Budget-Friendly, Classic Luggage: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Review 2023

Before we get into the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote review, updated for 2023, let me address the obvious question raised by this photo: no, we did not get a dog. But, I am 100% in favor of posing my parents’ dog for better blog photos. Thanks, Festy, for cooperating! 😂

Looking for budget-friendly, classic luggage for your next weekend road trip? A set of L.L. Bean boat and tote bags is a timeless way to travel — plus, these are bags you probably wouldn’t check at the airport, but they’re perfect for all the driving getaways we’ll take during this most unusual summer.

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Review

I ordered my first L.L. Bean Boat and Tote way back in college. I wanted a bag I could use for class, for running around, the beach — something that could do it all. I even ordered it custom so that I could have a different color on the straps v. the monogram.

And, I still have that bag. Sure, it’s seen some better days at this point, but it’s still totally useable.

All that is to say: my review is basically this, these bags last.

A boat and tote is the most timeless tote bag style out there. It’s so stylish in its simplicity. It’s iconic. From literal boating to errands in the city, it’s a classic style that looks effortless and understated. You can’t go wrong with a classic three-letter monogram or even a quirky or whimsical word plastered across the front (maybe the name of exactly what you plan on storing in it?).

Plus, it stands up to almost anything. You can throw this bag around and, even when the corners start to fray a bit, it simple looks well-loved.

l.l. bean boat and tote review - l.l. bean tote bag - l.l. bean zip tote bag

Which L.L. Bean Tote Bag Should I Get?

Okay, so you’re looking at the options and wondering which L.L. Bean tote bag is the best for what you’re looking for. Well, it all depends on what you’re using it for.

I love my medium open tote for everyday use. It’s great for running errands (it subs in as a grocery bag!), a day of galavanting around town, packing up some snacks for a casual picnic, or toting around items on a day when I may not have time to run home between plans.

A large open tote is the best size for a beach bag. I use my medium tote, but there’s not quite enough room for a big beach towel. 

The XL tote with a zip top is best for an overnight bag. I was carrying mine through NYC one time when I was stopped by a random girl asking if I worked in fashion — she said they always carry those tote between shoots, who knew?! Meanwhile, the XL tote with an open top is great for toting or storing linens, towels, and other lightweight items. Full disclosure on the one con of the XL size: I use my zip top XL boat and tote for weekend getaways year-round. However, it does get heavy fast.

Next on my list? I’m thinking I may go super classic with the large open tote in navy or hunter green

Looking for more L.L. Bean reviews? I discussed my absolute favorite L.L. Bean winter boots in this post!


Leave a Reply