Travel bags are always a tough call for me since I need the perfect combination of ease and utility, but also a dash of cool. For my trip to Montreal last month I decided to give the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote Bag 26L a shot.

Our vacation agenda included both nice restaurant dates, and a ton of walking around the city and hiking to the very top of Mount Royal so I knew I need a bag that could handle double duty. I ended up taking a trip down to the SoHo Patagonia one day and picking up this bag that I had first read about in I Want to Be Her. The helpful Patagonia employee showed me how to convert the bag from tote to backpack, and the extra hidden pockets for hiding the extra straps away.

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L. Wearing the bag as a backpack for a hike to the top of Mount Royal, R. Switched over to a tote bag for an evening out

The bag was easy to convert back and forth, and I also give it bonus points for all the extra pockets. For a day hike, the side pockets help my water bottle and phone for easy access, with plenty of room in the center of the bag for maps, snacks, and scarves. Switched over to a tote, the bag had extra pockets for all the important things, and the plain black kept it simple enough to both carry to a bar or restaurant.

The trade in for the convenience of the lightweight ripstop fabric is the the bag is pretty unsturdy and tends to flop around when you put it down. The material also has a polyurethane coating which did come in handy in the rain/snow, however it did give the bag a shiny, crinkly appearance that I couldn’t quite get used to. But overall I did love being able to just flip to a backpack when needed, then back to a cute tote bag in seconds flat. This is a bag that I hope will come with me on many future adventures.

What’s your best traveling bag?