The Very Best Bags, Totes and Packs for Every Adventure
Our favourite bags to take to the beach, the gym, the grocery store or the coffee shop
A fully-loaded set of grocery bags
Better Basics’s grocery kit includes a sturdy (and, frankly, massive) organic cotton tote for serious supermarket hauls, a stretchy net bag for quick shops and mesh sacs in three sizes that are perfect for storing produce.
A shoulder-saving handbag
This gorgeous periwinkle bag, from Canadian vegan leather champs Matt and Nat, is made from recycled materials and boasts a thick strap to help curb shoulder and back pain.
A shape-shifting travel pack
This multipurpose, hybrid carryall can convert from a shoulder bag to a backpack—perfect for air travel, day trips or any quick office check-ins from a coffee shop (there’s a laptop pocket with a padded base inside). It all rolls up into a convenient pouch (top right) to squish into a corner of your suitcase until you need it.
High Coast Totepack, $100, Fjallraven.com
Coast-to-coast tote bags
Passionate about pour-over? Will travel for the iciest cold brew? This lightweight canvas tote, featuring artwork celebrating 12 iconic Vancouver cafés, is for you.
No urban public library system in the world is busier than Toronto’s—tens of millions of books are borrowed every year, and this bag is handy for carrying a few of ’em. Grab one the next time you’re at your local branch.
TPL Tote Bag, $3, torontopubliclibrary.ca
The tote from Toronto magazine store Issues, owned by Best Health’s art director, proudly announces that you’re a fan of print media. (Us, too!)
Rep the quintessential Montreal haunt with this tote that’s robust enough to carry a few dozen bagels and a tub of cream cheese.
Big enough to carry your farmer’s market haul, cute enough to take on a lunch date, this oversized tote is adorned with doodles by Nova Scotian illustrator Kat Frick Miller.
Catch a vibe, if not an actual wave, with this tote from Rustico Surf Club, launched by four friends from PEI who fell in love with surfing on the island’s north shore.
Totes McGotes Tote, $25, rusticosurfclub.com
Pouches to go
While this on-the-go crossbody is designed for hands-free hydration—most water bottles fit neatly in its cinchable main bag—there’s also a zippered exterior pocket that’ll hold your phone, cards and keys.
Water Bottle Crossbody Bag 2.5L, $38, shop.lululemon.com
This retro-cool hip pack by Ruffwear holds all dog-walking essentials. It has a collapsible mess pocket in the zippered main compartment to keep crumbly treats or a slobbery ball contained, a phone pocket on the back panel and an external stretch mesh pocket for easy-access poop bags.
Ruffwear Home Trail Hip Pack, $61, seesawyerrun.com
When you’re out on the water (or floating in a pool), a waterproof phone case is a must. The clear window on this completely sealed pouch allows you to view and swipe the screen. If the lanyard breaks, the case floats.
Pelican Marine Series, $57 for two, amazon.ca
Gym bags for all the basics
This duffle makes it distressingly easy to get to the gym: On one end, there’s a large, vented compartment for running shoes or sweaty clothes; on the other, a mesh pocket for water bottles or shower flip flops; and inside, enough room to fit two basketballs (or even more gear and sweaty clothes). A pair of elastic straps on the front keep a yoga mat or foam roller secured in place.
Under Armour Women’s Undeniable Signature Duffle Bag, $60, sportchek.ca
A sturdy bike pannier
Hand-sewn in Sherbrooke, Que., and made of 100-percent-waterproof fabric for changeable Canadian weather, Arkel’s 24-litre bike pannier packs some serious storage. Its wide duffle shape means there’s room for a whackload of groceries, and its padded interior compartment keeps laptops safe.
Signature H – Waterproof Urban Pannier, $240, arkel.ca
Three roomy dopp kits
Made in Toronto and Montreal from vegetable-tanned leather and sustainable Italian wool, this luxurious dopp kit will last you a lifetime—as in, it’s actually backed by a lifetime warranty.
Wool Dopp Kit, $155, monteandcoe.com
Béis’s dopp kit is an organizer’s delight, with not one but two zippered exterior compartments and not one but two large pockets inside. There’s also a sturdy loop for hanging from towel hooks, if you want to get the bag off your vanity altogether.
The Dopp Kit, $65, ca.beistravel.com
This cheerful pouch can fit not only your makeup essentials but also those 19 nearly identical lipsticks you can’t quite bring yourself to toss. Its water-repellent nylon body means any toothpaste splatter is a breeze to wipe away.
Go Getter Pouch, $38, shop.lululemon.com