Sumo Week: Medium Tote

by PocketGoddess on December 20, 2005

Sumo LogoThe Sumo tote is available in three different sizes, and this review covers the medium tote, which measures 13 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 12 inches tall. The handle drop is 7 1/2 inches, making this a very cozy shoulder tote, or a bag that you can dangle straight down from your hand without any worries about it brushing the ground. The exterior is made of high quality ballistic nylon with leather trim, leather handles, and a leather bottom. This unique combination of materials means that the bag is very light, but very sturdy. What sets this bag apart though, is the attention to detail.

For starters, the exterior of the bag has six roomy pockets. Not only are they great for holding small frequently-used items like sunglasses and cell phones, they also help the bag keep its shape. When you set the bag down, it doesn’t collapse into a heap. The pockets are padded too, so you don’t have to worry about having a carrying case for your mobile electronics (though once you see some of the cases I’m reviewing later in the week, you may still want to encase your iPod!). The pockets on the two narrow ends of the bag are about 8 1/2 inches deep, while the two on each of the long sides are just over 6 1/2 inches deep. The bag is symmetrical in all respects; the top corners tend to flatten out just a bit due to the unique closure system, which is my favorite feature of the bag.

Sumo Medium Tote

Instead of an annoying zipper or an unwieldy flap, the Sumo Tote is secured by three hidden magnetic snaps. This is pure genius, and innovative design at its best. Like most women, I really don’t want to worry about the contents of my bag spilling out, so I want it to have a closure, but I also want it to be something that I can open easily with one hand, and without any struggle. In everyday use I found the magnets did a great job of keeping the bag closed. When I had a bulky item to put in the bag, it stuck out just a bit and the other two magnets kept the remaining portion of the top of the bag closed. In other words, I simply LOVE this closure system and wish that other designers would take note.

Of course we haven’t gotten to the interior of the bag yet, and there’s a nice surprise when you first open this tote–the lining is black, but it features the Sumo character imprint all over. This is not only cute, it also helps you to see things inside easily without resorting to a garish yellow lining. The lining is quite strong and seems to be a bit thicker than the traditional nylon found in most bags. When it gets a bit dirty the dust just wipes right off. There’s also a generous zipper pocket inside that is about seven inches deep and seven inches wide, so you could easily stash small items in there that you didn’t want to put into the unsecured outer pockets.

Sumo Medium Tote, interior detail

As you can probably guess, I simply love this bag. It holds a ton of stuff and would be the perfect daily commute or travel companion. It has some nice organizational features without overloading on pockets and compartments (which wastes space in some bags) but has clever outside pockets that contain your stuff. The closure method is of course perfect, and I wouldn’t change a thing about those three handy magnets at the top of the bag. I would like to see a few small improvements, such as an interior key clip, and either metal or leather “feet” on the bottom of the bag for durability and stain protection, but overall I must say that I am very impressed. The Sumo Tote is available in your choice of red or black in three sizes: small ($100), medium ($120), or large ($130). You can get it at the Sumo online store after the first of the year.

5 out of 5

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