Review: Clear Tote

Clear Tote in Transit
Clear Tote in Transit

I decided, when I was on a recent trip, that I wanted to write a review of this bag, because it is pretty different from the others I have made from fabric.

As you can see from the picture, I packed my tote with things to do plus some tea and chocolate to tide me over. I, at least,  have the following in the bag: a zipper bag of Perl cotton, a box of tea, my handwork bag, Beach Town, a magazine, a library book and ….? Not sure what else, though I think there was more.

When I made this bag, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. I think I mostly like that I can see into it. I can see whether I have all of my stuff as I pack it. I can also admire the stuff that I have in there. This has led me to carrying around the pencil roll Julie made me. I can see it through the bag and admire it as I go on my merry way.

I made the handles a little shorter and they work for me at that length. They are long enough to put over my shoulder and are just the right length to carry in my hand at my side.

Pen leaks, water spills and other messes are easy to clean up with paper towel and some Simply Green or a cleaning wipe. Sometimes, I can’t avoid putting the bag down in something that someone else has spilled simply because I didn’t see the mess. It also protects my stuff quite well in the rain.

I find that the bag doesn’t look dirty either.

Some of the things that I like about this bag are also disadvantages. It is great for me to be able to see inside the bag, but I don’t want other people to see my iPod or my digital camera or my cell phone, etc. I definitely cannot use this bag to hold a table at a cafe’.

Using this bag in hot weather is not recommended. It becomes very soft and pliable. I think the handles stretch if the weather becomes hot enough.

I don’t find the pockets to be particularly useful either. The plastic sticks very well to itself, thus putting things in pockets means unsticking the pocket from the bag, which doesn’t work very well in a hurry.

I would like the tote to be stiffer so it would stand up better. As it is now, it kind of folds in on itself if I don’t have it full of the right sized and shaped stuff. I can’t think of a way to make it stiffer except to put two layers of plastic together, as I can’t line it with interfacing.

I also am more aware of how much I put in it. I think that the handles might break if I fill the main compartment with too many heavy items. This isn’t, necessarily a bad thing since I shouldn’t be hauling 30 pounds of stuff around with me. I realized that I have a sense of what fabric can take, in terms of weight, but I don’t have the same sense with this vinyl.

All in all, I really like this bag. I enjoy carrying it around and find it to be a very useful shape and size.