The Everything Bag
I am currently using this bag on vacation. It worked great as a carry on and fit under the seat on the flight down. The 6 pockets on the inside are organized differently than in the miller bag--there are two on each side of the bag, plus one on each end of the bag. The ones on the end are wide enough to hold my iPad with its case and cover, which I keep inside the VB Neoprene case! You can also fit two regular shaped bottles of water in the end pocket, although just be careful since they aren't lined. There is also a zipper pocket inside, which has been great for keeping my phone away from the sand at the beach.
So in addition to the carry on use, this has also functioned as the family beach bag. I've fit in 3 bottles of water, two cans of soda, 4 ziplock containers with snacks, a beach blanket (thin nylon one), 2 books, 3 baseball hats, assorted pairs of sunglasses,reading glasses, and shirts--basically everything the kids and hubby being down that they don't want to leave in the sand! And there's nothing like that good sea air to break in the bag and loosen it up a bit!
I've notices some very small tabs one other end of the zipper, and figure if you wanted to, you could put some "D" rings on there and attach a cross body strap.
A couple things I'd like to see: padded straps like on the Vera and the Duffel bags, and a sleeve on the back so you could secure the bag over the telescoping handle of a rolling luggage piece
Overall, a great bag with lots of great functions. I have it in a second color also for use as my teaching bag--2 schools, 5 different classrooms, I have a lot of stuff to carry every day!
August 15, 2014
For lightweight items only.
Although I am a huge VB fan & own more VB items than I'd like to count, the Travel Tote is the first one I returned b/c of what I feel is a huge design flaw: the handles, in my opinion, aren't sturdy enough to support the weight that a bag this large can hold. I wanted a bag that'd hold my 17" laptop in its padded VB sleeve, & as soon as I lifted the Travel Tote containing my laptop, I didn't feel confident that the handles would stay stitched to the bag over time, so I returned the tote. For carrying a few pounds of gear, I prefer super-sturdy handles such as those on the Weekender and Grand Cargo. And yet a Travel Tote could get even heavier w/ the addition of more items; it's quite roomy even after adding a 17" laptop.
So, if you want a bag that's large enough to hold several fluffy or lightweight items, go for it. But for greater versatility and strength, I'd recommend a different bag; the Weekender holds a 17" laptop plus a purse & lunch. I didn't think the Travel Tote was poorly made in any way, just perhaps not a well-thought-out design: a bag that holds so much needs to have handles that can survive carrying all that weight.
March 23, 2015
Good carry on; comparison with Miller and GCAT
I bought this in the store the day it came out last week directly before heading to the airport for a trip to the opposite coast for a 5 day family event. I have been using my Get Carried Away Tote (GCAT) for long trips, but wanted something a touch smaller. My Miller bag, which I love, does not have a wide enough bottom to stack clothes in, and the GCAT would have been overkill for this trip. This new Travel Tote seems a lot like the Miller, which I suspect is being retired (note to VB staffers: do NOT retire the Miller bag-- it serves a different purpose than this travel tote!), but the big difference for me is the fabulous 10" wide bottom on the Travel Tote. Here's what went on the plane in this new bag: 3 party dresses, 1 pair of party shoes, my ipad in its VB tablet case, a medium cosmetic bag with all my chargers and cables; my crucial cosmetics in the medium hanging organizer and a clear ziploc, magazines, a brush and pencil case with my jewelery, snacks, extra undies. With that approach, if my checked bag hadn't arrived I still would have been celebration ready. But I'm not done: once we arrived to the (only slightly) warmer West Coast, my lightweight North Face went into it as well and it still zipped closed. No problem fitting into the overhead or underneath my seat on either flight, which were different aircraft models. Granted, you couldn't get the equivalent amount of cold weather clothing in there, but for spring/summer/fall this bag will be wonderful. To me, the Miller has a much more graceful shape and can be packed flat inside a suitcase and then pulled out for extras on the trip back home; I use it as well when hauling grandkids' stuff because I don't want to feel like I am using a travel piece. I am not sure I will use this Travel Tote in that way, because it does feel more like a travel bag than an everyday tote, but that is fine and that's why I got it-- getting a stack of folded adult clothes into as I just did was a huge advantage, and just what I was looking for. As for the GCAT, it does not completely close on top, making it less secure than both the Miller and the Travel Tote, but I have been using it on planes for longer trips for years now, which is why I say each bag has its place. The only downside to this new Travel Tote is that it does not have a trolley sleeve, which would make it perfect, and I hope VB will quickly add one to the design, because frankly every travel bag should have one. I got this in Flower Shower, which looked great with all my travel clothes. BTW, the background color reads more like a warm grey in person, not brown, so the whole color combo of this print feels fun and slightly retro.
March 25, 2014