Shoulder bag suggestions: Weatherproof women's totes?
August 3, 2015 8:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving from a warm, dry place to a cold and frequently damp one. I have a Sportsac hobo tote that I love but it soaks through in even a light fog. What's a good replacement shoulder bag that's professional and water resistant (or even waterproof)?

I like the size of the Sportsac hobo--big enough to throw a few groceries in on the way home from work, or fit a large iPad and book, but small enough that I don't carry too much with me. I like the zippered pockets. I have a muted but fun pattern so I can get away with carrying this as my everyday office-casual bag. I'd like to stay away from anything too sporty-looking (so no Patagonia rubbery sacks). I'd like to not spend too much (<$100), but am okay with spending a bit more for good quality. Any suggestions?
posted by stillmoving to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Lo and Sons (no relation) has a great-looking zippered tote bag. It's rather pricey but I have their OG work bag and I've never thought about upgrading since. "Buy nice, buy once." It looks sleek, is water-resistant, and has great organization. Also, light weight but feels well-made. If you sign up for their mailing list, they often will post sales.

Fjallraven makes a tote-pack that converts into a backpack round your price range. Comes in many colors and made from a waxed canvas material. I wish the straps were shorter when I use it as a tote bag, but there are leather carrying handles as well. The backpack feature is nice if you buy some heavier grocery items.

Baggallini also makes some nylon totes that zip at the top and look relatively water resistant.
Elena - comes with a cross body strap
Avenue - Comes in many colors, says specifically is water resistant
posted by mlo at 8:49 PM on August 3, 2015

The Longchamp Le Pliage is probably the most classic tote around. It comes in a ton of colors and seems to be sold all sorts of places. I don't have one, but it has a sterling reputation and seems to be just about everywhere there are stylish folks.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:30 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I like Moop's waxed canvas bags. There are also tons of waxed canvas totes on Etsy. Waxed canvas isn't totally waterproof, but it is very water-resistant. I cycle in the rain with my Moop bag quite often.

Crumpler also has some nice options, like the Doozie Tote, but their websites make it a bit hard to tell what's available in the U.S. I think you may be able to find them on Amazon.
posted by neushoorn at 10:32 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I believe Timbuk2 now makes shoulder bags, and you can customize your bag on their website (which seems to be temporarily down), including color and pattern. I have a laptop bag by them and it is completely waterproof.
posted by lunasol at 12:29 AM on August 4, 2015

I have a small Timbuk2 messenger bag (which I chose after extensive searching — I am a little obsessive about bags) and I love it. I chose a dark color (the woven reflective material) and smaller size to make it more professional looking, but there are a lot of choices with both color and size. One reason I chose it is because it's well made and incredibly durable but still lightweight (much more durable and much lighter than the waxed canvas bag I used for a bit) and totally waterproof as long as water doesn't get under the flap. My only quibbles are velcro is not my friend (I'm forever catching it on shirts and scarves) and I would slightly change the interior pockets if I could, but those are not big deals — I'd gone through a lot of bags pretty quickly before and have stuck with the Timbuk2 for a while now with no plans to change.
posted by rafaella gabriela sarsaparilla at 5:26 AM on August 4, 2015

...I meant to add that all of that was to say I would recommend any shoulder bag Timbuk2 made (as lunasol pointed out) if cross-body isn't your thing as I can vouch for their overall quality, color choices, etc.
posted by rafaella gabriela sarsaparilla at 5:28 AM on August 4, 2015

You can wax many fabrics yourself, to make them water-resistant. There are different camps on whether using a hair dryer or an iron works better (or both). You do get a distinctive finish from it.
Fjällräven's Greenland Wax is a good one.

If a leather tote catches your eye, you could patch test using any number of leather weatherproofers. Leather can get damaged from rain (depending on the finishing/drenching of water), so it is worth looking at your weatherproofing options if you want to use it in the rain.
posted by troytroy at 6:22 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have the TT by Lo and Sons. It's very nice but I was surprised by how tall it is - it's almost too tall to go under the seat in front of me when I fly. Moreover, the shoulder strap isn't that long. I also have the OG or the OMG and it's also a very nice bag but it's a little too big for me for everyday use. I have a Le Pliage from Longchamp and use it almost every day. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by kat518 at 7:54 AM on August 4, 2015

I also carry a Le Pliage as my everyday bag--it looks equally good with little inside and stuffed full, is very water-resistant (I would say waterproof but the zipper isn't sealed and the trim is leather, so don't submerge it in a pool or anything). Downsides: there's no internal organization (one small unzippered top pocket) and the corners do wear out surprisingly fast, although it's covered by warranty. Also a bit over your price range, unless you can buy it during a trip to France.
posted by serelliya at 1:58 PM on August 4, 2015

Nthing Moop bags. I have the Paperback convertible purse and am very happy with it!
posted by orrnyereg at 2:05 PM on August 4, 2015

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