Ice Tote by Ragged Edge

In the ever expanding sailcloth-bag market, this tote stands out. "Gear Up" from our November 25, 2009, /SW eNewsletter/

Ragged Edge's Ice Tote is ready to bear the burden of your next day on the water.
Ragged Edge's Ice Tote is ready to bear the burden of your next day on the water.Www.raggededgeproducts.com

If you've been to a regatta lately-or vacationed by the sea, or ducked into a boat show to use the bathroom-you've probably had the opportunity to purchase a tote bag made out of sailcloth. It's no mystery why these bags are popular: they're functional and durable and their rough-hewn look means their owners will likely get the chance to explain, "It's made out of sailcloth... yes, I'm a sailor."

But in the ever-expanding sailcloth tote-bag market, which brand stands out? I'll tell you which this sailor prefers: the one that mailed me a surprise sample along with a handwritten letter that began, "Hello there friendly editor at the great Sailing World..."

Since its fortuitous arrival a few months back, my Ragged Edge tote bag has seen active duty lugging six-packs and sandwiches to the boat, swallowing up foul-weather gear, and hauling out the crushed-aluminum detritus of a day on the water. The bag's currently in the trunk of my car, looking after my gym shoes. The best part about the Ragged Edge Ice Tote-so named because it perfectly accommodates a 25-pound block of ice-is the clean-up. The bag is made of laminate material that doesn't absorb water, so you can simply hose it out when it gets dirty. This hydrophobic quality also makes the tote stink-resistant and quick-drying. The padded carrying handles are long enough to fit over your shoulder, and two zip pockets keep small items from escaping. While the silver/gray/violet/black tote I've been using doesn't have a top zipper, other Ragged Edge models do. With its heavy-duty material and zig-zag stitching, the bag feels extremely sturdy. In fact, next chance I get, I plan to test it under the burden of that aforementioned ice block and a generous supply of canned goods.

Ragged Edge is a two-person operation; Susan Bailey and her daughter Meredith market and manufacture their evolving line of tote bags, duffels, wallets, and folders out of their workroom in Clearwater, Fla.

Ice Tote: $85, www.raggededgeproducts.com

Sailcloth Tote-Bag Manufacturers: