Small vs. Medium Cafe Bag (size wise)
I just thought I would post on the sizing of the small versus medium cafe bags, because I know some advice would have been helpful while I was deciding which one to purchase.
I am not a light traveler. I normally carry what I call my ďpanic bagĒ, which has everything I could need for a variety of situations Ė anything from spontaneously staying over at a friendís house to surviving the first three days of a zombie strike. I had a small Timbuk2 bag that was perfect as my panic bag, but I noticed that as summer rolled into Toronto I was beginning to resent lugging my panic bag out to patio lunches on my work hour when I knew I would unlikely encounter either a zombie strike or a sleep over.
So I wanted to move away from my panic bag to something I could throw my wallet, work keys, lip chap and sunglasses into and tote with me around the city on short day trips.
I got the Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi, and I love it. Even though I had measured out itís approximate size, I was still shocked at how large it seemed. I managed to put my water bottle, my Moleskine, my fountain pen case, wallet, keys, cell, lip chap, iPod and huge earphones, glasses (in their case) and my hair stick case into it, with plenty of extra room at the top. It was roomy and gorgeous and I loved it. I actually added a truncated survival kit (basically a mini first aid kit) to the bag and am now using it as my everyday bag. Iíll just have to accept that Iíll only survive the first day of a zombie strike now. Oh well!
Then I began thinking Ė if there is so much extra room in the medium, why not try the small? Maybe it would fit better. I ordered it in Navy/Crimson, and although it was equally beautiful, when I transferred all my stuff into the Small Cafe Bag from the medium one, the small one was packed to the hilt, which made it uncomfortable to carry on my hip. That extra space in the bag allows it to mold to your body a lot more comfortably.
I kept the Small Cafe Bag anyway. Iím leaving it at work to serve the purpose I originally bought it for Ė something I can transfer my wallet, sunglasses, and keys into when I head out from work for a short trip, errand or patio lunch.
The main point of my post is this Ė if you do not tend to travel super light, I suggest the Medium Cafe Bag rather than the small one. Although there may seem to be a fair bit of space once youíve packed everything into the medium one, if you try to shift it into the Small Cafe Bag it might not work out so well.
On a final note, Iím still feeling kind of antsy about not lugging everything I could possibly need with me all the time. I like the security of being prepared for absolutely any situation. Therefore, Iím going to try and create a step between the Medium Cafe Bag and my Timbuk2 bag in the form of the Imago Ė not quite a full panic bag, but hopefully a bit more prepared for the apocalypse than I feel with the Medium Cafe Bag. I got it in Steel/Steel/Sapphire. Itís incredibly beautiful, and I think it will serve me well. But right now Iím too in love with the Medium Cafe Bag to pay it much attention.
Thanks Tom Bihn, for encouraging me to move away from traveling with everything including the kitchen sink on my shoulders!
Tnx for your useful-to-me post!
Originally Posted by rodrigues
Thanks for your post. :)
I was vacillating between the Small & Med Cafe Bags as well as the Ristretto. A video of the Ristretto bag allowed me to see it was not quite what I was looking for. But, I was still unsure whether to go small or medium (or even large) cafe. I ultimately did go with the medium cafe (on order, awaiting deliver). I appreciated your post as it helps to reinforce some of my thinking on the matter. Your point on the small bag becoming too stuffed/solid is a good one, relevant to my purposes.
I too, am trying to downsize what I carry. I figured if I went with the large I wasn't really downsizing so much as just using a new bag. I currently use a Manhattan Portage Europa (deluxe), which has held up well carrying my school books (though I did notice some slight fraying on a seam and its less than six months old - I see an ID or SuperEgo in my future). The feature I like A LOT about the Europa is its quick change doubling of volume. It has a great expandability that opens with the pull of a zipper. But, when its not in full textbook mode (expanded and stuffed to the gills), it seems a little big (even in its collapsed form) and I find myself just adding stuff and carrying too much.
I wanted a bag that can hold my Moleskine (large cahiers), PDA, glasses in hard case, mp3 player, pens, camera (planning to buy), personal radio (uses ear buds), smokes, lighter, keys, pocket knife, micro light, pills/tablets/capsules, and still have room for other items, like an expandable bag (such as the TB Shop Bag, which will be part of my next order), a book, etc.
I think I made the right choice (hence I ordered it, heh) and will post my experience in bag reviews after an appropriate shake out time.
Medium Cafe Bag: great conference bag
So I am relatively new to Tom Bihn bags (although I consider myself a bag addict!)--and I just recently got a Medium Cafe bag. I have always used the standard LLBean, Lands' End, Timbuk2 bags; and have just recently discovered Waterfield Designs (made in San Fran), and Tom Bihn.
I have to say that the Medium Cafe bag was wonderful. I do a lot of 3 or 4 day academic conferences which start at 8 and go on till late night; and I am usually lugging around the program book (fairly heavy!), various papers and presentations, usual assortment of other oddities...and I must say this was the most well thought out and easy bag I have ever carried. Everything was quickly accessible, and it hung well --and it was never in the way when I had to sit around crowded tables.
My only wish was that it had a removable shoulder strap--so that I could have put in a better shoulder strap.
I am thinking of getting the Western Flyer--but I am wondering if I should wait for your 3 compartment one. Can you say when that might be available?
Given all the luggage restrictions, I am trying to see if I can carry a Western Flyer and an Imago or ID and that is it. I am a fairly small person, so sizing does become crucial. I am not able to tell between Imago and ID-so chewing on that. The Patagonia MLC fully loaded is too big for me, for example!:D
Thoughts? I am just 5 feet tall!