Tote-ally impractical: Tote bags aren’t school bags

By Samantha Garza | Staff Writer

Tote bags have become a national trend in the last two years. With new and cuter designs being made so quickly, it has become every small business owner’s dream and every hoarder’s nightmare.

It’s an obsession at this point. Every time I go to a store and see a tote bag, it doesn’t matter if it’s cute or not — the simple fact that it’s a tote makes me want it. I have accumulated 15 bags in the span of one year alone, and I don’t even use half of them anymore.

Tote bags are very cute and — dare I say — aesthetic, but they are not practical as backpacks. Backpacks, by design, are made to distribute the weight on your back and shoulders. A tote bag doesn’t.

Whenever I’ve tried to use one for school, I find myself with a sore and achy shoulder. If I use it for an extended period of time, I’m constantly switching it from shoulder to shoulder to try to even out the pain.

It’s impractical and annoying. The only time using a tote bag as a backpack is acceptable is if you’re carrying minimal things, like a laptop or a notebook, but never those two combined.

Natalie Lovitz, clinical director of Professional Physical Therapy in New York City, said in an NBC News article that wearing bags on one side of your body “can cause or reinforce muscle imbalances in the shoulders and spine. Those imbalances can also occur all the way down the chain, and can cause other issues, such as changes in gait — the way your body normally walks.”

Tote bags are impractical not only because they’re uncomfortable but also because they have very limited space. It’s hard to fit stuff in there without it looking bumpy. I have so many random things in my backpack that come in handy, and those things would never fit in a tote bag.

Whether it’s my travel-size perfume, hand cream, hair ties, bobby pins or chapstick, I need the space a backpack provides.