5 best lightweight travel bags for under $40

When it comes to traveling with a lightweight bag, not all bags are created equal. Canvas totes that many people use for grocery shopping are often too bulky to pack as a spare travel bag, and many don’t have zippers to keep your valuables secure.

Consider packing one of these lightweight bags on your next trip — each bag costs much less than LeSportsac’s $98 classic Travel Tote, and all of these nylon bags are compact enough to fold up until you need them. Let the souvenir shopping begin.

The Reisenthel Mini Maxi Carryall ($15.95, www.reuseit.com) is the most stylish — and affordable — of the bunch. To close the bag, use the zipper or the drawstring. Best of all, the bag folds flat into a zippered pouch for tidy storage.

Timbuk2‘s Hidden Messenger ($30, www.timbuk2.com) is much lighter than the company’s signature ballistic-nylon messenger bags. This version, which launched in July, is mostly made with materials from recycled plastic bottles. Stylish, rugged, and good for the environment — imagine that.

Sea to Summit’s Ultra-Sil Sling Bag ($29.95, www.seatosummit.com) debuted this month. The bag (also with a zippered top) has a strap that’s long enough to wear diagonally across your body like a messenger bag. When not in use, the bag balls up into its own pouch and can be attached to a key chain or tossed in your suitcase to help corral those last-minute purchases.

The RuMe ALL ($26.96, www.rumebags.com) has simple yet thoughtful touches — a zip-top closure, outer pockets for a water bottle or an umbrella, and an exterior zippered pocket for stashing a cell phone or subway card. Whether you’re putting your bag on the conveyor belt to go through airport security or you’re sliding the bag under an airplane seat, the zipper helps ensure that your stuff doesn’t go flying.

The North Face‘s Flyweight Map Bag ($39, www.thenorthface.com), which can also fold up into its own pocket, has an adjustable shoulder strap and its coated nylon fabric can withstand light rain. Perfect for sightseeing, the bag will be available until February, when it will be replaced by the new Flyweight Shoulder Bag ($25).


Gadling gear review – Joey Totes durable reusable bags

In this brief Gadling gear review, I’m going to introduce you to Joey Totes. These good looking bags are made of rip-stop nylon, the kind of material most commonly used in outdoor apparel (and very similar to parachute fabric). The bags caught my attention for a number of reasons – they fold up into themselves, they are extremely durable, and they are environmentally friendly (making them a great fit for our Green travel month!).
Joey Totes come in two sizes – small (8″ x 4″) and large (9.5″ x 5″). The large bag is spacious enough for several pairs of shoes, or a weeks collection of dirty laundry. The small bag is the perfect size for the kind of stuff you’d carry on a day trip or if you want to carry a spare pair of shoes on an excursion.

As I mentioned in the intro, the bags fold up neatly into themselves, and once folded up, you can actually store two bags inside the pouch of the large bag. When folded up, they can easily fit inside a purse, or even your jacket pocket.

When I took the bags for a spin on a trip this past weekend, I was quite impressed with them. The large bag was roomy enough for several towels and other pool items, and the small bag held dirty laundry for the return trip. The straps on the large bag are long enough to use the bag on your shoulder, and they actually look pretty cool.

Like many green travel products, being environmentally friendly does come at a price – the combination of the large bag with two small bags costs $20 (if you only need one Joey Tote, you can order the large for $8.50 or the small for $7.00).That said – I think it is fairly easy to make a case for the convenience of being able to carry not one, but three handy bags in your luggage, without having to resort to plastic bags or disposable canvas bags.

The Joey Totes are extremely compact when folded up, and they weigh next to nothing. Virtually no bag on the market can replicate this (with the possible exception of plastic grocery bags). The bags can be machine or hand washed, and the double reinforced handles can carry up to 40lbs – perfect if you went a little berserk in the tax free shop.

You’ll find the Joey Totes on the web site of the designer, where you’ll also learn a little bit about the story behind the bags, and how they came up with the cool name.

Gadling’s Valentine’s day giveaway – day 2 – his and hers Cruising Caddies

Welcome back to day 2 of the Gadling Valentine’s day giveaway.

Today, you can enter for your chance to win a his and hers Cruising Caddy. The Cruising Caddy is a water bottle/mobile phone/camera tote designed to carry your stuff.

The caddy is large enough to hold a 1.5 liter bottle, as well as most other stuff you drag along with you on a daytrip or shore excursion.

For a chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:

How long is the shoulder strap on the Cruising Caddy (hint: check Cruisingcaddy.com for the answer).

Remember to come back tomorrow for the third and final Valentine’s day giveaway, and to enter yesterdays giveaway!

  • To enter, simply leave a comment below answering the question posted above.
  • The comment must be left before Thursday February 19th 2009 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One Prize Winner will be randomly selected to receive two Cruising Caddies (one black, one red).
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • The total value of the prize is approximately $50.
  • Click here for the complete official rules of this giveaway.

Product review – The Cruising Caddy

By now, I’m sure most of you are used to my product reviews involving items with buttons and lights. Still, every now and then I’ll run into a product that is not battery operated, but interesting enough to warrant a closer look.

The BVT Products Cruising Caddy is a travel tote and water bottle holder. The product is roomy enough to hold a 1.5 liter bottle and has 2 pockets on the outside for the random stuff you carry around with you.

Inside the main bottle pouch is a removable insulated sleeve. The front pocket is an expandable Velcro pouch with a “hidden” secondary pocket, and the back pocket is an open top elastic pouch. These 2 pockets offer enough space for your phone, digital camera, paperwork and anything else you need to drag along with you.

On the side of the Cruise Caddy is a metal D-Ring and a clip, for attaching keys.

Of course – bags, pouches and other accessories are a pretty personal thing, but I really do find the Cruise Caddy quite “cool”, and it is most certainly cooler than walking around with a bright green fanny pack (and yes, sadly I do speak from experience here).

The Cruise Caddy is available in black, red and khaki. The black version costs $24.99, and the other 2 colors sell for just $19.99. The product is available directly from BVT products, or from retailers nationwide.

Stay tuned later this week for the Gadling Valentines day giveaway, where you’ll have the chance to win a “his and hers” Cruising Caddy.

Keep Your Gadgets Charged on the Beach

Reware is selling what they call the “world’s first heavy-duty solar beach tote” called the Juice Bag. The tote has an ultra-thin solar panel built into the side which harnesses the power of the sun and converts it into juice for your cellphone, digital camera, sombrero, or other gadgets you may bring to the beach to ruin with sand. Unfortunately it will not charge your laptop, as the solar panel’s power ratings are too low to feed the juice a laptop requires. As a bonus, you can remove the solar panel from the side and use it independently from the bag.

$249 from Reware. [via]