I declare, the cotton canvas tote is the only bag I can fill with parcels one day, a change of clothes the next and a small pet on emergency veterinarian visits. A good cotton tote adjust to any setting and last a lifetime (but since I have not reached the age of 30, my theory has not yet been tested).
During times of travel, the tote serves as a carry-on to hold items needed at the ready, such as proof that I am a legitimate citizen of a country and a bit of reading material. The chance that on any given moment my simple bag is filled with a book or two is very high. When I buy or borrow novels, I never acquire just one. Since I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Kindle, a spacious bag is vital to simultaneously tote around The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Little Dorrit.
Homemade sandwiches on gluten-free bread and Brita-filtered water are typical provisions found in my tote during commutes and excursions to the farmers market or Trader Joe's. Yes, it is quite acceptable to eat food while en route to buy more food. In my effort to be as green as possible, I often opt out of bagging my newly purchased sustenance in tradition paper or plastic. Instead, Weetabix, plums, salad and granola are placed inside my spacious canvas bag until relocated to designated spots in the kitchen.
Tote has also been used as a portable cushion - lugging around a traditional seat cushion is not an option because of its bulky nature. Also my grandmother would disapproval of my employing her coordinated seat cushions to keep grass stains, hot pavement and sand at bay.
When the temperature reaches ninety degrees, tote turns to beach bag, containing items such as flip flops, bottles of frozen water and magazines (not books - the last time I took a book to the beach it escaped the car at a rest stop and I have not seen it since).