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.
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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!
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.
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.
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!
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. *