There are a couple of travel purchases I made last year that I really feel are worth their weight (and cash), so I’m going to be highlighting them here over the next few months. If gear posts aren’t for you, don’t worry, there is also travel content (and maybe some triathlon rambles) coming your way as well. These gear posts are not sponsored (though they may have affiliate links). I just actually love this stuff and find reviews really helpful when I’m making a purchase.
ETA: Yea, I meant to get some photos of this bag over the weekend. Instead I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
If there ever was a perfect bag for road trips, this bag is THE bag.
But let me start at the beginning. Like many, I have a strong affinity for Longchamp bags. Not because they are popular, but because they are simple, stylish totes that can last forever. I have one that I purchased back in college that looks a teensy bit worse for wear, but I think its ragged corners just add a bit of character – it has been to four continents after all.
The Le Pliage totes are perfect for carrying books, enormous laptops, or a camera and a water bottle in a city. They stay on your shoulder and are pretty reasonably water resistant. Which is good, because I often forget my umbrella and I have a propensity to get caught in the rain. (And get shit on by birds. I don’t know what it is, but I get shit on at least twice a year. Unrelated. I hate pigeons.)
So when I saw the expandable tote, I was intrigued. When I ordered it, I initially was thinking I’d use it to tote my stuff on a plane trip to Omaha for Age Group Nationals. When it arrived, I was aghast–literally–at how large it was.
Like, if I was a bit more flexible, I’d easily fit into the bag. My dog could comfortably ride in the bag with room for a blanket and toys. I mean, this thing was enormous. But this is the beauty of its expandability – when you zip it and make it “small” – it actually turns into a pretty reasonable size bag! Definitely one you could take on a plane as your personal item to fit under the seat, as long as you don’t pack it to the brim.
Now, when you “expand” it, I’m not sure it could go in an overhead bin and I really can’t imagine carrying it through the airport without a cart or … someone to carry it for you. It’s too big for me to carry comfortably. Or maybe I just pack to much heavy crap in it. Either way.
But this bag, I’ve discovered, is perfect for the road trip. I always have a billion little bags, I can never remember where I put anything, I’m always hunting and digging, and jostling around to carry 6 bags of stuff. This bag, it carries it all and expands when you are staying for four nights instead of one. Literally, it’s the best road trip bag I have–and the one I’ve used on every road trip since I purchased it.
It fit all of my Ironman crap inside of it. Helmets. Shoes. Wetsuit. It fit all of my clothes and running stuff for Thanksgiving. It has an easy to carry shoulder strap so lugging it from the car to the hotel or the family house is super easy. Plus, a huge bonus in my book–it stands up on its own so it’s easy to look for what you need. And, like the other Le Pliage totes, it is water resistant and really durable. It doesn’t collect dirt easily, either, which is really important.
(For reference, that’s DH’s Patagonia Black Hole Duffel beside it…it still looks big. It’s over 20″ tall when it’s unzipped.)
Now, it is sometimes easy to lose small items in the bag, so sometimes it’s nice to put things like cords and other little pieces into another small clutch or hold-everything-cube so that they don’t drift to the bottom. But that is really the only complaint and is more a reflection of my organizational skills (and laziness at just tossing things in when I’m in a hurry) than the bag itself.
These do go on sale periodically, so if you don’t want to pay full price you can stalk Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus – as well as other retailers that carry the bag – to wait for a discount. You may be restricted on colors, though, so consider that in advance.