Jo Totes Camera Bag Review and Giveaway

Almost as long as I’ve been “serious” about photography I’ve wanted a gorgeous, girly, fun and functional camera bag.  More than once I almost hit add to cart on a Kelly Moore bag, an Epiphane and even considered a Jill E., but I just felt all of those were too expensive for what you get  (I had a hard time justifying spending $160-$200 on a pleather bag!)  Now, if I’d only heard RAVE reviews and I thought they fit my needs perfectly, or I fell madly in love with their designs I might have been persuaded, but none of these had a magnetic AND a zip closure at the top which was something I really wanted (zip for ultimate rain proof protection, snap for quick closure when shooting.)

And that’s where Jo Totes bags came in. They had pretty much everything I wanted in a camera bag –  tons of room,  magnetic/zip closure, a long removable shoulder strap, metal feet on the bottom, gorgeous vintage design and colors that make me happy (seriously, my marigold rose bag makes me smile when I look at it) and all of this for under $100!

There are two main styles, Missy and Rose.  I have the Rose in Marigold and that is the one I’m reviewing, though I’ve read that both have very similar features and dimensions. The one difference is that the Rose gets narrower/slimmer at the top to fit under the arm so it has a little less room at the top than the Missy.

Anyway, onto the pictures!


Hello Sunshine! The Rose bag in Marigold.


Pretty vintage rose detail


Magnetic snap AND zip closure


snazzy houndstooth interior fabric (other colors have other fabrics)


configurable inserts

And now, what everyone wants to know: What can it fit??

The answer is..pretty much EVERYTHING! At a roomy 16 3/4″ x 11″ x 6″ , I can actually fit all my lenses except the 70-200 PLUS my full frame 5D Mark II body PLUS my speedlite!  But what really sold me on it is that I can even fit my 70-200 if it’s mounted on my camera and it lays sideways. Even with that, I can still fit another lens or two and my speedlite next to it.   The folks at JoTotes are quick to point out that this is NOT meant to be a heavy duty camera bag for toting around massive lenses like the 70-200, but being that it is my preferred lens for outdoor shooting I did want to share how I make it work.

Because I couldn’t take decent pictures of the bag with my stuff in it (can’t take pictures OF my camera WITH my camera!) I decided at the last minute to do a little video tour of what I packed in my JoTote for a newborn shoot this past weekend.  Clearly this is last minute because I decided to record this even though I was home alone with Jasper, which means in between the salient points you will hear whining, and constant interruption from the man himself ( and an up close look at his new haircut!) so I apologize in advance!

Now, I have read other people say they thought this bag was TOO roomy, so I think size is just completely a matter of preference when it comes to camera bags.  Just like some people like a clutch vs a real handbag, people will always have varying ideas about what their ideal camera bag size is.  Personally, I like to have a big bag that I can pack full if need be or just have it be less full and lighter but still have plenty of room for diapers, wipes case etc.

I’ve had this bag for almost six months now and I really have found it to be  pretty darn near perfect.  The only things that would make it beyond perfect would be 1) a sleeve for sliding some paperwork into (like model releases etc) which could fit under the rouching and 2) one of those things that fits on the shoulder strap that you put where the strap hits your shoulder (I don’t know what it’s called!) as the strap is a little on the thin side and can tend to dig in after a while when you tote around a ton of stuff like I always do! But seriously, those things are just nitpicky details, I have a fierce love for my Jo Tote and if anything happened do it I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another in a heartbeat – or even just to try a different color! (Did I mention that I’ve had tons of people compliment me on my “purse” and then watched their jaws drop when I told them it was actually a camera bag?)

So now that you know all about Jo Totes bags and how awesome they are you are totally going to put one on that holiday wish list you plan on slipping to your hubby right?  (You should!)  But before you do, you have a chance to win one of your very own right here!

All you need to do is go to the Jo Totes website and come back here and leave a comment letting me know which bag in which color you want if you win (please choose from in stock items only.)  Additional entries can be earned by:

1) going to the Jo Totes Facebook page and liking them.
2) going the new and rather anemic Becoming-Mom facebook page and liking it.
3) Tweeting about the giveaway with a link:

Leave an additional comment for each of those letting me know you’ve done one or all.

Entries will be taken until Midnight Friday EDT and the winner will be chosen via and announced on Monday November 15th…

Good luck!

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So, I know this video is almost a year old, but in researching epiphanie vs jo totes, I stumbled across it. The video was MUCH more helpful than photos in letting me know the spaciousness of the bag. Yeah, I’m going to get me a Jo Totes! Thanks!

Great stuff! I’m looking at buying one right now! :)

Christina Park says:

I meant yellow
haha silly me

Christina Park says:

I’d like the JoTote bag in that blue/turquoise color! and like it on fb :)

Anna H says:

And just liked Becoming-Mom. (Which quite frankly I would have done without a contest as incentive! So excited to have found you!)

Anna H says:

I just liked the Jo Totes FB page =0)

Anna H says:

I would love love love to win the Rose Bag in Pewter. ADORABLE!!

Jennifer Creep says:

My husband thinks I’m crazy for wanting a “cute” camera bag but they are just so darn stinkin cute. I am in love with Rose – Pewter. I’ve just purchased my first DSLR camera today and I can’t wait for it to arrive on friday. This bag would do perfect with my new little collection!

Missy says:

Oh how I NEED this bag! I love the black one!

kristi c says:

ohh ahhh the missy in gray is beautiful

Jill Ward says:

I like Becoming Mom on Facebook!

Jill Ward says:

I LIKE Jo Totes on Facebook!

Jill Ward says:

Wow! What an awesome giveaway! I LOVE all the bags and it is hard to pick just one! I think I would love to own the Rose Bag in pewter! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Lauren says:

i like jo on facebook as lauren becker

Sarah says:

I LOVE the Rose Sugarplum.

YAY! What an awesome giveaway! I have been looking at these for weeks now, and like you, have a newborn and need a bag big enough for diapers and wipes and all manner of baby stuff!

Thanks for the chance to win.

Dana says:

I have been thinking about buying this forever – I’d love to win one! Just ordered a new camera and sooo need a bag. I think I’d go with the Missy black or the rose bronze. I hope to win one! Thanks – 2 likes on facebook too!

Lauren says:

Like Jo Totes on FB

Lauren says:

I really love the Rose bag in marigold with the cute houndstooth interior!!

anna k. says:

rose in marigold!

Shaiya says:

I also liked you on Fb!!!

Deanna K says:

I tweeted about it!
thanks so much for the giveaway!

Cathy says:

Love the rose in clementine!

Sara says:

OMG, I have been wanting one of these bags for months now. Would love to have the Rose-Teal. My Nikon D90 would look great snuggled in there!

Angela says:

I think my favorite is the rose bronze.

Jenn says:

And liked becoming mom on fb. The exact one you have please! The rose in marigold is beautiful!

Jenn says:

I loooove these! Liked JoTotes on fb! The exact one you have please! The rose in marigold is beautiful!

Kristi says:

I also liked them on Facebook. What amazing bags!

Kristi says:

Love the Rose in sugarplum (or pewter… it’s so hard to say)!

Shaiya says:

I liked them on FB.

Shaiya says:

I want a Rose-Teal bag!!! I am so glad you did a video review of the bag. I’ve been wanting to get one but wasn’t sure if it would be roomy enough for all my needs. Now I know!! Thanks.

Lauren says:

Liked Becoming Mom FB page!!

Lauren says:

Liked Jo Totes!!–Love the exact one you have!! Love the marigold color…matches my logo!!

Amarie says:

“Liked” Becoming Mom on Facebook!

Lisa says:

AHHHH! My favorite camera bag! I have cheap lowpro so this would be a definite upgrade. Rose in Sugarplum would be my pick :)

nancy says:

I also tweeted and liked both yours and jototes FB pages. Thanks!

nancy says:

Missy in black please!