I have long been on the quest for the perfect travel tote bag. For me, any viable contender must fit on my shoulder comfortably and conveniently, must zip closed at the top for security, must have multiple sleeves and dividers to keep my stuff organized, and must be tough enough to withstand vigorous use on travel days.

Hex Strata tote bag

I’ve found several that fit the bill, but often, they’re too small or too large to truly be perfect. On my most recent cross-country trip, I put the Hex Strata tote bag to the test. This tote ticks off all my boxes listed above, and at 24 liters, it’s just big enough to fit my 13” laptop, Bose over-ear headphones in their case, a small toiletry bag, a scarf, my wallet, my phone, my passport, and my Kindle. I can also fit a light jacket in there. Honestly, I don’t need anything else next to me on the plane.

The Hex has two outside pockets that fit a phone and small wallet, and my only complaint is that while these pockets snap closed, I’d rather they zip closed. I’m just a tad worried about my phone slipping out. The main compartment does zip all the way closed at the top, and inside, you get a padded laptop sleeve, a second padded sleeve on the opposite side that can fit another small laptop and certainly an iPad, and an interior organizational panel, perfect for stashing lip balm, passports, and the like.

You get a basic shoulder strap that adjusts in size to perfectly fit on your shoulder (it’s so annoying to find a perfect bag with a strap that doesn’t adjust, rendering it basically useless to haul around). You also get two shorter hand straps, and the distressed gry crinkle polyester exterior is treated for water resistance. It’s definitely tough enough for travel days (though I wish it were waxed canvas).

Overall, while I’d make a few small adjustments to the Hex, this is the best travel day tote I’ve found. And while it’s slightly larger than something I’d carry around daily as a bag at my destination, it can do in a pinch. It comes in a muted gray color that works with every outfit and travel luggage set. Pick up a Hex Strata at the official website for $99, or look for one on Amazon or other online retailers, though you’ll pay about the same price.

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