August 15, 2006
What appeals to me about L.L.Bean’s Boat and Tote Bag is its uncompromising sturdiness. It does not try to be “cute” or “elegant” – it’s far too busy boatin’ and totin’. And not only is it a seriously constructed bag, it’s available at a seriously good price. J.Crew introduced the same style of tote this year (theirs is called the Montauk tote). Their large is about the same size as Bean’s extra large, but it’s $41 more. Anything cheaper than the L.L. Bean bag is compromising on quality somewhere, mostly in the fabric. This canvas is like iron.
I currently own two Boat and Tote bags – one extra-large zip top (regular length handles) and one small open top (long handles). We use the big zip top bag for weekend trips, and it’s usually large enough to fit everything I need for two nights and three days. For camping, it will hold all of what Bob and I both need for an overnight trip. It’s cavernous. The small one is my most recent purchase and I love it. It makes a perfect little book/misc. tote to take on trips, or a casual everyday purse that’s big enough to throw my lunch in with my wallet and girl kit. It gives a little nautical feel to my outfit, which is one of the big trends of the summer.
I have stayed with the classic old-school colors, because for some reason they look fresher to me than anything "new." Checking the sale section can yield a bargain when they discontinue colors. That’s how I got my small one on sale, in a cranberry red, so since I was saving money, I added a monogram. I am considering a medium sized Boat and Tote, too. Although I don’t have an immediate use in mind, I will bet my deck shoes I will reach for it over and over again. Try one.