Not Martha

flip & tumble reusable shopping bags

This will be my last post about reusable shopping bags for a while, promise.

I got a Flip & Tumble reusable shopping bag recently and I’ve been trying it out in a lot of situations. It’s a great bag, it’s even fun, but I don’t like it as much as Envirosax or RuMe bags for a few reasons.

First the good stuff. Flip & Tumble bags are strong, come in cool color combinations, have a felt pad at the shoulder to keep the bag from sliding off while you’re carrying it. The best part, though, is the way it’s been designed to stuff into it’s own little stretchy pouch which is attached. You just stuff it in and pull the lip of the pouch over and you’re done. You can see some pictures and a video of the process here to get a better idea. You don’t have to worry about folding the bag up the correct way (think, folding up a map) in order to stow it. When it’s in it’s pouch it’s about the size of a tennis ball and very light weight, it’s fun to toss around and easy to keep in your bag.

There are a few reasons I don’t find the bag ideal for myself. The Flip & Tumble bag only has one handle and when I was carrying a few heavy items home from a store I found the strap dug into my should uncomfortably. So much so that I stopped and transferred everything into a RuMe bag. I suppose the weight distribution over two handles was enough to make it more comfortable because I didn’t have same problem. The handle of the Flip & Tumble bag is so long that if I hold it like a tote it drags on the ground. Now, I’m about 5’2″ so this may not be the case for everybody, though it almost looks too long for the model in these pictures as well. How much time I actually spend carrying reusable bags like totes (instead of over a shoulder) is debatable, so it might not be as large a disadvantage as I’m making it seem. However, the long handle also means that when I’m carrying it over a shoulder the weight in the bag hits me a bit lower on the hip, just at a spot where the bag will constantly swing and bang against my leg as I walk. Again, I’m short so this won’t be a problem for everyone. With these things in mind, Envirosax and RuMe bags work out a lot better for me.

For some Flip & Tumble love from a person taller than myself see this happy review over at Domicile.

The other reusable shopping bags I hear about a lot are Baggu Bags. They are strong, fold up into their own little pouch and come in some great colors. I’ve not had the opportunity to try one of those, but I know they have a lot of fans.

· comments [19] · 08-4-2008 · categories:shopping ·

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maureen // Aug 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

    I have a great bag for library books…except…yes, the handle. Too short to go over my shoulder but too long when I carry it. I’m 5’7! Now that I think of it, I know a woman who works for the company that made this bag. I got if from someone else’s cleanout otherwise I might have noticed the handle details.

  • 2 At Home with Kim Vallee // Aug 4, 2008 at 6:58 am

    I own the Flip & Tumble and the Envirosax. I am not much taller (less than 2-inch difference) than you and I always wear flat shoes. I like to carry bags on my shoulder.

    I agree that when I put 4-liter of milk, the single handle feels less comfortable on my shoulder. I typically put my hand around the bottom to diminish the load. But the no-fuss folding of the Flip & Tumble wins me over the Envirosax. You may appreciate that the Envirosax is slightly wider.

  • 3 Julie // Aug 4, 2008 at 6:59 am

    I have some of the Baggu Bags and love them. I was debating between the Envirosax and the Baggus and I don’t remember why I chose them, but they do work well and are quite small when folded up. I always keep one in my handbag, thus avoiding the “oops! I left them at home” syndrome.

  • 4 Karen // Aug 4, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I personally love ChicoBags…they fold up into their own attached pouch and are sturdy and affordable. I’m pretty happy with mine!

  • 5 Harper // Aug 4, 2008 at 8:25 am

    The search for the perfect bag, I know it well. Some RuMe bags are winging their way to me and I live in hope.
    I have several Baggu bags and like them with some reservations. The best thing is that they fold into a small flat package that slips nicely into any purse. The bad is that the little envelope it fits in is separate from the bag and, therefore easily separated. I thought about getting a Flip and Tumble. I’m 5’10” so your concern about the length of the strap is actually making me reconsider and get one – long enough straps on totes are the hardest to find. The bags that I use the most are made by Reisenthel (I got them at Straps are long enough, they hold a good amount, and they roll into a soda-can sized zippered case with a clip to attach it to a plastic d-ring on the bag. Just a little too bulky to carry in my purse or these would be perfect.

  • 6 eM // Aug 4, 2008 at 8:31 am

    i have 10 year old canvas bags from various small groceries and whole foods – they work fine, altho they don;t do the cool fold into a ball thing – I love that!
    i also usually drive to the grocery for big runs and the huzbeau picks up fresh stuff when he walks right past the organic grocery on his way home from work

  • 7 Amy // Aug 4, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Have you seen the great little bags at Whole Foods? They are nylon and stuff into their attached pouch that cinches closed with a little lock string. They are super light weight, have a little carabineer on it that can hook onto keys or straps. It’s the FIRST reusable bag I have actually reused! It’s always in my purse because it’s so small and light weight and since it lives in my purse, it doesn’t forever sit on the table waiting to get back in my car! I have a bright orange and dark royal blue…one for hot foods and one for cold! They are awesome and are really the only ones I can 100% endorse since they are the only ones I’ve ever actually reused!

    I’m pretty sure they were $2.99…a STEAL!


  • 8 squandra // Aug 4, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I have the Baggu bags, and love them. The one thing I cannot abide in a reusable shopping bag is sewn-on handles … As a seamstress, it seems like poor design for something that will carry lots of heavy groceries. :) The RuMe and Envirosax bags are designed “right” (to my mind) in this sense … But I personally preferred the colors and shape/size of the Baggu. It would be nice to have the self-contained … uh, container, though — like the Flip & Tumble bags.

  • 9 julia // Aug 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    The biggest appeal for these bags to me, as the mother of a 1 year old is that its not only a shopping bag — but could also replace the ball I keep in my bag at all times for when I need to distract him. :)

  • 10 Tiffany S. // Aug 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I ordered 4 f&ts, a couple for myself and a couple for gifts. I’m thinking of using them more in that emergency “oh, I need Splenda” kinda way than carrying a whole week’s worth. I have my black Fred Meyer bags for that. I love the pouch and the colors of the f&ts!

  • 11 Jenn // Aug 4, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    My heart is stuck on Chico bags… The way they smush up into their own attached stuff sack makes them *so easy* to live with– no special way to fold, and no pouch to lose. Two handles of a reasonable length. Solid colors which won’t go out of fashion. And those suckers hold WAY more than you’d think!

  • 12 Leslie Y. // Aug 4, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I like Acme bags, they’re basically the fabric version of a grocery bag:

    I don’t need another tote bag, I need strong, sturdy bags to carry my groceries and these are perfect. Plus I’m 5’2″ so these bags have never scrapped the floor.

  • 13 scoutj // Aug 5, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Have you seen these bags I just started selling?

  • 14 Daffodil // Aug 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the Baggu Bags. I love how they fold up flat, which makes them super easy to slip in my purse. I don’t mind the separate pouch, but that may be because I’ve never been able to put anything back in an attached pouch (think windbreaker/poncho jackets that are supposed to roll up and fit back in the pocket). Plus, the Baggus are roomy. I have six, and I have yet to buy so many groceries at once that everything does not fit in my Baggus — and that includes shopping for provisions for a giant cookout.

  • 15 Eva // Jan 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Have you tried Reisenthel totes? They are super durable, light weight, have a stuff pouch, and you can get them with short or long straps. They are also easy to find (Container Store, Sur La Table…) and come in a variety of designs or plains colors. I have many different reusable totes (living in San Francisco where we don’t get plastic bags anymore) and these are my favorite.

  • 16 Daily Quick Links | 2008.08.04 edition | At Home with Kim Vallee // Sep 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    […] Read a review about the Flip & Tumble reusable bags. Megan of Not Martha compared it to the Envirosax and the RuMe shopping bags. I personally prefer […]

  • 17 Sam // Feb 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I love Envirotrend bags, they have really cute kids ones. Plus you can attatched them to your keyring and the pouch is attached too.

  • 18 Kerry // Jan 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I love the Flip and Tumble bag. I’m 5’9″, so the length isn’t a problem for me. I love that they are squashable (and, my daughter likes to play with them.) I’m OC enough to have to fold things back exact, and this one is a breeze to put away. They fit in my purse better than some I’ve used. The long strap means it fits easily over my winter coat. AND, with my hands getting arthritis, carrying something over my shoulder is WAY less painful. I also like that they are flexible – I’ve squashed a lot into it that would have required two bags of the same size if not for the stretch. I’ve probably used my Flex and Tumble bags more these past weeks than any other reusable before in my entire life!

  • 19 Joy // Mar 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I really love my flip & tumble bags. Just ordered more. I am also only 5′ 2″ and do not find the shoulder strap too long!! Also the mini bag is perfect for the iPad!

    Here is a hint: I sewed Velcro onto the opening in 2 spots to keep it closed for when you have several small items, they don’t fall out.

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