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Travel Handbag: Litegear City Tote Review


Travel purses and messenger bags are essentials for the female traveler, as we use them for carry on bags as well as to tramp around a new city with. I usually travel either with my PacSafe Slingsafe daypack or with my beaten up Manhattan Portage messenger bag. But when Litegear asked me to check out their City Tote, I was excited to give it a go on my most recent trip to Puerto Rico. I packed carry on only, using just my Timbuk2 Aviator and the City Tote, which I found to be just the right amount.

What I Loved

The first thing I noticed about it was that it looked like a backpack. It had been built like a backpack, but in the place of two straps was one long strap. The lightweight microfiber material made for a bag that could be folded up when not in use. I also liked the color choices available, which were different from some of the brightly colored bags I’ve seen.

I loved how many compartments the City Tote has, as I carry a lot of little things. I placed my iPhone, wallet and other essentials in the smallest pocket, my electronics in the second, and my books, magazines and headphones, pictured above, in the largest compartment, which is padded. The strap can be lengthened depending on your need and actually stays put, unlike some other travel bags. And best of all, there are two compartments for water bottles, something I think almost every bag needs.

It’s also quite cheap at just $25 on the Ebags website.

Timbuk2 Aviator and Litegear City Tote
Timbuk2 Aviator and Litegear City Tote

What I’d Change

Although the lightweight material is what makes the bag so great, it is also a negative aspect. The bag gets heavy quickly, and if overpacked could rip the strap. The seams on mine are starting to break after a week’s use, albeit heavy. I wouldn’t recommend packing something like a laptop in this bag, as over time it will sag and damage the strap.

It fits much more comfortably cross body with the load on the small of your back than how I wear it below, slung over one shoulder. But this brings up the problem of not being able to see the zippers behind you. I think the bag could benefit from the zipper clasps that bags from PacSafe and Travelon have. The strap could also be rigged better to support the load if it started further down in the bag. It’s not an overly stylish bag, but I have no problem with function over fashion.

Caroline packed up and Puerto Rico bound
City Tote at the Airport

Overall, Litegear’s City Tote makes for a great carry on bag for its many compartments, but if you’re looking for a bag that is going to survive long term travel’s bumps, you may want to invest elsewhere. The tote makes for a great beach bag or, as the name implies, a city bag.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Travel Resources

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Reader Interactions


  1. Denise says

    I want to thank you for your review of the Lite Gear City Tote bag. I was considering the tote, I too, had doubts on the lack of structure and durability of the bag.
    Your review of the product help me decide whether to get the tote or not. Thank you again

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