Canvas Tote Bags

Canvas Tote bag with Fendi logo
Fendi Printed Coated Canvas Tote. Photo courtesy of <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>

Canvas tote bags are a classic and economical choice with simple style.

Basics of the Canvas Tote

Canvas is a sturdy cotton material. While plain, it is prized for its strength and versatility.

Large canvas totes with a flat bottom are sometimes called boat totes, a style made famous by L.L.Bean. The flat bottom provides stability and additional storage space.

Shape and Size

Canvas bags are usually rectangular in shape. The smallest designs are about the size of a notebook, while the biggest totes can be the size of an overnight bag. The strap length on most canvas bags makes them ideal for throwing over your shoulder.

Color and Style

Canvas totes are available in a variety of colors. Most bags are a single color, with contrasting handles. However, patterns are also available, both stylish and whimsical.


Canvas can be washed easily in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Avoid tossing your bag in the dryer unless the care instructions specifically say you can, as it may shrink.


The handles can make a huge difference in the quality and style of your bag. Since the handles are a crucial part of your tote, here are a few tips on what to look for:

  • Many handles are made of the same canvas as the rest of the tote bag. Look for reinforced canvas for extra durability.
  • Webbing is also a common strap material. It is economical and strong, but it can look cheap.
  • Some high-end designs may have leather straps for added strength. However, handles are only as strong as the bag they're attached to, so make sure you also take the quality of stitching and the thickness of the canvas into consideration.

While most canvas bags are open on top, a zipper or snap can help keep your possessions from falling out while providing extra security if you use it as a purse. Look for zippered pouches and key fobs for easy organizing.

Uses for Canvas Tote Bags

The canvas tote bag is a versatile product, suitable for a variety of uses.

For Promotions

A canvas bag provides a great chance to get your name in front of customers. Canvas tote bags are especially popular at trade shows where people will be gathering piles of freebies. They're going to need something for carrying all that free stuff - why not have your company's name on it?

For a Cause

Whether you're joining the local friends of the library group, or donating to public television, canvas totes may be provided as an incentive to part with your money.

For the Environment

Eco-conscious consumers turn to canvas shopping totes as a reusable alternative to paper and plastic. They're durable, flexible, and easily washable if the meat leaks or the ice cream thaws.

For Crafting

Canvas tote bags serve as a blank slate for any crafting project your heart desires. Paint it, embellish it, embroider it, or bejewel it. Large canvas bags also make great carriers for craft supplies, especially fabric and yarn craft. A large bag can hold all your materials and the unfinished projects without worries of tangling and snagging.

For Work

Long known as the carrying case of choice for teachers, a canvas bag can be helpful to anyone who has to transport books and materials to and from work. However, a casual bag fits in better in some professions than others. Think about the image you wish to project at the office before turning in your leather briefcase for a canvas tote.

For Convenience

Whether you're going to the gym, taking the baby for a walk, or going away for the weekend, sometimes you just need to carry a lot of stuff without a lot of hassle. A canvas tote provides convenient, easy-to-carry storage.

For the Kids

Canvas bags can be great for kids. They're easily personalized, and they're handy for carrying toys, books, crayons, and other vital supplies. They're cheap enough to be easily replaceable, yet sturdy enough to withstand daily use. They may not be ideal as a school bag, though, because the open top makes it too easy for homework papers to slide out and get forgotten or lost.

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Canvas Tote Bags