A Review of Briggs & Riley Transcend Tote Bag
It seemed simple: find a travel tote that’s versatile, sturdy, and stylish. But this search took me down a long road. I found canvas beach bags that were large but didn’t zip close or seemed flimsy. I saw designer ones that were trendy, but not comfortable or practical for long hauls. And I considered travel totes with lots of compartments (almost too many), but they looked too sporty or matronly for my taste. When Briggs & Riley sent me its Transcend Shopping Tote to test on my travels, I finally discovered a tote that finally checked all my boxes.
About Briggs & Riley
“Common sense” is Briggs & Riley’s mantra and is evident in the detail and quality engineered into its bags. The company creates quality luggage that incorporates innovative solutions for travelers like HideAway ID tags and Speedthru pockets. All of its bags come with a lifetime guarantee that covers the repair of all functional aspects of its products. If the bag is broken or damaged—even by an airline—Briggs & Riley repairs it free of charge.
This tote is designed with many smart solutions for savvy travelers. The following are a few of my favorite highlight, view my favorite features in action in the video above.
The bag measures 13 x 19 x 7.5 in. Though large, it’s not too overwhelming for my petite frame (that’s code for I’m short). The tote can comfortably hold a lot and even be used for short, overnight trips.
The bag is fabricated from nylon twill that is very durable, vegan-friendly, and lightweight. I’ve used the bag on trips to the beach and on dusty village roads and the material has been easy to clean and resilient to wear. The main pockets are lined with large, double zippers that are effortless to handle and self-repairing. I was also impressed with the thick, sturdy webbing of the shoulder straps that could support heavy loads while not digging into my skin.
The understated and chic sophistication of this bag makes it versatile. It can be used for a visit to the pool or evening out at a nice restaurant. Because of its classic style, it will never look outdated—which translates to a long shelf life. Currently, the bag is available in two color choices: black and a crimson version that has black zippers and handles.
The main compartment is roomy and lined with a variety of different sized elastic mesh pockets. I found this method of organization to be handy – I could use it to store a items like my water bottle, camera, cords, hairbrush, and eyeglass cases. There is also a deep zippered pocket hidden in back lining where I could stash my wallet and important travel documents.
The middle pocket is useful for holding books and accessories. It also has a fleece-lined, padded pocket to house tablets.
The smaller, front pocket is cleverly lined with orange fabric. This pop of color is a visual cue that instantly alerts you when the zipper has been left open.
The back of the bag is equipped with slip-through pocket. This allows the tote to slide over luggage handles so that it can securely be stacked on top of your suitcase for easy transport.
The following are some suggested ways of packing the Transcend Shopping Tote for a number of different of situations. Even when holding all the items shown, there is still a lot of leftover space. Check out my video to see how it all fits in the bag»
Overnight and Carry-On
The tote is ideal as a carry-on bag for a flight, an overnight vacation, or even to store gym clothing. I suggest keeping clothes in packing cubes (see our review here») so they stay contained and compact. A little purse can be thrown inside in case you want an additional smaller bag for your trip.
The bag is light and spacious enough to carry guidebooks and camera gear for sightseeing. If the weather changes throughout the day, there’s also plenty of leftover room to carry layering pieces like scarves, cardigans, light jackets and a small umbrella.
Bulky items like towels, cover-ups, water bottles, sunscreen, and reading material fit without a problem. Sturdy nylon twill makes the tote resistant to moisture and wear.
Electronic devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones can all be accommodated. The sleek style of the tote looks more chic than carrying a dowdy laptop bag.
A quick trip to the farmer’s market or bazaar is simple when food and merchandise can be consolidated in one place. The interior elastic pockets double as storage for small jars and small.
Straps: The tote has the capacity to hold a lot, but if you’re going to carry heavy loads for a long time, the straps may start to weigh down on your shoulders and neck. The bag does not come with a sling strap.
Price: The bag sells for around $129. This may seem steep for the budget-conscious, but I’m a big believer in spending a little money up front for a quality product that will get a lot of use. Because the tote has a lifetime warranty and classic style, it is a better value in the long run. It won’t be outdated or replaced in a couple of years (which also means one less thing going in a landfill).
Where to Buy
If you’ve tried this bag or have another favorite travel tote, share your suggestions in the reply section below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance Art Director. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.