For a while now, I’ve been searching for one perfect bag to use everyday: one that could take me to the gym, to the office, and later for a night out. That meant I was looking for function, professional form, and stylish looks in this one bag. Expecting just one bag to meet each of these set a high standard — one that Dagne Dover hit out of the park.
They sent me a few bags to try out — the Landon Carryall Duffel Bag and the Dakota Backpack. The biggest challenge I faced, to be honest, is deciding which one I liked more as my next everyday bag. After weeks of switching between the two during my commute from Brooklyn and into Manhattan, stops at the gym before going to the office, and evening events or dinners afterward, I’ve concluded that both of them work for work, for the gym, and for life. I do prefer one of them and I do love both of them (that’s kinda what it’s like when you have kids, right?) and will use them interchangeably in the coming months.
Dagne Dover's Dakota BackPack
Dakota Backpack, $135 at Dagne Dover: This is my favorite Dagne Dover bag. With the medium size in tow, I was able to fit my running shoes, gym clothes, toiletries, 13-inch Macbook Pro in a case, Kindle, headphones, charging cables for everything, and lunch, to mention the important stuff. The bag comes with a dedicated zippered wallet you can store important things in, from your keys to some Advil, and there are sleeves throughout to sequester your cords, cables, or whatever other tchotchkes you need with you. Best of all, the medium backpack is compact and its bottom sits above my butt when I’m walking, so it’s extremely versatile and allows me full comfort and movement as I navigate the city. If I had to break into a run to meet a train or cross a street, I wouldn’t even know I was carrying a full day’s essentials on my back.
Oh, yeah, and despite walking with it to work in a sudden and heavy downpour, the 100% Neoprene fabric not only kept everything completely dry on the inside, it also stayed looking really good even when wet. Two zippers on each end of its padded back allow you to store something like a wallet or phone (in my case, one in each) and zip them up, protecting them while allowing for very easy access to them. On the inside, this bag blows me away still. The far wall has three zippered compartments on its inside: one for its bottom half and two up top, slicing the top half into two sides. All that zippering means you can get very intentional with where things go and how secure they’re kept. It would be very hard for a bag to beat the flexible style and massive function that the Dakota achieves — I’m a huge fan. You can get the Dakota in 13 different colors and sizes Small, Medium, and Large.
Dagne Dover's Landon Carryall
Landon Carryall Duffel Bag, $155 at Dagne Dover: Funny but the Landon is the first bag I used during this weeks-long trial and it changed everything I thought I understood about duffels. I got it in Bay Blue but like with the Dakota, you have that and 12 other colors to choose from. And like the Dakota, the inside of this bag is wild. It’s got a dedicated sleeve for your laptop and also comes with a mesh wallet-sized compartment for your valuables. It’s got massive handles that you can wrap atop your shoulders for a tote-carry and a detachable cross-body strap that easily installs or uninstalls for a different kind of carry. It’s constructed with the same neoprene. Its main zipper extends past its body and lets you either let it loose for a larger bag or you can snap that zippered extension to either or both sides of the bag, instantly turning it compact. In the world of duffels and totes, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a bag that looked so good and worked so well for me. The Landon sets a high bar for commute bags.
Of the two, right now I’m more prone to use the backpack because my needs are minimal and it fits all my gym stuff. But if I know I’ll be shopping or otherwise want to fit a few more things into the bag, I’ll easily transfer to the Landon. Tonight, for example, I’m flying out of town and will be using the Landon instead of the Dakota (yeah, it will fit under the seat) — along with my Victorinox carry-on.
If you’ve been looking for the perfect bag that works at the gym and works at work, I’m pretty sure you’ve just found it.
Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.