The 7 Best Tote Bags for Your Next Grocery Haul

They're more versatile than your average reusable grocery bag.

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Best Tote Bags for Groceries in 2023

Food & Wine / Marcus Millan

Bringing your own bag to the grocery store or farmers market reduces waste, but many reusable bags are on the utilitarian side. If you’re looking to carry a tote that can also function outside of a supermarket run, there are some fantastic options to choose from that are incredibly stylish too. Tote bags come in many styles and sizes, from streamlined nylon versions to more structured canvas models with plenty of pockets. We researched the best tote bags that you can also use for groceries, comparing their features, carrying capabilities, and overall aesthetics before choosing our favorites.

Best Overall

CapaBunga Market Tote

CapaBunga Market Tote


Pros: This tote keeps your groceries organized with multiple storage pockets. It is also equipped with an adjustable long strap to keep your hands free.

Cons: It is not waterproof, so you’ll have to be mindful of spills and damp produce. 

This bag from CapaBunga combines form and function — it’s built like a stylish summer tote but also has interior dividers to hold bottles and other fragile items upright, as well as an external loop to hold a bouquet of flowers and a carabiner for your keys. Use the rest of its space to pack produce, canned goods, and more since this sturdy bag holds up to 35 pounds. It’s made of nearly indestructible canvas and features vegan leather straps that can be adjusted for your comfort. Aside from a run to the grocery store or farmers market, it makes an excellent beach or picnic tote as well. It’s available in a few different colors.

Price at time of publish: $53

  • Material: Cotton canvas, vegan leather
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 11.5 x 13 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: 35 pounds

Best Basket Tote

Medina Mercantile Double Handle Market Basket

Medina Mercantile Double Handle Market Basket


Pros: This basket can stand up on its own and can be carried by either the long or short straps.

Cons: The palm leaves can mildew if left wet, so be sure to dry the basket completely before storing.

A woven market basket like the this one by Medina Mercantile is a dreamy choice for carrying your favorite leafy greens, field-ripened berries, and jars of honey or preserves home from your local farmers market. It’s hand woven in Morocco and features an attractive herringbone pattern, finished with long and short leather straps so you can carry it either way. Since it stands up on its own, you can set it down on the ground while you’re perusing at the market. This basket tote is not only stylish but also very sturdy, so you can load it up with a considerable amount of produce and more. 

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Material: Palm leaves, leather
  • Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 11 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: Not specified

Best French-Style Market Bag

Pillowpia French Market Bag No. 2

Pillowpia French Market Bag No. 2


Pros: Compact and attractive, this netting-style tote expands to just the right size for carrying essential supermarket goods.  

Cons: It doesn’t have any structure to keep items in place, so you may need a separate bag for delicate items like eggs or bread.

It’s said the popular French market bag originated in Normandy in the 19th century, made from the same string netting that fishermen used to haul their daily catch. Today, Pillowpia makes a modern version with the same netted-style tote in a variety of colors, with a wider strap that is more comfortable on the arm or shoulder than the original. Upon arrival, this tote might seem tiny, but it expands to fit a generous amount of produce and other market goods. Since it doesn’t have a flat bottom or any structure, you may need a separate bag for delicate items like eggs or a loaf of bread. Still, it’s a smart, compact choice to keep on hand for smaller shopping trips. Made of 100 percent organic cotton, this low-maitennance bag best can be hand washed and laid flat to dry.

Price at time of publish: $18

  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Dimensions: 26 x 15 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: 35 pounds

Best Canvas

L.L.Bean Large Boat and Tote

L.L.Bean Large Boat and Tote


Pros: This simple canvas bag comes in a variety of sizes and is incredibly sturdy, making it suitable for a heavy grocery haul.

Cons: It doesn’t have a waterproof lining so you’ll have to be mindful of spills, leaks, and damp produce. 

This best-selling classic tote bag from L.L.Bean was initially designed to haul ice “from car to ice chest,” according to the bag’s history, so you should feel confident in its workhorse capabilities. Available in ecru with nine choices for contrasting handle colors, it’s made of heavy-duty cotton canvas and has a double-layered base and reinforced bottom. The reinforced handles have been tested to hold up to 500 pounds — much more than your heaviest grocery load — and the seams are double-stitched with nylon for extra durability. It comes in four sizes, but we recommend the large (or extra-large size) for versatility. You can even choose short or long straps and add a monogram for personalization. 

Price at time of publish: $40

  • Material: Cotton canvas, nylon
  • Dimensions: 15 x 17 x 7.5 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

Best Insulated

Hydro Flask 35 L Insulated Tote

Hydro Flask 35 L Insulated Tote


Pros: This soft cooler tote keeps contents cold for up to four hours, and it folds down flat for easy storage.

Cons: It’s on the pricier side.

If you’re looking for a stylish insulated option, Hydro Flask designed this tote to keep things cool for about four hours. It's the ideal everyday insulated grocery bag for transporting perishable items (while another Hydro Flask tote is one of our favorite soft coolers if you're looking for a more heavy-duty bag). Made from durable coated fabric and available in a number of colors, this zipper-top bag can easily be wiped clean both inside and out, making maintenance a snap. It also features an external zip pocket to stash personal items like your wallet or keys, while also keeping them dry. The shoulder straps are comfortable and allow you to keep your hands free, and when it’s not in use, you can fold the bag down flat for compact storage.

Price at time of publish: $75

  • Material: Coated fabric
  • Dimensions: 15 x 20 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight Capacity: Not specified

Best Value

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag (3-Pack)

BAGGU Standard Reusable Shopping Bag

Courtesy by Amazon

Pros: These compact but mighty bags hold up to 50 pounds each, double that of a normal plastic grocery bag. 

Cons: They’re very simply built, so there are no extras like a flat bottom or pockets.

If you want a wallet-friendly grocery bag that will look great on your shoulder, these generously-sized reusable totes by Baggu come in several fun colors and prints. Each tote bag comes with its own storage pouch, so you can stash it in your purse or backpack and always have an extra bag on hand for a trip to the store. Made of ripstop nylon, these bags hold up to 50 pounds, which is at least double the capacity of a typical plastic grocery bag. Use them as a casual tote for the beach, gym, or while running errands. They’re also machine washable for easy care.

Price at time of publish: $14

  • Material: Ripstop nylon
  • Dimensions: 25.5 x 15.5 x 6 inches 
  • Weight Limit: 50 pounds

Best Splurge

Terrain Canvas Market Tote, Large

Terrain Canvas Market Tote, Large


Pros: The design of this tote includes inner compartments to hold items like bottles, cereal, or eggs in place. Its wide base allows it to stand upright.

Cons: It’s not waterproof.

For larger grocery trips, this canvas tote from Terrain offers exceptional organization capabilities. Made of heavy canvas, it also has faux leather straps for easy and secure carrying. The inner compartments allow you to stow bottles, keep cereal or pizza boxes from getting crushed, and hold eggs in place so they don’t slide around in transit. Best of all, the bag is designed to stand upright, so it won’t topple over on its side during the car ride home. While it is one of our pricier options, it’s the kind of bag that should last for years.

Price at time of publish: $88

  • Material: Canvas, vegan leather
  • Dimensions: 10 x 13 x 21 inches
  • Weight Capacity: Not specified

Factors to Consider


When picking out a tote bag, the material is an important factor that plays into the durability of the bag and its weight-hauling capabilities. Bags made of heavy-duty canvas are incredibly long-lasting and can typically hold plenty of weight, but the drawback is that they’re not immune to spills or staining. Nylon is a lightweight material that can hold up well over time, but totes made of this fabric aren’t always the most attractive options (they tend to be more utilitarian in style). Woven basket-type totes are beautiful but need to be properly dried before storing so the natural materials don’t develop mildew or rot. Whatever you choose, double check the care instructions so you can get the most life out of your bag while preserving its aesthetic appeal. 

Use and Features

For hauling groceries, the ideal tote should be easy to carry and able to hold a significant load. Look for handles that feel comfortable, whether you hold them by hand or on your shoulder. Pockets and dividers can help keep contents organized, and can even stow your wallet and keys so you don’t have to carry an additional purse or belt bag while using your tote. If you need a bag that will stand up on its own so it doesn’t tip over in the trunk, look for a style with a flat bottom for ultimate stability.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a tote bag used for?

    Generally speaking, totes are used as a utilitarian carry-all, whether it be for acting as a purse or hauling laundry, gym gear, books, toys, packages, and of course, groceries.

  • How do you clean a tote bag?

    It depends on the material. Many nylon and canvas bags can be machine washed, but always double check the manufacturer’s care instructions before attempting to wash your bags as some are spot clean only. Coated bags (or those with waterproof lined interiors) can typically be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove any spills or residue. Baskets made of woven natural fibers like straw or palm leaf can be wiped with a damp cloth, but need to be completely dry before storage to prevent mildew or rot.

  • How should you store tote bags?

    Always make sure your tote bags are completely dry to prevent any mildewing in storage. Many bags can be stored flat, but many bags with handles can also be stored by hanging on a hook or coat rack, a great way to let the bag maintain its shape and air out between uses.

Our Expertise

Bernadette Machard de Gramont is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in food, wine, and kitchen products. After a two-year stint at Williams Sonoma headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.

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