About Travel Bags

Most Common Materials Used in Travel Totes

Two people with travel bags
Written by Mira

Travel totes are great for so many situations, and choosing one that fits your needs and likings is trickier than you’d think. It’s not only the colors and the style to check, but also the materials. The days when travel totes were made from canvas are long gone, with many manufacturers turning to all sorts of materials for making travel totes.

What are the primary materials used for travel totes?

You should always begin the selection process by knowing what you need the travel tote for. It’s one thing if you use the bag every single day for carrying your files and heavy books. In this case,  you should look for a model made with strong and durable materials). It’s another situation when you only take it to the beach in the summer. A lightweight and canvas travel tote may work just fine for a day at the beach.

Without any farther ado, let’s take a closer look at the most common materials used for travel totes:

   1. Canvas

Canvas Genuine Leather Trim Travel Tote

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Dating way back in history (13th century), canvas still is one of the most common choices for travel bags (tote including). Traditionally, the canvas was made from hemp, but modern alternatives are made of linen or cotton.

There is plenty of choice within the canvas category, and you can have your pick between water-resistant, waterproof, waxed, printed, dyed, fireproof, or stripe canvas.

Canvas has been in town for so long since it’s durable and reliable, taking the excess wear. It’s not the lightest fabric, but it does protect your essentials quite efficiently.

Should you ever be in need of a protective, robust, full of personality material for your travel tote, canvas needs to be on that shopping list.

   2. Leather

Leather Travel Duffel Bag

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Leather had gone a long way from old times when it used to crack and dry fast. Nowadays, leather is more durable and doesn’t dry that easily, due to the tanning process.

There are several types of leather used for bags, with full-grain being the perfect kind. Top-grain has only its surface buffed, with split and corrected-grain as other common types of leather.

Leather travel totes don’t come cheap, but you’re paying for the durability and elegance that no other material can provide. We all know that leather only gets better in time, developing character throughout the years. It’s why it remains one of the most exquisite and popular choices for travel bags and all sorts of accessories.

   3. PVC

Travel Case, PVC

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For religious or other personal reasons, leather isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. PVC is another resistant material, and it was discovered by accident in the 19th century (go figure!).

PVC is at the moment the third choice within the plastic materials since it’s more resistant and capable than wood and metal. It’s waterproof, which recommends it in bags manufactury. On top of everything else, it’s also cheaper than leather.

High-quality PVC has a beautiful feel and appearance, resembling even to suede. If you’re ever looking for an alternative to a leather travel tote, the PVC tote should be a solid choice for you.

   4. Nylon

Nylon Canvas Duffel for Men, Women 32 Liter

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Developed in the ’30s by DuPont Corporation, nylon slowly became a solid material within the bag industry. It’s durable and adjustable, which is why it’s used in composite materials along carbon fiber and glass. When it’s mixed with them, it becomes just as durable as metals.

When you travel a lot and don’t want to worry about cleaning or taking special care of your travel tote, the nylon tote is your ideal choice. It’s washable and lightweight and comes in myriads of colors.

Unlike other luggage materials, nylon doesn’t fray and repels water, standing out with its durability and ease of maintenance.

   5. Ballistic nylon

Travel Bag, Black, Ballistic Nylon, Metal

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Regardless of what you may think, ballistic nylon doesn’t mean you can only wear it in the military. It was used for the flak jackets back in World War II airmen for protecting them from debris and fragmentation. It was only later in the 80s when ballistic nylon finally made it to the luggage industry.

It’s a tough as nails material, and any travel luggage made with ballistic nylon is going to take a beat. Ballistic nylon has a smooth texture thanks to its two-ply weave, but it’s one of the most robust options to have on a travel bag. It’s both rugged and beautiful against the skin, and you can find many cute travel totes made of ballistic nylon.

   6. Tegris

Created by the Milliken& Company, Tegris hit the bag’s market only a couple of years ago (2012). It’s a fantastic material from the composite materials and the very first one within the tape-like strands of the propylene category.

Polypropylene is another material that stands out with its impressive strength. The process of making the material and the number of layers melted together to give the fantastic finish and durability.

Nascar, for instance, uses more than 100 layers of Tegris in the Aero Splitter bumpers, whereas the U.S Armed Forces use Tegris for protecting their professionals in Humvees.

Tegris has become an exciting luggage material option for anyone looking for more than a hard-case outer. It’s light and flexible, allowing you to pack as much as you want. Its flexibility makes it perform when entirely packed even better, while its exterior becomes more rigid. Tegris can also be dyed in unusual and intriguing colors, which only seal the deal when buying.

What to remember when selecting your travel tote?

Now that you know a thing or two about the materials you can find, you should proceed with your selection process.

Here are some aspects to take into consideration while shopping for a travel tote:

   1. Durability

You want your travel tote to take the weight of your luggage and the excess wear of traveling. Look for nylon and Oxford cloth, as they ensure robust and tear-resistant build, without adding unnecessary weight to the bag. Waterproofness or some water-resistance are also useful features to have on a travel tote.

   2. Safety

Many travel totes come with sophisticated anti-theft features that protect your essentials. Your travel tote may not come with a zipper or closure system, but you can still protect the essentials inside. Some hidden pockets and anti-slash material on the travel tote may work when traveling. RFID-blocking technology is going to reduce the risk of a pickpocket. An RFID-reader from electronically stealing essential personal information is a great feature to have on any bag not only on your travel tote.