uses. You can take them along as a carry-on bag for a weekend getaway, pack them with gym gear, or fill them with school books and office supplies. Totes made with nylon have the added feature of being water and tear-resistant, and several options are available for every budget.

Here are our picks for the best travel tote bags. 

Best Overall: Caraa Studio Medium Leather Tote

Caraa Medium Leather Tote

Caraa

What We Like
  • Made with Italian leather and doubles as a tote and backpack

  • Hidden exterior pocket

  • Waterproof side shoe compartment

  • Water-resistant and anti-microbial interior lining

  • Laptop sleeve, water bottle pouch, and three interior pockets

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color option

Caraa’s Studio Medium Leather Tote has many surprising elements we discovered in our testing. We carried it often as a tote, but there were times when we packed it full and decided to utilize the backpack straps (which are removable). 

Although it only comes in black, this Italian leather tote is posh from the outset, with a few hidden compartments on the exterior. Along the side of the tote is a zipper that opens to a waterproof compartment that can hold a pair of shoes. Perfect for commuters who like to change shoes before entering the office. Another hidden pocket that’s deep enough to hold a phone, passport, lipstick, and keys is on the top of the tote. It’s held together by a button and nearly blends with the top seam, offering some visual security. 

Unlike other totes on this list, Caraa integrated an interior lining that’s waterproof and antimicrobial. There are three open pockets (a large one and two smaller ones) and a mesh water bottle holder. Caraa claims that the laptop sleeve will fit a 15-inch laptop, but we found that it was slightly snug on our 13-inch laptop. You could probably fit a 14-inch laptop, but you’ll have to maneuver to fit anything larger. That said, we loved that Caraa padded the laptop sleeve, which meant we could slip our laptop into the pouch without worrying about it breaking en route. 

There is still plenty of space beyond the pockets and compartments to store more things. Although we wish there were more color options, we love a classic black tote that can go from day to night and office to brunch. 

Price at time of publication: $338

Color options: Black | Capacity: 11.4 liters | Dimensions:  12 x 17.75 x 7.5 inches

Best Budget: Fit + Fresh Metro Tote

Fit+Fresh Tote

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple color options

  • It fits a 15-inch laptop

  • Interior zippered pocket

  • An insulated and non-insulated compartment

What We Don't Like
  • No exterior pocket

We didn’t get a chance to test our budget pick, but we can see how the Fit + Fresh Metro Tote could be a phenomenal tote for the beach, picnics, parents, and more. This spacious tote has two compartments, each with its own zipper at the top. One section is an insulated, leakproof compartment that keeps your drinks, foods, and snacks cool and fresh for hours. 

The other side is your typical tote area, where you can pack a 15-inch laptop, phone charger, notebooks, personal items, and more. It has a zippered pocket for small items but lacks other pockets, including a laptop sleeve. 

The tote comes in four colors and features a quilted material that is flexible enough to fold into a suitcase. We’d have liked this tote to have an exterior pocket, but for the affordable price, it can be overlooked. 

Price at time of publication: $30

Color options: Black, Plum, Leopard, Navy | Weight: 0.67 pounds | Dimensions:  18 x 6 x 14 inches

Best for Business: Carl Friedrik Anywhere Tote

Carl Friedrik Anywhere Tote

Carl Friedrik

What We Like
  • One exterior pocket and an additional shoulder strap

  • Made with super soft nubuck leather

  • It fits a 16-inch laptop in the laptop sleeve

  • Zipper runs along the top and down the side of the tote

  • Five interior pockets, including a zippered pocket and three open pockets

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Carl Friedrik Anywhere Tote is our runner-up pick among travel totes. Whether you order it in charcoal, chocolate, olive, or black, this tote has soft, creamy nubuck leather, vachetta leather detailing, and nickel silver-finished hardware. It’s an incredibly attractive tote that would look perfect in the hands of a business traveler or those who like the feel and look of a luxury tote. 

If we hadn’t tested this tote out, we’re not sure we would have fully understood Carl Friedrik’s decision to make the zipper run along the top and down the side of the tote. As a 16.5-inch-tall tote with only 3.5 inches of depth, you could easily lose something at the bottom of this tote. But unzip the tote all the way down to the side, and you can see the inside fully. That’s genius!

There is an exterior pocket (without a zipper) to hold a passport, chapstick, or keys. The interior liner is made with nylon canvas and has a medium-sized zipper pocket, three open pockets, and a laptop sleeve that can hold up to a 16-inch laptop. Despite its 3.5-inch depth, we could fit many items in this tote, including five books, a laptop, a wallet, and some personal items. The handles held the weight well, but at times we opted for the shoulder strap to give our arms a rest.

Carl Friedrik clearly designed this tote with details and luxury in mind. Whether commuting, traveling on business, or going on a luxury retreat, this tote will surely turn heads and offer you the space you need to bring everything along. 

Price at time of publication: $480

Color options: Charcoal, Olive, Black, and Chocolate | Weight: Unknown | Dimensions:  14.6 X 16.5 X 3.5 inches

Best Overnight Tote: This Belongs To_ Leather Weekender

This Belongs To_ Leather Weekender

This Belongs To_ Leather

What We Like
  • Shoulder strap included and has an exterior zippered pocket

  • Can slip onto an extended suitcase handle

  • Two open pockets, a zippered pocket, and laptop sleeve

  • Shoe compartment with an additional zippered compartment

  • The company donates a duffel bag to a child in foster care for every bag sold

What We Don't Like
  • Could use more interior pouches and pockets for undergarments

We were fans of This Belongs To_ before we even tested their Leather Weekender. For every bag sold, they donate a large duffel bag to a child in foster care, and in our book, that’s a fantastic reason to purchase this tote. And we promise you won’t be disappointed if you do. 

The Leather Weekender is the perfect overnight travel tote, or as the name implies, weekend bag. We took this on a three-day getaway and were able to fit three daily outfits, two workout outfits, two swimsuits, two pairs of shoes, a laptop, books, a makeup bag, and a large toiletry bag–and there was still room left! In fact, the folks at This Belongs To_ claim you can fit ten outfits and two to three shoes in this bag. We’d agree. 

Let’s start on the exterior. The tote comes in brown or black leather and has an exterior zippered pocket on one side. On the other side is a zippered slot that you can weave the handle of your suitcase through. This allows you to sit the Leather Weekender atop the suitcase, freeing your arms of the weight.

The bottom chamber unzips to a shoe compartment that fits two to three shoes. Depending on the shoe size and type, you could absolutely pack more than three. I wear a size women’s 7 and can fit three pairs of shoes and a pair of flip-flops. There is also a hidden zipper along the top part of the shoe compartment. It’s perfect for socks, undergarments, or swimsuits. 

Inside the tote, you’ll find two open pockets, a zippered pocket, and a laptop sleeve. The laptop sleeve will fit even the largest laptop and has a strap with a magnet to hold it closed. That said, the pouch is fairly wide, so you could add some items around the laptop if you choose. We would have preferred the interior to have more pouches and pockets to organize things like socks or undergarments, but alas, we had to use packing cubes. 

This tote offers so much space–plenty, in fact, to pack for a four-day trip, at least. Just keep in mind that if you’re flying, you’ll have to utilize this travel tote as a carry-on because it’s too large to be a personal item. 

Price at time of publication: $380

Color options: Black and Brown | Weight:  Unknown | Dimensions: 10.5 x 20 x 17 inches (by our estimates)

Best Waterproof: Filson Dry Roll Top Bag

Filson Dry Roll Top Bag

Moosejaw

What We Like
  • Waterproof and super spacious

  • Includes a shoulder strap

  • Roll top design with three buckled closures

  • Molle Loops and D-rings to secure the bag to other gear

What We Don't Like
  • No interior or exterior pockets

Whether you love to kayak or canoe, take day-long fishing trips, hunt every season, or plan to spend lots of time at the beach, pool, or lake, we’ve found the tote bag for you. We were a bit surprised by how large the Filson Dry Roll Top Bag was in person, but it’s nice to know that you can get many items in one bag, and those items will stay dry and clean no matter the adventure. 

Made with 840-denier nylon tarpaulin fabric coated with thermoplastic polyurethane, this tote is 100 percent waterproof. We know–because it held up to our water hose test. We sprayed it down nicely and thoroughly, and everything we placed inside was unscathed. 

The roll top feature also contributes to the waterproof design. After rolling the top down, we prevented it from unfurling by clipping it down on either side of the tote and using a large clip on the top. Although the tote straps are super strong, we sometimes used the shoulder strap if we packed the 40-liter bag with heavy items. If you plan to take this waterproof bag on an ATV or in a canoe, you might want to utilize the D-rings and the daisy chain webbing loops to secure the bag or attach it to other gear. 

Price at time of publication: $215

Color options: Flame and Green | Capacity: 40 liters | Dimensions:  9.5 x 23.25 x 22.25 inches

Best for Commuting: Duluth Lifetime Leather Tote

Lifetime Leather Tote

Duluth Trading

What We Like
  • Secure zippered top

  • Lined with a durable material

  • Made with thick full-grain cowhide leather

  • Eight pockets, including a water bottle holder, zip pocket, and laptop sleeve

What We Don't Like
  • Laptop sleeve will only fit 14-inch or smaller laptops

The first word that came to mind when we tested Duluth Trading Co.’s Lifetime Leather Tote was “durability,” and that’s what you need in a tote when commuting. Made of oiled full-grain cowhide, this tote comes in two shades of brown and black and is designed to develop a rich patina over time. Unlike other leather totes on this list, this leather is thick. We aren’t concerned the straps will ever break as you commute from home to work and back again. 

On the exterior of the tote is a single large pocket. It’s incredibly roomy, and we used it to store things we wanted to quickly grab–chapstick, keys, phone, and eye drops–though it could fit larger items, like a paperback book. We really appreciated that the main opening of the tote has a zipper, as it offers more security when moving about our city. 

Inside the tote, Duluth Trading Co. used a durable canvas-like material to build out a well-organized system of pockets. A water bottle pocket can be found in the corner. On one side, there is a small, zippered pocket (with a key clip inside), another pocket without a zipper, and three pencil slots. 

Opposite of those pockets is a stretchy laptop sleeve that fit our 13-inch laptop (we had our laptop in a laptop sleeve bag, and it had no trouble fitting into the tote’s sleeve). The tote’s laptop sleeve could probably fit a 14-inch laptop, but if you have a larger laptop, you’ll have to place it in the main chamber of the tote. 

With the interior lining and multiple pockets, you can organize your items and easily find them on your commute. The canvas interior will offer some protection to the leather if any liquids spill. We do not doubt that the durability of this bag will make this your go-to tote for years to come. 

Price at time of publication: $190

Color options: Black, Brown, and Cognac | Weight: Unknown | Dimensions:  7 x 4.5 x 14 inches

Best for Camping: Cotopaxi Allpa 60L Gear Hauler Tote

Cotopaxi Gear Hauler Tote

Backcountry

What We Like
  • 60-liter capacity

  • Four large interior pockets and one exterior zippered pouch

  • Exterior fabric loops to attach gear

  • Four top handles and two side handles

  • Compression buckle straps to hold items in place

What We Don't Like
  • No shoulder strap

  • The fabric on the bottom of the bag is only water resistant

Campers and beach bums–don’t leave the house without the vibrant Cotopaxi Allpa 60L Gear Hauler Tote. With its massive capacity of 60 liters, you never have to leave any gear behind. 

This colorful tote comes in five different colors and features durable materials that should hold up against most elements. The main section of the tote is waterproof, but we were surprised that the bottom part was not. Instead, it contains fabric that is weather resistant, so you shouldn’t be concerned with setting it down on sand or damp earth. 

A large zippered pocket on the exterior has a plastic key clip inside. Along the corners and sides of the tote are nylon webbing loops that let you attach the bag to an ATV or to which you can clip additional gear items. 

Although totes typically have two large handles, the Allpa 60L Gear Hauler has six! There are two large tote handles along the top, and two smaller tote handles on the inside of the tote. If that wasn’t enough, Cotopaxi placed two handles on the sides. Inside, there’s a considerable amount of space to store gear. We used the four large pockets–two of which are mesh–to store smaller items that we wanted quick access to. 

The last thing to note is the two compression buckle straps. When the tote was full, we buckled and tightened these straps so the tote constricted and held everything in place. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Color options: Rust, Raspberry, Black, Cavern, and Del Dia | Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 14 inches 

Best Leather: Tecovas Leather Tote

Tecovas Leather tote

Tecovas

What We Like
  • Brass key clip

  • Made with Vachetta leather

  • Spacious without being overly large

  • Built-in pouch with a zippered and non-zippered pocket

What We Don't Like
  • It doesn’t have many pockets

We were struck by the buttery-smooth and flexible vachetta leather of the Tecovas Leather Tote. Luxury brands like Coach and Louis Vuitton use vachetta leather, so you know it’s high quality. Testing this tote was a joy. It’s roomy without being overly large, making it an excellent day-t0-day tote option. The flexibility of the leather tote would make it easy to pack it in a suitcase for vacation, too. 

Inside the Tecovas Leather Tote is one main pouch with a zippered pocket and a non-zippered pocket. Unlike other totes on this list, it lacks additional dividers or pockets for storage. It’s not necessarily a considerable drawback but something to keep in mind. 

We fit quite a bit in the tote–a laptop, makeup bag, wallet, a book, and many odds and ends. The handles may be thin, but the designers made sure to sew about 2.5 inches of the handles onto the purse, offering some insurance that the handles won’t break. This tote, which comes in black and brown, can easily be paired with casual and slightly dressier outfits.  

Price at time of publication: $195

Color options: Fawn and Midnight | Weight: 2 pounds | Dimensions:  12.5 x 5.5 x 18 inches

Best Fishing: YETI Camino Carryall

YETI Camino Carryall

Amazon

What We Like
What We Don't Like

YETI’s Camino totes are excellent for hauling groceries, extra clothing, or any other outdoor gear. But we’ve found it particularly helpful in storing and hauling around fly-fishing gear. The 35-liter size (which is the medium size in the line) is the perfect size for a fly-fishing bag, reels, extra layers, snacks, and a drink or two. When not in use on a daily trip, we’ve found it an ideal storage option for waders, boots, reels, and a fly-fishing bag.

It features the same materials as YETI’s Panga Duffel, which is waterproof and incredibly durable. We also like that it’s easy to wipe out and clean. The outside has YETI’s proprietary ThickSkin Shell, and an EVA molded bottom wide enough to help the bag stand up on its own. We love that the bag has a crossbar handle, shoulder straps, and multiple inner pockets to help organization.

Price at time of publication: $238

Color options: Nordic blue, Nordic purple, Alpine yellow, Navy, and Storm gray | Weight: 3.1 pounds | Dimensions: 15 x 18.2 x 9.9 inches

Best Canvas: Madewell The Sydney Tote

Madewell The Sydney Tote

Madewell

What We Like
  • Medium-sized

  • Additional shoulder strap

  • Magnets keep the top closed

  • Interior pocket to store items

  • Sustainably-sourced leather trimming

What We Don't Like
  • Leather straps are only sewn onto the bag on one side

Madewell offers their Sydney Tote in a full leather option, but during our testing, we became fans of their Cotton-Linen Edition. Made with a textured cotton-linen canvas and outlined in a leather trim, this tote is particularly stylish. Take it to the farmer's market, brunch, or on your travels, and it'll surely receive some compliments.

One of our favorite aspects of the bag is its medium size. It isn't so large that it's too bulky to carry around, yet it's large enough to fit our 13-inch laptop, a few books, and some snacks. There's an interior pocket to hold chapstick and keys and magnets placed in leather accents at the opening of the tote that keeps the bag closed. We appreciated this added bit of security.

A shoulder strap can relieve pressure on your arms if needed. While we love the leather handles, we were a bit surprised that they're only sewn onto the bag on one side. The stitching felt secure when we tested this tote, as we expected of the Madewell brand, and yet, it felt like something we still wanted to mention. 

Color options: Cloud lining | Weight: unknown | Dimensions:  11.75 x 11 x 12.5 x 6.25 inches

What to Look for in Travel Tote Bags

Cost

The bag’s materials mostly determine the cost of a travel tote. Those made of leather will always be the most expensive, typically priced above $150. That’s not to say that a canvas or nylon tote will be cheap. The design and brand will most definitely affect the price. We’ve seen tote bags that range from $5 to $500, made of all different fabrics, materials, and finishes. No matter your budget, you should be able to find one that matches your needs. 

Materials

Leather, canvas, nylon, and even straw are common materials for totes. Some totes are made with waterproof materials or plastic and are better equipped for the beach, outdoors, or lake.  

Size

What makes travel tote bags so special is they can be as small as a purse and as large as a duffel bag. Always check the dimensions of a tote before you buy. Pictures can sometimes be a bit misleading, even those that feature images of people holding the tote bags. To better understand how large a travel tote is, look for the capacity. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should I care for and clean my travel tote bag?

    You can use warm water and a dash of dish soap or detergent to clean your totes, including leather ones (just ring out the towel well). Be wary of using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on totes, no matter the material, as they could be too harsh, ruin the fabric, or stain them. If the tote has machine-washable fabric, toss it in the washing machine. 

    Consider using a leather conditioner on a leather tote to keep it from drying out and protect it from future stains. Nail polish or rubbing alcohol can be used on leather totes to remove scuffs and ink stains, while baking soda or cornstarch may remove oil and grease stains. 

    As for other methods of care, we suggest you be careful about how much you pack into your tote. No matter how well the handles are sewn onto the tote, those threads can loosen over time, and the heavier the bag, the higher the chance that a handle could break.

  • Are tote bags safe to carry?

    Tote bags are not inherently safer than any other bag. That said, they tend to have thicker straps, which can’t be as easily cut and snatched compared to a cross-body bag. Try not to pack the tote bag too heavy, as it might make you inclined to set it down more often, which puts it at risk of being taken. 

    If you’re concerned about pickpocketing, we highly suggest you opt for tote bags with zippers–especially those with an additional clip to lock the zipper. Don’t put anything important or valuable in the exterior pocket of a tote bag, zippered or not. Some tote bags have RFID-blocking technology that protect your passport and credit cards from hackers.

  • Can I travel with a tote bag?

    You can absolutely travel with a tote bag. Plenty of totes on this list, like the Duluth Trading Co. Lifetime Leather Tote and Carl Friedrik Anywhere tote, are the perfect size to be considered a personal item when flying on a plane. Of course, some totes are too big to be a personal item like the This Belongs To_ Weekender and are better utilized as a carry-on bag. 

    The Cotopaxi Allpa 60L Hauler or the Filson Dry Roll Top Bag would be a better option if you're traveling by boat or car. In terms of using a tote on vacation as your morning-noon-and-night purse, you will want to go with a medium-sized tote like the Tecovas Leather Tote or the Caraa Medium Leather Tote, which doubles as a backpack.

Why Trust Tripsavvy

Author Alex Temblador is an outdoor and travel journalist who lives in Texas. In addition to working out–running, lifting, hiking, kayaking, and more–at least five days a week, Alex seeks out adventurous travels all around the world. Throughout her career as an outdoor and travel journalist, she has rappelled in Mexico, kayaked in Puerto Rico and Thailand, skied in Telluride and Montana, surfed in Zihuatanejo, scuba dived in Bonaire, hiked in Peru and Switzerland, and completed a one-day, 100-mile cycling event in 100-degree weather in North Texas.

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