Perfect weekend bag, do you exist? At a reasonble price?
May 15, 2013 8:40 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for the perfect weekend bag that is not crazily expensive.

I would like to buy a lightweight, attractive weekend bag/travel tote. This would be something that I could easily carry while walking around, and which would hold enough stuff for at least 48+ hours. Requirements:

1) Not leather - it's too heavy.
2) Somewhat attractive - I don't want this to look like heavy duty luggage or a duffel bag.
3) Not too expensive - I wouldn't have to use it very often, but it needs to hold up.

I have though about getting a large L.L. Bean canvas tote, which I have heard are extremely durable. But I don't like the available colors, and the other variations seem like they would be too small.

This LeSportsac Large Weekender is nearly exactly what I want in terms of size and shape. But I don't love the color choices, and it's a bit too expensive.

Does anyone have any experience with the LeSportsac Weekender in particularly, or similar recommendations? Previous questions have erred too much on the "extremely large handbag" to "study suitcase" spectrum, and I am looking for neither.
posted by leedly to Travel & Transportation (30 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
*sturdy suitcase, NOT study suitcase
posted by leedly at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2013

Have you thought about the weekend bag from Baggu? The duck bag looks pretty good too, although it doesn't have a top zipper. I have a couple of nylon bags from them and they're nicely made; the canvas ones look simple enough that as long as they're stitched well, they will be hard to mess up.

I have a used LeSportsac Weekender that I got on eBay because I needed an ultralight waterproof large bag for a particular trip - I think it's a godawful ugly bag and the piping seems to get pill-y. If it's a bag you'll be using a lot, I feel like it could easily start to look pretty battered pretty quick, and those bags are really only appealing (IMO) when they are pristine, fun-looking, etc.
posted by Frowner at 8:49 AM on May 15, 2013

What is your price range?
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2013

Everlane has a Weekender bag collection. I have no idea if the colors are what you're looking for, but they seem better to me than either LL Bean or LeSportsac. No idea on quality etc, but Everlane clothes that I've worn are definitely good for the price, though not as magically perfect as they are trying to market themselves as.
posted by pekala at 8:54 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Under $100 is ideal.
posted by leedly at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013

You've ruled out the duffel, so I won't recommend my weekend bag, but the other products from the Duluth Trading Company are really fantastic at a reasonable price. They sell a "Weekender" model that sounds like what you're looking for, but I can't recommend the "firehose" material strongly enough.
posted by resurrexit at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013

You can get Lesportsac at Macy's. These prices are less than the website, and Macy's has coupons for 20% as a general rule.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013

YMMV, but I'd be hard-pressed to describe the LeSportsac bag you linked as a walking-around bag; it's pretty bulky once it starts getting full. Herschel do some nice canvas duffels for about $100, and Lipault's nylon bags are equally lovely.
posted by evoque at 9:04 AM on May 15, 2013

There are more color options for the L.L. Bean tote! Custom Boat & Tote. It's slightly more expensive than the non-custom version but still well within your price range. Also you can get the long straps if you want, which is nice if you're going to carry it around. They do indeed last forever; I had one of mine for 20 years before the handle got caught on something in the washer and got chewed up (fortunately it did not destroy the washer), so I cut the handles off and use it as a basket in my closet. My family has boat and totes that are older than me (I am 35).

I use a medium with long straps for weekend trips (in summer), and I find it works great. Fits under the airplane seat, and you can carry it around with you and not look too ridiculous. The large is too large for walking around for any length of time, imo. Unless you have very light, fluffy belongings. Also, the bag itself is on the heavy side - tough canvas.
posted by mskyle at 9:06 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

This is out of your price range, but if you're willing to splurge... Kate Spade Saturday's Weekender is basically the cutest bag I've ever seen.
posted by Flamingo at 9:07 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

What about one of those Vera Bradley weekender bags? They are ultra light and come in lots of funky patterns. Pretty close to $100, I think.
posted by rglass at 9:07 AM on May 15, 2013

What about an llbean adventure duffel? They come in lots of colours and are light but excellent quality. I use the medium one as my weekend bag.
posted by saradarlin at 9:08 AM on May 15, 2013

I have seriously eyeballing these e-Bags Weekender backpacks. They look ideal for me and I'm looking for much the same thing you are.
posted by readery at 9:11 AM on May 15, 2013

I have the le sac weekender in large and it is not very comfortable to walk around with. It is really a duffle bag. Plus, since I'm no longer a college girl, the cutesy pattern makes me embarrassed especially when people ask if it is a diaper bag (nooooo).

I just upgraded to a Kate Spade travel Leslie and it makes me feel much more adult, but it is leather so maybe check it out and see if you could find that shape in nylon or canvas? The open tops on totes make me nervous when traveling, so I prefer zipper tops like that.
posted by cakebatter at 9:26 AM on May 15, 2013

Moop's Carrier? You might like the Porter, which is under $100 and which I often use as a weekend bag, BUT it will not stay snapped closed once you put more than a single paperback and one pair of underwear in it, so I had to replace the closures. It holds a lot comfortably, but only if you don't mind the bag being wide open the whole time, unless you add a zipper or stronger closures.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2013

I just did a weekend with this bag and it was perfect. PJs, change of clothes, books, toiletries.
posted by tilde at 9:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely a Vera Bradley Weekender. It stores a ton but it's still comfortable to wear when it's packed.
posted by kro at 10:04 AM on May 15, 2013

I think this Zella Gathered Duffel Bag is attractive. I will say that I have a similar bag and the strap is not perfect - it doesn't adjust enough for me, though I am on the shorter side.

I also have the Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag which I like and it fits a surprising amount of stuff while still looking more like a purse than a duffel bag. However, the strap drop isn't very long.

I don't have this myself but I have had this bag from Ten Thousand Villages on my wish list for a little while. I just might get it for myself.
posted by kat518 at 10:11 AM on May 15, 2013

Lands end has canvas totes as well, different colors and sizes. Check them out.
posted by pearlybob at 10:38 AM on May 15, 2013

Also, have you looked at American Apparel? I know you don't have a duffel bag but they have a variety of bags. I have this duffel bag and it has served me well. I can put my yoga mat in it and I have tossed it into suitcases on trips where I might need another bag.
posted by kat518 at 10:44 AM on May 15, 2013

I have this Jane Marvel bag, which is in your price range. It's vinyl, lighter than leather, but very durable. I've taken it on two European go-all-over-the-place trips (I pack very light) and it's also my weekend bag. Plenty of room for a couple of outfits, a pair or two of shoes, and a toiletries/makeup bag.

On edit, it looks like every option on that site is out of stock. Maybe you can find it somewhere else, but I've had trouble finding it to update the link.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

This bag works well for just a weekend - it's strong, lightweight, and not terrible for carrying around. The caveat is that it's easy to overstuff it, which then makes it harder to get it over your shoulder. I'm always tempted to use it for longer trips but then it's a pain to carry.
posted by yarrow at 10:58 AM on May 15, 2013

I have the Lesportsac large weekender. I like it and it's held up beautifully, but for easy carryability I would step down to the medium. The large is actually a little bit too big for me for a weekend trip (NB: I pack light) and because it's unstructured it can be a little awkward to carry.

If you don't like any of the current prints on the weekender, check for previous seasons' prints on eBay. That should bring the cost down a bit, too.
posted by payoto at 11:40 AM on May 15, 2013

I use the Tom Bihn Ego as my weekend bag. Actually I use it as my everyday carry bag, but it easily holds what I need for a couple-few days away from home, and I use it for such a couple times a week: a couple changes of clothes, laptop and charging cables, makeup/emergency kit, water bottle, travel coffee mug, and lots of little random stuff. The upgrade to the Absolute Shoulder Strap makes it easy to carry around all day even filled with all that. It's stylish in that it's simple and professional-looking, and you can customize it a bit, though it's not cutting-edge fashionable. And yes, it's a little spendy, but I've had mine for 4 years now and it still looks new.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:17 PM on May 15, 2013

You might also consider bags from Timbuk2, as their totes look like they might fit the bill.
posted by evoque at 12:22 PM on May 15, 2013

Parrot Canvas Company make cheap, simple canvas bags, including zippered totes and duffels and "mechanic's bags" (which might be a good search term for you in general, given what you're looking for).
posted by caek at 12:25 PM on May 15, 2013

I have to add my vote for the Kate Spade. I see that it's expensive, but in my experience her bags are very well-balanced. It's a different experience to carry one.
posted by tel3path at 1:13 PM on May 15, 2013

Another vote for Vera Bradley. The Weekender is good, but my favorite is the Miller bag - holds an insane amount of stuff, yet still can fit under an airplane seat!
posted by SisterHavana at 10:11 PM on May 15, 2013

I have the Vera Bradley weekender and diaper bag. They are both very roomy, comfortable and have heaps of cute patterns to choose from. I use the weekender all the time, you can carry so much in it.
posted by Jubey at 4:29 AM on May 16, 2013

Nthing the Everlane weekender. I really like mine and get a lot of use out of it. Just under $100.
posted by overleaf at 8:23 PM on July 17, 2013

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