Super light but doesn’t sacrifice comfort: the padded handles, dare we say, rock. Folds up small. Zips securely at the top.
Here are some key facts about the Small Zip-Top Shop Bag. Read below for the full scoop.
Way back when, we received this request: “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? The bag that Tom designed as a result — the Original Shop Bag — has been one of our most popular designs for the last decade. People use the Original Shop Bag as a lunch bag, personal carry-on bag, every day carry tote, all around hauler, and, yes, as a reusable grocery bag.
Over the years, we received feedback from folks who asked if we could add a zipper closure to the Original Shop Bag—particularly from those who used it as a personal carry-on bag, everyday carry tote, or lunch bag that would get stuffed into a locker or cubby. Darcy, who often carries an Original Small Shop Bag as her EDC, finally convinced Tom and Nik to tackle the project of adding a zipper to the Shop Bag.
Seems simple enough, right? Just add a zipper to an open-top tote bag so you can zip it shut. However, a zipper has a beginning and an ending that must be engineered into the design. If that’s not carefully thought out, the zipper can constrict the size and utility of the very opening you’re trying to close.
We think we’ve managed to nuance these conflicting realities quite well in our Zip-Top Shop Bags. The zipper is longer than necessary, and thus does not reduce the effective size of the opening. The fabric we added to the top of the bag on either side of the zipper (which allows you to close the bag even when it's chock-full) graciously drops away from the opening when unzipped, and in doing so doesn’t encumber access to your stuff. And there you have it.
One of the things you’ll notice first about the Zip-Top Shop Bag is that it has comfortable, PORON® padded handles that will never break down or lose their padding. These padded handles prevent that awful hand-slicing experience of 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.
It’s a sturdy enough tote to hold beer, wine, canned goods, and other heavy items, but we wanted the bag itself to be light—something you can 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 Halcyon ripstop fabric (made in Japan). Even though it's light in weight, it's also a tough fabric. Because the Halcyon fabric lacks the stiffness of our other heavier-weight fabrics, we've piped the seams with the same stiff plastic material that's used on hat brims, and which we cover with 400 denier pack cloth. This gives the Zip-Top Shop Bag enough body to stand up while you are filling it, and the structure the piping provides also keeps the bag looking smart.
The inside of the Small Zip-Top Shop Bag has two deep, open-top pockets designed for items like bottles of wine or juice. The pockets are contoured and pleated so they have volume enough for even a 24 fluid ounce mineral water bottle.
The Zip-Top Shop Bags are easy to clean—they resist dirt and water rolls 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 on a clothesline or over a doorknob to dry.