I’ve been waiting to wax lyrical about this one – July’s Everyday Large Tote has been sold out for months now. And having taken with me on numerous trips, as well as daily commutes, I can see why. Tote bags seem to be having a real moment of late. The Dior Book Tote (real and fake) has been a signature of the European summer beach club scene. The Longchamp Large Le Pliage is being touted as the ‘if you know, you know’ quiet luxury bag. And now that this smart carry-all from Australian luggage brand July is back in stock, and now that you’ve seen it, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. And for good reason.
Before using this bag, I had the naive impression that all tote bags were born equal – aren’t they all just like the canvas ones you can buy from Sainsbury’s? How wrong I was. The new generation of tote bags are studier, with flat bottoms and stiff fabric, so they keep shape similar to a traditional handbag. Inside there are organisational pockets, so there’s no aimless rummaging at the bottom to find your keys.
The July tote is probably the most impressive I’ve seen in this capacity – there are enough internal and external pockets and pouches to make a Monica Gellar-type excited. These include:
- A velcro laptop sleeve
- A zip-up pouch that could fit a travel organiser, documents or a book
- A pouch for a wallet
- A phone pouch
- A water bottle holder that can also be removed
- An external pouch
- A hidden external magnet pouch that can fit a phone
- A laptop sleeve
While July has tote bags in several sizes – the Everyday Small and the extra large Garment Bag – to me, the Everyday Large is the perfect sweet spot. Not too large to be a commuter bag – ideal for the laptop and gym gear juggle – but large enough to replace a carry-on suitcase for a weekend break. Using a couple of packing cubes, I could neatly pack everything I needed for a weekend in Paris, thankfully avoiding the dreaded cobblestone suitcase struggle.
I’ll admit the one downside to the bag is that the main compartment can’t be zipped up or secured in any way, so it’s not one for storing in the overhead lockers. The bag is stiff enough to be stored under the seat in front of you and will stay upright during the flight. I don’t mind the lack of zip, particularly when travelling with my toddler. The number of pockets and compartments are ideal for reaching for toys, snacks or wipes quickly, and the bag’s main compartment offers plenty of room for a nappy bag, larger toys or even a travel potty.
- Multiple storage compartments, including a laptop sleeve and bottle holder
- Luggage sleeve
- Soft yet very durable cotton canvas
- Large enough to take on a weekend break
- Can be personalised
- Available in limited edition colours
- No zip or button to secure the main compartment
- Often sells out