TOTE IT

A brief history of my L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Collection

My first L.L. Bean Boat and Tote was given to me on my 16th birthday. It has pink handles and bottom and my monogram in cursive. There is a pink stain on the bottom from a leaky, high school highlighter. This is a long handled tote so I used it as a hand bag straight through college. 

My second and third L.L. Bean Boat and Totes were an early on-line purchase. I ordered identical, extra-large totes with red trim. I used both as laundry hampers, one for whites and one for darks. They were easily carried down to the basement of my apartment building where the laundry room was. I remember the feeling of satisfaction I would get from placing my neatly folded clothing back in the totes. 

My fourth L.L. Bean Boat and Tote was the medium size with apple green details. I monogrammed this one with block letters. This was the final time I had anything monogrammed with my maiden name initials. I love this tote even more because of this. For well over a decade, I used this as my lunch tote and the interior tells the story. A curry stain from leftover Indian food. A splash of red wine from The Philharmonic in the Park picnic. Soy sauce that leaked out of a Tupperware container. 

My fifth L.L. Bean Boat and Tote has navy details and our full last name in block letters. It was the first item I had monogrammed after getting married. This tote is a permanent fixture in our front hall - it is either coming or going - and full of miscellaneous things we transport back and forth to Long Island. For example it currently has laundry detergent, golf balls, dog treats and a bottle of peppercorns. 

My sixth L.L. Bean Boat and Tote is really not mine. It has royal blue handles and bottom and the name BOOMER embroidered in orange. This was the first tote I ordered for a pet and also the first time I realized you could mix and match colors. Boomer is our Basset Hound and we send his tote with him when he goes to camp when we travel. 

Over the years I have gifted more totes than I can count. When my niece was born I got her the smallest one with her name on it. As she grows, I add to her collection. 

I got my friend Brooke the entire collection, back when they made them with black details. She uses them as luggage and whenever she comes to visit I know her B and T's are coming too. 

My husband has a tote for his golf gear. We have another one that is full to the brim with old golf balls. We use it as a door stop. 

He has one that goes to his office that has the words "spread sheets" embroidered on it. And another that simply says "my stuff".

For Christmas, I gave my mother a zippered Boat and Tote with long handles that she can use when she takes to the market. She has already inquired about adding to the collection.

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We search for the most functional and distressed, vintage L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bags. We like the workhorses that have travelled far and have stories to tell. We sanitize and retool them giving each tote unique flair. No two will ever be alike. 

Boat and Tote bags were originally designed to carry ice blocks. Sturdy and strong, they have grown to be an American icon. We are thrilled to give these beloved totes a second life.