It rained today so I took it out for the first time. I am very impressed with this tote. I added some things, coach charms and a skip hop change purse thing that is supposed to be to hold pacifiers but it worked.
I know what you mean. When the bag is not in use it is so flat that you can't even tell there are outside pockets. They are very deep though and everything in the main compartment completely zips ans keeps it safe and dry !