The Pop Tote made its world debut as the gift bag at the 2017 Kennedy Center Mark Twain Awards for Humor honoring David Letterman, but now anyone can buy one – you needn’t be famous or funny. Thank goodness :)
Picnic stuff. Potluck dinner and dessert. Growlers of beer or cider. Kittens. Wait . . . kittens? Knitting. Road trip drinks and snacks. Bug Out Bag or Emotional Bug Out Bag. Art supplies. Extra jackets and gloves. Work stuff or gym stuff. Library books. Toys and games for the kids. A weekend-cabin-getaway’s worth of clothes and books. What will you put in your Pop Tote?
People have been requesting that Tom design a zip-top tote bag since, well, since before the turn of the century. He always thought it was a good idea, but none of his prototypes were substantially better than all the other zip totes out there—there were plenty of those, and if folks wanted them, there they were.
But in the spring of 2017, Tom again applied himself to the task. The challenge of making a open-top bag that then zips securely shut is not perhaps self-evident, as Tom explains:
“The zipper and surrounding fabric—that is, all the material that allows the thing to shut up, also gets in the way when you desire a bag with a big, wide opening. Somewhat of a Catch-22. But sitting at my sewing machine with some scrap fabric and scissors, and finally a bit of time on my hands, I was able to create what I think is a successful compromise.”
By the end of summer Tom was satisfied. More than satisfied, he was stoked. Pop!
The Pop Tote is designed to be carried two ways:
Zipped Open / Snaps Snapped
Unzip the main compartment of the Pop Tote and snap its four snaps: the top edges are secured nicely out of the way so access is unimpaired. In this mode, it’ll serve as an open-top tote similar to our Shop Bags, The Truck, or Swift: a great utility/grocery/shopping bag. In fact, you might find you use it this way most often. It's nice, too, if you need to fit a tall item in the bag that’ll stick out the top, like a tennis racquet or baguette (or both, if you played some tennis and then got hungry – which is so very French).
Snaps Unsnapped / Zipper Shut
Unsnap the four snaps and zip the top shut: if you need to tuck your Pop Tote under the seat in front of you or into the overhead bin, you can do so knowing your stuff is safely contained. This can be nice even if all you’re doing is riding the bus or setting the bag on the passenger seat next to you—sometimes it’s comforting to know your stuff isn’t going to belch out onto the floor when there’s a sudden stop. To make the contents of your bag safe from pilferage and weather, zipping it is often the right thing to do.
You can also zip the Pop Tote shut and snap the snaps, although this is more or less a hack. Doing this causes the top to become somewhat dished or concave. You might like how it looks like this; plus, you can tuck a light sweater or fleece in the space created under the handles. Hack away.
The Pop Tote is available in one size: it's somewhere between the size of a Small and Large Shop Bag, but closer to the Large Shop Bag. Its main compartment is unobstructed and open, accommodating anything you need to carry. It features two O-rings so you have somewhere to secure your stuff, and its Poron© padded handles make it easy to carry either by hand or over your shoulder.
On the left and right exterior sides of the Pop Tote are two zippered pockets; they'll fit phones, phablets, wallets, keys, chocolate bars, and other very important items. Directly behind those two pockets are additional bonus open-top pockets: in goes a Size Small Organizer Pouch, umbrella, small water bottle, sunglasses in a case, etc. All four pockets each have an O-ring so you can tether your Organizer Pouch, Key Strap, or whatever else you might have.
The Pop Tote is available in one fabric — 525 2x2 Ballistic nylon fabric. It's got #8 YKK coil zippers on the main opening and on those end pockets, and the finished seams as you’ve come to expect from TOM BIHN.