The tote.


Today is the first official day of summer and let’s face it, you’re going to need one great tote (at least) to get through it with even a modicum of panache. With trips to the beach, mountains, farmer’s market, camp and/or backyard pool, you are going to need to haul a lot of stuff.

Here are 10 American-made tote bags that will help you keep it all together no matter where the summer takes you!

Parrott Canvas – Manufactured Greenville, North Carolina

parrottcanvastoteAhoy, Mate! This generously sized tote is perfect for sailors and sailor-wannabes. Not only do its generous dimensions (12″d x 16″ h x 19″ w – with 22″ handles) make it practical for a day at sea, Parrot Canvas offers signal flag monogramming, in addition to traditional alphabetic monogramming.

Made of 22 oz. cotton duck and with a durable, water-repellent nylon bottom, this bag is a great way to let you flag fly.

Available at $48 for basic bag, $54 for bag with traditional monogram, $63 for bag with signal flag monogram.

Apolis – Manufactured in California

apolistoteWant a great looking tote that changes lives? Then the Apolis Field Tote is the one for you. From the Greek meaning global citizen, Apolis co-creates products with established manufacturers “that equips and empowers people through opportunity instead of charity.”

Each Apolis product is a functional, aesthetic and philanthropic gem.*  The Field Tote (14″w x 14.5″h x 6″d) supports the Invisible Children’s Cotton Initiative, a project that aims to rebuild and revitalize the post-civil war cotton industry in Uganda. This bag is perfect for men or women who want a bag with heart, not hearts on it!

Made of 17.5 oz army canvas with a single front pocket, snap closure, reinforced bottom and inside pocket.

Available at $196 for Field Tote.  *Please note that while all 3 Apolis tote styles featured on their website are made in the US, not all of their products are.

Wm. J. Mills & Co. - Manufactured in Greenport, New York

Order a tote from Wm. J. Mills Co. and you will get a bag that was literally made for you! Upon receipt of an order, each bag is made to the exacting specifications that have been the hallmark of Mills & Co. for 60 years.

The design comes from the totes used to haul a block of ice from the ice house to the dock. Today Mills and Co. renders this staple with a silk label in 13 colors and in 3 sizes — Mills Tote (10″w x 7″h x 10″ d), Gear Bag II (13″w x 10.5″h x 7.5″d), Ice Bag II (18″w x 14″ h x 9″ d).

Made of #8 cotton duck canvas with a front pocket and interior zippered pocket.

Available at $110 for Mills Tote, $129 for Gear Bag II, $149 for Ice Bag II.

Graf & Lantz – Manufactured in Los Angeles, California

graf&lantztoteTimeless is the best way to describe Graf & Lantz’ Jaunt Tote. Combining rich leather and color-blocking, this bag is a dazzling marriage of traditional and modern.

The design team of Holger Graf and Daniel Lantz works to create products that are “luxurious, aware and functional.” Like the Jaunt Tote, many of Graf & Lantz’ products are rendered in 100% merino wool felt. (Did you know wool felt is considered to be the oldest fabric in the world?) The high quality, dense felt they choose results in a “very durable and pill resistant product.”

Made of merino felt with vegetable-tanned leather. The Jaunt Tote (14.5″w x 15″h x 4.5″d) has 2 interior pockets, a snap closure and is available in 20 colors/combinations.

Available at for $229 and $249.

Hable Construction – Manufactured in USA

Don’t let the cute print fool you! This bag can really hold its own.

Thanks to the sisters at Hable Construction we now know that a big, functional bag can also have a big personality. So if you are a fan of the ladies’ now famous silkscreened prints, the Large Boat Tote is the one for you. With its ample dimensions (15″h x 23″w), it will get you there and back whether just for the day or entire the weekend.

Made of cotton hand-printed in Hable’s New England factory.

Available exclusively at in 8 patterns for $125.

Emil Erwin – Manufactured in Nashville, Tennessee

emilerwintoteEver thought how neat it would have been to have inherited a wonderful old leather bag from your grandfather? A bag that was made so well it was still servicable? But that showed the marks years gone by and miles traveled? Well, it maybe too late for you to inherit but thanks to Emil Erwin, it is not too late for your grandchildren.

Check out Emil Erwin’s Leather Tote. Each piece is handmade to order by Emil Cogdon, the owner, in a shop behind his house just as it might have been over 100 years ago. Using the highest quality materials, an unwavering eye for detail and an uncompromising standard of quality, Cogdon crafts products guaranteed to last a lifetime. (However, anything made this well will surely last several!)

Made of leather from Horween Tannery in Chicago, Illinois; stainless steel buckles and rings; and solid copper hardware with 3 interior pockets.

Available at in black or brown for $800.

L.L. Bean – Manufactured in Brunswick, Maine

beantoteNo list of tote bags made in the US would be credible without this icon. For many, it has come to define what a tote bag is. With its variety of sizes (small to extra-large) and options (short or long handles, open or zippered top and plain or monogrammed), including a new customization feature that allows you to choose the color combination for your new bag, the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote has a well-earned reputation.

Designed to support over 500 pounds, this bag has been made the same way for over 65 years. Interested in learning more about this process? Watch this video.

Made of 24 oz. cotton canvas with double-layer bottoms and handles.

Available at in 9 colors. $17.95 to $30.95 without monogram for the original Open-Top Boat and Tote.

Archival Clothing – Manufactured in Oregon

archivaltoteSimple and sophisticated. The BiColor Tote is a workhorse. It is made of waxed cotton and military-grade cotton webbing, has a double-layer bottom and is available with short (8″) or  long (12″) reinforced straps. This (14″h x 14″ w x 4″ d) bag just gets better with wear. The contrasting color interior and 3 inside pockets make it both fun and practical.

Manufactured to the specifications of the brain-children at the archivalclothing blog, you can rest assured that like the products they write about, Archival’s own tote is field-tested and destined to last a lifetime.

Available at in 4 colors for $90.

Maptote – Manufactured in Brooklyn, New York

maptoteThis bag tells everybody where you’re going, where you’ve been or where you wish you were instead! With country-spanning destinations (Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Brooklyn to name a few) and a few European hot spots thrown in for good measure, you are sure to find a place to remember or dream about.

The Beach Tote (20″ x 16″x 6” with 22” handles) is the largest of the bags in the Maptote line that was born from the passion shared by Rachel Rheingold and Michael Berick for “travel, maps and design.”

Made of 10 oz. cotton canvas with an interior pocket.

Available at For $37 and in 15 city patterns.

Chester Wallace – Manufactured in Portland, Oregon

The perfect around the town bag! The Chester Wallace tote is as comfortable half-full, folded over and slung across your body by its shoulder strap (making it a natural for bike-riders and commuters) as it is brimming with goodies and being hauled about by its handles like a proper tote.

Illustrator and designer Patrick Long re-imagined the classic tool bag and the result is an elegant and functional tote (17.5″h x 7.5″l x 7″w) that he named for his grandfathers – Chester and Wallace.

Made of heavy-weight waxed cotton canvas, with a reinforced bottom, nylon handles and a detachable shoulder strap, and 1 exterior and 2 interior pockets.

Links to retailers at (Unfortunately, you cannot buy directly from the designer at this time.) Tote retails for between $150 – $165.


Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy exploring these great American-made products.

Please let me know if you’ve found any other great totes made in the US or if you are already the lucky owner of one of these great bags!

Happy 1st day of summer.

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