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Millican HQ | What is a Tote Pack?

Millican HQWhat is a Tote Pack?

Many of us use them, many of us love them. You’ll likely find them in just about every home, every car boot, and every shop. Despite how common and popular these handy little bags are, the question, ’what is a tote pack?’ comes our way quite a bit.

Having designed Tinsley the Tote Pack, a versatile tote-turned-backpack, we know a thing or two about what constitutes a good tote. Below, we’ve outlined what defines the classic tote bag, how to pack them, as well as the many ways they can be used.

What is a tote pack?

Simply put, a tote bag/pack is a reusable everyday bag. Common features include a rectangular shape, long handles (for wearing over the shoulder), and an open-top design. Often made for carrying heavier goods, totes tend to be fairly sturdy and made with super strong fabrics like synthetics and cotton. As a cloth bag with little to no pockets or closures, standard tote bags are easy to store and take up little room, making them an excellent replacement for plastic and paper shopping bags.

While totes have helped consumers make great strides in reducing the amount of plastic bags they use, they can be problematic at times. At the likes of conferences and events, you’ll often see hundreds, if not thousands of free branded tote bags, many of which will end up as consumer waste. These are usually mass produced, lower in quality, not sustainably sourced, and lack the aesthetic appeal of a well-made tote.

When designing Tinsley the Tote Pack, we wanted to make a tote bag that not only functioned well, but was sustainable and stylish, too. As a multi-functional pack, Tinsley is far more than just a recycled tote bag - it’s also a water-resistant backpack with a convenient roll top and plenty of secure compartments for your smaller valuables. Our aim was to create a bag that stood the test of time and delivered when and where it mattered most.

How to pack efficiently for travel (with a tote bag).

Doubling as a tote bag and a backpack, bags like Tinsley the Tote Pack are as ideal for travel as they are day-to-day living. If you plan on using a tote bag on your next adventure, you’ll want to know how to pack efficiently for travel using a tote bag. Below, we’ve outlined a few tips to help you pack smarter and maximise the use of your tote, regardless of the type of tote you go with.


Tip 1: Place bulky or heavier items at the bottom of the tote - this will make it far easier and more comfortable to carry as both a rucksack or an over-the-shoulder tote.

Tip 2: Use small pouches or packing cubes for things like toiletries, chargers and other loose items. Most tote bags do not have internal pockets, so these helpful travel companions will help you stay as organised as possible.

Tip 3: Use a travel wallet for passports and cards. Tote bags tend to be a little flimsier than a daypack or duffle - a travel wallet can prevent your passport and cards from damage.

Tip 4: Pack large, flat items like computers, tablets and books against your body, whether under your arm or against your back. This will make it far more comfortable and will keep your valuables more secure. Tinsley the Tote Pack as an internal sleeve for this purpose.

Tip 5: Save space for water flasks, snacks and other small items you may purchase during travel. This will help you avoid the use of plastic bags.

Tip 6: If you are using a traditional open-top tote bag, be sure to tie the handles together before storing in the overhead bins or under the seat ahead. This will prevent your belongings from falling or rolling out of your bag. Tinsley the Tote Pack has a roll-top opening to prevent this issue.

Is a tote bag allowed as a carry on?

In most circumstances, tote bags and the likes of Millican daypacks (including Tinsley) are allowed on airlines as a carry-on. As a relatively compact, 14L bag, Tinsley can be stowed in the overhead compartment and will likely fit under the seat in front of you.

Having said that, it’s extremely important to double-check with the airline prior to travel, considering the packed dimensions of your bag. This will ensure you don’t encounter any surprise fees at the airport, and that your essentials aren’t stuck in the hold.

What sort of tote bag should I buy?

Ultimately, it comes down to how you plan to use it. If you want a basic replacement for plastic grocery bags, then just about any responsibly sourced cotton tote bag will do. However, if you plan on carrying valuables such as a laptop or camera or would like a tote bag that you can wear on your back or strap to your bike, then you’ll need a tote bag with a secure close top, whether roll top, top-lid or zip close.

As you might expect, we’re a little biased toward Tinsley the Tote Pack, and we’re confident you’ll love it as your next tote bag. We’ve poured our passion for conscious travel and sustainable living into this handy pack, with the aim of providing Millican wearers with a tote that’s both reliable and stylish. Each Millican tote is made with our signature blend of cotton and recycled polyester, which is then coated in a water resistant paraffin wax - say goodbye to soggy totes and damaged goods. With the right care and attention, this bag will be a handy companion for years to come.