Lo & Sons – The Catalina Bag Review

The Catalina // Sam I Am I Do

I had been eyeing the Catalina bag from Lo & Sons since Christmas, and was so pleased when the Midnight Ash color (pictured above) recently came back in stock.  I had a hunch it would be the perfect travel companion for my trip to Paris.  As soon as I got the “Back in stock!” email,, I literally stopped what I was doing at work,, sifted through my bag for my wallet, and frantically typed in my credit card info and shipping address. So frantically in fact,, that I left off the floor number to my office off the shipping address (apparently Sam in the Starrett-Lehigh is not specific enough).  Long story short, my bag ended up being sent back to Lo & Sons,  My schedule was tight with my Paris trip, less than five days away from take-off, so I had a mini-meltdown once I realized my mistake. Fortunately, I composed myself and simply emailed Lo & Sons and explained my situation.  Marissa from Lo & Sons, played it totally cool and put my mind at ease by quickly emailing me back, and sending me a new bag.  She even checked up on me during the week to let me know my bag had shipped.  What a girl!

I received my bag the day of my flight, just in the knick of time.  So I scrambled home, pulled out a pile of clothes from my closet, tossed in shoes, makeup, and some other essentials., like a calligraphy kit – honestly, what was I thinking?  It didn’t matter though because it all fit.  No problem.  And I zipped up my bag without sitting on it, or maneuvering a piece here or there, or asking a friend to squeeze the sides together while I zipped.  You get the picture – it was easy, no help or extra effort needed.  Then I slipped it on my shoulder and ran down my three flights of stairs to the cab waiting for me outside (my driver was playing Bee Gees videos on his phone, by the way).  SUCCESS!  Off to Paris!

What Fits Into The Catalina // Sam I Am I Do So what did I actually fit in the bag? A lot, but to be exact:

-5 Blouses

-4 Sweaters/Cardigans

-3 Tee-Shirts

-4 Dresses

-4 Pairs of Pants

-1 Nightgown

-1 Light-Weight Robe

-A Week’s Worth of Unmentionables

-3 Pairs of Ballet Flats

-2 Belts

-2 Bags of Toiletries

-2 Thin Books – Heartburn and The Guest Cat

-Calligraphy Paper, Ink, and Nibs

-Taro Card Guide Book

-Adorable Paris Maps and Guides

Lo & Sons - The Catalina // Sam I Am I DoAnd what do I love about the bag?

-I love the soft, washed canvas.  It is sturdy enough to make it through the tussle of baggage claim, but flexible enough to easily pack a large amount of items and conveniently fold up and store in a small space when I’m not traveling.  I avoid roller bags if I can,.  I find them to be a hassle, and they take up space in a closet most of the year, and just feel plain serious business.  This bag allows me to decide whether I want to check my bag or carry it on the plane, and looks cool and casual.

-I love the shape of the bag.  It is large, and the most ingenious part is the top (27 inches) is wider than the bottom, (18.5: inches) allowing me to have more room to zip up..  Who knew less than 9 inches could make all the difference?

-I love the compartments.  The top compartment is large and where I packed all of my clothes.  There is also an interior zipper pocket to keep something extra special safe, as well as two exterior pockets for easy access for a rolled up Us Magazine or my plane ticket.  An equally important part was the bottom section with three-sided zipper.  This was the perfect, flat surface to place my books, toiletries, and shoes.  I loved that I could keep my shoes separate from my clothes, and put more structured items at the bottom.

-I love the color.  The Catalina comes in multiple colors, but Midnight Ash is perfect for traveling.  It isn;t a deep saturated black, but instead a soft charcoal, giving it a lived-in-feel.   I don’t have to worry about stains or fading.

-I love the handles.  It is the perfect length for both over the shoulder or by hand.

Bottom Section Of The Catalina // Sam I Am I DoI can’t wait to use this bag for my next trip upstate, to visit my parents, or even on a picnic (blanket on the top, plates and snacks on the bottom).  If you are looking for a simple, durable, and stylish bag for your next getaway, check out the Catalina.  The Catalina not your bag?  Check out Lo & Sons‘ other styles.  I am eyeing the O.M.G. bag next!

14 thoughts on “Lo & Sons – The Catalina Bag Review

  1. Tarene Fung

    So glad to finally find a review of someone who went to Europe with this bag!
    I’ve been contemplating whether or not to get this bag for my trip to Europe at the end of May for the longest time, but i was worried about whether or not I could use this as my carry-on. Did you check this in or did you bring it into the cabin?


    1. sam Post author

      Hi Tarene,

      How exciting you get to go to Europe! I flew Air France and checked the Catalina going to Paris, but on the way back I took it as a carry-on with no problems. The overhead bins are much deeper/bigger than a domestic flight. I too was nervous about whether they would consider it too big, but I didn’t have any issues. Hopefully, I will have a Paris Guide up soon if you happen to be going there on your trip. Have fun!


      1. jane

        I had the same question about whether this would be accepted as a carryon, too, but I couldn’t resist that pale pine color and just ordered one. Thanks for answering that! Would you say this could be machine washed, or does it look more like a spot clean type bag ? Digging it either way…

        1. sam Post author

          Hey Jane,

          I am pretty sure you can wash it, since it is cotton canvas. I haven’t tried yet, but wouldn’t hesitate to when the time comes. I would probably let it air dry to prevent shrinkage, in case it isn’t pre-washed.

  2. Julia

    What type of flats are pictured and which ones do you consider most comfortable? I ordered a pair of Tieks recently and they didn’t work well for my feet. In search of a comfortable pair.

    1. sam Post author

      Hey Julia,

      My fuchsia flats are from JCrew factory, and you can get them here, although my color no longer exists. The camel flats are from JCrew, and they no longer make the Cece style, but the Nora style seems comparable. You can get them here. The camel flats are a little more comfortable to me, because the fuchsia ones have a bit of elastic that can dig into my heel.

  3. Wendy

    Hi Tarene,
    I have travelled domesticly and abroad with the Catalina bag…perfect size!!! I have been able to use it as a Carry-On everywhere I have flown. Haven’t checked it in yet, but glad to hear it faired well. I have overpacked it at times, the only drawback being the weight on my shoulder…worth it given I was flying stand by at the time. Would recommend in a heartbeat!

    1. sam Post author

      Hey Wendy,

      I agree it can get a little heavy at times, but maybe I just need to learn to be a smarter packer. ;)

  4. Eva

    I am dying to get this bag. I already have the OMG and love it. It came super fast right after I got the email of being in stock,, like it happened to you. Their customer service is great too.

  5. Funmi

    FINALLY! A non-sponsored, honest review of the Catalina. Thanks so much! It’s currently on sale 15%-30% off on their site and I couldn’t help think — I need this bag but I NEED honesty on the quality of it. I look forward to its arrival!

  6. Scott

    My girlfriend is obsessed with this bag and its her birthday coming up,, only problem is we live in Scotland and they dont ship outside the US….
    Does anyone have the idea how i can get it delivered to the UK???!
    Please, if anyone knows a way of getting it over the pond i’d love to hear it!

  7. Marissa

    I’ve seen so many ads for this bag on facebook lately and am so tempted to buy one! Do you find that your clothes get more wrinkled when packed in a soft-sided bag like this? Especially if it then gets crammed into an overhead compartment or juggled around by the airline luggage handlers?

    1. sam Post author

      I don’t really see any difference. I always have some wrinkling no matter what kind of luggage I use. I usually carry a 1 to 1 mixture of fabric softener and water in a small spray bottle and take my clothes out of the bag the night before and spray with the mixture to help dewrinkle.


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