Well, ladies, it’s come time for me to say goodbye to my beloved Lole Lily travel tote. This amazing bag has flown across the continent (and ocean) more times than I can count over the last three-and-a-half years. Though I’m saying goodbye to her, don’t take it as an un-recommendation. I’ve loved my Lole Lily as much as (and probably more than) any travel tote I’ve owned. But after the abuse I’ve put her through, she was looking a bit worse for wear and needed to be relegated to the back of my closet.
I’ll confess that although I’ve loved that Lily tote, I’ve had a wandering eye. I’ve been OBSESSED with the more vertically shaped bags as of late, so I set out to find one that would meet my “personal item” checklist while still being stylish.
It took a bit of searching, but after one trip in the bag (pun intended), I can say that I hit the travel tote jackpot with the Sherpani Women’s Sojourn Tote ($99 at REI).
What I loved about this bag:
- Style. Modern travel totes don’t get much better looking than this. I love the multi-toned exterior that adds flair while still being able to pass for a business bag.
- Spacious. This sleek little lady is way more spacious that I thought she’d be. Despite her slim profile, she holds a ton. In fact, I was able to fit nearly everything I usually take in my former tote, which was larger. The specific dimensions are 15.5 x 11 x 5 inches.
- Organization. While this bag doesn’t have as many pockets as my Lole Lily, I had no trouble staying organized throughout the trip. With a laptop compartment that easily fit my 13” MacBook, folder and notebook, to the interior slip pockets that held essential items like lipstick, biz cards, mobile WiFi device, pens and more, the inside of the Sherpani Sojourn was more than ample for my needs. The small outside zip pocket on the front was big enough to hold my two phones, and I stashed my mobile charger and phone cord in the slip pocket that covers the back (where you’d normally stash the backpack straps if you didn’t want them connected. I’ll be a honest that I was a little concerned about there not being a zipper at the top of that pocket, but with the backpack straps out, the pocket was secure enough that my stuff never fell out.
- Functional for travel. My bags tend to get heavy, so it’s essential that I have multiple ways to carry them. This lady can be held by her (admittedly short) handles, worn as a backpack, or slung from your shoulder (or messenger-style). She also has a small back pocket that unzips at the bottom to slide over a telescoping suitcase handle. The outside side pockets held a water bottle and my glasses just fine.
What I didn’t love:
Truly, there’s not much to NOT love about this bag at this point. Perhaps I’m in the honeymoon phase with it, but she was simply awesome on her first trip.
- One more zipper. I would maybe want one more zip pocket somewhere, but as noted above, I had no issues with the slip pockets (and my bag was upright and on its side throughout the trip). Unless you plan to volley your bag, this shouldn’t present an issue.
- No key fob (but quick fix).Otherwise, I loved that my Lily had a key fob built in. I typically stash my keys at the bottom of my bag when I travel, as you don’t need to access them on trips. But as soon as I get back, it was always easy to just grab the fob leash and pull them out. With the Sherpani Sojourn tote, it was easy enough to come up with a solution, given that there’s an inside clip and a security cord that comes with the bag that I just attached and turned into a custom fob. Worked like a charm!
The manufacturer description lists a host of features that will probably be important to some (but honestly weren’t critical decision-makers for me) like an anti-theft locking slider, RFID-protected pocket, anti-slash mesh bottom, vegan leather details, zipper lock systems, etc.
Time will tell if all the seams and straps hold up to my overpacking ways. Either way, I’ll definitely let you guys know. Until then, know that I 100% recommend this bag if you’re looking for a sleek, stylish travel tote that’s filled to the brim with function.
(And no – I did not receive this bag for free and am not writing this at the request of any company mentioned above. I just really needed a new tote and wanted to tell y’all about it.)