Editor’s Note: I have a bunch of family obligations going on this week, so for today and Thursday, I’ll be re-posting some of my more popular topics. The post below on the Lo & Sons Travel Tote Bag was first published on March 21. Enjoy!
Earlier this month, I was looking in my Gmail account and found am email from Helen Lo. Lo is the owner of Lo & Sons, a family-owned business that makes travel and tote bags. She offered to send me the T.T. (travel tote) and the O.G. (overnight & gym) bag to test out and review. I agreed.
Before we go on, I encourage you all to read the Code of Ethics I follow for products I review. I stole it (with permission) from Cranky Flier, because his is the best one I’ve seen out there. So let’s get to my review.
The first thing I noticed when the box arrived was how light it was. This was a good start, because I carry a LOT of stuff (as you can see in this post), and I don’t want to also lug a heavy bag. The bag is black and made of water-resistant nylon with black leather straps and shiny gold accents (you can also get them in silver), and its dimensions are 15″ W x 14.5″ H x 4.5″ D. It weighs a svelte 1.9 lbs. I’m using the photos from the Lo & Sons website because, frankly, my photos were horrible, and this bag deserves MUCH better.
I like a good shoulder bag with a comfortable hang (around my hip bone) and this fits the bill. I can carry this bag with no jacket, a light jacket and my thick down jacket, all in comfort. Because I like to carry so much stuff, I also like a bag with lots of pockets and compartments, and boy, does this bag have them.
The first time I used the bag, I used it as a mommy bag. I took the kid into Washington, D.C., for an event at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum (like I’d take her somewhere else!). The have great FREE events every Saturday for the kids.
Besides my usual wallet, 2 phones (iPhone 4 and Blackberry Curve), medicine bag (ibuprofen, lotion, hand sanitizer, Neopsorin, cortizone cream, BandAids, Sudafed, Benadryl, Ricola cough drops and Claratin), Fairchild Dornier make-up mirror, lipstick, chapstick and Rolls-Royce business card case, I had to haul stuff for the kid.
That included: a cupholder size box of Oreo Cookies; 2 6.75 oz. juice boxes; a quart Ziplock bag of baby wipes; 2 baby boxes of raisins; a pair of pants and underwear; an iPod Touch (for kid viewing/listening in the car up and back); and an umbrella (it was a bit rainy that day).
This bag was able to handle all that along with the book and bag of astronaut freeze-dried ice cream we picked up in the museum shop. The inside zipped pocket held the lipstick, chapstick, mirror and card case with room to spare. The inside pockets next to the zipped pocket held the phones and the iPod Touch with ease. The inside pocket meant to hold a laptop computer held the extra change of clothes. My wallet, medicine bag and Oreo cookies fit in the main compartment. The wipes, raisins and juice boxes fit in a roomy pocket next to the laptop pocket. I used the tallest of the three zipped outside pocket to hold the book we bought. The kid’s jacket fit inside the tote with plenty of room
I switched over to the professional woman mode and used the T.T. on my Baltimore-D.C. weekly commute. This time, I carried the wallet, the 2 phones, an iPod, the medicine bag, the mirror, lipstick, chapstick, business card case, my commuter badge with train and subway cards, my work I.D., my Dell 15-inch laptop computer, 3 ink pens, 2 reporter notebooks, a 1 GB thumb drive, a cigarette lighter (don’t ask), Aviation Week, Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly magazines, a Blackberry phone charger, a 4″X4″ hardcover Swiss International Air Lines book, noise-canceling earbuds, hair comb and brush, an umbrella, a bottled water and a 12-oz can of soda.
Starting from the outside, the bottom pocket fit the umbrella (still rainy). The larger outside pocket fit Vanity Fair, and the smaller one fit AvWeek and Entertainmet Weekly, with room for at least one more magazine of a similar size.
The inside zipped pocket held the lipstick, chapstick, mirror, card case, commuter badge and ID, still with room to spare. The inside laptop fit my Gateway netbook easily. My Dell fit into the pocket, but it was too big to tighten with the velcro closure. The inside pockets next to the zipped pocket held the phones and the iPod. My wallet, medicine bag, ink pens, thumb drive, lighter, water, soda, book, earbuds, hair comb and brush and phone charger fit in the main compartment, with room to spare. I used the inside pocket next to the laptop pocket to hold my notebooks, again with room to spare.
Ladies, this bag had three things we all need: 4 little feet on the bottom so the bottom is not touching floors or other bare surfaces; a bottom outside zipped pocket that was perfect for my wet umbrella; and a leash inside the tote to hold the car keys. I could carry it on my lap or put it at my feet on the Amtrak train going in. But the fit was a bit tight to hold on the Acela train home, so I put it in the overhead bin.
I currently carry a red fake alligator bag I bought on QVC for $60 that they no longer sell. It’s not perfect, but it works for me right now. But I give the Lo T.T. a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5. Why? One, because I don’t believe in perfection. And two, as great as this bag is, some might be put off by its $260 price tag, when there are hundreds of other bags out there at a lower price point. But for a professional woman on the go, this is a great, stylish bag that should be considered.