Outdoor Gear Bags and Bins and Rux Gear Tote Review

Outdoor adventures often require some type of gear that you need to take with. Add in a few kids and its amazing how quickly your vehicle is packed to the gills with everything you need for one short outing.

Wether you are headed to the ski hill, mountain bike trails, beach, nordic chalet, or just a hike on the local trails, we hope these organizational tips and containers will help keep all that gear a little more organized.

The TMM team has a variety of ways we transport gear to and from our adventures. Sometimes we use totes, duffels, storage bins, mesh bags, and more. Here are some of our favorite outdoor gear bags and bins… and we even got to test out a newer storage box on the market called Rux Gear Tote, check out our review below!

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A truck bed is loaded with a cooler, outdoor gear bags, storage tote, duffle bags, and bikes.
Loaded up for a bike trip to Bentonville with our storage totes, duffle bags, coolers, and kids bikes.

Keeping Gear Organized at Home

One of the first steps to being able to get your gear ready quick is keeping your gear organized at home. We love using labeled bins and hooks to keep our gear organized. Learn more about some of the team’s favorite ways to organize gear in our How to Organize Outdoor Gear and Organizing Your Mudroom for Winter (and other storage tips) posts.

Its also super important to keep your gear clean. Clean gear will always perform better, so before you put away any of your gear, make sure its clean!

We normally try and put all our gear away when we get home (although it doesn’t always happen), when everything is back in its place, we normally have a few empty bins hanging out waiting to be filled for the next adventure.

Rux Gear Tote Review

When I first received the Rux Gear Tote, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it and worried it would just be another piece of gear I didn’t really need. We have been using those black and yellow bins or open canvas tote bags. However, after just one family trip to the nordic chalet, it earned its keep.

We liked the material of the Rux over our canvas totes and preferred the smaller size and the ability to carry easier than black and yellow bins.

The Rux Gear Tote has a ton of features to make it versatile for all your adventures. It can even be integrated into your home storage system with the addition of an optional accessory. You can pack it like a box and then carry like a tote or put on like a backpack. When its not in use, collapse it down and store it away.

We have been testing the Rux Gear Tote with Tri Fold Lid, Rux Bag and the Rux Pocket.

A woman wearing a black jacket is carrying a Rux tote on her back while also carrying a ski bag.
Headed back to the truck after a morning of skiing, I love the backpack feature so I can carry all the skis and gear. I forgot to attach the bottom tabs on external Rux Pocket which is why it is sticking out on the side.

Rux Gear Tote Features

The Rux Gear Tote is packed with a lot of features, head on over to Rux.life to check them all out! Here are a few of them:

  • Weatherproof material
  • Collapsible design
  • Multiple carry options (carry like a backpack, tote, or bin)
  • Different systems and accessories to organize your gear
  • Use accessories together or separately depending on your needs
  • Utility hooks can help your Rux Tote attach to slat wall or L track
  • Guaranteed for life!
A Rux Tote is sitting on the floor full of winter gear.

What We Love About the Rux Gear Tote

There is a lot to love about this tote, here are a few of favorites…

The Weatherproof Material

First of all, we love the material on this tote. We like that we can throw it in the bed of the truck and not worry about the contents getting wet on our drive, also love that we can set it down in a snow covered parking lot and it doesn’t absorb water. On the flip side… if things are wet on the inside (or a water bottle happens to leak) it also keeps the liquid from getting out.

Another thing we recently discovered…since the lid can be completely removed, you could flip it over (weatherproof side down) and have a clean and dry place to stand and change your boots in the parking lot (or wet chalet floor). Just remember that if you plan to carry like a backpack, that wet or dirty lid will be on your back (lesson learned). I also like that you can leave the lid attached in the middle and just open the bin halfway to get out what you need without removing the entire lid.

A rux tote lid is flipped upside on on the floor to stand on.
Upside down Rux lid doubling as a dry space to stand.

Collapses Down for Storage

We also love that is collapses down so that we don’t have another empty giant storage tote just hanging around the basement. The Rux collapses by snapping the middle of the corner stay (just like those old slap bracelets you had) and folding down. Tighten the strap to keep it collapsed, fold up any other accessories you have and put them in the tote before you collapse, then everything stays together.

A Rux Tote sits in the bed of a truck next to ski poles and bag.

Everything Works Together or Separately!

I love how the items can be used together or separately. Don’t need a lid? Leave it off. Need to divide the inside? Clip or set the Rux Bag in and have 2 compartments (2 Rux Bags can fit in a Tote.) Just want a large box? Use that Rux Bag for all that other loose stuff and carry separately. Add the Rux Pocket to the inside or outside rails depending on what you need.

What We Didn’t Love

Getting the corner stays in the tote for the first time was definitely a challenge. Once they are in, you don’t have to remove them (the box collapse by snapping the middle of the stay.)

I also found that after the bin was collapsed for a few weeks, the corner stays had to be pushed back in their slots a little (also a challenge) before they could straighten and lock.

The other issue I have come across is that you need to be careful when pushing the bin on the corners. A few times I have set the bin in my truck and then put my hands on the corners to slide it in further and ended up “un-popping” the corner stays. It is not a huge deal as I just reached my hand in the bin and snapped them straight, but something that you need to be cautious of. This tote is better pulled than pushed.

The clips on the rails also take a little getting used to with the right finger position to release them quickly.

Outdoor Gear Bags and Bins for Transporting Gear

From bins to bags, the TMM team uses a wide variety containers to transport our gear to our adventures. Here are some of our favorites!

Black Tote Storage Bins

greenmade 27 gal black and yellow storage tote

These bins are so handy. We use them for storage in our basement of all our gear but also have a few on hand that don’t have permanent contents and those are the ones we use for adventures. We can fit almost all of our bike gear (helmets, shoes, backpacks) for our family of 4 in one of these.

We like to get the Greenmade ones from Costco when they are on sale.

A black tote bin with four bike helmets in mesh bags in it.
Mesh bags with helmets in them in a GreenMade tote.

Mesh Bags

Mesh bags are great for keeping individual gear organized, and still let it breathe. Many TMM Team Members use mesh bags for their families, each family member gets a bag for their gear. We also love using mesh bags because they can let moisture escape from wet gear.

We use these mesh drawstring bags for each persons bike helmet, gloves, and protective pads. You could also do the same for snow helmets, gloves/mittens, goggles, and other winter accessories.

TMM Team Member Mary likes using mesh duffle bags for her family.

Two bike helmets hang in mesh bags.

Duffle Bags

Duffle bags are another great option used by many team members. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and features. TMM Team Member Cait likes the Cotopaxi duffels and Amelia uses the L.L. Bean Duffle for her family. Each family member gets their own for their gear!

Cotopaxi Ligera Duffle

The Ligera is a simple, lightweight duffle for whatever you need. Need something a bit more burly? Check out the Allpa, featuring backpack straps and a durable and waterproof material. And as always, Cotopaxi comes in some great colors!

Eagle Creek Duffle

The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffle bags are our family favorite. We love the backpack straps! It makes it easy to carry multiple bags at once and for our little ones to carry their own bags. The Cargo Haulers come in 40L, 60L, 90L duffels and 110L and 130L wheeled versions.

L.L.Bean Adventure Duffle

The L.L. Bean duffle is a time tested multipurpose duffle. Also at a great price! They come in a variety of sizes and patterns from 35L to 135L. L..L. Bean also has a Pro Duffle that features a water resistant material.

Utility Totes and Packing Cubes

ThirtyOne Deluxe Utility Tote

We use utility totes and packing cubes all year round, from packing for vacation to heading to the beach or trail head. These totes are so versatile. We have a handful of ThirtyOne Utility Totes, but you can find others that work just as well on Amazon or in a local store.

Pair these totes with some compression packing cubes (get a different color for each family member) and you have a pretty organized setup.

REI Pack Away Bin Gear Hauler

REI Co-op Pack-Away Bin

These haulers are great for families. Either sort gear by type or by family member. The best part, they collapse down nice and small when not in use. This REI Pack away bin comes in a 100L or 140L sizes and you can choose your configuration of cubes to go on the inside, from 10L, 15L to 25L cubes (sold separately).

We have used a Mountainsmith Modular Hauler for years, unfortunately, they don’t make them anymore so you have to find the Mountainsmith ones used. Thankfully, there are lots of other options on the market!

The North Face Base Camp Gear Box

The North Face Base Camp Gear Box

Similar to the REI Packaway bin, this bag/box from the North Face has some smart features to become your portable gear locker for biking, skiing, or camping. There are internal pockets for storage and the lid has some zippered compartments for smaller items.

This bin can collapse, but also stays rigid when the corner stays are in place. With a 90L capacity, it can hold quite a bit, and you can even stack the boxes. If you don’t need that much space, there is also a smaller 65L Gear Box.

Ikea Tote Bags

Blue Ikea storage bag

At just $0.99 each at Ikea, these bags are a bargain for storage transport. Get one for each family member and use some tape or bag tags to label or put a name on them.

TMM Team Member Amanda likes using these bags for keeping things organized for bike races or going biking.

I have also seen some great hacks with these bags for wet muddy gear… Put the bag on the ground, step into it with your gear on, strip off the gear right into the bag and keep the mess contained.

The Washable Travel Duffel 60L from Tobiq

Tobiq 60L washable divided duffle bag

Now we haven’t had a chance to test out this bag yet, but this is a combination between a modular hauler and a duffle bag and would work great to keep everyones gear separate and organized either for travel or adventures!

Although we don’t have any personal experience, this bag has been on my radar for a while and looks like a great bag for organizing gear!

Boot Bags for Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Transpack and Athalon Ski Boot Bags

Most of our downhill loving team members all have boot bags for each family member which helps keep all their alpine gear together. Boots, gloves, helmets, etc all go in the boot bag designated to that person.

TMM Team Member Amanda loves using these boot bags from Athalon for everyone in their family and TMM Founder Amelia uses boot bags from Transpack for her family.

Two ski boot bags sit on a shelf.
TMM Team Member Amanda keeps their ski boot bags on a shelf ready to grab and go!

Gear Organization for the Whole Family

Keeping gear organized with a family can sometimes seem like a challenge and the more people, the more gear! Older kids can be responsible for their own, the but younger ones are still going to need some supervision to make sure they have all the essentials.

Checklists work great for making sure everyone has everything! We have a checklist binder in our house that we use… we have printed checklists in page protectors or laminated so we can mark with a dry erase marker as we are packing. We have different lists for different activities and each person has their own column with some general or family items at the bottom.

A binder with the words"packing lists" on the front sits on a counter with packing lists coming out of it.

If you have a great system we don’t have listed here, please let us know! We are always looking for more ways to be organized.

Don’t forget, most adventures also need some coolers. We love our hard Yeti Tundra’s and soft Arctic Zone Titan coolers (these are normally a great deal at Costco!).

Getting Your Gear to Your Adventure and Rux Gear Tote Review

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  • Jami and her husband Greg were born and raised in Michigan, but now call Appleton, WI home. They have two little girls, Kylie and Nora, and two Springer pups, Reece and Lucie. They love getting out as a family camping, hiking, hunting, running, biking, and just playing outside. Jami and her family love spending free time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula looking for adventure. Jami mostly stays home with her girls but also works part-time as an Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer. She also enjoys helping other families get outside as much as possible.

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