HandsDown Our Top 10 Travel Bags

Before you pack your bag for that next trip, you gotta have the right bag. But which one? Our HandsDown community has your back. These are non-sponsored, unfiltered reviews of travel bags these awesome humans own and love. (That’s how HandsDown works!)

A backpack that loves to go anywhere and everywhere

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Recommended by Samantha, who says: These backpacks are the best. They have the best pockets and organizers inside which make travel a breeze. And the neoprene material is water resistant and looks chic. I use the medium backpack going to the office and for travel. It has a luggage sleeve on it which I love! This is a woman owned company and their products are made with recycled plastic bottles!

A briefcase that loves your laptop and a bike ride too

Topo Commuter Briefcase
Recommended by Gregory, who says: The best-looking and most functional computer bag I own. wear it over the shoulder to a big meeting or turn it into a backpack on a bike ride to the cafe. Great for travel and well built!

A bag that loves weeks and weekends equally

AWAY Bigger Carry-On
Recommended by Kim, who says: I can take this bad boy for a weekend – a month. The ultimate flexible traveller.

A bag that will make you feel like Mary Poppins

MZ Wallace Large Metro Tote Deluxe
Recommended by Annie, who says: Best weekender bag, or “personal item” to accompany you when traveling. This bag fits sooooo much. I often use this bag, a purse and a carryon roller bag. A small purse can be shoved inside so that you only have the one official personal item. The deluxe version has the luggage sleeve which is awesome!

A bag that checks all the boxes

NOMATIC Backpack
Recommended by Adam, who says: As someone who travels (pre-covid) quite frequently on many shorter duration trips, I quickly realized it was incredibly important to have a backpack that checked a number of boxes: 1) large enough to fit a weekends worth of clothes and items. 2) comfortably fits my laptop. 3) looks professional enough to bring on a work trip. 4) not too large and bulky. I found all of those in the Nomatic Backpack and have been using it religiously for over 3 years. Highly recommend!

A hands-free bag for family life

Walker Family Goods Louie Sling
Recommended by Kelsey, who says: Cute and practical for travel and everyday. I have the sling!

A happy and hip little fanny pack

Patagonia Mini Hip Pack
Recommended by Sonia, who says: Cute, lightweight and comes in fun colors. I exclusively wear fanny packs so this is a staple! You can throw it in the washing machine if it gets gross. Gifted to me by Jenna many years ago and I still wear it all the time.

A bag that stands the test of time

Ricardo Softside Carry-On
Recommended by me! I have traveled a LOT over the last 25 years and have a Ricardo Beverly Hills bag that has lasted TWENTY(!!) of those years, going on every trip near and far. This bag has taken a beating and yet it is still the one grabbed first.

A must-have cart for city folk

Collapsible Wheeled Cart
Recommended by Meghan, who says: OK, do I feel like a great grandmother rolling this thing around? Yes, but IT’S SO WORTH IT. It’s lightweight and easy to use + transporting a heavy load of groceries is such a breeze that I don’t care about my granny vibes. Great for city dwellers!

Bags to keep on hand for those extra souvenirs

BeeGreen Reusable Shopping Bags
Recommended by Kate, who says: I love these rip-stop fabric bags. Spacious enough for 4 beach towels, or a picnic lunch, or a pile of library books, or a bunch of groceries, or kid toys for a road trip. I use them for everything. Light, foldable, quick-drying, washable.

OK, friends, did you find a new Fave here? Or do you have a recommendation of your own? Leave us a comment or update your own list, and share your go-to travel bags with your friends on HandsDown today!

HandsDown Fave Gifts for Newlyweds

Every wedding is different, but a few things are (almost) always the same. Love, music, food, joy, family, a bit of drama, photos, and GIFTS.  

Personally, I have a couple of rules when it comes to buying wedding gifts. Not every gift needs to follow all three rules, but it should meet at least one. 

  1. Quality that will last. The best gifts last a couple of decades (peep the cast iron dutch oven I recommend below for a great example).
  2. Practical and useful. This is a tricky one because everyone thinks their gift is useful. But here are a few examples that DON’T fit this rule: home decor because you don’t know their style, sheet sets in an assumed but unconfirmed size, and restaurant gift cards to a place you’re not sure they like.
  3. Unlikely to be duplicated. My husband and I got FOUR mega boxes of Rubbermaid and TWELVE bath towels for our wedding. It was so much for two people. I like to choose something that’s not super standard so it’s unlikely to be duplicated.

Obviously, one gift all newlyweds love is cash, but if you want to give something more personal, check out these faves from the HandsDown community.

Kitchen Gifts for Newlyweds

I’ll start you off with a classic gift for newlyweds: cookware! 

All-Clad – 12.5 Inch Skillet – Stainless Steel D3 3-Ply Cookware

Fave of Michael:

“One of my favorite kitchen tools is my ever so handy All Clad 12.5 Skillet. It’s so versatile and lasts forever. Highly recommended by various culinary tastemakers and I couldn’t agree more.”

Lodge 5.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Ok, I had to throw in one of my own personal recommendations. This is a Fave from me, Kate

“All the benefits of cast iron with none of the work, thanks to the enamel coating. It’s a versatile kitchen tool that I use for almost everything. Easy to clean, and the bright color makes me happy. The price point is awesome for the quality.”

Here’s a gift for the environmentally-conscious couple. 

rezip Lay-Flat Gallon Reusable BPA-Free Food Grade Storage Bag 4-Pack

Fave of Francine:

“These are a bit costly, but they will always rezip and are large enough to hold the no-knead bread you should be making!!”

Next up, a gift for the foodie newlyweds.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Fave of Becca:

“I’m a huge fan of Samin Nosrat and her approach to cooking – getting folks away from following recipes and really digging into the whys and hows our food works together.”

(Tangent alert: For quality entertainment, check out this video of Samin Nosrat collabing with Brad from Bon Appétit.)

And to finish out the kitchen tools round-up, a gift for the newlyweds who just really love coffee. 

Nestle Nespresso Aeroccino3 3594 Black Milk Frother

Fave of Sarah:

“Milk frother is key to a special coffee drink. This one is really easy to use for hot or cold froth. Plugs in and is small. Takes less than 30 seconds.”

Electronic Gifts for Newlyweds

Ok, let’s look at some tech gifts for the newlyweds’ new home together.

Google Home

Fave of Sarah:

“Always been a fan of Google over Siri or Alexa. She always hears me correctly and the speaker is actually fantastic for music. I have it in several rooms and even connected to a Sonos. I like doing my “morning briefing” with about 5 different news programs to start the day.”

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug 

Fave of Tiffany:

“I can switch all of my lamps on or off with my phone or my Alexa! Plus, I can also schedule them on a timer through the app. You can plug anything into these and monitor or conserve energy consumption.”

Unique Wedding Gifts

Branch Basics

Fave of Kendyl:

“I absolutely love these cleaning products. The laundry boost is amazing as is the all-purpose cleaner. The best part is everything comes from one concentrate and all you have to do is add water! All natural and non-toxic and great for a house with kids.”

Linnea Design Calendar – Linnea Design

Fave of David:

“Most beautiful and inspiring calendar you will ever own. Changes every year. Highly curated. Design driven. Makes for great gifts too!”

(Personal note: I generally don’t recommend giving home decor as a gift, but a cool calendar is okay. It’s useful and temporary by nature.)

Finally, if you can’t decide on a gift, just give the gift of literally everything—you can give a Costco membership as a gift!

Costco

Fave of Frank:

“Delicious pepperoni slice for $1.99. Vaccines, eye glasses, contacts, prescriptions. High quality snacks in bulk. Rotisserie Chicken. Portland Organic Ketchup 3pk for $7 or so. Costco Visa that is 3% cash back on food and travel. Sonos 2 pack speakers for $369. The list goes on and on.”

My wedding season wish for you: I hope your next wedding is not-too-awkward and the DJ only plays “Brown-Eyed Girl” once. Good luck choosing a wedding gift, and give my best to the happy couple!

And if you haven’t already, share your own favorite things on HandsDown today!

Top 10 Fave Gifts for Dads

No matter the dad or his interests, our community of awesome humans at HandsDown has some amazing ideas for the dads and dad-figures in your life based on things they love and recommend. So skip usual head-scratching or default gift card and try one of these Faves instead!

For the one who is already missing the slopes

The Man Behind the Maps, Coffee Table Book
Recommended by Jayson, who says: Did you ever notice that every ski resorts trail maps all looked like they were Freon by the same artist? That’s because they are! This is the best coffee table book and inspires stories and conversation around the mountains. A must have.

For the one who’s always looking for the next thing to watch

Brome 1015 Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder
Recommended by Ashley, who says: I get to enjoy bird watching from my window without squirrels making a mess of things.

For the one who’s always prepared

Jackery Solar Generator 1000
Recommended by Becca, who says: Working remotely from an RV doesn’t mean you have to be tied into a power source. Having a portable generator with solar panels means we can charge our phones, our laptops, run a small blender and more!

For the one who loves a homemade gift

The Best Italian-American Tomato Sauce Recipe
Recommended by Mike, who says: Simple ingredients, simple process, and tastes AMAZING! Very versatile, I use over pasta, as a pizza sauce, or a dipping sauce. You’ll love the way your home smells as it cooks. I always freeze 2/3 of the batch so I always have some on hand.

For the one who has strong opinions about everything

That’s Dope, the Party Game
Recommended by Ira, who says: Each round, one player reads a topic from a white topic card and everyone else votes whether they think the topic is “Dope” or “Nope” using one of their black voting cards. Guess how many players voted that the topic was “Dope” to win the game and let the hilarious debates begin.
(P.S. Ira is part of the team at HandsDown and created this game during quarantine!)

For the one who’s always on the go

Nomatic Backpack
Recommended by Adam, who says: As someone who travels (pre-Covid) quite frequently on many shorter duration trips, I quickly realized it was incredibly important to have a backpack that checked a number of boxes: 1) large enough to fit a weekends worth of clothes and items. 2) comfortably fits my laptop. 3) looks professional enough to bring on a work trip. 4) not too large and bulky. I found all of those in the Nomatic Backpack and have been using it religiously for over 3 years. Highly recommend!

For the one who loves an all-purpose tool

All-Clad Stainless Steel 12.5″ Skillet
Recommended by Michael, who says: One of my favorite kitchen tools is my ever so handy All Clad 12.5 Skillet. It’s so versatile and lasts forever. Highly recommended by various culinary tastemakers and I couldn’t agree more.

For the one who loves dining al fresco

YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Soft Cooler
Recommended by Sonia, who says: I have the older version of this cooler and while pricey it is definitely worth it! We get so much use out of it – beaches, festivals, park trips. It’s easy to wear and incredibly spacious.

For the one who puts ketchup on their ketchup

Portland Organic Ketchup
Recommended by Frank, who says: I put this ketchup on everything. It is thick with the perfect tomato flavor and vinegar balance. Sometimes I add Yellowbird Jalapeno or Serrano hot sauce to it for dipping fries, pizza rolls, or whatever into.

For the one who keeps losing their buds

Anker Soundcore Life P2 Ear Buds
Recommended by Ben, who says: Airpods are great and all but I’ve lost 2 pair before already, and what makes these earbuds so great is the price point. An audiophile might notice a difference in sounds quality but for my podcasts and audiobooks it’s all I need. And I don’t have to worry about leaving them on another airplane or taxi while traveling.

Have your own great ideas for dad-centric gifts? Share them on your own HandsDown list or in the comments below. Remember, sharing is caring!