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WANDRD Tote Backpack Review

The open-concept WANDRD Tote Backpack has space for whatever you need, with durable and water-resistant—though crunchy—materials that work well in the rain.

Our Verdict

7.6 /10
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  • Durable, structured materials help it stand on its own
  • Easy to carry as a tote or a backpack
  • A good capacity for an everyday tote without being overkill


  • Material is crunchy
  • Water could get into the bag when packing away the liner
  • Thick handles are hard to hang on a hook

Technical Details

83 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 120/145 Airlines

37 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    1.8 lb (0.8 kg)

  • Dimensions

    20 in x 12.5 in x 6 in (50.8 x 31.8 x 15.2 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Polyester, Carbon Fiber, Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), YKK Zippers, Woojin Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    Wander More Worry Less Warranty

Full Review

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If you’re an indecisive sort that wants the open concept of a travel tote but also to be able to close the top and carry it like a backpack instead, listen up (also, we understand). While a travel daypack can get the job done, there are times when we need the more open space of a tote. Maybe you’re going shopping or heading to the beach, or you made a big, beautiful sourdough boule and need a way to get that and a bottle of wine to your friend’s house for dinner. This tote pack works for that and more, with an interesting material that has grown on us over the testing period.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Side
WANDRD Tote Backpack | Do you need a tote or a backpack? You don’t have to choose.

We’ve even used it to go back and forth between home and the office and can confidently say that it works swimmingly to carry a laptop in a protective sleeve, a drink, and lunch in a small cooler. It’s a jack-of-all-trades worth considering for your next trip, but is it right for you? Let’s dive in and find out!

External Components

The WANDRD Tote Backpack is a step (or many) above what you may think about when you picture a tote bag. It’s not floppy canvas, nor the stiff yet cheaper material you find in many shopping totes from the grocery store. WANDRD seems to have put a lot of thought into creating this material, which has enough structure to let the bag stand freely on its own.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Material
WANDRD Tote Backpack | The UHP carbon fiber composite fabric is durable, yet our sample is a bit crunchy.

The UHP carbon fiber composite fabric is a 3-layered material with a 600D polyester face with an eco-friendly C0 DWR coating for water resistance, a carbon fiber ripstop grid, and a shiny TPU backing. They’re all glued together to create the finished material, which we have to say is rather crunchy. It has an interesting diamond-patterned design that gives the bag a unique aesthetic, and we have to say that its rigidity and noise put us off at first. It almost seemed like carrying around a tarp shaped like a bag. But after weeks of use in various weather conditions, we began to appreciate how easy it was to pack and how the material’s water resistance complements the bag design.

Also, a note: we have a pre-production sample with an earlier version of the fabric. WANDRD says there are some variations in the face and backing fabric that appear very similar to the final product but don’t have exactly the same structure and quality feel that the bag you get will have. Hopefully, this means you’ll be even happier with the material than we were, with the same structure and, potentially, a little less crunch.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Full
WANDRD Tote Backpack | The lining pulls up to create a rolltop in case you need to close.

Some of that structure comes from a double thickness of material around the four sides of the tote. That’s because you can close it with an optional rolltop should you overfill this bag and want to keep your beach towel from spilling out or need to keep your library book from getting wet when it rains. To do so, reach inside to pull up the lining and a strap with a metal G-hook from a slip pocket between the two front handles. You can do this even if you have gear packed inside, as long as there’s enough space to get your hands along a couple sides of the bag. The material adjacent to the back panel has a set of webbing loops where you can slide in that hook after you roll down the top, and, hey presto, you now have a sealed-off bag with more capacity at the top than you enjoyed before.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Brand
WANDRD Tote Backpack | Branding is subtly printed in gray on the bag.

It works well when you want to wear the bag in backpack mode because it keeps the front and back together instead of having the tote flop around while you walk. More on how to wear this bag in a moment, but first, we’ll chat a little about the branding. WANDRD and the logo is printed in a lighter gray along the bottom of the bag’s front, and the name of the bag is printed along the top of the back. The company’s motto, “Lost is the destination,” is printed in the same hue on the luggage pass-through strap. It’s just a simple strip of webbing, but it can still be useful when paired with rolling carry on luggage as you make your way through the airport.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Full Rear
WANDRD Tote Backpack | There’s a luggage pass-through on the back panel with WANDRD’s motto.

There are two attachment points above the travel water bottle pockets on each side where you can hook hand sanitizer or keys or use a carabiner to hold your bottle in place if you’re nervous about it sliding out. There are also two more loops on the rear shoulder strap, though we didn’t find a great use for those. They’re really there to help hold the strap in place when you want to carry it as a backpack. The rear shoulder strap runs down the rear of the bag, turning into shoulder straps, and those loops stop the strap from going all the way through the sliders at the top.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Close
WANDRD Tote Backpack | While there’s just light padding on the shoulder straps, there is a sternum strap to help carry the load.

The lightly padded straps feature daisy chains where you can hook in the sternum strap to get it in the right spot for you. With a 20L capacity, you could pack this full enough to need the extra support, although we don’t find a need for it in daily use. It connects with a Woojin Hardware buckle, which works well, and stays in place with toggles at either end. There’s even a strap keeper to make things neat and tidy.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Shoulder
WANDRD Tote Backpack | The tote handles are padded, too.

That same padding extends up and over both handles, giving them the same cushion in tote or backpack mode, although there’s no back panel padding beyond the two sheets of fabric. We appreciate the padded handles when using the tote for heavier gear, although they make it harder to hang on a small hook when you reach your destination. Luckily, that wide, flat base allows you to set it down on the ground instead, and since the material is sturdy and water-resistant, we don’t worry about setting the bag on something a little damp or dirty.

Fit Notes

WANDRD Tote Backpack Side by Side
Left: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

So, depending on which way you’re wearing it, the WANDRD Tote Backpack fits a different aesthetic. Either way, it’s casual, but rocking a tote over your shoulder looks different than carrying a rolltop backpack.

When you wear it as a daypack, the tote handles will hang outside the rolltop unless you tuck the front one in the pocket designed to store the G-hook strap (more on that soon). There’s nowhere to put the back handle, but it does get shorter as you pull on the shoulder straps. There’s not a ton of padding on these handles, but they’re still pretty comfortable whether we wear them as a tote or a backpack. As we already mentioned, you will feel whatever is inside, so take care when packing the bag if you plan to wear it on your back for longer.

Inside The Tote

There are only two places to stash gear outside the tote: the two side water bottle pockets. They fit a variety of bottles, from a standard Hydro Flask to a wide-mouth Nalgene, although the latter is a tight fit. We don’t worry about losing a bottle, though, because they are so deep, but if you’re concerned, you can use those loops at the top and connect your bottle to your bag. They’re also a good spot for a travel umbrella or a pair of thin sandals, depending on the weather and your plans for the day. There is a small drainage hole at the bottom of each pocket to help things dry out in case your bottle spills or your umbrella is wet.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Water Bottle
WANDRD Tote Backpack | Bottles, umbrellas, and more fit in these pockets.

Inside the bag, there are two pockets near the top. Against the front panel is the pocket that holds the G-hook and strap for the rolltop. It’s a simple drop pocket without anything to keep it closed, but you could toss your phone or gum in here as long as you plan to keep the bag upright. Just remember that the strap is also hanging out in there, so you grab what you mean to grab, or it could pull everything out with it.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Pocket
WANDRD Tote Backpack | A large zipper pocket includes a key leash.

Against the back panel is a larger zipper pocket. It seals with a YKK AquaGuard zipper that slides into a garage at the end of the track. WANDRD is not messing around with water resistance here! The zipper is easy to open with a cord that ends in a knob of webbing woven through the metal pull. Inside the pocket is a chunky swivel clip on a thick leash where you can connect your keys. There’s also plenty of room here for your phone, wallet, passport, AirPods, travel containers, etc, which is helpful since this is the only means of organization in the Tote Backpack. We also want to mention that it hangs independently into the bag, so it stays in place (and dangles in the right direction) even if you pull the liner up to use the rolltop. You wouldn’t want to rearrange your bag just because it started raining, so that’s a useful feature.

WANDRD Tote Backpack Stuffed
WANDRD Tote Backpack | There’s a lot of space to fill.

Then, the rest is just open space, and a lot of space there is. As the saying goes, the bag is your oyster, so you could use it as a personal item bag for the plane, a gym bag for after work, a shopping bag for the local market, or pair it with the WANDRD Essential Camera Cube if you’re a shutterbug. It works well for a road trip since it stays open for you to grab snacks along the way, and it lies pretty flat when empty, so you can even lay it in the bottom of your rolling luggage in case the need arises on vacation.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • UHP Carbon Fiber Composite Fabric is rather crunchy
  • Interested to see how the rolltop liner functions in the rain or if water puddles
  • Nice padding in the straps
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The durable material is easy to clean
  • Very comfortable to carry, especially as a tote
  • Interior pocket is convenient for storing small gear
By Kristyne Defever
Created March 8, 2024 • Updated March 8, 2024
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