Skip to main content

It's time to upgrade your browser

Your current browser is no longer supported on Please upgrade to one of the following for a smoother, safer shopping experience with us:

Freeport, ME, June 12, 2024

From Ice Carrier to Icon: L.L.Bean Commemorates 80 Years of the Boat and Tote with Vintage Collection and New Tote Styles

Eighty years ago, L.L.Bean introduced the Boat and Tote –– a bag that would transcend its utilitarian origins to become an enduring symbol of American style and practicality. To commemorate the icon’s 80th anniversary, L.L.Bean is partnering with renowned American vintage curator Wooden Sleepers to release a collection of 24 one-of-a-kind Boat and Totes in varying sizes, colorways and wear. The vintage collection will drop on June 13, 2024 exclusively on Wooden Sleepers, and is the first of four vintage L.L.Bean drops this year in partnership with Wooden Sleepers.

Additionally, as part of the Boat and Tote 80th anniversary, L.L.Bean will introduce two new tote styles on June 18, 2024 on and in select L.L.Bean retail stores.

A Historic Evolution

Originally introduced as the L.L.Bean Ice Carrier in 1944, company founder Leon Leonwood Bean designed this heavy-duty bag to solve a specific problem: transporting block ice to home freezers. Despite the durability of its reinforced, rugged oatmeal-colored canvas construction, the Ice Carrier disappeared from the catalog after just one season. While L.L. did not leave a paper trail as to why the product disappeared so quickly, some speculate it could have been due to wartime supply disruptions. In 1965, it reemerged as the Boat and Tote, redesigned with a nautical flair and destined for a much broader purpose.

The Boat and Tote's appeal lies in its perfect blend of form and function. Crafted in Maine from the same ironclad material used in conveyor belts, it is designed to hold up to 500 pounds, with signature V-point closures on the underside that offer added durability and are a sign of authenticity. As Jean Gray, an experienced L.L.Bean Boat and Tote stitcher, notes, "They’re iconic because they never wear out and can be used to carry anything."

From its humble beginnings, the Boat and Tote has grown into a cultural force, with celebrities and style icons like Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Chloë Sevigny, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker photographed carrying the durable piece.

The Wooden Sleepers Vintage Boat and Tote Collection

To celebrate the bag’s unlikely longevity, L.L.Bean collaborated with Wooden Sleepers to curate a collection of 24 unique vintage Boat and Totes, each with its own history and character. Wooden Sleepers founder Brian Davis meticulously sourced and restored the bags, showcasing different sizes, colors and eras.

Each tote features “varying degrees of wear and tear, reflecting the unique stories they carry," Davis explains. "Vintage goods have a story, a life. Years of wear and tear, sun fading, patina and in some cases, water marks, paint splatters and frayed edges. You cannot fake this; it must be earned through real use, day in and day out."

The Boat and Tote carries a lot of weight in the pantheon of L.L.Bean's legacy – a legacy which has impacted Davis. In his opinion, "Leon Leonwood Bean is the greatest American clothing designer. The Bean Boot, Boat and Tote, Field Coat and Norwegian Sweater are all American style icons.”

Davis adds: “Vintage L.L.Bean was made incredibly well and is kind of ‘trend-proof.’ You can pick up a 50-year-old Field Coat or Boat and Tote and still use it today. It’s functional clothing that happens to look cool decade after decade."


"You can pick up a 50-year-old Field Coat or Boat and Tote and still use it today. It’s functional clothing that happens to look cool decade after decade."

Brian Davis, Founder of Wooden Sleepers

New Boat and Tote Styles

In addition to celebrating its rich history, L.L.Bean will introduce two new styles to its fleet of canvas carry-alls on June 18, 2024 on and in select L.L.Bean retail stores. The new styles will include extra-small and cross-body totes, made from the same heavy-duty canvas that the Boat and Tote is known for. Customers can expect several new Boat and Tote styles to launch throughout the year in celebration of the 80th anniversary.