Raising Memories: Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag Review

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag Review

I've been using a new camera bag/purse for a couple of months, and I think it's about time I shared it with you! It's the Gracie bag in Butterscotch, by Jo Totes. I wanted to wait to post until I had had some time to really use it, and use it I have! Out of all of the camera bags I have tried in the past, this is the one I have used the most as just a purse, even when I don't need my camera. I love it for both uses (and for both at once)!

Alright, let's get to the details! I'm about to tell you everything I can think of to tell you about this bag, and to show you in detailed photos, so sit back and enjoy! :)

DSLR Camera Purse

Let's start with the front of the bag! It has two pockets which are fabulous! They have magnetic closures but look like they close with buckles (love that!). They have plenty of room in them for all of your "small thing" needs. When I'm using the bag like a purse, I put a small notebook & pens in one pocket and my cell phone & ipod in the other (likely with some lip gloss). If I'm using it solely as a camera bag, I'll switch the notebook and pens for memory cards and lens pens.

Jo Totes Gracie Bag Front Pockets

Also at the front of the bag, behind those two awesome pockets is another awesome pocket that is the perfect size for a tablet! I was a little nervous about this pocket because I have a Microsoft Surface Tablet and it is WIDE. It's 10.81" wide, to be exact. (I think the ipad is 9.5") So, if this tablet pocket was going to be too small for any tablet, it was going to be too small for mine! But, as you can see, it fits! It is a tight fit and I would be even happier with it if there was a little more wiggle room, but it DOES fit- and I'm glad!

Camera Bag with a pocket for a Microsoft Surface Tablet

This bag comes with two removable straps. One purse strap, and one adjustable shoulder strap with shoulder pad (shown below). The clasps on the ends make it very easy to switch out the handles. I use mine the most with the purse strap, but if I'm going to be using the bag one day solely for taking photos, I will switch it out and use the shoulder strap in order to wear it cross-body.

Camera Bag with Removable Interchangeable straps

Here's a look at the details- I'm holding the bag up so you can see how tall it is capable of being. The padding only goes about half way up the bag inside though, so that if you are not filling the top half, it will be nice and slouchy for you on the top half. You can also see what the zipper looks like up close on the tablet pocket.

Camera Bag Review with lots of Photos

Before we take a look inside the bag, let's take a peek at the back. There is a nice deep, flat pocket at the back with no closure (I love this for sticking small or folded papers in). It was perfect when I used the bag as a carry-on for my trip to Utah in February because I could use it for my boarding pass and itinerary- very easy to access!

And how cool is this- there is a hidden little zipper pocket INSIDE of the back pocket! You can put all sorts of little hidden treasures in there! ;)  In the photo below, I'm showing it to you- you'll also catch a glimpse of the pretty blue interior of the bag :)

Purse for Camera with lots of pockets and dividers

Now let's look inside.  There are two zipper pockets inside.  The one with the Jo Totes label on it is an extra deep pocket.  The one on the other side is what I would consider a typical sized interior zipper pocket for a purse.  I love that both of these options are available!

Interior Pockets on Camera Bag by Jo Totes

This bag comes with 5 dividers. They are not all the same! Some have velcro flaps on the bottom and sides, some have velcro flaps just on the sides, and some have velcro flaps on the sides, the top, and velcro on the flat sides of the divider! This is cool because it means you can do more than just decide how many "compartments" you will make and how wide they will be, but you can use those "velcro-on-the-flat-side" dividers to divide your compartments! The combinations are endless!

Camera Bag with lots of adjustable dividers

I used those options in different ways for my carry-on needs when I travelled in February, but for every day use I tend to use it the way I've shown below. Plenty of room for my camera (Canon 5D) with a 28-75mm lens attached to it, an extra lens, and my flash as well as any purse items I want to add to it. (You can see that there is lots of space around my lens- I could totally divide that compartment in two and create another thin compartment next to it!)

I think you can tell from the photo below that this bag has a lot of space above the velcro area. You could fit a LOT in the bag on TOP of where your gear fits all snug and safe, surrounded by padding. OR you can just let the top part of the bag scrunch down to achieve that slouchy look.

Camera Purse with Adjustable Dividers, Interior

I can't bring myself to post a camera bag review without a shot of myself wearing it to give you an idea of how big it is. (No matter how selfie-in-the-mirror-esque that photo is ;) There aren't any other photographers around my house, and I couldn't find the tripod, so this is what you get! :)

By the way, I am wearing the purse strap in this photo and I'm all dressed up for church because I've been using this bag a lot as a church bag!  I just take out the dividers and throw my tablet (which has my lesson manual and scriptures downloaded onto it) right in the main area of the purse along with my planner and anything else I may need for my Primary (kids' Sunday School) lesson!

Jo Totes Camera Purse Review with lots of photos

I hope you found this review helpful for your camera bag shopping needs!  I have a thing for camera bags, so it is always a pleasure to share them with you!

You can find other Jo Totes camera bag reviews I've posted by clicking on their names here: Abby, MissyMillie, and Siena. I also have a review up for Kelly Moore's B-Hobo.

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Disclosure: Jo Totes provided me with this camera bag for review purposes.  All opinions shared are absolutely my own!


  1. Thanks for sending me to your review! Love it. I'm anxiously awaiting my Gracie bag and it's on back order for another week. :( I ended up going with the butterscotch as well.

    1. You're welcome! :) Thank you & you will love your Gracie bag! :)

  2. Hi,
    I had a question about the color of the butterscotch. In most of your pics it has a very orange hue but in that close up it looks darker and more caramel. Is that the truer color? I'm having a tough time deciding on a color and I always buy black bags. Really want to break my old habits of buying a black bag and do something different:) Thanks!

    1. Hi Chris,
      I'm not sure which close-up you're referring to. The photos on my screen match the bag well. It will look a bit different depending on the lighting of course. I'm wondering if it is a difference in our screens that makes the bag look orangey?

  3. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for your response. I was referring to the 5th image from the top. When you compare those two images the colors look different, maybe it's the lighting and/or computer screen difference. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Heather!
    I'm looking at either the Gracie or Missy, which one do you prefer and why (if you could)! PS ladies I just found the Gracie on sale on QVC for $72! WHAAT? :) Thank you!!

    1. I like them both a lot, but I use the Gracie more often. The Missy is larger/bulkier so I use it when I really need the space. For me, the Gracie is a better "everyday" bag. When the Missy is full, it's heavy, so I don't use it when I'll be carrying it on me a lot. I hope that helps!

    2. It does! I just ordered the Gracie from QVC! Thanks!! :)

  5. Hi! I love both Gracie and Missy and I need your help with one question. Does a 70-200 2.8 lens fit in both this bags? I live in Sweden so I have to order whitout seeing or trying the bag. Thank you! /Anna

    1. I do not own a 70-200 2.8 lens, but I have seen questions like this answered on the Jo Totes facebook page before, so you might try asking there! Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/jototes

  6. Hello, I see that you are from Canada. I was wondering how much shipping cost when you ordered it if you can remember. Thanks :)

    1. I just looked on the website & you can put a bag in your cart, enter your address & find out what shipping would cost for your location. When I entered it just now, it was $25.

  7. Hi! I have a Kelly Moore B-Hobo and feel that the bag is a little bit small when I am out with my family and need the bag to be both my purse and my camera bag. Is the Gracie bigger then B-hobo? /Anna

    1. Hi Anna, I know what you mean. Yes, I prefer to bring the Gracie when I'm out with my family & using it for more than just a camera bag. There are more pockets & the pockets have more space in them. Not sure you could fit more camera equipment, but definitely more "other stuff" with that same equipment.

  8. Hi Heather! I am a mom of 2 young boys, always on the run... hahaha! My husband has always been the one to carry the camera, and so the camera bags has always been more masculine and a backpack, great for him but a challenge for me when trying to just go the park and I end bringing the diaper bag, a bag of lunches, toys, etc an my purse... I am not able to just 'toss' the camera in the bag/my purse and risk it...
    I was able to get a nice used camera from a professional photographer for a amazing deal to have a camera of my own and now am on the search for a great camera bag that I can used! We do travel to see family both flying and driving and would take it with me as a carry on. I came across Jo Totes and just cant decide between the Gracie and the Missy.... I have a 17" computer so I know that will not be able to fit in either.
    Suggestions?? We are leaving in about 2 weeks for a trip and would love to order one of them to take!
    Thank you!! Your reviews on both were so great I wish I could just order both! hahaha!

    1. Hi Aly! Thank you, I'm glad you found the reviews helpful! I would say that if you're at all concerned about size, go with the Gracie. I find it roomy enough to be a carry on. The Missy is an awesome bag but oftentimes, for me, it feels too big. I use the Gracie more often because of that. Also, with the Missy, depending on what you're packing in it, it can get really heavy if it's packed full! It's also more sturdy/firm (not as pliable as the Gracie) which is another thing that makes the Gracie preferable to me in many situations. I do love my Missy though! :)

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  10. Hi Heather! Terrific review. I've been looking for a 'fashion' yet 'practical' women's camera bag, and I really like the ones Jo Totes has to offer. I'm still tossing between the Missy and the Gracie though, am leaning more towards the Gracie, due to it's sheer size of not looking overwhelming large. I have a Full Frame Canon with a battery grip - will the Gracie hold this? Also how is the bag (either) after wear and tear, i.e. does the leather peel, and do stains come off easily? Thanks again for the review and your time. -- Anita

    1. I love them both, but I use the Gracie WAY more because of its size. The Missy is pretty big and more stiff. I can't tell you from experience about the battery grip because I don't use one, but I think if you ask on the facebook page, you'll be able to get an answer! I guess it would depend on how you want to store it in the bag. I'm glad you found the review helpful! I think the bags wear very well. I use my Gracie a ton and have had it for years and I think it looks as good as new! I haven't had any major stains to deal with- anything I've had land on it can just be wiped off.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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