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The Tool Kit Journal

Packing for Purpose: Must-Have Essentials for Every Tote Bag Occasion

by Franck Jehanne

Your tote bag is one of the most versatile accessories you own. It can stylishly carry all your daily necessities whether you're headed to the office, the beach, or an overnight trip. But there's an art to perfectly packing your tote so you have just what you need for each excursion. Carrying non-essentials in your bag will weigh it down and leave your shoulders sore!

The key is to know what tote bag essentials should comes with you based on where you're going and what you’ll be up to. Some occasions call for tech accessories, while others need more functional items like beach towels. Strategically packing your tote ensures you’ll stay light and comfortable while having your must-haves convenient and easy to grab while on the go.

In this blog post we cover foolproof packing lists for all your tote bag adventures. We’ve highlighted those just-right essentials for getting through the work day, enjoying a summer picnic, or taking a quick weekend trip. Follow our tips to keep your stylish tote ready for anything while avoiding the drag of excess baggage!

tote bag for picnic or work

Must-Have Essentials for a Work Tote

When packing your tote bag for the office or a day filled with errands, organisation and practicality is key. You want quick access to work necessities as well as items to get you through the busy day in comfort. Make sure to include these must-have items when packing your work tote:

Tech Accessories

Don't be without your tech gear including laptop, tablet, cell phone, chargers and portable battery pack. Protect devices in a padded pouch and tuck cables neatly into interior pockets. Having extras like a mouse, laptop stand or keyboard can also come in handy for productivity.

Wallet and Keys

Avoid a panic by always transferring your wallet, keys, access cards and other daily essentials into your work tote. Designate a special pocket or pouch to always store these valuables so you know right where they are.

Notebooks and Folders

Stay on top of notes, memos, reports and files by packing slim organisers, notebooks or folders. Having pens, highlighters and post-its guarantees you'll be prepared for sudden meetings and brainstorms too.

Snacks and Water

Hunger and dehydration can sap productivity as the workday wears on. Pack healthy snacks like protein bars, mixed nuts, fruits and veggies. Having a refillable water bottle keeps you refreshed and avoids wasting money on store bought drinks.

With these fundamental work tote bag essentials, you'll have everything you need to take on the office, long commutes and all of life's little emergencies out of the home. Next we'll cover must-haves for weekend and travel totes so keep reading!

Beach Days and Picnic Must-Haves

Sunny days call for toting all the essentials for enjoying activities like beach days and picnics. When preparing this kind of tote, it's about packing items for fun and comfort rather than business functionality. Here are must-have items for beach and picnic totes:

Picnic Blanket and Towels

Don't sit directly on sand or grass without packing an outdoor blanket or towels. They provide an extra layer to keep you clean and comfortable in your surroundings. Look for water-resistant base layers or towels made of sand-resistant fabrics.

Sun Protection Essentials

Don't forget sunscreen, hats, caps and UV blocking sunglasses when you'll be out under the blazing sunshine. Protect all skin that will be exposed and don't skimp on reapplying sunscreen often.

Layers and Coverups

The outdoors can get windy and temperatures can drop unexpectedly. Pack versatile layers like sweaters, jackets and wraps that are easy to toss on if needed. For the beach, coverups and sarongs are great.


Make sure to wear or pack appropriate footwear for outdoor adventures. Flip-flops, sandals or water shoes are perfect for the beach. Other outdoor activities may require something more supportive like sport sandals or lightweight hiking shoes.

Drinks and Snacks

Stay fuelled with a small cooler bag filled with chilled beverages plus snacks like fruits, veggies, sandwiches, hummus and cheese. Don't forget the necessary utensils, plates and napkins as needed.

With these outdoor activity basics, your tote will keep you covered in comfort and style during fun-filled sunny days. Check out our last section on the must-haves for overnight and weekend getaway totes.

durable tote bag with leather straps

Overnight & Weekend Getaway Totes

When you're packing your tote for a quick getaway rather than just a day trip, being prepared with some key items can make all the difference in staying comfortable. Here are the must-have essentials for overnight and weekend trips:

Toiletries Kits

Having your regular toiletries like makeup, skincare, hair products, deodorant, toothbrush and medications ensures you stick to your routines. Pack complete kits in organisers, hanging bags or clear plastic pouches to neatly separate liquids from other items.

Change of Clothes

Even just an overnight trip calls for fresh undergarments and at least 1 change of clothes. Roll outfits tightly and use packing cubes, folders or vacuum seal bags to compress fabrics and save space. Choosing wrinkle-resistant fabrics ensures you look polished.


Have comfortable shoes to wear when you're relaxing indoors in hotels or rented summer cottages. Packable designs like flip-flops, slip-on slides or slippers are perfect.


Don't forget all necessary tech chargers compatible with the electronics you're bringing. A backup battery pack provides the security of extra charges if needed while on the go.

Travel Pillow

Enjoy comfort and restful sleep by packing a compressible memory foam travel pillow. This is especially handy on long flights or road trips to your destination.

With these key items secured in your weekend bag, you'll be set for taking quick trips while keeping necessities conveniently at hand!

Tote-ally Prepared

Having the right essentials makes all the difference when heading out with your tote bag, whether for work, play or travel. Strategically packing ensures you have what you need while avoiding unnecessary clutter.

Now that you're armed with lists for loading up your tote bag for any occasion, check out Heating & Plumbing London's selection of stylish and durable denim tote bags. Made from sturdy denim with leather straps, these roomy totes are built to handle anything your busy lifestyle can throw at them.

The denim fabric wipes clean easily so there's no need to stress about spills. And the chic leather handles fit comfortably over your shoulder all day long whether you're commuting or adventuring. Plus, you'll find plenty of interior and exterior pockets to organise all the tote bag essentials you just read about!


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About the Author

Franck Jehanne is the co-founder of British lifestyle brand, Heating & Plumbing London. After 10 years working for Cartier and other luxury brands from the Richemont group, he started his entrepreneurial journey in 2011, leading to the creation of the brand in 2017.

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