Friday, June 29, 2018

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Questions

Size Medium with Long Handles, Large with Regular Handles - Photos by Salt Water New England

Two questions from readers:

1.  "I am recently married and purchasing our family's first LL Bean tote. We want to use it as a beach / lake bag, but I'm not sure what size to get. Large or x-large? Regular or long handles? 

Can you offer any advice?"



Small with Regular Handles
2.  "I was wondering what size Bean tote is preferred to use as a handbag.  I like the look of the small size but is it too small?  Also zip top or open?  Too bad they don't offer the pretty pinks in the small anymore."

Extra-Large with Regular Handles

Small, Regular Handles, Open-Top

20 comments:

  1. I will tackle #1.

    I have several of these bags in XL, L and M.

    The mediums are mainly used by my son for his various treasures, overnights at friends, transporting books or bottles of wine (us, not my son)etc.

    The Larges are the least used for some reason. Occasionally, they are put into service for shoes, a quick shopping trip or recycling.

    The XL are our workhorses. For a day on the beach, I use a XL with regular handles for three beach towels, books, water, etc. For me, the long handles on an XL would new too long. With a heavier bag, I rather use my hand to carry it.

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  2. I use the L and XL with long handles and zip top for luggage. It is amazing how much stuff I can fit in the XL.

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  3. #1 - X-large, long handles, with zipper. Leaves your hands free.
    #2 - Medium, long handles, zip top. You’ll think you’ll want short handles, until you transition it into doing other jobs. Then you’ll wish for the long handles.

    Short handled open-topped Bean bags are good for groceries, moving, firewood, ice, etc.

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  4. 1. Can't lose with XL - never know what else you will want to throw in. Regular handles. I've found the zip is nice but not necessary. Mine are all open top for ease of access and no extra fabric bulk. 2. Small is handbag size; medium would be more of a "satchel" size - either is adequate; depends how much you want (or need) to carry. Zip top a must if you put your bag on the passenger seat next to you in the car - one brake and your keys, wallet, pen, lip balm etc. will be taking a little journey of their own! LL Bean totes redeem all other sins - love the "made by" card.

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  5. I'd go with zip-top and long handles when ever possible.

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  6. I have a few XL's in the trunk for beach, groceries, etc. with open top, regular handles. During the summer months, I also carry the small handbag size (open top so I can toss things into) that you can customize. Usually, it's all navy with an off-white monogram. It's really a super year-round bag and gets a lot of use. Also have an XL with zip top for weekend travel. All well-constructed and very pleased with.

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  7. The mediums work best for grocery shopping. Also If They are zippered you get about 15% more volume when you pull up the flaps. I find the XLs are great for the Farm Market but can become quite heavy if you are buying cans and bottles.

    I try to never put raw meat in them. I bought a medium with long straps in green to use in my convertible. I always seem to need a bag for my glasses, phone and a sweater with me. I can't think of a reason to by an open bag. I have a Filson x Le Chameau bag with a snap closure and things are always falling out.

    David Cooper

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  8. Eventually you will want to have a collection that includes at least one of each size with one zip and one open top. That sounds like a lot of bags, but you'll use them for everything. If you are only going to buy one, for now, go with medium or large zip top. I have 5 medium open top and one medium zip top. I wish I had bought more with the zip top because I find I use it more than the others--never worry about things falling out. And you don't have to zip...

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  9. +1 for XL as a beach bag. We use one for a family of four. Size L bags get used for groceries and capturing odds and ends in car trunks.

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  10. 1. Large, short handles, zip top
    2. Small, long handles, zip top

    Just all depends on how much you want to carry around.

    I have several kinds and I definitely prefer the zipped. And if you have things that stick up above the top, you can always leave it unzipped.

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  11. We use the XL zip top with regular handles as a beach bag for our family of four.

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  12. I have and use all sizes, all configurations, and all useful in more ways than you can imagine.

    I found that the medium, short handle is perfect for transporting a large number of files for work, if full will stand up for easy search and retrieval - no more brief cases for me.

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  13. BTW, have just been on their site and it is currently not possible to purchase a zip top with long handles--any size or color. They said they will be offering this combination in the fall.

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    Replies
    1. I use the medium as a spring/summer/holiday handbag, zip top so no worries about wallet, etc. The short straps can fit on your shoulder, but it's not an easy shoulder fit.

      For the beach, the large works for: two fleece blankets, two large towels, water shoes, multiple tubes of sunblock. Never needed the XL, not the least of which b/c the more you can carry, the heavier it gets...

      The long straps are easier, but the short straps have the more iconic look. Long works fine for the large, but to my eye they look off-proportion for the smaller sizes—but, really, it's just a matter of preference, style and degree of pragmatism.

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  14. I love the bags with the imaginative "monograms" that appeared here several years ago. Bags with funny words like-like Yippee! Gadzooks! Rut-row! Or phrases like that. So much more amusing than regular monograms.

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  15. For your first purchase, go with medium, zip top. See how often you use it and for what purposes. Then make second, third, forth, etc. purchases based on that. Be confident that it is impossible to go wrong with any choice you make!

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  16. My “workhorse” is my medium, regular handle. I have a large with long handles that has served as my carry-on for flights, as well as for bigger loads. Now that we’re in a road-trip phase, DH and I use our large Bean bags as luggage for short trips. Even our dogs have their own Bean Bag, embroidered with a black Lab (in honor of our first Labrador) and monogrammed with The Girls ( should we ever get a male, I don’t know what we’ll do). It’s perfect for their travel gear: leashes, water and food bowls, blankets, etc.

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    Replies
    1. You can remove monograms with a seam ripper and have them re-monogrammed. That's what they suggest at the Outlet :)

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  17. Some men (not me) feel insecure about carrying a tote bag in public because they think they look like a women's handbag since many women use them as such. I think large and extra large would less likely to bring out such insecurity.

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  18. I use a large more than an extra large as I live in a big city and the extra bulk of the latter can be unwieldly at times.

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