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Are Drawstring Bags Waterproof?

Drawstring bags are more practical than backpacks when carrying around those essential items that don’t fit in your pockets, such as the water bottle, sunscreen, snacks, slippers, change of clothes, deodorant, meds, notebook, phone, or wallet. Drawstring bags make excellent bags for beach goers, music festival attendees, cyclists, hiking enthusiasts, and fitness buffs. But since there are outdoors activities that require these bags to be waterproof, some of our readers have been wondering whether drawstring bags are waterproof.

Before we answer that question, we need to clarify the difference between the bags that are waterproof, those that are water repellent, and their counterparts that are just water resistant. Because there’s a huge difference, and both buyers and manufacturers often wrongly use the terms interchangeably.

Waterproof vs Water Repellent vs Water Resistant

Waterproof

A waterproof bag or fabric is 100% hydrophobic, which means that it will repel water and not let any of it pool or wick. On a waterproof fabric, water just forms beads, which need a pressure of more than 10,000 mm (or slightly over 14 psi) to be pushed through the fabric. A waterproof drawstring bag will not allow any spills to leak out and will keep your belongings bone dry even in heavy downpours.

Waterproof gear is usually much more expensive than the water-repellent or water-resistant one as the technology and materials used in its creation is more advanced. A genuine waterproof fabric can be washed countless of times without the "waterproofness" wearing off, unlike water-repellent fabrics.

Quality waterproof gear, including waterproof bags, clothing, and tents usually come with sealed/ heated seams and waterproof zippers (if any) – as these are the areas that allow most of the water in. Also, waterproof gear may be made out of multiple layers including an extra waterproof membrane to ensure that absolutely no moisture gets in.

Keep in mind that all these neat features involve higher production costs than water-resistant or water-repellent products, so don’t take a manufacturer’s word for it if they claim that a fairly inexpensive product is “waterproof”. Most likely, that product is either “water-repellent” or (in the worst case) just “water-resistant.”

Water-Repellent

A water repellent bag or fabric has been treated with a special surface coating known as Durable Water Repellent (DWR) in order not to be easily permeated by water. Just like waterproof fabrics, water-repellent ones do not allow water to pool or wick (you’ll notice water beads on the surface), but unlike genuine waterproof materials, water-repellent ones may lose water repellency in time, especially through wear and tear and repeated washes.

Water-repellent fabrics need to be waterproofed with a quality DWR (waterproofing spray or seam sealer or both) every now and then. The water pressure a water-repellent fabric can withstand before water gets through is around 1,500 mm (or around 2 psi).

Water-Resistant

Water-resistant fabrics are those tightly woven fabrics, especially man-made such as nylon and polyester. These fabrics are naturally water-resistant because water needs some time to leak through the fabric. A water-resistant fabric holds out against light showers, light snowfall, and morning mist, but if exposed to a high-humidity long enough it will get damp. Water-resistant fabrics can be made water-repellent by treating them with a quality DWR.

Are Drawstring Bags Waterproof?

The short answer is ‘no’. Drawstring bags are usually made of either man-made materials such as polyester, polypropylene, and vinyl or natural fabrics such as cotton/canvas or jute. Untreated natural fabrics are very water absorbent so we’re not even talking about water-resistance here.

Man-made fabrics such a polyester tend to be naturally tightly woven, a feature that increases the time water needs to permeate the fabrics’ threads. If the polyester is thick enough you might notice water beading on its surface, which means that the fabric is water resistant. So, the long answer to our question on whether drawstring bags are waterproof is “No, but they are water resistant to various degrees depending on the material they are made of.” 

So, if a polyester drawstring bag is marketed as “waterproof”, don’t believe it. The manufacturer likely refers to the fabrics’ natural water resistance or the fact that the fabric has been treated to become “water-repellent” with a DWR. A genuine waterproof bag would involve multiple layers, seam sealing technology, ad a hefty price to be labeled as such. 

If you plan on taking your drawstring bag on a kayaking or paddleboarding adventure we recommend placing it in a quality dry back which has at least an IPX 4 rating and it is made of high density material. An IPX 4 rating means that the bag is not designed to be fully submerged, but it repels water much better than water-resistant fabrics.

Can You Waterproof A Drawstring Bag?

Yes, you can add a waterproof coating to a drawstring bag, regardless of fabric used. For cotton/ canvas, we have posted a full guide to waterproofing cotton/canvas in the comfort of your own home here. For nylon/ polyester bags, do not try the wax method shown in our guide. This classic method works best on cotton canvas and leather but can create a mess on man-made fabrics.

Cotton drawstring bags need to be waterproofed ASAP because of cotton’s hydrophilic nature, which means that it attracts water molecules to its fibers like there’s no tomorrow. Untreated cotton can wick away up to nearly 30 times its weight in water. This may explain why cotton gets so easily imbued with water and takes so much time to dry out. Click here for Tote Bag Factory’s exclusive selection of cotton and canvas drawstring bags.

On nylon, vinyl and polyester, use a good waterproofing spray and follow the instructions on the package to a Tee. Just make sure that you apply the spray in a well-ventilated area because waterproofing products usually come loaded with  toxic fumes. If you apply the method outdoors seek a sheltered area as the wind might stick dust and grit to your bag, compromising your mission to make it 100% water-tight it. If the manufacturer instructs you to apply a double layer of the spray do so.

To Wrap It Up

Are drawstring bags waterproof? No, they aren’t. Those in man-made fabrics are often water- or weather-resistant instead of waterproof. True waterproof fabrics require technologies and costly manufacturing methods which are ultimately reflected in the final retail price. So, don’t expect low- or medium-priced drawstring bags to be genuinely waterproof even if it says so on the label. Shop wisely!

Written by Priscilla Greene — July 16, 2019

How to Choose a Backpack?

Backpacks are incredibly versatile bags that allow you to schlep around your camping/ hiking gear, textbooks, work essentials, and personal stuff when going on vacation. Knowing how to choose a backpack can save you a great deal of frustration and money, which you might otherwise waste on packs that are less than ideal. So, what makes an ideal backpack? There are several criteria for a pack to meet in order to become your best travel companion.

How to Choose a Backpack?

Pick a backpack that is proportional to your body, i.e. is neither too big nor too small for you, and is durable, comfortable, and well compartmentalized. The perfect backpack should be able to double as a travel backpack and a day pack or work backpack in the blink of an eye.

However, there are activity-specific backpacks that can hardly double as a multipurpose pack. You should never turn a hiking backpack into a travel backpack or daypack and the other way around. The size, materials, frame, lack of compartments, and inability to be locked down disqualify hiking packs for the most reliable travel pack position.

If you prefer a travel pack for travel, get a multiuse pack or something that can easily double as a travel backpack. Swapping your duffel bag or wheeled suitcase with a backpack has plenty of advantages, including freedom of movement, lower risk of getting lost or stolen, and lighter load. Also, a backpack will force you to pack only the essentials when traveling and can be used as a carry-on if it meets airlines’ carryon size requirements.

When choosing a backpack, you should be keeping a close eye on three primary factors:

  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Price.
Here are other things you should take into account when shopping around for the ideal backpack. 

Size

Make sure that the backpack is big enough to fit all your gear and small enough for you to easily carry it around and for it to pass most airlines’ carry-on size requirements if you travel a lot by air. Keep in mind that budget airlines, especially in Europe, have stricter size requirements for carry-ons.

In general, 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) is the standard of carry-on size requirements for international travel. What’s more, when loading your pack make sure that you don’t overpack. Airlines have weight limits for carry-ons, too, which may often go down to 15 lbs (7 kg).

Backpack size is usually measured by volume (i.e., liters), rather than the load they can hold. For a week-long trip, if you are a woman a 30 Liter or 35 Liter backpack is enough. If you’re a man, a 40 Liter or 45 Liter option is more than sufficient. Eighty Liter backpacks or larger are either for hikers that need to fit all their camping gear or for overpackers.

For weekend getaways or 1 to 2-day trips, a 20 Liter or 26 Liter travel backpack is all you need. For ultralight travelers with insane organization skills, a 20- or 26-Liter pack should do the trick for several weeks (!) of travel.

For the rest of us mortals, a 40-50L pack offers ample room for all our stuff when leaving home for a couple of weeks, unless we need to take all our camping gear, food, and water with us on the road.

Padded pads and straps

Look for a backpack that is comfortable to wear even when you have to carry around heavy loads. A good travel backpack should come with padded shoulders, padded back, and an adjustable padded hip belt. A daypack or work backpack can go without the hip belt. The hip belt and adjustable straps for your chest ensure that the load is evenly distributed across your torso instead of pushing down on your shoulders and hips, fueling some nasty back problems. This is one major drawback of backpacks: people with weak joints or back issues should steer clear of them when hauling large loads and should opt for a wheeled duffel bag instead (see or top picks here) or a rolling suitcase. A nice bonus would be some compression straps, a feature that allows you to turn your loosely packed travel pack into a compact carry-on. 

Water Resistance (Optional) 

This feature falls in the it-would-be-nice-to-have department, especially if you’re traveling to rainy destinations. Don’t look for a 100% waterproof bag. Invest in a quality rainfly and you’re set (a tarp is usually included in hiking packs). The backpack should be water resistant enough to ensure that your stuff doesn’t get wet and musty. Get a backpack made out of treated nylon fiber if water resistance is a priority.

 

 

Multiple Compartments

A great backpack is a pack that has tons of compartments to keep your gear organized. When compared to daypacks and travel backpacks, hiking backpacks lag behind in the organization department. They are usually designed as top-loading black holes in which you have to dig around for every single item you may need. 

A good backpack has extra compartments to keep shoes, toiletries, dirty clothes and clean laundry separate. It should also come with front compartments to have easy access to your essentials while on the go. Alongside a roomy main compartment, a good backpack should also have an organization panel in the front, which should include a key clip and plenty of slots for your phone, cards, pens, meds, and whatnots. Check out our Rapid-Pass Backpack (pictured below) for a textbook example of excellent compartmentalization

Open organization panel on our Rapid-Pass Backpack with Audio pocket and Headphone Exit

Panel Access (Optional) 

A well-designed backpack should come with panel access. This means that instead of being top-loading, like most hiking packs are, it should open like a suitcase for easy access. This feature is nice to have since it adds many bonus points to packing convenience as you will not have to dig everything out to grab that one tiny item at the bottom of the pack. If your backpack is top-loading, you can make your life (a lot) easier with some strategically placed packing cubes. 

Internal Frame (Optional) 

Frames are optional but they can add much-needed structure especially to bulky backpacks. School backpacks and daypacks lack an internal frame. Travel packs and hiking packs usually come with an internal or external frame. Backpacks with external frames are great for long hiking trips as they offer more ventilation and stability than their internal counterparts. Internal frames make versatile backpacks as they are invisible and usually lighter than external frames. 

We recommend getting a backpack with an internal frame for the said reasons, and if the frame is detachable, all the better! An internal frame that cannot be removed can become an inconvenience if you need to squeeze your backpack into the overhead compartment of a plane. 

Lockable Zippers (Optional)

These are a must for serious travelers as a secured backpack can discourage thieves. Ensure that every compartment (or at least the main compartment) is equipped with zippers that can be locked together with a pad lock. A secure system can deter any potentially curious cleaning lady at a hostel to inspect the contents of your pack or a weak-willed baggage handler to make your beloved possessions theirs. Make sure that the pad lock is TSA-approved to prevent the TSA from breaking into your bag if they find something that looks suspicious inside. You can buy TSA-friendly locks on Amazon or your local big-box retailer. Top-loading backpacks do not come with lockable zippers as they usually use drawstrings to secure the opening. This one is another downside of using hiking packs when traveling.

Laptop Compartment

A work backpack or a school backpack needs a nicely padded laptop compartment. Even a carry-on travel backpack needs one if you plan on going on a business trip or just can’t live without your beloved MacBook. As an added bonus, the laptop compartment should be designed in a way that the laptop stays suspended to prevent it from accidentally meeting the asphalt when the owner is not paying attention.

The laptop compartment can double as a hydration sleeve if you plan on using the pack on the trail. Also, the compartment is handy when going through airport security as laptops in padded sleeves are not required to be removed from the pack. For a work backpack or casual day pack, our Cool Sling Pack Backpack with 15" Laptop Sleeve and our Cool Cyber Backpack fit the bill perfectly.

External Pockets (Optional)

Any extra feature is a big plus for a backpack as long as it stays useful. For really small stuff like coins, pens, and snacks, added easy-to-access compartments can be very handy. Also, side mesh pockets for water bottles are a nice feature to have as long as the pocket is not too loose or too tight and the compression straps do not block access to the water bottle while on the road.

Fabrics

The materials used in a backpack can greatly improve its durability and desirability. A tough material like canvas makes a pack heavier, which is less than ideal for long trips or hiking expeditions. Lighter materials will not weigh you down, but the backpack might lack structure or durability.

Look for a good backpack that will not let you down while in a foreign municipality or country. Test drive the pack days if not months before your next trip. A quality backpack should last at least a couple of years before you replace it.

One popular nylon material that is widely used in premium backpacks is Cordura. The high-tech performance fabric is sturdier and more durable than regular nylon and packs plenty of water resistance. If you are looking for a puncture-resistant material that feels like cotton but offers plenty of ventilation and minimal water absorption, then Cordura is for you. The only major downside of this fabric is that it is a great lint and dust attractor.

Canvas is the traditional material backpacks and duffel bags used to be made of. Cotton canvas is a sturdy and durable material that can offer superior water resistance if coated with waterproof wax. The major downsides of cotton canvas are the weight and low abrasion resistance. In humid environments, cotton canvas bags may rot or develop mold. Canvas is still a pretty popular material in kids backpacks, handbags, and tote bags.

Nylon backpacks are the most popular and budget friendly packs. Nylon is usually treated with silicone or PVC for water resistance. Treated nylon is relatively abrasion resistant but offers little to no breathability, which might cause the backpack to become a breeding ground for mildew especially if water seeps inside through the zippers. A variety of nylon is rip-stop nylon. This type of fabric comes with tightly sewn threads that prevent tears from becoming a disaster. The material is lighter than Cordura and canvas, which makes it very popular among backpackers.

Some backpacks are made of polyester, a material that is less rugged than nylon or canvas but it is very resilient when it comes to sun damage. UV radiation does not only cause colors to fade but it may also destroy a fabric during prolonged sun exposure. UV resistance is a great bonus of polyester backpacks. Another factor that may influence fabrics' level of UV resistance is color. Darker tones tend to absorb more UV light, leading to quicker deterioration of the fiber, while lighter tones tend to repel UV light. 

To Wrap It Up

We hope we have answered your question on how to choose a backpack. There's no ideal backpack for everything and everybody. What might look like a perfect backpack for your hiker friend or IT specialist at work might make an awful travel or day backpack for you. Picking a backpack is a very personal experience that needs to involve a lot of research, but once you find that perfect multi-use backpack you will never look back.

 

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — July 12, 2019

6 Best Duffle Bags for Travel for a Carefree Vacation

There’s no perfect travel bag out there, but modern travel duffel bags are sturdy, versatile, and user-friendly enough to make an amazing alternative to the bulky and stiff suitcase. However, since classic duffels can weigh travelers down lightning fast while on long trips, some of the best duffle bags for travel these days come with premium features such as wheels and telescopic handles to turn any extra weight into a non-issue. Plus, the sleek design and quality materials of most modern duffle bags make them a much pleasant travel companion than their classic counterparts.

But why is a duffel bag sometimes more convenient than a suitcase? Here are the top reasons. 

A Duffel Bag for Travel Is More Forgiving Than a Suitcase

Even though suitcases come packed with more compartments and organizational features than duffle bags, the latter are incredibly more user-friendly than the former. Duffel bags are the best travel bags especially for inexperienced packers that don’t know all the tidbits of packing like a pro (yet). Plus, because duffels are made of more flexible materials than suitcases, they make great containers for oddly shaped items like shoes, toys, and sports gear.

Duffle bags for travel are also structurally less rigid than suitcases, especially than hard cases, which means that they are more forgiving in terms of organization and packing options than their traditional counterparts. A duffel bag for travel is a great option when you are in a hurry and just need to fill it with your essentials without giving much thought about organization.

Also, travel duffels without a frame are roomier than most suitcases, which allows you to pack more gear; but if you’re after more luggage real estate, pick a rectangular duffle bag with a stiff base instead of a cylindrical one. You’ll notice the difference.

Poundage

Because they lack all the bells and whistle of a suitcase, travel duffle bags are usually lighter. Even the ones with a frame or the oversized ones are usually lighter than the conventional travel luggage.

Versatility

Travel duffle bags are more versatile than suitcases because they can be used in more scenarios with little to no hassle. Since they are so simple and flexible, duffle bags are great for outings than don’t require a suitcase, such as weekend getaways and short road trips. Also, because you don’t need to roll it around, a classic duffle bag makes the perfect travel companion to those destinations that are packed with lots of stairs, cobblestone, sand, grass, or elevator-less accommodation facilities (yes those DO exist). What’s more, duffel bags for travel are great carry-ons, unless you overpack and they can no longer fit in the overhead compartment.

Affordability

And last but not least, a travel duffel bag is usually cheaper than its same-sized suitcase counterpart. The lower price, however, doesn’t mean that the manufacturer has cut some corners to make it more affordable. It just means that this type of bag doesn’t solicit the same amount of materials for its construction and hardware as a suitcase does.

 The Best Duffle Bags for Travel

 

1. The Cheap Rolling Duffel Bag

This 22” travel duffel bag is the perfect carry-on bag for solo week trips and weekend getaways. You’ll be amazed by how much gear you can pack in this one. The Cheap Rolling Duffel Bag is a great travel bag for both the casual vacationer and the seasoned traveler. It has wheels and a retractable telescopic handle to be gentle on the body and is soft and squishy enough to fit into the overhead bin. At 22 x 12 x 12 in, it fits the carry-on luggage specifications for all major U.S. airlines. Plus, it has pockets all around for extra points in the organization department.

2. The 42-Inch Deluxe Wheeled Duffel

At 42 x 16.5 x 16.5 in, this oversized travel duffel is ideal for family trips, long solo trips, storage, and for hauling lots of stuff around. The affordable 42-Inch Deluxe Wheeled Duffel may not be that great for air travel as not all airlines might agree with you that it is a carry-on, but it will fit many pieces of clothing and pair of shoes for two adults and maybe kids. It has a clamshell opening and two generous zippered front pockets for seamless access and a telescopic handle and three rubberized wheels for extra maneuverability and stability. As a traveling family, you cannot go wrong with this one.

3. The Stylish 22-Inch Wheeled Duffel

The Stylish 22-Inch Wheeled Duffel is a great bag for the solo traveler that wants to take multiple-day trips without sacrificing personal style for convenience. This travel duffel has them both. This travel duffel has a frame, telescopic handle and wheels for you not to worry about its weight when fitting everything inside with room to spare. It easily accommodates a week’s worth of clothes, it is well made, and very versatile thanks to the padded side grab handles and convenient top grab handle. It is a great alternative to a rolling suitcase with the added convenience of a duffel’s flexibility.

4. The X-tra Large Travel Gear Bag 

This 30-inch travel duffel comes with a classic design for the light packing family or a solo traveler going on a long vacation. The main compartment can accommodate a week’s worth of gear and essentials and the two wide zippered pockets on both sides add extra room for packing. The XL Wholesale Cheap Travel Gear Bag can be carried by handle or over shoulder, which makes it ideal for traveling males who need to carry a lot. This duffel is easily customizable thanks to the large imprint area.

5. The Camo Duffel Bag

This one is another oversized travel duffel, which is perfect for the adventurous traveler. With a jungle camouflage print, this duffel is great for both the urban jungle and the Savannah. At 27 x 14 x 13.5 in, the Camo Duffel Bag has enough room to fit all your belongings and a bit extra. It has two zippered side pockets, one full-sized front zippered pocket, two side handles and one padded top handle. It is great for week trips, road trips, camping trips, and adventurous expeditions.

6. The Stylish Wheeled Jungle Camo Duffel

Here’s the more practical variant of the Camo travel duffel. The Stylish Wheeled Jungle Camo Duffel has wheels, a sturdy frame, telescopic handle and a fairly unique look for you to easily spot it on the luggage carousel. At 30 x 14.5 x 14.5 in, it has plenty of space, but it can be a bit iffy if you plan to carry it on to the plane with you. This travel duffel is rugged, light yet easy to roll, the perfect companion for the passionate traveler.

Written by Priscilla Greene — July 03, 2019

Best Tote Bag for Working Moms and How to Wear It

A full-time working mom needs a tote that is versatile enough to adapt to all the roles she has taken in her life (spouse, mother, friend, working mom to name just a few) and roomy and functional enough to get her through the workday.  

Working moms also need a sturdy tote that can pack tons of stuff, such as work essentials, groceries, gifts, kids’ toys and their gear, while looking professional and polished. And if the bag has strategically placed pockets, they’ll pe able to have an inventory of their inventory and quick access to essential items.

An organized tote bag means that a time will stay organized as well which is critical for working mothers with multiple responsibilities. A great tote bag will carry you through the workday, gym, impromptu shopping sessions, client meetings, and dinner with friends or hubby. With our selection of best tote bags for working moms, we’ve got you covered on all bases.

 

What Makes the Best Tote Bag for Working Moms

When shopping for a tote bag as a working mom, you’ll need to look for a carry-all that:

  • Looks fashionable but not uptight
  • Is functional yet sleek
  • Has plenty of zippered pockets or just a single, big pocket so that you can easily spot small misc items and you don’t have to dig your way to each one of them
  • Has side pockets for water bottle, keys and phone
  • Has a handle drop length to carry it easily either by hand or over the shoulder for two different looks
  • Is versatile enough to get you through the day and help you face whatever life throws at you that day
  • Is low maintenance and easy to (spot) clean
  • Is customizable and sturdy
  • Is a long-lasting investment.

    Small Messenger Canvas Tote Bag with Long Straps – For the Practical Working Moms 

    This small messenger-style canvas tote is perfect for working moms that prefer practicality over anything else. Our Small Messenger Canvas Tote Bag with Long Straps can double as a shopping tote, it is reusable, low-maintenance, and surprisingly durable thanks to the 12 oz heavy canvas material used for its construction. There are also six colors to choose from, so you can pair it to your every outfit. The generous imprint area makes this practical bag highly customizable; you could also add pockets and other embellishments to it.

    Also, you can add a personal touch by adding an inspiring working mom message or slogan. Our personal favorites are: “There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Parent. So, Just Be a Real One” or “It’s Not the Load That Breaks You Down, It’s the Way You Carry It.” Click here for more canvas tote bags or here for our full selection of cotton bags, including organic cotton bags.

    How to Wear It: This no-fuss tote comes in such a small size in order to be folded and put in the main bag when not in use, but at 14"W x 12"H, it is roomy enough for your day-to-day documents, letters and office supplies. It is a perfect and practical add-on to a handbag, backpack, or a clutch whenever you want to supplement available storage space while on the go.

    Polyester Improved Essential Tote Bag – For the Convenience-Loving Working Moms

    This roomy tote bag for working moms comes with one large main compartment, small interior side pockets, and a side exterior pocket for extra convenience. With this tote, your office and family life essentials are within arm’s reach. You can use the side exterior pocket for your smartphone, travel pass, house keys, and even a water bottle while the main compartment can be used for storing your documents, toiletries, gadgets, office documents and, why not, groceries as well.

    The Polyester Improved Essential Tote Bag has a basic design for you to easily customize it through printable heat transfer. Due to the 600 denier polyester material it is made of, this very popular tote is a lot sturdier than it looks. It is a very roomy bag that leaves room for plenty of organization and customization. Very busy working moms will love it.

    How to Wear It: The bag can be carried by hand, but you could also fit it over your shoulder. Nevertheless, because the web handles are a bit too short, you might feel like it’s a tight fit. The tote comes in more than 20 colors, so you have the perfect bag for the right outfit every time.

    Tri-Tone Cute Polyester Tote Bag – For the Casual Working Moms

    The Tri-Tone Cute Polyester Tote Bag is perfect for women that work in an office or school. It comes in three color variations: lime, red, and royal blue for a perfect accessory in every occasion. Thanks to its durable 600D Polyester fabric, it will last for years despite its incredibly low price. The carrying strap has two practical holders for your pens and a key ring for you to quickly fetch keys when in a rush (And what working mom is not rushing except when asleep?). The main compartment can be zipped up with a Velcro fastener for the contents to stay in one place.

    How to wear it: This tote is best worn over shoulder, with a casual office outfit.

     

    Heavy Canvas Zippered Shopping Tote Bag – For the Expert Multitasking Working Moms

    If you’re an avid multitasker, you’ll love this tote bag. It is well compartmentalized, with one main compartment that can be zippered shut, an inside zippered compartment, one front pocket, and one extra pocket. Plus, the Heavy Canvas Zippered Shopping Tote Bag is roomy enough to fit all your work-related items and more. This tote can double as a grocery bag, large shopping bag, beach and pool bag, and a stylish office, obviously.

    The nice colored trim adds bonus points in the style department, while the sturdy fabric and strong zippers add extra points in the durability department. Plus, for the price, it is a steal! As a bonus, it can be easily screen printed or machine embroidered, stands on its own, and it is very heavy duty. This bag will be a trustworthy assistant in your every project, and a quite stylish looking one too. No wonder it has landed on our best tote bags for working moms list.

    How to Wear It: This tote is best worn over the shoulder, in the office, at the beach or the pool, in a grocery store or shopping mall. There’s no limit to what this ban can be used for. Also, because it comes in 10 color combos, you can use it to accessorize all your outfits.

    Heavy Canvas Tote Bag, Tri-Color - For the Classy Working Moms

    This three-colored tote is all you need to bring a sense of style to any outfit. The Tr-Color Heavy Canvas Tote Bag is one of our best-sellers and for a good reason. It is extremely well-made, heavy duty, the canvas is thick and durable, and the bag per se looks surprisingly classy for its low price point. There are seven color combos to choose from, and the 8 by 5 inch imprint area offers enough space for personalization.

    You can turn this tote into an exceptional gift that any working mom will appreciate. It is very rare to fins such a classy design at such an affordable price. The tote is perfect for working moms with a sense of style that like to always keep an eye on their budget. This is a buy you won’t regret.

    How to Wear It: You can rock this tote with both a sporty outfit and an elegant one. Anything that this bag touches can become classy and posh with the right accessories. The tote can double as a beach and pool bag on your off days.

    600D Polyester Deluxe Zipper Tote Bag For the On-the-Go Working Mom 

    This chic deluxe tote bag is a perfect choice for the very active working moms that have to juggle their work life, family life, and social life while on the go. The Deluxe Zipper Tote Bag is made of 600D polyester, a sturdy material that makes the bag last through sizable amounts of wear and abuse.

    The side pocket is placed conveniently to store your essentials while the main zippered compartment (17"W x 14"H ) offers plenty of room for your office items, groceries, books, magazines, gym gear and many more. The generous imprint area makes this carry-all easily customizable with the message of your choice.

    How to Wear It: This tote can be carried by hand or over the shoulder – it is really your choice. It has a nice, feminine design, with a white body while the sides, 23” handles, and bottom come in six colors to choose from to perfectly pair with your every outfit. The tote can also double as a shopping bag, beach and pool bag.

    Large Digi Camo Poly Tote Bag with Zipper – For the Urban Working Mom

    Living and trying to earn a living in the urban jungle as a working mom? You’ll need a versatile tote that can be easily paired with most of your wardrove for you not to worry too much about what goes with what and to help save precious time for the everyday fight that lies ahead.

    The Large Digi Camo Poly Tote Bag comes with a digital camo print which makes it the perfect choice for a modern but timeless urban look. It has plenty of storage space in the main zippered storage area, a side pocket for easy access to your essentials, and durable and convenient straps.

    At 16-1/2"W x 13-1/2"H, it can easily accommodate nearly every laptop and the large imprint area makes personalization a breeze. And if the storage space is not sufficient or need a special compartment for your lappy, you can rock this cool tote with our bestselling Camo Xtreme Backpack.

    How to Wear It: This is one of the most versatile bags on our list of best tote bags for working moms. It can be easily paired with any urban outfit, and resist dirt, dust, and grime like a champ. It is perfect for those unplanned shopping sessions too. 

    Zippered Poly Tote Bag with Side and Front Pockets - For the Organized Working Moms

    This Zippered Poly Tote Bag with Side and Front Pockets stands out through the ample storage room and functionality. The mesh side pockets are convenient places to store your water bottle laptop and keys, the generous front pocket can be used to store other essentials such as the wallet, magazine, and papers, while the zippered main compartment can accommodate everything you’ll need for a day at the office, a shopping session, or a walk or road trip with the kids. This bag is nicely compartmentalized, has sturdy 24” carrying handles for a lot of load, and is made of thick 600D Polyester w/heavy vinyl backing to withstand plenty of use and abuse.

    How to Wear It: This poly tote is the perfect match for casual and sporty outfits. It can double as a travel and shopping bag without issues.

    Conclusion

    Picking the tote bag for working moms that’s best for you largely depends on your preferences, needs, and style. There’s no carry-all that can fit all tastes and lifestyles, but our list of the best totes for busy moms has tried to cover all bases. Hope you’ve found something on your liking that is versatile, functional, fashionable but not too stiff.

    Being a working mom is not easy but choosing the right tote can make things a lot easier. Remember. Keep things organized and your life will get organized as well with little to no effort. So, which is your favorite tote on our list?

    Written by Priscilla Greene — June 25, 2019

    Why Do We Need Eco-Friendly Products?

    Taking care of the environment is everybody’s business. We only have one Earth and if we don’t take care of it no one will. Don’t set your hopes on your representatives or corporations to fix the environment or do something about the pollution poisoning our air, water, land, and bodies. Many law makers are too busy serving the interests of Big Business or lack a genuine green education and the courage to make a real change.

    The good news is that you can always vote with your money when it comes to environmental protection by investing your hard-earned cash into eco-friendly products that can have a huge long-term impact. You can also educate your loved ones on the importance of spending their money wiser, being environmentally mindful, and using eco-friendly products. As one wise man once said, “The change starts within each one of us.

    Pollution: The Cold, Hard Facts 

    To put things into perspective, here are some sobering facts on pollution:

    1. About 14 billion pounds of waste end up in our oceans every year, with most of it being plastics.
    2. Nine in 10 seabirds have ingested plastic and carry it in their stomachs.
    3. A plastic bottle needs 450-500 years to decompose while the nearly indestructible PET containers will never decompose.
    4. A plastic bag needs 100 years to biodegrade and less than 1% of the plastic bags we take home from stores are recycled; the rest pile up in landfills or end up in the ocean.
    5. After plastic is (finally) decomposed it morphs into toxic microplastics.
    6. The world recycles just 9% of the plastics it produces.
    7. Plastic bottle production requires 1.5 million barrels of oil every year; more oil is used to transport them around.
    8. Glass bottles never biodegrade, although they might… in millions of years.
    9. It takes 500 years for a single-use diaper to biodegrade.
    10. One supersized cargo ship transporting goods halfway around the world emits as many carbon emissions as 50 million cars; it takes just 15 of those ships (each reaching six football fields in length) to match the CO2 emissions of all the world’s vehicles in use.

    Why Do We Need Eco-Friendly Products?

    An eco-friendly product is a product that is less harmful for the environment than their regular counterparts. If more people started buying eco-friendly products, pollution would not be so rampant, our plant would have a timeout to breathe and regenerate, and our families and communities would be healthier in the long term. Plus, eco-friendly products are not only great for the environment, they are also beneficial for the human health. Here’s a list on how to spot an eco-friendly product. Genuine eco-friendly products check as many of the following boxes:

    • They can make a real difference by enabling us to reduce our environmental footprint, namely the impact our lifestyle and activities have on the environment and global natural resources.
    • They help reducing plastic waste; steering clear of single-use packaging and looking for environmentally friendly alternatives is one good place to start.
    • They keep our carbon footprint to a minimum, i.e. the amount of CO2 emissions released in the atmosphere as a result of our lifestyle choices and activities. It is estimated that 28% percent of the average American’s CO2 emissions stem from transportation, while 28% and 17% come from shopping and home energy use, respectively.
    • They can be recycled/ re-used (e.g., stainless steel water bottles, reusable sandwich bags, upcycled handbags, etc.)
    • They are compostable (e.g., non-petroleum products, like paper, cardboard, natural fibers)
    • They are not resource-intensive – For their production, the water, energy, and resource consumption was kept to a minimum (e.g., organic cotton’s carbon footprint is 46% lower than that of conventional cotton and it requires 62% less energy to produce)
    • No harmful pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers were used in their production.
    • They are made to last: A durable product means that it will be used many times (and possibly by multiple users) before it gives up the ghost and ends up in a landfill. 

    6 Eco-Friendly Products You Should Switch to Immediately 

    1. Clothing Made of Recycled Fabrics

     In 2012, 84% of outdated clothes were either dumped in a landfill or burned. The problem is that the waste produced by unwanted pieces of clothing is nearly incalculable. Just take into account the water waste when growing water-intensive crops like non-organic cotton, the extra water used to prepare the fabric, the toxic dyes and other hazardous chemicals in our T-shirts and blue jeans, the CO2 emissions related to the transport of imported clothing, and the air pollution resulted from the incineration of the said clothing at the end of its (very short) useful life. In other words, fast fashion has turned the fashion industry into the world’s second biggest polluter.

    Several fashion brands have been trying to turn their business practices into more sustainable ones. One notable example is H&M, which launched a clothing recycling program 6 years ago. But even though the retail giant has collected over 20,000 tons of unwanted clothing ever since, its efforts are a drop in the ocean. In 2016, The Guardian did the math and found that 1,000 tons of clothing recycled by the Swedish fashion giant equals to the same amount of clothing sold in its stores worldwide over 48 hours. 

    So, a more sensible solution is for each of us to wear the clothes we currently own as much as we can or buy only from the brands that are genuinely interested in tackling waste. For instance, outdoors gear retailer Patagonia runs a clothing recycling program and encourages its customers to repair worn pieces of gear instead of buying new ones. Recover is committed to produce 100% recycled apparel. From just 8 plastic bottles, the North Carolina-based startup makes a brand-new T-shirt while supporting local jobs, community, and education. So far, it has prevented over 5 million plastic bottles from reaching the landfill. 

    1. Stainless Steel Water Bottles 

    Replace plastic water bottles with a stainless steel one. A stainless-steel water container has numerous advantages over a plastic one. For one, it keeps water cool for hours if it is well insulated and has a large mouth opening for you to add ice cubes if needed. Also, it doesn’t develop a gross smell after a few uses. There’s no need for you to worry about BPA leaks into your liquids. 

    BPA contamination is a real issue with regular plastic bottles. BPA, aka bisphenol A, is a chemical that has been used in plastic bottle and sippy cup production for nearly half a century to harden the plastic. However, recent studies have linked BPA to a plethora of health risks including the risk of hormone disruption, impairment of fetal development, heart issues, diabetes, obesity, abnormal brain development in children, and possibly even cancer. 

    But the stainless-steel water bottle has landed on our list of the must-have eco-friendly products because it is highly reusable and helps minimize plastic waste as you will prevent countless plastic bottles from harming the environment. It is estimated that the beneficial effects on the climate start to show after your stainless-steel water bottle has managed to replace 50 regular water bottles. 

    1. Recycled Toilet Paper 

    It is estimated that an adult uses over 20,000 sheets of toilet paper over one year, and that is a huge amount of cut trees and wasted water. Many people steer clear of recycled toilet paper because they believe that it is made out of used toilet paper. In reality, recycled toilet tissue is made of recycled paper collected through various recycling programs, which means that the paper hasn’t reached the landfill first either. 

    The only real concern with recycled toilet paper is its BPA content. The well-known hormone disruptor has been spotted in many products made from recycled paper, including containers, napkins, copy paper, and toilet paper. BPA usually ends up in recycled paper products if sales receipts and old newspapers are embedded in the final product. And that is sort of inevitable. However, the amount of BPA is so small that it poses no health risks if it touches your skin. It is estimated that you get more BPA into your system when touching a credit card receipt than when using eco-friendly toilet paper. 

    1. Recycled Aluminum Foil 

    Resource waste does not only concern water and land. Other environmental resources are at risk, including aluminum. If recycled, aluminum cans could help Americans save over $700 million every year. Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials on Earth as it can be recycled over and over again without losing its value. 

    It is estimated that a recycled aluminum product takes 90% less energy to manufacture than its brand-new counterpart. During the Second World War, aluminum had become so scarce that entire communities were encouraged to save it. In some locations in the U.S., you could even trade aluminum for a free entry to the movie house. 

    So, swapping your plastic cling wrap or single-use sandwich bags with recycled aluminum foil can benefit the environment long term. But speaking of plastic cling wraps… 

    1. Beeswax Wrap

    The humble plastic wrap we use in our kitchens can take a heavy toll on the environment in the long run, just like plastic bags. If you need to cover a container in the fridge or wrap food, the eco-friendliest solution is either using tinfoil or an eco-friendly material that is all the rage now: beeswax wrap. Its manufacturers have striven to make the wrap as eco-friendly as it can be and they have succeeded. 

    Beeswax wrap is made of 100% organic cotton or recycled paper, organic plant oils, tree resin, and eco-friendly beeswax. It is easy to use as you will only need to wrap up the item and let the warmth of your hands soften the wrap for a few seconds to make it stick. The beeswax wrap can be used many times, is low maintenance, has a nice smell (which unfortunately doesn’t last long), and is 100% compostable. It is an ideal eco-friendly product for the 21st Century with only one major caveat: its price. A pack of 3 assorted wraps currently retails for $18, but we are confident that as the technology goes mainstream, the prices will drop too. There is also a DIY solution. 

     6. Reusable Shopping Bags

    Whenever you go to the grocery store or your local mall, take a reusable shopping bag with you. The environment will thank you for it. Plastic bag pollution is one of mankind’s ever ballooning problems. The U.S.A. uses over 100 billion plastic bags every year, with an average of 300 bags per person or 1,500 bags per household, and just 1% to 3% gets recycled.

    Globally, 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year. It is harmful to the environment to produce a plastic bag and it is harmful to the environment to discard and not recycle a plastic bag. Some plastic bags can linger in the environment for hundreds of years.

    What’s more, plastic bags literally kill about 100 marine animals every year, and despite that a plastic bag gets used for just 10-12 minutes on average before being thrown away. So, it is critical to limit our plastic bag use. Whenever, offered a plastic bag think about the environmental impact of such a common item, despite its convenience.

    You can always replace your plastic bags with a reusable canvas tote bag.  A reusable shopping bag made of organic materials will keep you eco guilt-free long time if you take care of it and don’t forget it at home. What’s more a reusable grocery bag is easy to clean, easy to troubleshoot, is completely recyclable and compostable, and can replace hundreds if not thousands of plastic bags over its life if used routinely.

    Cotton totes have been recently criticized for being worse for the environment than plastic bags. However, critics didn’t take into account the long-term environmental impact of a plastic bag – a thick plastic shopping bag needs hundreds of years to biodegrade – nor factored in the tremendous marine pollution caused by plastic bags. Researchers only assessed the amount of resources a reusable cotton tote needs to be produced compared to a plastic bag. In the very long run, cotton and canvas totes are the undisputable winner.

    Another big advantage of reusable shopping bags is their customizability. You can personalize such bags by embroidery or printing however you wish. You could also turn them into unforgettable gifts for people that have it all or practical promotional bags for your business. You can check our selection of cotton/canvas tote bags and organic cotton bags for more ideas. For a sturdier alternative but just as eco-friendly, try out our generous selection of burlap tote bags.

    To Wrap It Up

    You can’t go wrong with eco-friendly products. They are more durable, reusable, less toxic, less resource-intensive, and safer for the environment, wildlife, and people. Plus, you using eco-friendly products will not only help protect the planet and the health and well-being of your loved ones but also the future of your kids. It is a win-win situation.

    Written by Priscilla Greene — June 20, 2019

    What is the Best Cosmetic Travel Bag?

    If you travel a lot as a job or hobby, you don’t have to be a makeup junkie to offer each of your makeup essentials and beauty products a proper place in your travel bag. A cosmetic travel bag can be a critical item for your makeup collection since the way you store and carry around your cosmetics can spell the difference between a hassle-free trip and a disaster. Just imagine what a nasty spill can do to your clothes and other praised personal belongings.

    We know firsthand that a makeup travel bag is not just a whim, so we have rounded up a list of the best and most affordable cosmetic travel bags to help you choose only the right one(s) for your on-the-go beauty needs.

    The Best Cosmetic Travel Bags According to Our Editors

     

    1. For the Avid but Eco-Conscious Traveler

    The Eco-Friendly Zippered Canvas/Jute Cosmetic Bag

    These sturdy cosmetic travel pouches are made of 100% eco-friendly materials (canvas or jute) for you to have the peace of mind that the environment stays safe while you enjoy their convenience. Traveling usually takes a toll on nature, but travelers choosing eco-friendly fabrics can reduce their impact. If your loved one or co-worker is a travel buff, this practical zippered cosmetic travel bag made out of eco-friendly canvas/ jute makes the perfect gift.

    The Eco-Friendly Zippered Canvas/Jute Cosmetic Bag also makes a perfect bridesmaid gift, giveaway, and promotional gift as it can be personalized with your name, logo, or message of your choice by silk screening or embroidery. At seven inches tall and 10 inches wide, this pouch is quite roomy. Also, it comes in three varieties:

    • Natural: Made of a canvas/jute mix (laminated)
    • White/Black: Made of white canvas (laminated)
    • Brown: Made of natural brown canvas (unlaminated)

    2. For the Weekend Getaway Fan


    The Canvas Zippered Toiletry Bag

    This practical dopp kit is the ideal cosmetic travel bag for holding your weekend beauty essentials even if they come in full-size. The size is perfect for fitting those essential beauty and skin care products that help you feel like home while on the go. You can stuff it into your carry-all or take it with you to the beach. The bag also has a practical handle so you can retrieve it quick in your travel bag without turning everything else upside down.

    The Canvas Zippered Toiletry Bag is made of 100% cotton canvas with a water-resistant interior laminate lining, and its middle-of-the-road size makes it perfect as a gift for weddings, promotional events, tradeshows, giveaways, and other special occasions. You can choose from two varieties: Natural and White. The large imprint area makes an ideal space for embroidering or printing your or your business’ logo, slogan, and message of choice, and at our price, it is a steal!

    3. For the Makeup Aficionado


    The Multi-Pocket Hanging Toiletry Kit/ Cosmetic Bag

    This one is for those of us with an impressive make-up collection. It has everything a makeup aficionado may need: tons of pockets, zippers, and well-organized compartments. But the best part is that it comes with web top handle which you can use to hang the kit vertically on a hook while open. This way you can have a quick glance at your makeup essentials, making them readily accessible.

    With the Multi-Pocket Hanging Toiletry Kit/ Cosmetic Bag, you will no longer have to worry about storage space when planning to take your entire collection of highlighters or eyeshadows with you on a trip. This bag can also be used at home to keep your beauty products organized when counter space has suddenly become an issue. What’s more, the durable 1,680 denier ballistic polyester fabric ensures that you’ll enjoy what might be the best cosmetic travel bag for years to come.

    4. For Him or For Her

    The Dual-Compartment Durable Toiletry Bag

    This top-quality unisex cosmetic travel bag comes with two zippered compartments to keep your beauty products separated from your toiletries. Due to its classic design, it can be used by both him or her. The convenient carrying handle and sober looks make it the perfect choice for multi-day trips, be it for business or pleasure. On top of that, thanks to the durable 600D polyester fabric, this bag is extremely easy to clean and low maintenance.

    In addition, the Dual-Compartment Durable Toiletry Bag’s generous imprint area leaves enough room for you to embroider or print the personalized message(s) of your choice on. Just like with every other cosmetic travel bag on our list, you can buy this bag in bulk, personalize it, and turn it into an unforgettable but practical gift for your loved ones, co-workers, or (potential) business partners. You can’t go wrong with it!

    5. For the Practical Traveler


    The Zippered Jute / Canvas Pouch Cosmetic Bag

    Need a cosmetic travel bag to fit only your essential toiletries and beauty products that you can easily toss into your travel bag without taking up too much space? The Zippered Jute / Canvas Pouch Cosmetic Bag is the perfect answer. At just eight inches tall and 5.5 inches wide, is slightly more spacious than a minimalist clutch. So, it is the ideal choice for those travelers that like to bring only the essential beauty products along on their trips as any extra weight is a problem.

    We recommend this pouch for those of us that are more practical and enjoy packing light. With this cosmetic travel bag, you’ll have all your essentials in one place for extra points in the organization department. Just like the larger eco-friendly version, this bag is available in three varieties: Natural, White, And Brown.

    Final Words on the Best Cosmetic Travel Bag

    Choosing the best cosmetic travel bag largely depends on the size of your beauty collection, available storage space, and personal style. A travel bag for your beauty essentials can help you stay more organized while on the go, saving you tons of time and energy. With that in mind… Safe travels!

    Written by Priscilla Greene — June 13, 2019

    How to Clean a Backpack

    Backpacks are no longer exclusively an essential piece of hiking equipment. Many city dwellers now use backpacks to carry around their groceries, school supplies, work essentials, and gym clothes on a day-to-day basis. So, when it comes to a backpack, upkeep is of the essence to prolong its life. Yet, if it’s really dirty, you’ll need to pull out the big guns and thoroughly clean it. But knowing or not knowing how to clean a backpack can make the difference between a bag that shows its age and one that looks nice and new. So, here are our tips to take care of your backpack.

    How to Clean a Hiking Backpack

    Hiking equipment needs special care, as the materials, hardware, and special treatments applied onto the fabric may not fare well if regular cleaners and cleaning methods are involved.

    When it comes to hiking backpacks and any delicate or expensive bags, we recommend always washing them by hand. Some backpacks may be too large for your washing machine or they might wrinkle inside the drier. Plus, always follow the instructions before getting down to business.

    Washing Your Hiking Backpack

     You’ll need:

    -        A soap-based cleaner or another mild cleaner, such as baby shampoo

    -        Clean sponge

    -        A soft nylon brush (an old toothbrush should work too)

    Let’s get down to work:

    1. Empty your backpack and remove any dust, dirt, small particles from the interior. If it is really dirty, you can use a small vacuum cleaner to get rid of persistent debris.
    2. Remove the shoulder straps, metal frame, and any other detachable piece of hardware.
    3. Let the bag soak in warm water and a bit of soft cleaner. Baby shampoo is excellent at cleaning fussy fabrics because regular laundry detergent might damage treated materials. What’s more, baby shampoo has a more neutral pH than regular dish soap or cleaners and it is not as harsh on fabrics.
    4. Clean the interior of the backpack with the sponge.
    5. After you’re done with the insides, gently clean the outsides. Spot clean any areas with rough stains, add cleaner if necessary, but don’t overdo it as you don’t want to damage the material or accidentally wipe off the protective coating. Clean thoroughly the parts of the backpack that collect sweat such as shoulder straps, hip belt, and back. Pay extra attention to the bottom of the pack and the areas around the zippers as they tend to attract plenty of dirt.
    6. Use the toothbrush on the zippers to give them a nice scrub and to remove any leftover dirt and sand.
    7. Rinse out the detergent and hang the backpack upside down someplace indoors with plenty of ventilation or outdoors but in the shade. Do not expose it to direct sunlight, tumble dry it, or try to dry it with a hair blower on the high heat-setting. Any type of heat might irreversibly damage the chemical and thermal treatments applied to its fabrics.

      How to Clean a Regular Backpack

      Regular backpacks such as school backpacks, kids’ backpacks or laptop backpacks usually don’t need special care. But if the pack hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, there are some steps to follow to make it as good as new.

      You’ll need:

      • OxiClean
      • Soft scrub brush
      • Toothbrush for those hard-to-reach places
      • Regular laundry detergent

      Let’s get down to work:

      1. If the backpack is really filthy, you’ll need to use a secret weapon, which should remove almost any stain: OxiClean. But before giving the bag a thorough wash check the cleaning instructions. You want to make sure that it can be washed before you actually do it. If it lacks a care label, do a test on a hidden area of the bag to see if it can make friends with water and detergent. So, the first step is to remove anything from the bag, get rid of all the crumbs, dirt, and dust from the interior and any hard-to-reach spots like crevices and tiny pockets. A handheld vacuum cleaner can work wonders here. For really stubborn debris use the toothbrush to loosen it but be gentle on the fabric. In the case of mesh material, replace the brush with a soft sponge.
      2. Remove any detachable pieces of hardware and straps before you submerge the pack into water.
      3. Add OxiClean to warm water and let the backpack sit there for 1 to 2 hours, depending on how dirty it is. The amount of dirt will also indicate how much OxiClean to use. For persistent stains, such as ink stains, you should use a special pre-treatment but ensure that it is bleach-free. For instance, pen and marker stains should come straight off with an alcohol-based aerosol hairspray. Nonwater-soluble ink stains should be first spot treated with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.
      4. Thoroughly wash the interior of the backpack with the sponge; look for any stains from spills, foods, sweat. However, be gently on the fabric as some backpacks come with a plastic lining which can get damaged easily.
      5. Use the scrub brush on the entire surface of the pack to remove stains. Pay special attention to the bottom, pockets and the areas around the zippers where spots and grime usually appear.
      6. Put the bag in the washing machine with the laundry detergent of your choice on the delicate cycle. It is advisable to place the backpack in a laundry bag or pillowcase first to prevent the straps and pieces of hardware from getting damaged or from damaging the washing machine. You can as well turn the pack inside out.
      7. Use the spin cycle to remove any excess water from the pack before air drying it. Don’t tumble dry. For the fastest results, hang it upside down to prevent the water from lingering in its interior and leave all zippers unzipped. It is a great idea to leave the bag a couple of hours in the summer sun to naturally deodorize it too. The sun’s UV rays will take care of the odor-causing bacteria and fungi that might start calling your damp pack their home.

        Written by Priscilla Greene — June 07, 2019

        Is Canvas Fabric Eco-Friendly?

        The most common (eco) canvas fabrics are (organic) cotton and linen, although historically speaking canvas used to be made of hemp. Canvas tote bags are usually produced of one of the first two materials. The beauty of canvas fabrics is that unlike single-use bags, canvas bags can be used countless of times and can carry around 5 times as much as conventional plastic bags.

        They can be also cleaned if dirty or patched if torn and can be rendered as good as new. Also, they are decomposable and aren’t lingering hundreds of years in our landfills or oceans. This is why, canvas tote bags have been touted as a greener alternative to plastic grocery bags.

        Yet, European experts have recently challenged this assumption. They believe that the carbon footprint and other hidden costs of canvas fabric production offset the obvious environmental benefits of canvas shopping bags.

        So, Is Canvas Fabric Eco-Friendly?

        The answer largely depends on what each person understands when “eco-friendly” is brought up in discussion. Some people believe that eco-friendly refers to things that don’t pollute the landfills, streams and oceans. For those people, canvas tote bags are a true eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags.

        Other people, on the other hand, get a closer look at things and for them, an eco-friendly product is a product that is friendly on the planet’s resources, such as water, air, fossil fuels, and more. It is worth noting that, from this point of view, a single canvas tote made from cotton needs as many resources to produce as 400 plastic bags do.

        Surprisingly, last year, a team of experts at Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food found that plastic shopping bags might be better for the environment than cotton tote bags or paper bags. The Danish study took into account a canvas tote bag’s entire life cycle and compared it to that of a classic plastic bag. Researchers found that a cotton tote needs to be reused 7,100 times to match the environmental impact of a classic plastic bag. Moreover, organic cotton shopping bags seem to be even more damaging to the environment, according to Danish researchers, as they need to be reused at least 20,000 times to match the environmental impact of a classic shopping bag.

        These findings are in line with another research paper published in 2011 in the U.K. According to the researchers at the UK Environment Agency (UKEA), canvas tote bags have the highest global-warming potential when compared with other types of shopping bags (plastic, paper, and recycled-polypropylene bags.)

        The British study found that it takes thousands of uses for a canvas bag to be more eco-friendly than a classic plastic bag. Also, paper bags should be used three times or more to be as eco-friendly as their plastic counterparts. When it comes to cotton totes the findings were more dire – canvas totes should be reused more than 130 times to match plastic bags’ environmental impact.

        British researchers recommend reusing even plastic bags, at least once, to offset their climate change potential, and the best way to reuse a not-so-good-looking plastic bag is lining the trash can with it.

        However, neither the Danish study nor the British one took into account ocean pollution when assessing each type of shopping bag’s environmental impact. Ocean pollution is serious business, and humanity’s plastic waste continues to build up in the oceans and literally choke marine life. 

        Plastic Waste Is Choking Our Oceans

        There are countless documentaries on ocean plastics pollution, with gruesome images of birds’ and fish’s dissected bodies being packed with plastic material. It is estimated that over just one decade, humanity has produced as much plastic as it did in a century.

        A United Nations report shows that marine debris impacts over 800 of marine species, and plastics account for around 80% of that debris. Every year, the world throws 13 million metric tons of plastic waste in the oceans. In other words, the load of a garbage truck is discarded in the oceans every single minute.

        Some plastics wash up on beaches, some end up on the bottom of the ocean or sea, while others are being consumed by marine life that mistake them for food. A large part of plastics waste ends up in ocean gyres, and plastic bags are no exception.

        It is estimated that a single plastic bag takes from 10 to 1,000 years to fully decompose, while a plastic bottle takes around 500 years to break down. If plastics are swallowed by ocean gyres, they are broken down faster in tiny bits that later end up in the seafood we consume. So, it makes sense to replace our classic grocery bags with canvas totes in the long run.

        Turning Cotton into a True Eco Canvas Fabric

        Cotton is the number one canvas fabric due to its versatility and ease of production. But manufacturing cotton involves some environmental costs as the crop is extremely water-intensive and requires herbicides and pesticides to grow. Cotton’s most dramatic negative impact is on water availability.

        Researchers have found that one cotton T-shirt and a pair of jeans need 20,000 liters of fresh water to be manufactured. In India, up to 95% of the increasingly scarce fresh water goes to agriculture. Water is usually wasted in cotton production because of subpar irrigation methods, lack of green education, and poverty.

        Fortunately, there are initiatives to make cotton a real eco canvas fabric. For instance, the international non-profit Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has partnered with retailers that routinely use cotton in their products, such as Ikea, Esprit, Nike, and C&A, to help cotton farmers reduce their costs with water, chemicals, and energy and make their crops more eco-friendly.

        In 2005, Ikea, which uses more than 200,000 tons of cotton every year, launched a program that taught farmers how to strategically plant the crop, and by 2011, the water use in cotton production in that area sank by 37% and pesticide use by nearly 50%. Ikea has recently reported that the cotton production-related water use of the farmers enrolled in its programs dropped by 50% on average. Also, the Swedish furniture giant now boasts that nearly 25% of the cotton it uses is sustainable. So, it looks like there’s a bright future ahead of the world’s most popular canvas fabric.

        Written by Priscilla Greene — June 04, 2019

        What Should a Work Tote Bag Contain

        A work tote bag should be roomy, sturdy and upscale-ish enough for the office to not scream cheap when you walk through that door every morning. Working women usually look for a bag that can carry them through work, impromptu shopping sessions, meeting with friends, gym, and everything the day might throw at them in between.

        We have listened to several women and the essentials that they can go without during a workday and have compiled our own list of the must-haves that no industrious woman should leave home without. We want to keep things simple and practical so that you don’t overpack your carry-all and accidentally turn it into a so-called ‘black hole’ bag. That can immensely impact your productivity and peace of mind in the long run. So, here are our favorites.

        For the working woman in an office:

        Unsplash

        1. The laptop/ MacBook (+charger) – Make sure that your work tote bag has a coushiny compartment for your trustworthy laptop – as you want to keep things organized and secured.
        2. The water bottle – We can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting the proper hydration throughout the day. Beside a clear and glowing skin, your internal organs will thank you for it. A water bottle is a permanent reminder for drinking those two liters per day.
        3. Earbuds – These can be a life saver during a long commute or in a noisy office. You can use them to listen to podcasts, music, or just reduce ambient noise while working or commuting.
        4. Smartphone (+charger), wallet, subway pass, and house/car keys – These are the can’t-go-without’s for obvious reasons. Just ensure that you keep them in a zipped and easy-to-reach compartment and that the wallet is compact enough to transition from your work tote bag to your purse or pockets and back without too much drama.
        5. Paper planner – According to productivity pros, a planner can boost productivity dramatically if used correctly. With a planner, you can break down overwhelming tasks and goals into smaller chunks which you’ll be able to handle with a lot of ease and clarity. Forget about the planner’s digital counterparts – they’re not the real deal.
        6. Pen – Get a quality pen, or if you tend to misplace or lose your pens a lot get a set. A stylus doesn’t count.
        7. Lipstick/ Chapstick – because you want those lips looking their best just like your outfit.
        8. Breath mint or gum – for those days when you order something with lots of onion or garlic for lunch and you have to attend a lengthy office meeting later in the day or you just worry too much about your co-workers’ sinuses.
        9. Touch-up makeup – Pressed powder, foundation, nail polish, mascara, you name it as you know best what you and your skin needs.
        10. Deodorant/Antiperspirant – because nobody in their right mind feels confident with a pair of smelly armpits. If you sweat a lot or plan to go to the gym after work, this is a must-have.
        11. Small brush – for those bad hair days or when your hair seems to gain self-awareness and refuses to obey your commands.
        12. Hand cream – The AC unit tends to make offices dry and oftentimes freezing places to be in especially for those pairs of industrious hands trying to earn a living. So, always carry a quality hand cream with you regardless of the weather forecast.
        13. Medication – The pain reliever brand that works for you is your best friend especially when a sudden headache or your period strikes.
        14. Tampons – Talking about periods, you can never be too prepared.
        15. Snacks – You’ll need these before your lunch break. We recommend getting a healthy snack like an apple or a granola bar to keep you going. Chocolate, cookies, and crackers will just make you feel hungrier shortly after eating them because of their negative impact on your insulin levels. Eat smart!
        16. Plasters – For those nasty paper cuts or blisters when trying to break in new shoes.
        17. Foldable flats – because high heels can sometimes be a real killer for a lady’s delicate feet.
        18. Sunglasses – You can leave these in your car but if a car is not in the picture, don’t forget to place them in your work tote.
        19. Business cards – These are essentials for an aspiring career woman as you don’t know who you might meet next.
        20. Compact umbrella – because the predicted forecast is often wrong and staying soaking wet in the rain is only cool in the movies.
        21. E-reader/ magazine or book – for the (long) commute, unless the smartphone is all you need.

        For the working mom:

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          The working woman and mother should tick all the boxes above and some more. You’ll need a work tote bag that is roomy enough to accommodate all the above items plus your kids’ toys, snacks for the little ones, a change of clothes, and more. We recommend replacing the tote with a backpack or supplementing it with a burlap jute tote bag or an organic cotton bag. As a fulltime working mom there’s never too much space in your work bag.

          If you’re a nursing mom, things can get even more complicated. We won’t delve into the controversy around many moms’ decision to continue to nurse their kids after returning to work as things are very personal. We’ll just recommend finding a work tote roomy enough to fit some extra bottles, a mini cooler, and a pump. Some moms leave an extra pump at the office and carry with them only the parts.

          For the working woman and fitness buff:

          Unsplash

          If you are routinely hitting the gym after clocking out, make sure to get a multitasking tote that can fit your gym gear, protein shaker, towel, and, why not, sneakers, too. We recommend a tote bag with enough depth to fit all said stuff, a combination of a work tote and a gym bag, or a backpack that can be seamlessly turned into a classy messenger bag (but that is the least affordable option). It’s your call.

           

          Written by Ali Civlak — May 30, 2019

          How to Clean a Canvas Bag

          how to clean canvas bag

          Canvas bags are all the rage right now and for all the right reasons. They’re versatile, stylish, and eco-friendly. They can be valuable accessories you can personalize and style up and wear on all possible occasions. Depending on its design and pattern, a canvas bag can be a great accessory for casual outings, workdays, shopping trips, days in the park, or nights on the town.

          However, it’s very important to know how to correctly clean a canvas bag so you can keep it as good as new for years. The truth is, all our canvas tote bags can take quite a beating. Canvas bags are quite vulnerable to daily wear and tear. We stuff them with groceries and goods that spill or leak, we put them on the floor or on the ground, we toss them in cars and in offices, and so on.

          For all these reasons, canvas bags need proper, regular cleaning and maintenance. This is why today we’ll will learn together how to clean a canvas bag step by step. If you follow these cleaning  steps, you’ll be able to keep your canvas bag in tip-top shape.

          Measures to Take Before the Actual Bag Cleaning

          Canvas bags are the perfect environment to add a dash of your own personality and preferred style into your everyday carry bag. In other words, canvas bags can feature screen prints, embroidery, monograms, hand painting, fabric, button decorations (sewed or glued), drawings, printed logos, and many more.

          Washing Safety

          The first thing you need to do is check if these added elements are safe for washing and cleaning. Specialists recommend  removing all additions if possible (scarves, brooches, buttons, etc.). Of course you cannot remove a print or embroidery.

          In this case, you should consider the following:

          • Water temperature for both washing machine and handwashing: if your canvas bag features paintings, drawings, or other prints and patterns, you should make sure to wash it at cool temperatures.
          • Color bleeding and transfer: If you wear colored canvas bags or your canvas bags feature colored prints and graphic designs, make sure the colors do not bleed, fade, or transfer in contact with water or other fabrics.

          The Color Fading/Bleeding Test

          Fill a shallow bowl with water and dip a small part of the bag into it to test the canvas for color bleeding, fading, or transfers. Allow the wet portion of the bag to sit in the water for about ten minutes.

          Check the color of the water to see if any dye bled into it. Wring the wet part of the bag over a plain white cotton towel or cloth. If the canvas bag bleeds dye onto the towel, it is not colorfast. If it is not colorfast, you will have to spot-clean the bag rather than washing it. Do not wash the bag with other materials as the dye may transfer onto them. Skip this test if the bag is plain white.

          Bag Preparation

          Before you decide whether to wash the canvas bag in the washing machine, by hand, or by giving it a spot-cleaning, we have to prep the bag. Here’s what to do:

          • Empty all bag pockets, then open any zippers and clasps, and shake the bag well upside down to remove dirt,trash, crumbs, coins, papers, and any other little things hiding in the bag.
          • If possible, pull the bag inside out completely so you can see the lining. Use a lint roller to remove dust and crumbs. You can also use the fabric brush attachment on your vacuum to remove all the interior impurities. A table vacuum also helps because you can handle it more comfortably.
          • Before you begin, examine the bag for particular care labels and/or type of materials used. Follow any recommended care guidelines and attempt to identify the type of stains, if existing, on your canvas bag.

          Stain Removal

          If your canvas bag is stained, you should remove them before washing or intensely cleaning them. Heavy stains can be a big problem, as they often need some extra care. Some stains do not go away with water and a soft cloth, so you may need some liquid detergent or other stain removing products.

          Make sure you apply the stain removal product on a discrete small portion of the bag to make sure the powder or liquid does not cause canvas burns, discolorations, or color bleeds. If everything looks good after a few minutes, use a white cloth and a damping technique to slowly and securely remove the stains. You should not scrub the stains because color transfers, discolorations, or canvas damage are possible.

          Manual Washing

          how to clean canvas bag manual washing

          Some canvas tote bags in white or plain colors are suitable for washing machines. Depending on the technique used to print them, they can also be good candidates for normal washing machines using cold water. However, watercolor painted canvas bags, canvas bags with leather trimmings, or canvas bags with adornments and other types of sensitive prints need manual washing. There are some techniques and methods to accomplish good cleaning without endangering the fabric or damaging the design/graphics/styling of the bag.

          • After you’ve emptied the bag and taken the first steps to get rid of interior and exterior dust and debris, find a clean, soft white cloth (colored cloths could bleed dye onto the fabric, as well as do normal dish sponges) and dip the cloth in warm water.
          • Wring out the excess water from the cloth and wipe down the canvas bag with careful but firm motions. Avoid colored parts that might lead to color fading and bleeding.
          • If the prints or adornments on the bag are safe to come in contact with water, soak the entire bag in a basin filled with warm water. Clean the bag with a soft white cloth or a soft scrubbing brush using a circular motion. Specialists recommend this technique if you wash colorfast plain canvas bags.
          • If the bag still presents stains and soil after completing the steps listed above, add a few drops of dish detergent or soap in a bowl. Use the mixture with the white cloth to rub heavily soiled areas. Keep moving to a clean spot on the cloth as you remove stains and grime. Follow up by rinsing the cloth well and wiping away any detergent residue.
          • If you clean a plain canvas bag in a water basin and some stains or areas remain dirty, add a few drops of liquid detergent to the warm water and softly scrub the areas that present with heavy staining, grime, and soiling. Make sure you do not allow color bleeding.

          EXTRA TIPS

          When you wash your canvas bags, tote bags, or even canvas backpacks, you should have a few more tips and tricks up your sleeve. Depending on the situation and your particular type of canvas bag, you can use one of the methods above combined with one of the tips below.

          • Any mild detergent mixed with water will work as a cleaning solution for plain, durable canvas. You can think about gentle body soap, dishwashing soap, liquid laundry detergent, and even baking soda.
          • For about a cup of water, consider using about ½ a teaspoon of mild detergent.
          • If the canvas allows, you can also use an old toothbrush to remove heavy stains and grime. You need a soft toothbrush. The motions should be mild and circular, covering small areas.
          • If some stains are incredibly stubborn, you can also mix in a drop of bleach. While detergents are safer bets, bleach can help you clean heavily soiled bags. Keep in mind that bleach can yellow the canvas. In this day and age, you can find safe bleaching and stain removing products, just don’t forget to test them on the inside or bottom of the bag, on a very small area.
          • Remove canvas, cloth, or leather laces and drawstrings from your bag and clean them separately. Manually wash canvas and cotton strings and laces in a cup or bowl of warm water with liquid soap or detergent. When it comes to leather accessories, you can wipe them with a cloth to remove dust or stains.
          • For hardware on the handbag, use a good quality metal polish or brass cleaner to make them shine again. Dip a cotton swab in the polish and apply gently to the metal. Use a clean soft white cloth to remove the tarnish. Be very careful to keep the cleaner off the handbag fabric to avoid discoloration.

          When you learn how to clean canvas bags, it is important to remember to wash the bag manually if the bag has leather trimmings, insertions, or appliques. While metal accessories can go in the washing machine, make sure they do not damage the canvas or other clothes in the load. In terms of appliques, it is safer to use a cleaning terry cloth soaked in water to clean the bag. Move the cloth around beads, buttons, leather, metal, or sequin appliques to make sure they stay safe.

          Rinsing

          After you manually wash the canvas bag, you can rinse it with another white towel or cloth soaked in cold water. You can also rinse it in a basin filled with clean cool water. Gently wring out any excess water. Make sure the bag gets a proper rinse, as liquid detergent and other cleaning agents’ particles can damage the fabric in time, as they remain embedded in the fabric.

          Machine Washing

          how to clean canvas bags machine washing

          Now that you took all possible precautions, it is time to put the canvas bag in the washing machine – if the fabric and the design of the bag allow you. When you wash plain white or colorfast canvas tote bags in the machine, keep in mind these rules:

          • Set the temperature according to the recommendations on the label or to the type of canvas
          • Printed, painted, or decorated canvas bags fare better in cold temperatures and lower centrifuge speeds; canvas is prone to shrinking.
          • Wash the bag on its own, or with other canvas items.
          • If you have a load of colored items, make sure there will be no color bleedings and transfers from your clothes onto the bag or the other way around.
          • Take the canvas bag out of the machine immediately, to prevent mold and bacteria from growing.

          EXTRA TIP

          You may learn that a canvas bag looks quite concerning the second you take it out of the washing machine. While not immune to crumpling, the canvas bag will regain its shape if you care for it properly. Make sure that while wet, you reshape it to help it gain its initial form and you remove some of the wrinkles.

          Drying

          When we learn how to clean canvas bags, we cannot skip the drying stage of the cleaning and maintenance cycle. Allow the bag to air dry on a clothesline, as drying it by machine may cause shrinkage unless the care tag states machine drying is safe. Make sure you hang the canvas bag to dry so it preserves and regains its initial shape. Drying a bag in the dryer can cause the bag to shrink and change shape, destroying its functionality and usability.

          Storage and Preservation

          We can clean canvas bags a few times a year, but we also need to keep them as clean as possible and as safe as possible when we do not use them.Here’s a  few storage and maintenance tips so you can enjoy your canvas bags for years without them suffering any major damage:

          • Once the canvas bag dried in fresh air, store it flat or upright to allow it to keep its shape.
          • If your canvas bags have specific shapes, stuff them with tissue papers when you do not use them, so they will keep their shape up. Always use white tissue paper as magazines and newspapers can lead to ink and color transfers.
          • Never store handbags in plastic bags, as they can encourage mold and mildew growth. Use an old pillowcase or a cotton laundry bag to prevent dust from accumulating during off-season storage. Make sure there is enough air reaching your canvas bags.
          • If you’ve just bought new canvas bags, or you finished adorning and styling your favorite tote bag, use a protective spray to treat new canvas and ward off stains.

          Conclusion

          These are the main steps, tips, tricks, and advice on how to clean a canvas bag. If you have other methods or if you use some DIY cleaning mixtures and techniques, feel free to share them with us!

          Written by Priscilla Greene — April 30, 2019

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