How good does it feel to discover a hidden gem? Whether it’s something old you tossed to the back of your closet and forgot about or something new you barely thought about once you got it, falling in love with something is a terrific feeling.
Since first receiving Baggallini’s Packable Backpack Tote to test out, the unassuming little bag has surprised me on several occasions, charting its path to the top of my favorite items list with each unexpected event. Originally, the compact bag came as part of the brand’s Getaway Travel System, a comprehensive line of products designed to facilitate efficient and easy packing for all trips. The collection includes way more than my dear little backpack, and travel accessories like compression cubes, underseat carry-ons, pouches, toiletry kits, and various organizers all work together to make packing as little of a schlep as possible.
After keeping the Baggallini backpack under my desk for a week or so, I ran into a bit of a work-to-happy-hour snafu: I had a clunky backpack with me at the office, but I was meeting friends at a bar after work, where I’d rather not have to carry something so bulky. So, I took out the Baggallini tote and started stuffing my belongings in, figuring I’d hit a natural stopping point before my regular bag’s contents were completely transferred.
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That stopping point, however, did not come. In this small bag, deemed more of an “extra” than main carry-all, I was able to fit my 13.3-inch Macbook Air, my chunky spiral notebook, my hefty wallet (everything I own seems to be a tad larger than is necessary, I’m realizing now…), and a pair of extra jeans and shirt I had with me. And you know what? There was room to spare.
Baggallini packable backpack tote Credit: Courtesy of Baggallini
To buy: baggallini.com and ebags.com, $40
Once I discovered the Mary Poppins powers of this initially normal-looking bag, I started using it daily, switching between carrying it as a tote or backpack depending on what I was doing and how much stuff I had with me. Most recently, the backpack-tote hybrid accompanied on a trip to Croatia, where the lightweight, weather-resistant material really shined during bike rides and hikes as the weather fluctuated from sunshine to rainstorm in the blink of an eye.
The main outer pocket provides convenient access to your smaller necessities, like wallet, chapstick, and sunglasses, but I also used the top zippered pocket for important items like my cell phone and passport. When this pocket is empty, its main function is actually to contain the rest of the bag.
This bag is so packable because it can fold into itself and get stored in this top exterior zippered pocket. Even though the bag’s material is thin and easy to stuff in suitcase crevices, the compact storage system makes it even easier to toss neatly into any other handbag or regular tote.
When in use, the bag’s design also features two side pockets if you need more compartments, and a sleeve is built-in to the back of the bag so you can slide it over suitcase handlebars if you’re in transit with multiple pieces of luggage.
I know it sounds unfathomable that a bag so discreet could house this many functional elements, but Baggallini carefully crafted the Getaway Travel styles to lessen the burdens of travel and keep you prepared for any situation. You can opt for the packable tote in a universal black shade, which I have, or go for the eggplant color or gray-and-white midnight blossom pattern.
Make the most of your space — whether it be a work tote, a gym duffle, a suitcase, or anything else you carry day-to-day — by dropping Baggallini’s Packable Backpack Tote inside. With one on hand, you won’t have to worry about discomforts associated with going to and fro anymore.