What Size LL Bean Boat and Tote to Get

Admittedly, I went a little crazy with LL Bean Boat and Totes a few weeks ago. I went to buy one and ended up with three. One of the bags I bought was a mistake and I had to correct it, but since I had it monogrammed… I was stuck with it. Totally fine because I know I’ll have a good use for it.

The reason why I made the mistake was that I couldn’t tell what size to get. The information I found online was confusing and contradictory and even the visuals on LL Bean’s website didn’t really convince me one way or another. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to get the large or the extra large. I went with the extra large thinking it would be the perfect tote/carry-on for traveling, but it’s ginormous. I don’t think any of the photos I saw online really conveyed just how big it is. (I can sit inside of it.)

I reordered the large and it was perfect!

Connecticut lifestyle blogger Carly Heitlinger carries the LL Bean Large Boat and Tote

Above is LL Bean’s Large Open-Top Boat and Tote with regular length handles. It’s still really big, but it’s more manageable than the extra large (which I’m going to use as cute storage!). I would say that this size is perfect for weekend travel, a teacher bag, or a tote for errands when you’re schlepping a lot of stuff around.

I loved it in Vermont because I could fit a wool coat, our giant camera, my regular handbag, and my laptop. With room to spare, bam.

Now, I would say that it’s probably too big to fit under the seat of an airplane (as your “personal item”) and it’s probably too big for everyday classes. But I would say that it’s good for lugging any and everything you need to the library for studying.

Connecticut fashion blogger Carly Heitlinger carries a medium LL Bean Boat and Tote

Now this little guy is the same dimmensions as a medium Boat and Tote. Well, it is a medium Boat and Tote, just with leather straps. I actually thought it was a small from the photos online and (ugh) didn’t read the dimmensions. I still love it, but it’s bigger than I was expecting. It fits a lot though, which is great. It could easily double as an everyday tote or a school bag. My laptop fits as well as a notebook or two and the things I normally carry in my handbag. Last week, stuffed a puffer vest inside of it while out with friends, just in case.

This would also be a great choice when flying as it fits more than your typical handbag and will still easily fit under the seat as your personal item.

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I love the large size for weekend trips! It fits everything I need. I can even squeeze in my Hunter Tour boots if I roll them. The medium boat and tote is great for errands like the market, library, etc.


I’ve made the large size fit under an airplane seat when needed…LOL! The large is a great everyday size for teachers because it has room for both your purse and all of your school papers.


This is actually a great post, as I’ve also had this confusion. The large is the best!! I use it for 2-4 day trips all of the time. It also fits in the overhead of a plane, and you never have to gate check. I’ve also found that LL Bean customer service is the best! They have a satisfaction guarantee. I had a large monogrammed bote and tote with short straps (by accident) and used it until I realized I couldn’t stand it – and called a year later saying the straps are too short for the size of the bag… And they let me switch it out for a new one! You probably aren’t stuck with the one you can’t use!


p.s. these also function as amazing yoga bags! I know it’s sacrilegious to not use a proper yoga bag but I find it fits a water bottle and yoga mat and towel perfectly!!


I bet you’ll end up loving the extra large too! I’ve gotten two as gifts, and have used them to trek mine and my husband’s beach stuff out on the sand, haul larger amounts of food when we’re getting together with people, stuff like that. No such thing as a bad boat and tote (or too many!)


Ah I recently purchased the large Bean boat and tote and I love it! It really is perfect as a weekend bag or for lugging stuff around. Such a great buy! Xo


I love my L.L Bean boat and tote, over the summer I used mine as a beach bag and now am having a hard time getting the sand out of it. I’m gonna maybe bring it to a car wash and use the super vacuum. Any tips on how to clean them? Thanks!
Kelsey | petiteinherpearls.blogspot.com

bag owner

The trick is to wash it with high pressure sprayer (shower or kitchen sink type or outdoor hose type) and liquid soap. Turn it upside down and wash like inside and out with the hardest spray setting you have-don’t be dainty with it. Just put it upside down in dish drying rack or upside down in tub like a bucket and let dry-don’t use a dryer. Will not mold or mildew and will keep its shape. Washer machine will wrinkle the heck out of it and it is waaay too thick to iron, so don’t waste the water for a wash or heat from a dryer load to do that (it will wrinkle and look lumpy). Good luck and you should have no problem.


I actually use the large as my carry on and it fits perfectly in the overhead! I travel a lot( like 2 time a week for work) and have never had any issue with bringing it on!


I’ve had this problem too, but I ended up with the medium and I love it for grocery shopping and tailgates!


I have a medium boat and tote with regular straps. It fits everything I need for work at the office each day, etc. But yes, trying to decide based on the website information/photos was very difficult.


I had the same experience with the large/extra large question and also with handle length. I got the long on both sizes because I wanted the option of fitting them over my shoulder but now they are too long to carry in my hand! Wish they had pictures of someone modelling each. That would answer a lot of questions!


They do have a model photo but the way the person is holding it, it’s still too confusing.


Hi Carly! I ran into the same issue not too long ago. I ordered the large, thinking it would be a great carry on, not soo much. It is too large to pass the restrictions for a carry on. Plus, I got the large with short handles, a mistake for any carry on. But, it is perfect for all our road trips! We pack it with essentials we might need and since the handles are short, it’s actually easier to carry! I ordered the medium zip top with long handles and that one is perfect for plane rides. I also ordered the medium with leather handles and since I find the leather handles easier on the hands, I like to carry that one with me here, there, and everywhere! xx Rox-Anne, Celebratingthislife.ca