Pack & Review | Stella & Dot Avalon Tote

I love talking shop when it comes to carry-on bags for travel!  I tend to prefer carry-ons with great built-in organizational features like the Lipault Vertical Wheeled Brief I reviewed a couple of weeks ago or my go-to equipment toting Case Logic SLR Camera & Laptop Backpack.  Sometimes, however, the simplest, most open design can suit my needs especially considering my penchant for packing organizers.  Enter the basic open tote design.  This simple yet versatile bag can be used for just about any toting needs.  Today I am sharing a closer look at my new favorite that I’ve used on most of my recent travels.

stella and dot avalon tote

Please be advised that some of the links provided are affiliate links and I do receive a small commission if you make a purchase using those links.  This does not cost you any extra when you make a purchase.  I very much appreciate your support of this blog in doing so!

It was love at first sight when I laid eyes on the beautiful Avalon Tote from Stella and Dot on the arm of fellow YouTuber Michele at a conference I went to this past spring.  The perforated design is what really drew me in.  I’d never seen a bag quite like it!  I immediately purchased one for myself upon returning home.  I didn’t expect for it to turn into one of my current favorite carry-on bag options, but I’ve used it on 90% of our travels so far this spring and summer and am loving it!

stella and dot avalon tote review

The Avalon Tote is available in blush (shown) or black and retails for $148.  It measures 13″ high by 15.5″ wide by 5.75″ deep.  Those measurements seem deceptively small, because it can hold quite a bit as you can see in the photo above of how I pack it as a carry-on bag.  The bag is constructed from a synthetic leather blend with reinforced stitching on the handles for added durability.  The 10″ strap drop is the perfect length for a comfortable under arm fit.  This bucket-style tote is completely open on the inside.  It comes with a removable 8″ x 10″ linen zip ouch that clips onto a jump ring attached to the interior side wall.

I purchased the faux fur pom pom keyring from Dune London as a fun accent.

stella and dot avalon tote details

Although the design is simple, the included extra elements are both functional and stylish.  The gold finish hardware is a nice complement to the beautiful perforated design.  I like that the bag comes equipped with metal feet on the bottom and beautiful pyramid grommets reinforcing the straps.  The included linen pouch is handy in the bag or on its own.  The jump ring is a great place to clip keys when not in use by the pouch.  These small details make a big difference not just in the appearance of the bag, but also contributing to its versatility and durability.

in-flight essentials 2015

I’ve been using the tote mainly as a carry-on so far, although it’s definitely a great all-purpose kind of bag.  I thought I’d show just how much I can comfortably pack in it, and then some!  Here’s a current list of my in-flight essentials:

1) Knitting supplies to make hexipuffs for the Beekeeper’s Quilt
2) Walking Pharmacy (my everyday essentials kit I keep in my purse)
3) Pouch with snacks, keys, poopie bags, and any other loose odds and ends I want to corral
4) Vlogging camera (a Canon G7x)
5) Frends Taylor headphones
6) Electronic chargers and cables
7) Journals and checkbook
8) Scarf (my tried and true back up for a super chilly airplane situation)
9) Travel documents
10) Laptop (Macbook Pro)

All of this fits comfortably in the bottom half of the tote, leaving space on top for me to add a bag of snacks as well as a bottle of water and a sweatshirt.  Using my various pouches and folders to corral items by type and function and packing them vertically makes it super easy to access whatever I need without having to rummage.  Easy breezy!

stella and dot avalon tote plane

I like to bring this bag when I’m traveling with my dog, Winnie, and not packing the majority of my camera equipment in my carry-on (in which case I use my Case Logic Backpack).  I can usually fit both the tote and Winnie’s airline approved carrier (a Sherpa Original Deluxe Medium Carrier) underneath the seat in front of me, which is very convenient as I prefer a window seat and don’t like to bother the people next to me by getting up and down to retrieve my items during a flight.

Check out this video if you’re interested in hearing more about the Avalon Tote and see how I pack it as a carry-on bag:

I hope you enjoyed this look at my new favorite tote.
I’d love to hear about your favorite carry-on bag if you care to share!
Wishing you Happy & Safe travels 🙂


* Post contains affiliate links.  This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


21 thoughts on “Pack & Review | Stella & Dot Avalon Tote”

  1. Hello Jen,
    I love this bag! I really want to purchase this but I’m not sure what color goes best for fall (or even if it’s considered acceptable to wear in fall) I was thinking the black (for work) one with the pom pom of course! Amazing review as always thank you Jen!

  2. Cute bag; question, IF it wouldn’t fit under seat along with Winnie’s bag, I assume it would have to go into the overhead? Bags without any type of closure, even a buckle-like clip would be a problem then? That’s only reason I’ve hesitated to purchase bags without any form of closing. Your thoughts?

    1. I wouldn’t bring this kind of open style bag on the plane if I thought it might have to go in the overhead, because it’s not secure on its side.

  3. Love this video! I recognize the Ora Keilly bags from Target and the Eagle Creek Pack-it sack, but I am trying to identify bags 4,5,6,7 and 9. Thanks again for your videos and blog!

    1. #4 – Lill Studio wristlet case, the shop is closed now though 🙁
      #5 – Frends headphones come with their own leather pouch
      #6 – Eagle Creek Quart Pack-It cube
      #7 – Kate Spade from many years ago
      #9 – Vera Bradley folder, also from many years ago.

  4. I can’t believe you’re going to leave us hanging on the Lipault bag review!! I have been wanting to order the wheeled bag you have from there but would love to hear about your new piece! I’m a little surprised you’re not using your wheeled carry on bag because of the heavy lifting/pregnancy. Be careful. :). Happy travels!!!

  5. I think the bag is lovely, but I think I would feel pretty scared about the possibility of theft with an open bag or things spilling out if it got knocked over. I love the idea of things being so accessible though. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Hi Jen! I know you said you dont want to do anymore travel posts but can I request one.. either video or just a blog post on what flight food you bring and what you bring it in? Thank you for always sharing I love your blog and your videos = ) xo

    1. I generally bring snack-y things that are easy to travel with like fruit, cheese, crackers, pretzels, nuts, PB&J, etc.

  7. Supposing you are travelling alone and you have this tote with you just like you’ve shown above and you need to go to the restroom…..what do you do with valuables, especially your wallets? I am curious !!!

    1. I suppose if you were really concerned you could take your bag or valuables with you to the restroom. I try to go to the bathroom right before I get on a plane so I don’t have to get up during a flight. Usually if it’s less than 2 and a half hours I make it just fine.

  8. Really enjoyed watching the review of this gorg bag and reading this post, Jen! Honestly, I love your travel-related videos and please make as many of those as you would like because I’m sure we will all enjoy them 😉
    Absolutely love the colour & the texture of this bag <3
    xox, N.

  9. Hi Jen,

    Love your videos 🙂

    I’ve seen reviews indicating the inner lining of this bag sheds with general wear and tear. Do you have any issues with this?

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