LEIGH CAMPBELL: 'The perfect carry-all does exist. Here are 8 I'm loving.'

Welcome to Leigh's List. A weekly column, a bit like an agony aunt, but for your shopping woes. A self-confessed shopping addict, Leigh Campbell enjoys nothing more than hunting down the *thing* you've been searching for but haven't been able to find. 

Karen asked:

“Hi Leigh, I have a request for Leigh’s List. I need a new handbag that holds a lot. 

I’m TTC (trying to conceive) so I’m hoping to invest in a tote bag or maybe a stylish backpack that I can use as a baby bag when the time comes, but in the meantime, I’ll use it for work and to travel so it needs to fit my laptop, lunch, all that daily stuff. Ideally, I’m looking for a leather one, but open to other options.

Does it exist? Or do I get a separate baby bag when the time comes?”

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Leigh answered:

“I LOVE big bags! I feel like I’m always carrying a million things with me, pre-and-post becoming a mum, so I’ve always needed a good carry all.

You definitely don't need a specific baby bag, just a roomy option that fits enough stuff. You can then just add inserts, or use a packing cube to hold nappies and wipes, like I did.


Having said that, baby bags have come a long way in the past few years, so there are plenty of options that double perfectly as an everyday work tote or travel backpack.”


Vestirsi Bella XL Convertible Backpack Tote, $379.

Image: Vestirsi

The ultimate two-in-one, this option can be carried as both a backpack and a traditional tote. It comes in two sizes, and I’d opt for the XL so it can fit enough when you’re packing snacks and toys. 


Target Structured Work Tote Bag, $35.

Image: Target

This ‘savey’ option looks much more luxe than the price tag suggests. It comes with a large matching purse that zips shut, which you could use for your phone and keys now, and nappies and wipes down the track. 

Totti The Baby Bag Backpack, $299.

Image: Tottie


Intended as a baby bag, I recently bought this backpack to use for travel and it’s fantastic. It fits the whole house and is a great option as opposed to a tote as it saves your back from aches when you’re carrying so much. 

Mimco Serenity Baby Bag, $379.

Image: Mimco


This is a nylon option but is stylish enough for the office, too. It’ll fit your laptop, lunch and even your gym clothes. No more carrying multiple bags. The shoulder and arm strap options are handy, too. 

Nevenka Large Tote Bag, $40.10.

Image: Catch


If you’re after an option with heaps of internal compartments, this one's for you. There’s a pocket for your phone, plus two other sections that zip shut, which makes keeping all your belongings separate super easy. 

Basque Tina Tote Bag, $139.95.

Image: Myer


A smaller option, it’s surprising how much you can fit in a tote bag this size. Tan is a nice change from black, too, and still goes with everything from suits to activewear. 

Louenhide Toronto Puffer Tote Bag, $139.95.

Image: The Iconic

Everyday totes or baby bags don't need to be boring! This padded option adds a fashion twist but isn't going to date, either. Comes in three colours! There’s a drink/bottle holder and a few oyster compartments inside, too. 


Arrived The Jean Baby Bag Tote, $159.

Image: The Iconic

This one looks like a stylish work tote, but acts like a baby bag. The shoulder straps are adjustable and the top sips shut (surprisingly hard to find!) making it great for travel so everything doesn't fall out under your plane seat or in the car. 

Feature Image: Supplied

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