Despite lacking a top clasp to prevent items from spilling out, the Notabag Original is a well-designed packable tote that converts easily into a backpack.
- Extremely lightweight and easy to pack away
- Quick to transition between tote and backpack mode
- Comfortable to carry with a reasonable amount of gear stowed
- Items poke into you in backpack carry mode
- No padding or aeration for increased carry comfort
- Material takes a while to dry
- Weight (oz)3.9 oz (110.6 g)
- Dimensions17.7 in x 25.6 in x .5 in (45 x 65 x 1.3 cm)Expands as you add gear | 5″ x 6″ pouch
- Notable MaterialsCotton, Ripstop Nylon
- Manufacturing CountryChina
- Warranty Information
- Notabag Shipping & Returns
When we first started looking into the Notabag Original, we mistook it for a typical reusable bag. Don’t get us wrong, we adore nano bags, but what else is there to be done with such a basic style? For instance, we adore the Nanobag Reusable Shopping Bag for its ease of use and incredibly compact design. We found out that the Notabag has won numerous accolades for its creative design after doing more research on it, so it’s safe to assume that we’re interested in what’s going on. Or is there something unusual to behold, or is it simply another nano bag? Let’s investigate!
A 63% cotton, 37% nylon ripstop blend is used as the main material for the tote. It is some of the softest ripstop we’ve encountered and seems softer than comparable packable bags we have on hand. It has a mood akin to that of your favorite, finely worn-in jacket, so you only wear it on the most special occasions. Durability is not an issue in this case because the ripstop does a good job of keeping the tote intact. We also have water resistance, which is useful if it starts to rain while you’re making your way back to the hotel or Airbnb.
The tote has two handles that also operate as shoulder straps. It’s a similar system as the Cotopaxi Taal Convertible Tote, though we feel that it’s easier to use than its colorful sibling.
In the manner of a regular shopping bag, one side of the straps is fastened to the top side of the bag. The other end extends to the bottom of the bag and fits through a reinforced slit on the top of the tote. Grab the top handles and head out with it when you want to use it as a supermarket bag. Wear the excess material as shoulder straps if you choose to use the bag as a backpack by slipping the straps through the loops.
The straps are wide enough to help spread the weight of the bag across your shoulder(s) or hand, despite the lack of padding or aeration on any part of them (s). It can be uncomfortable wherever the strap rests if the tote is fully packed.
When it comes to carrying it as a tote, everything works as you would expect it to. The materials are lightweight, so if you pack a lot inside, expect to feel the weight in the cracks of your hand or on the bone of your shoulder.
In backpack mode, things are more dependent on what you stow. There’s no structure to the bag’s materials, so whatever you put inside becomes the back panel. The bag is comfortable if you have flat or cushioned items, like a notebook or sweatshirt. If you opt for oblong or hard things, like apples or potatoes, you will feel them digging into your back. You probably won’t be loading a whole bushel of apples or a mess of potatoes into your tote, but it’s a good way to illustrate what kinds of items won’t do so well here. If you will be using your Notabag for that purpose, more power to you!
Again, the padding in this tote isn’t meant to be excessive. It’s for those times when you’re in a bind and require a little bit more room than your main pack can provide. We only expected it to operate, and it does; we weren’t expecting to find a rear panel or aeration here.
Inside The Tote
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Regarding the interior of this tote, nothing is happening at all. It is a sizable open space devoid of any internal order, loops, circles, or secret spaces. Just a bag, really. As a result, you can pack it creatively to make sure everything fits comfortably or, if you’re in a hurry, just throw everything inside and hit the dusty route.
You can swiftly access the top slip while carrying it as a tote so that you can get your items in and out. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the top doesn’t completely seal when you convert it to a backpack. Only the shoulder straps keep it closed on the sides because there is no other method to fasten it. Anyone may reach inside easily and take whatever you’ve hidden there. In crowded tourist destinations or locations where pickpockets are known to operate, this is not a good appearance. You wouldn’t want to waste any of your priceless apples or potatoes, after all!
Overall, we dig using this tote. Backpack mode might not be perfect, but it operates better than other attempts we’ve seen here at Pack Hacker. The materials feel premium, which makes the bag look more versatile than simpler models. If you like to be prepared for sporadic trips and journeys, the Notabag is for you!
- Extremely lightweight materials and an attached stuff sack make it an ideal travel companion
- The ripstop feels durable even though its extremely thin
- We’re curious to see how the different carry styles affect loading and hauling gear
2 Weeks of Use
- The materials have held up without issue
- Switching from tote to backpack mode is quick and easy
- Carry comfort is dramatically dependent on the gear you have stowed inside