As I was getting ready to travel, I looked and looked for a lightweight, ripstop nylon handbag that would take very little room in my backpack, yet be there for me whenever I stayed put in a town overnight and wanted a nice handbag to carry for the day or evening.
I didn’t find that bag. I had to leave without one.
I regretted it every day. (Yes, every day.)
I was sorry I didn’t find my dream bag — because I wanted it not only for travel but for every day. The fact is, I was looking for that bag for my everyday life in Los Angeles long before I decided to travel. I’d had a light one, although plain looking, a few years back but it finally tore.
And then, upon my return, at Natural Products Expo West in March of 2013, I was lucky enough to come upon a booth full of great looking, light-weight bags! At first, I only saw the cross body bag that I had wanted for things like shopping as it would do as a daily handbag. But then I was shown what they call the Hobo bag. In my opinion, this is a misnomer, but since ChicoBags does everything else so well, I won’t begrudge them a name.
(NOTE: as you read this, now, know that 3 years later, my ChicoBags were still going strong.)
Below, you’ll find my other updates.
The ChicoBag Hobo…
is now my EVERYDAY handbag.
Why I love my ChicoBag handbag:
- It doesn’t add weight to my shoulders. We women carry way too much around on our shoulders and it’s not healthy.
- It is stylish and not gaudy (unless you dislike the green, blue, or purple colors it comes in so far).
- I like the look and feel of the fabric and its subtle pattern. It doesn’t feel like plastic.
- The decorative gathering on the side is more than decor. It brilliantly pulls down, expanding the bag’s height.
- It has an outside compartment that is easy to use, yet the pocket’s shape teamed with a hidden magnet help keep my items inside. If you look at this photo very closely, you can see the line that is the top edge of that pocket. Of course, being a tech author, I checked to make sure the magnet wouldn’t hard an iPhone, iPod, mobile phone, etc.
- The bag folds into itself for ease when traveling as shown by the blue bag here — but when the bag is unfolded, the carry sack actually becomes an inside pocket that zips closed to hold your stuff!
- It cleans easily.
When I forgot I had two packets of butter in my outside pocket for two days and it melted, I was able to easily wipe it down and get back to using it. How perfect for travel!
- I’m not certain, but I’m thinking that being of recycled plastic, it will do a good job of protecting my stuff from rain, lawns being watered, or over-zealous fountains on windy days.
- It is a product ChicoBags calls rePETe™ — made from recycled materials, mainly 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. A printed materials list appears on the inside of each bag and the backside of each pouch so you know exactly what your bag is made of.
2019 Update: This bag is still not back. Sadly, it’s just gone from their line.
I have a few of their other bags as well:
- Travel Pack rePETe™ — because although I decided that on this trip I didn’t want to be a “backpacker” and as an adult, I did not want to be carrying a day pack, I often missed the convenience of tossing my heavy daily load on my back. And, of course, this one weighs virtually nothing, folds into itself for travel, and can handle a lot. In the first hours I had it, I weighed it down FULL of glass beverage bottles.
- Sidekick Cross Body — because I want one to carry my clothing and stuff around a hostel or hotel room, to carry groceries, and as an extra bag every day. But I want my bags over my shoulders, not pulling my wrists and requiring my hands.
- Bottle Sling rePETe™ — because I know what it is like to walk miles in the heat having to carry a stupid water bottle.
- Snack Time rePETe™ — for the same reason I love my Repac bags and use them daily, even when not traveling.
I will write about them more. And, of course, I have to let you all know how well each of these products holds up, so you know what to expect as you travel.
Original Update: I used the Hobo bag every day for over a year! Now I use it whenever I need a handbag. It is still in my backpack, and when I pack a smaller bag for side-trips, it comes with me as well. And that smaller bag I pack? As you may have guessed, that would be the day pack! Yes, they are all doing well.
Further update: It’s now March 10, 2016 — 3 years later — and this handbag, as well as my other ChicoBags, are still great! (Except my Sidekick which was stolen in 2015 while in perfect condition.)
And another: February 2017 and all my ChicoBags are still terrific. That’s a lot of use and they really held up! Recently the company had a 25% off sale so I bought this same handbag and a new daypack, as well as a new Sidekick. I loved these so much that I wanted new ones for my next years of travel. The Hobo came out with a longer should strap and a black/green bag I preferred. The TravelPack design remained the same but I like the new colors. Yes, I bought new ones. The Hobo remains my go-to, must-have handbag! The TravelPack for so much else.