Object of Desire: Multipurpose Insulated Picnic Totes by Millie Lottie

Millie Lottie Etta Picnic Tote

Gardenista recently did a roundup of really great picnic baskets, and I considered—for about 30 seconds—purchasing one. I live across the street from one of our town’s parks, and I imagined how nice it would be to stroll down with a pretty basket, kitted out with all our picnic essentials. But did I really need a picnic basket? Why get one when my current method of transporting food and beverages—in tote bags that I also use for the pool, the beach, and my kids’ sports games—works decently well? And where would I store a picnic basket?

The answer to my conundrum: canvas picnic totes from San Francisco-based brand Millie Lottie. Both Meredith and Julie have mentioned them recently (Meredith in a post about Mother’s Day gift ideas), and when two Remodelista editors recommend the same thing, I know it has to be special.

Millie Lottie Picnic Totes Hero
Above: Is it a picnic tote or a market bag? Does it matter? What I like about Millie Lottie’s products is that they can be used for different functions.

Here’s why these picnic bags are lighting up the desire portion of my brain: They have a flat, rigid bottom, thanks to a wooden cutting board that fits into the base, making it easier to hold casserole dishes and salad bowls; they are durable and boast three layers (two layers of thick canvas plus an insulated water-proof and burn-proof layer); they have wine straps integrated into the design; they are multipurpose and not just for picnics (take the cutting board out and you can use it as a market bag, a beach bag, an overnight bag, or in my case, a sports bag); they are made with very little waste (learn about its sustainable design here); and they are easy to store.

Millie Lottie picnic totes come in three styles: the Etta, the Eva, and the Branch.

The Etta Picnic Tote

Millie Lottie Etta Picnic Tote
Above: The Etta Food & Picnic Tote comes with straps for securing wine bottles or utensils and is roomy enough to also use as an overnight bag. Like the other styles, it comes in black and natural and in two sizes; $205 and $240.

The Eva Picnic Tote

Millie Lottie Eva Picnic Tote
Above: The Eva Signature Food & Picnic Tote has chic leather cut-out handles; $250 (medium) and $300 (large, shown).
Millie Lottie Eva Picnic Tote
Above: You can see the Eva’s generous proportions in this picture. Notice the brown grip handle on the left; you can buy removable leather Grip Handles in multiple colors for $15 each.

The Branch Picnic Tote

Millie Lottie Branch and Food Picnic Tote
Above: Called an “every person” tote, the Branch Food & Picnic Tote is the company’s most affordable style; $90 for the medium and $120 for the large. The Branch doesn’t come with a thermal lining nor a cutting board, as the other styles do, but you can purchase a board separately for $30 to $40, depending on the size.
Millie Lottie Branch and Food Picnic Tote
Above: For an extra $10, you can also have a thermal lining added to a Branch tote.

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