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Flowfold‘s Zip Porter Tote might just be the most lightweight, durable tote bag on the market. Hand made in the USA, these totes are made from a material that has a higher tensile strength than steel. The fabric technology is called DiamondFiber, and has diamond patterns made of Kevlar and/or carbon fibers. This material was originally made for racing boat sails, to withstand the elements of the sea.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the product review, I feel it‘s important to give a little background on this company. Charley Friedman, the founder of Flowfold, came up with the idea to use the revolutionary DiamondFiber for totes more or less by accident. His wallet was worn out and he decided to craft a new one from this material that was laying around the boat shop where he worked. After realizing the wallet was nearly indestructible, he knew he had a business.
Now, over ten years later, Flowfold has prospered into an up and coming brand with a line of products from wallets to totes made from the DiamondFiber material. Their business model is extremely well thought out in that all the products are made from scraps, discolored, or discontinued stock material as opposed to buying all new fabrics. Essentially, each product produced actually prevents landfill pileup which makes for a very environmentally friendly company.
Now that you have an understanding of how and why this brand came to be, lets bring our attention back to the Zip Porter Tote. The bag has two compartments. The large main section is 11 x 13 x 6 inches. It has a flat bottom which makes it easier to pile stuff in. Also, the light colored interior walls make it much easier to locate items inside the bag. The smaller outer pocket is flush with the bag and measures 7 x 9 inches. This is ideal for wallets, keys, mobile devices, snacks, or other small items. The shoulder straps are the Goldielocks of lengths- not too long, not too short, but just right. I find with other bags that straps are often too short which doesn‘t allow it to stay securely on my shoulder. The straps help add to the overall durability and carrying strength of the bag because they are expertly sewn not just to the top of the bag, but all the way down to the base.
Made entirely of the DiamondFiber material, this tote is water resistant from both the inside and out. I‘ve found this to be an extremely useful feature on a number of occasions. First, using the tote for my swim bag I was able to throw a wet towel & dripping wet gear into the bag and not worry about the seat of my car getting soaking wet. Second, I used the tote as a lunch bag to carry among other things, soup. Sadly, the lid was not on tight and when I opened the the bag the inside was a sea of tortilla soup. On the bright side, the bag did not leak! Finally, my climbing gear and new block of chalk stayed completely dry when the bag was subjected to a torrential downpour walking across a large parking lot. This not only proved the bag material was water resistant, but also that the YKK waterproof zipper could hold up.
Despite being water resistant, the bag is extremely light, weighing only 8.4oz ( ½ lb). So light in fact it floats! The material is much more like fabric than the crinkly sounding material of many rain jackets or plastic bags.
Overall, this bag is exceptional and well worth the purchase. The design is simple, clean, and functional. I would like to see a few more internal pockets or dividers to help compartmentalize the items in the bag. However, this is not a make or break since this tote is not intended so much to replace a messenger bag, but rather be an active sport bag.
The Zip Porter Tote is a versatile bag for many adventures such as camping, fishing, sailing, or skiing. The current MSRP is $65, and is offered in three colors: jet black, bicycle red, and navy blue. Flowfold products are available online as well as small retail shops across the USA and even into Canada.
Thank you to Flowfold for providing a sample of the Zip Porter Tote to use and test for this review.