boat and tote

The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote is an American beach favorite–there is no doubt about it. It is big, durable, customizable, even stands up on its own, unlike its floppy competitors, and yet, I have a beef with the Boat and Tote. There are no pockets! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cursed my beloved bag as I dug deep through a heap of towels, spare shorts, flip-flops and sunscreen, unable to find my keys and phone.

Then it occurred to me to enlist the aid of another old workhorse– the fanny pack. With its strap woven through one tote handle, the pack stays put, functioning as a much-needed interior pocket without looking too shabby from the outside. If you did not happen to save your fanny pack from the ‘80s, fret not. I just saw one by RVCA that you can buy here, though it’s so cute you might want to hang it on the outside of your tote.

Michelle Madden began writing while working as a researcher, first in the field of chemistry, and later in the entertainment business, on commercials and films such as “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.”  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 4.5-year-old son.


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Comments (4)


  1. Posted by: linda

    lands end has inside pockets and you could get one for 40% right now. i have both lands end and llbean. almost no difference.

  2. Posted by: Michelle

    Great suggestion, Linda! I’ll definitely look there when my old Boat and Tote goes out to pasture! Best, Michelle

  3. Posted by: Kristin

    You can tack or even safety pin a canvas tool belt to the inside of the bag. Lots of pockets!

  4. Posted by: Leila

    Great post! Gotta love L.L. Bean! We’ll definitely be grabbing one (ok, maybe a few..) of these for when we travel to aruba! Thank you MomFilter :)

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