Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, and the item(s) featured are also received at no cost for reviewing purposes, but the opinions are mine and, as always, honest. Read the full disclosure here.

About 6 months ago I reviewed a Beside-U bag, and ever since it’s been one of my favorite bags to use. I am not gentle to my bags, and theirs has proven itself to be very durable. There is no scratch on it, and I’ve been carrying it when grocery shopping, for walks and hiking, it’s been in the rain and in the sun. You can only imagine how happy I was when they asked me to review another one of their bags! I’m picky when choosing handbags, and need them to be very versatile. I tend to be very organized, and the inside of my bag has to be organized as well, since I hate wasting time on searching for things.

Beside-U is a company that specializes in offering quality bags with additional security features, that make their bags very different from other brands on the market. The bags they offer are stylish, functional and provide security, so that every woman would want to keep one of them beside her – hence the company name Beside-U. Their selection of styles and colors is enormous, and it was really hard for me to pick just one bag for testing. This time around I asked them for a bigger tote bag, which would be great when traveling, and they sent me their Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag!

Nutopia Leather Fontana tote has great functional and style features:

  • Detachable security whistle
  • Locking main compartment
  • Lightweight and water resistant
  • 100% 40D Rip-stop nylon fabric
  • Shiny nickle hardware finish with custom puller and logo
  • Sleek front zipper with peek-a-boo metallic teeth
  • Adjustable strap for shoulder carry or crossbody wear (32″ – 57″, detachable)
  • 19″ handle for hand carrying
  • Front and back zippered pockets
  • RFID pocket
  • 13″ laptop and a smaller tablet sleeve
  • Fully lined in fabric with printed graphic
  • 1 open slip pocket for accessories
  • 2 open slip pockets for pens

The Fontana tote bag comes in 7 colors, and the one I will show you here is Footstep Gray, which is a dark gray with silver contrast zippers. Other colors offered are Biking Red, Black, Jester Red, Moonlight Blue, Ocean Blue and Savvy Blue. I love all the colors, but decided to go with a darker one since I’m planning to use this tote bag when traveling.

Have you ever purchased a bag only to realize it’s too heavy on it’s own, and even more when you put all your things inside? It has happened to me, and I have quite a few bags I’m not using because of this, although they are very pretty. Fontana is a very lightweight bag, and I love that the handles are just long enough to carry the bag over the shoulder. Then there is the additional detachable strap that I can use to carry the bag cross-body or over the shoulder. I love this versatility.

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag front zipper

Fontana is made of water resistant and rip-stop nylon fabric that makes it incredibly easy to maintain. Like I mentioned, my previous Beside U bag doesn’t even have a scratch on it after 6 months of constant use. The material feels sturdy, and the stitching is really good – this bag will not rip easily. Fontana doesn’t have too many pockets on the outside, which gives it a very sleek, almost professional look. The front has only one zippered pocked with an interesting peek-a-boo metallic teeth design. The pocket is deep and roomy, perfect for storing items I need an easy access to.  I normally store wipes, lip balms, a small mirror and similar items in front pockets, but never my phone or wallet.

The bag has an even larger zippered pocket in the back, which is great for storing my phone, any papers, documents and similar items that I want to access easily and have against my body so that they can’t get stolen. Since the pocket is so deep (it goes all the way to the bottom of the bag), nothing can fall out easily, which sometimes can happen with shallow pockets.

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag back side

The bag also has an additional thick and sturdy tab, which is great for traveling. I can attach my Fontana tote to my rolling suitcase, so that I don’t have to carry it. This will keep it securely on top, so that it doesn’t fall down. You can see on the photo below how this works – for size reference, the Fontana tote is on top of a small carry-on size suitcase.

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag as carry on luggage

The inside of the bag is fully lined with striped fabric, that’s a big darker than it appears in these photos. The front side has 2 open, fairly big pockets, one of which has RFID protection. There are additionally two pen pockets, which are open at the bottom to fit any size of pens. I love this attention to details, and I don’t remember even seeing open bottom pen pockets. I’ve lost many pens, and this feature will prevent that from happening in the future.

The RFID protected pocket is what completely distinguishes these bags from others on the market. RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. This technology is used in almost every debit and credit card with a chip, and enables us to use that convenient “tap” for paying. However, this also makes stealing personal information from the cards and duplicating them easier (this is called RFID skimming).

I have to note though, there are articles around the internet saying that RFID skimming doesn’t happen in real life (although it is 100% possible to do it). As a cautious person, I like having this additional layer of protection. Yes, the bank will cover you if it happens. But once somebody bought a Yamaha scooter with my credit card, and I had to go through the whole hustle of replacing the card. The worst thing is, I will never know how or when my credit card info was stolen, and it doesn’t feel good. I will let you decide do you need this security feature, but personally, I would like to have it in all my bags, even if it’s just for the peace of mind.

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag inside pockets and rfid

The back side features two large padded pockets, one of which can fit a 13″ laptop and the second one is made for a tablet. Both pockets are padded for additional protection, and there is a sturdy strap with Velcro to keep them in place. That’s some strong Velcro, too.

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag inside pockets for laptop and tablet

Lastly, the bag has two security features as well. As far as I know, the red whistle is added to all the bags as an additional layer of security in case of an attack. It’s one of those things you hope never to need, but it’s good to have. I like that the whistle doesn’t really look like one, and at first glance it just looks like a bag charm.

Another great feature is the locking main compartment. Basically, this is just a small tab that attaches to the main top zipper on the bag, so if someone tries to open it without you noticing it will stop them. It’s not a real lock, but I can definitely see this working as a quick deterrent (pickpockets have to work quickly, and this would slow them down).

Beside U Nutopia Leather Fontana tote bag security whistle and locking features
Left: whistle ; Right: Locking main compartment

Fontana tote bag retails for $135 CAD and qualifies for free shipping. You can purchase this bag from beside-u.ca and I highly recommend you to browse their whole range – it will be hard to choose one, and I am sure you can find a bag that fits your style!

Want to win a Fontana tote bag for yourself? Head over to my Instagram page for the giveaway!

What do you look for in a bag? How do you like this one? Do you think you need all these additional features, especially the security ones?