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  1. #1
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    In praise of steel...

    What could be more boring than gray? Not as assertive as black, not as striking as brighter colors, it's the blah middling choice for those who's rather not choose. At least, that's what I always thought. I never gave steel a second thought as a color.

    But was I ever wrong! I just got the Cafe Bag in steel (with an olive interior) and it is drop-dead gorgeous. It's a chameleon of a color, depending on lighting and what you're wearing it with. Worn over dark teal or hunter green, it takes on some of that tone and looks slightly teal-gray. Worn with burgundy or chocolate brown, I swear it's slate blue-grey. Cloudy daylight tends to bring out the tealish tones, and sunshine the grey-blue tones. Fluorescent versus incandescent also changes the hue.

    This is not your father's boring gray. It's a sophisticated, mercurial, subtle color. And it's my new favorite, hands down.
    Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.

  2. #2
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    I second that, Steel is my favorite Tom Bihn neutral color, I love it!

    It not only look gorgeous and stylish when you first get it, it still does after many many trips.

    I don't have to tell you that buses, trains, metros and their respective stations floor; airports floors or sidewalks are not the cleanest.


    My Steel Brain Bag and Plum/Steel Swift are perfect looking. They are both used in ground transport and shopping trips.

    My Steel Brain Bag is also my main carry-on luggage, it has also survived a plane trip with my better half.

    Unlike me, the better half thinks that TB bags are... luggage, not genius piece of design that saves one's body parts from wear and tear and can be color coordinated.
    One could look like a 50's movies star with her matching luggage if not forced to "forget" beauty products at home then age a decade in line and inside some flights due to lack of fluid intake.
    Last edited by backpack; 02-28-2009 at 06:16 PM.

  3. #3
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    Steel, Fabulous Steel!

    Hear, hear for steel! I agree with you both, wholeheartedly as I too, recently acquired a Large Cafe Bag in steel/olive, and I have to say it is so attractive. I just admire its good looks (more about it, and pics in the “Packing List” threads where I finally added mine). I hope they have plenty of steel on hand… I’ve got more orders coming up.

  4. #4
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    I really like the steel, as it hides dirt well but still looks dressy. Would love to see a Cafe bag in steel/wasabi... I have a steel pen bag in my Imago and the contrast is very nice.
    Imago in cocoa/cocoa/wasabi, Medium Cafe Bag in plum/wasabi, Swift in cork, steel stuff sack, steel pen/pencil pouch, plum clear organizer wallet, small cork pouch and steel/cork/wasabi Imago

  5. #5
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    I'd like to see more steel pictures. It is always better to see the colors under different light situations to get the best idea of what it will look like.

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up Steel, glorious steel!

    I have the Imago in steel with a cayenne interior. Magnificent combo! Smart, stylish, a splash of color that is not too flashy but still gorgeous. The steel works wonderfully, and I credit the texture of the fabric for that as well as the color. The synergy of texture and color is remarkable. It will be included, with pics, in my spring break post.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  7. #7
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    ballistic vs cordura appearance

    I've been commenting on steel in Cordura; have others been commenting on steel in ballistic? My pen/pencil pouch is in steel Cordura and, I assumed (yes, I know...) that all references were to the Cordura, not ballistic, until I saw the Imago would be in steel... ballistic.

    Can someone comment on the color and drape difference? The Cordura steel is more of a dark charcoal; the steel ballistic appears a lighter grey... I suspect that the Cordura is slightly more flexible than the ballistic...
    Imago in cocoa/cocoa/wasabi, Medium Cafe Bag in plum/wasabi, Swift in cork, steel stuff sack, steel pen/pencil pouch, plum clear organizer wallet, small cork pouch and steel/cork/wasabi Imago

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up re: ballistic vs cordura appearance

    Quote Originally Posted by cancoi View Post
    Can someone comment on the color and drape difference? The Cordura steel is more of a dark charcoal; the steel ballistic appears a lighter grey... I suspect that the Cordura is slightly more flexible than the ballistic...
    Well, I can contrast the navy blue cordura of my Medium Cafe Bag to the steel ballistic of my Imago. From a texture standpoint the ballistic is stiffer, but please don't get the impression that it is unyielding. It does hold its shape better than the cordura however. I really like the ballistic, it is the nicest I have scene. It would be misleading to think that the common ballistic found in many stores is a measure of this stuff. This ballistic is far superior. The steel ballistic I have on my Imago is really satisfying for me. It has a dark, rich color. From the web pictures I saw of the steel Large Cafe Bag I got the impression that the LCB was a lighter shade of steel. I would like a Large Cafe Bag in the same color scheme and materials as my Imago (steel/steel/cayenne.) The ballistic trends to hold shape better than cordura and I like the way the main flap moves, more rigid yet flexible, holds its shape better. It wants to hold its shape better even. Obviously, I am very happy with both purchases.

    The cordura has less of a sheen than ballistic. I also own a Manhattan Portage bag in ballistic nylon and there is a huge difference in tactile comparison. The Tom Bihn ballistic is cooler to the touch. I enjoy touching it. It is smooth, almost slippery, yet textured. It is inviting. The Manhattan Portage, while a good bag, is not close to being so touch delicious. In fact, I have redesigned my book carrying to use the Imago more frequently because it is such a pleasure to use. I also have the Absolute Strap which I heartily recommend and consider a mainstay for future bags as well.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  9. #9
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    Excellent! Your description made a not-to-distant future purchase happen.

    Thanks again.
    Imago in cocoa/cocoa/wasabi, Medium Cafe Bag in plum/wasabi, Swift in cork, steel stuff sack, steel pen/pencil pouch, plum clear organizer wallet, small cork pouch and steel/cork/wasabi Imago

  10. #10
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    My Steel Brain Bag in ballistic matches the Steel of my Swifts and the interior of my Large Cafe Bags in Steel matches the exterior of my Swifts.

    The match is so nice that if there were no bags limits or I could fly private jets (yeah right!) I would take all of my Steel bags together.

    And would have bought a Western Flyer and would buy a Tristar in addition, both in Steel.

    I just love the color that much.

    Edited to say...

    and an Aeronaute.
    Last edited by backpack; 03-20-2009 at 03:40 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    The match is so nice that if there were no bags limits or I could fly private jets (yeah right!) I would take all of my Steel bags together.

    And would have bought a Western Flyer and would buy a Tristar in addition, both in Steel.

    I just love the color that much.
    Wow... now I'm jonesin' for a steel Imago... this forum is dangerous!
    Imago in cocoa/cocoa/wasabi, Medium Cafe Bag in plum/wasabi, Swift in cork, steel stuff sack, steel pen/pencil pouch, plum clear organizer wallet, small cork pouch and steel/cork/wasabi Imago


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