I have spent the last two months toting around the Hampton's Women's Tote Bag from Utah-based OGIO International. I had not viewed their video before receipt, so was surprised at its hefty size when it arrived. As it turned out the size was not a problem because I had to fly to Florida twice and used it as my personal item–absolutely stuffed to the gills. OGIO lists the Hampton's capacity as 1000 cubic inches and its dimensions as 15"high by 16.5" wide and 4" deep, weighing in at 1.6 lbs, but it felt lighter to me.
This 900D Polyester button bedecked tote includes a variety of pockets. The healthy-sized main compartment includes a velcro-tabbed pocket with fleece lining for your 11" to 15" laptop. There's extra padding on both sides of the pocket, plus the bottom is padded, so you have protection against minor kicks and drops. As you can see in the photo below, the outside zippered area fits a variety of smaller items in specialized pockets, including space for an iPad or another tablet. My iPad in its leather Sena case even fit in the pocket, but I couldn't zip the pocket all the way. Thankfully OGIO had the foresight to install two zippers, so I could close each side of the pocket and leave just the top open. The Hampton fit everything I needed to carry and more.
Little square tabs with icons on them help you identify which pocket fits what. The outside pocket includes an iPad, a jewelry and pen tab. These cute details add to the bag's appeal. (You can see the tab just above the pens in the photo above.)
The inside of the Hampton also has two pockets on the bag's sides, one of which sports a charger tab. Neither is big enough for a water bottle, even though that's what is stated on the site; plus I'm never comfortable putting a bottle of liquid where it can drip onto an electronic device. A medium sized fleece-lined zippered pocket can be used for your iPhone or iPod.
You can order the bag in Black, Emerald (looks more like a clover color), Terra (a brownish gray), Red, Tide (a dark aqua), or Yellow. I tested a Tide one and received a few compliments on the color of the bag from strangers.
All the bags have a polka dotted lining, even though that is not what OGIO shows on their product page photographs. Polka dots are not exactly fashionable these days, but the fabric has a metallic finish which reflects light. This helps you find things near the bottom of the bag. As one user noted on the site, the dots give it a more sporty look instead of a professional look.
The Good Bits
- Heavy metal zipper tabs, but the actual zipper is plastic, not metal.
- Even though the handle has no special padding, it was very comfortable on my shoulder. In one airport, I think I walked almost a mile from disembarking to the baggage claim. Even with a good 15lbs of content the bag did not dig into my shoulder at all, that was a pleasant surprise.
- I crammed the full bag under the airline seat(s) in front of me on four flights and the bag still looks as good as the day I took off the wrapper.
- The material seems to shed dirt.
- Felt liners in pockets made for electronic equipment.
The Areas That Need Improvement
- The cloth zipper pulls are simply knotted and one of them fell off the first day I used the bag.
- The three tab closure pockets on the outside of the bag do not close securely. The longest one has the fleece lining, suitable for a small iOS device, but the device isn't secured. The two smaller pockets on the other side of the bag only seem suitable for business cards.
- I wish Ogio had made made one of the outside pockets large enough to hold a water bottle, which would have been more useful.
- The decorative bow/belt that circles the top of the bag is only for show. It would be showy and useful if it was attached so that the belt could be used to slide the bag onto a suitcase handle for easy rolling around an airport.
- The bottom is padded, but not reinforced in such a way as to make the bag stand upright. It fell over every time I put it down, although I suspect weight distribution impacts this issue.
Is the Hampton's Women's Tote Bag worth the $70 price tag?
Even with the Hampton's minor design issues, the bag is well-made. The seams are all reinforced and no stray threads appeared on the bag itself. The belt stitching is coming undone, but the belt is easy to remove. I found the bag for a slightly lower price on a number of sites, and I think it's definitely worth the $62 price tag, which is the lowest I found. The lifetime warranty adds that extra bit of confidence to your purchase also.
It is always a gamble buying any kind of carry bag or purse for your special friend, because of individual tastes in bags. I do not think I would have picked it for myself on first look, but after using it, I am impressed with its functionality, especially as an airline personal carry-on. The Hampton's Women's Tote is more comfortable for me to carry than computer bags I have with specially padded shoulder straps. So, add a little style to your computer-using friend's life and give it a go!