Super light but doesn’t sacrifice comfort: the padded handles, dare we say, rock.
"Can you please, please, please make a reusable grocery bag? Yes, I already have ones that I've been given for free or bought for cheap at the store. The trouble is that the thin straps dig into my hands and shoulders and the bags themselves wear out pretty quickly. I want a Tom Bihn grocery bag." – K.M.
How could we refuse?
We present to you the Shop Bag. What you'll notice first is that the Shop Bag has comfortable, PORON® padded handles that will never break down or lose their padding — no matter how many trips you take to the store. These padded handles prevent that awful hand-slicing experience of the traditional non-padded fabric handles, and they're extra comfortable on your shoulder. The handles have been designed to be an ideal length that will allow most folks to wear the bag over their shoulder or carry it in their hand. The handle length of the Large Shop Bag is 26" / 660 mm and the handle length of the Small Shop bag is 19.5" / 495 mm.
The Shop Bag had to be made sturdy enough to hold beer, wine, canned goods, and other heavy items, but the bag itself needed to be light — something you'd want to carry with you everywhere just in case you were stopping by the store. That's why we make the bag out of our ultralight 200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric (made in Japan). The Small Shop Bag weighs 5 oz and the Large Shop Bag weighs 7 oz. Dyneema®/nylon is used for ballistic vests, climbing equipment, and high-performance sails — it's tough stuff, but it's also extremely light in weight. Because the Dyneema®/nylon fabric lacks the stiffness of our other heavier-weight fabrics, we've piped the seams with a stiff plastic material (the material used on hat brims; we cover it with 400 denier pack cloth), which gives the Shop Bag enough body to stand up while you are filling it. The structure the piping gives the Shop Bag also keeps the bag looking smart.
The Shop Bag is available in two sizes: Small (11" x 10.25" x 6") and Large (13.25" x 12.5" x 7.25"). The Small size is designed to be roughly the size of a plastic grocery shopping bag. The Large size can fit two dozen-egg cartons side-by-side in the bottom of the bag, and it's closer to the size of the traditional paper grocery store bag with handles. The inside of the Shop Bag has two deep, open-top pockets designed for items like wine or water bottles. The pockets are contoured and pleated so they have volume enough for even a 24 fl oz mineral water bottle, and also so that, if you want to carry the Shop Bag inside your larger bag and conserve space, you can fold the Shop Bag itself into one of these open-top pockets, reducing the overall size of the Small Shop Bag to 6" x 7" and the Large Shop Bag to 8" x 9".
One fully loaded Shop Bag in size Small can fit: a large head of lettuce, two medium apples, two canned goods, box of pasta, box of crackers, 12 oz coffee bag, large loaf of bread, Toblerone candy bar, 25 fl oz mineral water, 24 fl oz beer, and a pint of ice cream inside a Stuff Sack.
The Shop Bag is easy to clean — dirt is discouraged from adhering to it and water will roll right off. You probably won't need to wash it that often, but if you do, put it in the kitchen sink with a little bit of mild dish soap. Rinse it out, shake off the excess water, and hang it up (or on a doorknob) to dry.
For extra organization, one can add a Stuff Sack to separate hot or cold foods (like deli soup or ice cream) or toiletries (like soap) from the other items in the Shop Bag. You'd use the Stuff Sack instead of the small plastic sack they would normally give you in the grocery store — saving yet another plastic bag.
Clear Organizer Pouches and the Clear Organizer Wallet are additional optional accessories. Clip the Clear Organizer Wallet to one of the two O-rings inside the bag and use it to store your grocery store "club cards" (that way you'll never forget them). The various sizes of Clear Organizer Pouches are a smart way to store shopping lists, recipes, coupons, or other small items.