There are a lot of debates at Gear Patrol’s increasingly crowded office. Cheez-Its vs Cheese Nips, iced coffee vs cold brew, the one car/watch/camera/sneaker to rule them all.
Our latest product was born from one of these debates: What makes the perfect tote bag?
After a reasonable amount of debating and an unreasonable amount of Googling, we landed on a list: durable fabric, easy to carry, not too big, not too small, simple exterior, and just a little bit of divided storage on the interior. The only problem is that we couldn’t find any that ticked all the boxes, so we had to make our own.
18 oz Duck Canvas, Doubled Up
This is the antithesis of the disposable tote. 18oz cotton duck canvas was our starting point for a bag that’ll be used every day and just get better. It’s a little heavier than most totes (especially since we doubled up the canvas on the bottom) but we think the strength and longevity is worth it. And, as a plus, it’s made in North Carolina from some of the nicest people we’ve met.
A Small Anecdote: On an especially windy shoot for the latest print issue, one of our photographers who was testing a sample of the tote ran out of sandbags and had to improvise. The solution? Load the bag with 60 pounds of bricks and hang it off a lightstand for a few hours.
Two Handles, One Strap, No Excess
All the stock totes we looked at couldn’t seem to figure out the strap situation. The classic merch varieties go for two long straps that can be used over the shoulder in a pinch. The problem with these is that they make the bag clumsy to hold and ugly to look at. An over-the-shoulder option was essential for bike rides, heavy loads, and hands-free use though. We ended up taking some inspiration from a tote a staffer bought at South2 West8 — an amazing outdoor store in Sapporo, Japan. Two short hand straps, one long shoulder strap sewn into the bag that will fall into the interior when not in use. No big strap stitching on the exterior (think LL Bean Beach Bag). It’s all things to all travelers.
Interior Slip Pocket
Another place some totes compromise on, we threw a small slip pocket into the bag, perfect for keys, phones, and winning lotto tickets — the pocket tenses up and holds things in place when there’s stuff in the bag.
Just A Little Bigger
It’s smaller than a beach or weekend bag but just a bit bigger than most totes. We sized up the bag a little bit to make room for any and everything you can think to carry. It’s a non-standard unit of measurement, but the bag will hold two normal-sized shoe boxes.
And All Yours
Once we had a sample in-house, we knew we couldn’t just make them for the staff, so head to the Gear Patrol store to grab one. We promise we’ve thought of everything.