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Thread: For dorayme: Comparison review of the Little Swift and the Medium Cafe Bag

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    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    For dorayme: Comparison review of the Little Swift and the Medium Cafe Bag

    In the bumpershoot thread, dorayme asked for a comparison review of the LS and the MCB. I need to organize my thoughts to do a proper review, but off the top of my head, here goes! The LS is the TB bag that I use the most, since I carry it every day instead of a purse. Right now I have two Little Swifts: a Kiwi for summer, and the Ultrasuede Cacao for winter. (Though I'm checking daily in hopes that an Azalea LS will be listed as a pre-order: Azalea for spring, and maybe some day there will be a Cayenne-like burnt orange for fall!)

    Last June, when the FoJ organizer pouch was on offer, I bought a Crimson MCB just to get the FoJ! But to my surprise, since I didn't think I'd like the vertical orientation of the Café bags much, I took an instant and passionate liking to the MCB. I don't carry it as often at the LS, and it's not the bag I would take to the grocery or post office or bank for routine daily errands. I like the quick access to contents that the flap-less LS offers. (Note: I live in a rural area, so these errands are done in my car, not on foot, on a bike, or via mass transit. That might make a difference as to what bag I chose to carry.)

    What I use the MCB for is my iPad bag. I made a felt sleeve for my iPad, and the MCB is the perfect size to carry that, along with an Apple wireless keyboard, and a foldable iPad stand. I put an Eco-Stylus that I got off Etsy in one of the pen pockets, and attached a small Crimson organizer pouch inside the zipper pocket to hold a smaller stylus and a cleaning cloth. Then I simply transfer all the purse things I want to carry from my LS to the MCB, using the FoJ organizer pouch for my toiletries. There is plenty of room for all of it, including a thermal mug; and I find that the Standard Strap is fine with the load. I use my Crimson Key Strap to attach my house/car keys. So I'm being "matchy-matchy" dorayme with the small Crimson OP and my key strap and my Crimson MCB!

    Note one "hack" I've made is to use a Timbuk2 cell phone pouch that slides up and down the strap. Yes, there's a pocket inside the MCB for a cell phone, or I could carry it in a small Organizer Pouch attached to one of the many o-rings in the MCB. (I love how many o-rings it's got.) But whether it's me or my anemic phone, I cannot hear it ringing if it's inside the bag, so that's why I keep it on the strap.

    So I love both bags, though I use them for slightly different purposes. To show you how much I like the cafe bag concept, I now have an LCB on pre-order, in Azalea/Sapphire. I plan to use it to carry my 11-inch Macbook Air, since that is too tall to fit inside the MCB.
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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Thank you! I too live in a rural area so car transit is the way I "go". I too love the LS as my EDC "bucket" bag, as I like to call it. IMHO It's amazing. I too am leery of the vertical orientation of the cafe bags so I'm unsure that I will love one. I do have an original iPad in Apple case and I just stick it down into my LS when I want to take it and not carry an additional bag. The charger fits into a OP. Most times my LS isn't anywhere near being stuffed so I have plenty of room to push a few pouches aside to accommodate the iPad.
    Do you like the MCB because it's a slimmer profile when you want your iPad?
    Is it because it's more secure than the LS with the flap?
    Is it because of the organization or orientation?
    What exactly makes it a great iPad bag for you?
    I currently am carrying my hemp LS, but soon I will be switching to cork, and when Azalea becomes available, of course I will be ordering. . .
    It doesn't have o-rings or organization other than the front slash pocket sadly, but I use my UV Packing Cube Shoulder Bag sometimes as you describe your MCB. There is less structure there, so I am careful with it, but with the car travel, it's mostly for transport. It's my grab and go iPad bag. I have plenty of room inside along with the iPad to carry pouches with purse contents as well as a smallish knitting WIP.
    (I feel like I talked myself out of the MCB again. . . and it doesn't feel OK that I don't especially want one, lol) halp
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Dorayme - I feel your pain!

    I want a cafe bag too….yet I struggle as I do not like "flap over bags", and would prefer a horizontal rather than vertical orientation. (I find that the vertical - things just fall to the bottom and I'd rather see everything - almost - when I open the bag.)

    Hum? My wish for a larger Side Effect rather than a cafe bag? Or a small cafe bag that isn't as deep, so it's less a "vertical" bag for me?

    Sometimes with TB bags, I feel like Winnie the Pooh - which honey pot to go to? Hurts my head to think think think. So many choices, and all wonderful in their own way!
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Maria, btw, I love your siggy. It's my motto for purchases, I just hadn't put it into those words before.
    And Maria, I hear you on the "larger SE". The PCSB is kind of like a larger SE, just no organization. . . and the co-pilot is also in that category of similar to a larger SE, but almost overkill for my needs. I don't have one because it's close enough in size to overlap with my Imago, the Imago is just a bit more useful for me with my current size laptop, and lastly, I didn't need the redundancy for this particular bag.
    That being said, I don't know what I'm whining about, and it does make my head hurt a bit to think about it so much, lol. I believe in TB bags so much it's almost a little like a slap in the face that I'm not in love with the Cafe Bag line because everybody needs a Cafe Bag, right?
    Evidently everybody but me. . .
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    I find the differences between car drivers and pedestrians interesting. As a pedestrian, I use the Large Cafe Bag and Synapse the most (plus the Large Shop Bag for grocery and fruit cart runs). Which depends on how long I'm going to be out, how far I'm going, and whether I have multiple stops. For quick rounds in the neighborhood, it's the cafe bag—light enough that I can carry just a book or my Kindle (in a medium padded pouch) without feeling that the bag is overkill, yet large enough that I can bring back cat food, a takeout food order, or a three-pound bag of ice. It's so light that I don't feel the need for the medium or small version.

    Incidentally, I had no desire whatsoever for a cafe bag until I saw these pictures:
    http://www.tombihn.com/forums/attach...dsc_0219_3.jpg
    http://www.tombihn.com/forums/attach...m-dsc_0229.jpg

    (from http://www.tombihn.com/forums/custom...os-museum.html)

    and thought, "Damn, that's a good-looking bag!" Thanks, Lonnie!

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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Lonnie does look super happy, and I like her description, "5th limb" and "molds to my body". Hmmmmm
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorayme View Post
    Maria, btw, I love your siggy. It's my motto for purchases, I just hadn't put it into those words before.
    And Maria, I hear you on the "larger SE". The PCSB is kind of like a larger SE, just no organization. . . and the co-pilot is also in that category of similar to a larger SE, but almost overkill for my needs. I don't have one because it's close enough in size to overlap with my Imago, the Imago is just a bit more useful for me with my current size laptop, and lastly, I didn't need the redundancy for this particular bag.
    That being said, I don't know what I'm whining about, and it does make my head hurt a bit to think about it so much, lol. I believe in TB bags so much it's almost a little like a slap in the face that I'm not in love with the Cafe Bag line because everybody needs a Cafe Bag, right?
    Evidently everybody but me. . .
    Oh thank you. Yes, it's obviously my motto too. So much so, that it often takes me longer to save up my cash for the more expensive items on my "need / want" list (as sometimes these two words are the same thing to me!). To me - it's well worth the wait to buy something of true quality and hence value. It is not necessarily true that expensive is better quality, as often you are paying the for a "label" so to speak. But I do believe that quality is an investment. And broken down by value / cost per use, how long it lasts…I could go on and on!

    My Co-Pilot is great - all those pockets for organization. But it is too much for an "everyday bag". At least for me. And in this, I want something a little smaller and easier to handle. The Imago is too much for me, and yet not enough for me as I have a 15" lap top...and I suspect the cafe bag(s) aren't truly what I am looking for….but that does not stop me for looking into getting one when I see some of the beautiful pictures and packing lists that people post! :roll eyes:

    (Hum, while reading the above comment…I wonder if Tom will ever come out with a straight-jacket for those that are a little nutty like myself?) Wonder what colours it would come in!
    Last edited by Maria; 09-02-2011 at 11:27 PM.
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    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorayme View Post
    Maria, btw, I love your siggy. It's my motto for purchases, I just hadn't put it into those words before.
    And Maria, I hear you on the "larger SE". The PCSB is kind of like a larger SE, just no organization. . . and the co-pilot is also in that category of similar to a larger SE, but almost overkill for my needs. I don't have one because it's close enough in size to overlap with my Imago, the Imago is just a bit more useful for me with my current size laptop, and lastly, I didn't need the redundancy for this particular bag.
    That being said, I don't know what I'm whining about, and it does make my head hurt a bit to think about it so much, lol. I believe in TB bags so much it's almost a little like a slap in the face that I'm not in love with the Cafe Bag line because everybody needs a Cafe Bag, right?
    Evidently everybody but me. . .
    You don't have to feel guilty at all about not wanting the Cafe Bags, you went to the show room and they didn't "grab" at that time. So maybe you are more of an Imago girl.
    I have the opposite problem with the Imago, a long time ago, 13 June 2008 5:24 pm, Darcy posted gorgeous pictures of the Imago in Navy/Storm/Sapphire.

    Later on, I almost ordered it, but decided not to because I had no use for an est/west bag of that size, that configuration is, for me, awkward to wear.
    I was so infatuated with that bag perfect design and colors that I tried to justify its purchase for storing craft things that didn't fit in my Swift

    I realized that a Brain Bag would be much better suited for that.

    It turns out that waiting was a good idea because I was able to buy a beautiful Punch Brain Bag, perfect for craft storage.

    With the arrival of the Synapse, Little Swift and Co-Pilot my decision looked even smarter.
    I now can build a wardrobe of Synapses/ Small Cafe Bags / Little Swifts and Co-Pilots as an everyday duplicate of my domestic travel setup Brain Bags / Large Cafe Bags / Swifts.

    North-south bags work much better for me. Swifts, mostly used for yarn storage, can double as library or yarn shopping trips bags

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    Co-Pilots and Little Swifts are just cute, lightweight and small enough to justify their collecting.


    I can fill the Large Cafe Bag with 10 pounds of things but when I do that I need a backpack to counterbalance the weight, otherwise, I am uncomfortable, not because of the weight (my domestic travel Brain Bag weight from 10 to 30 pounds), it is center of gravity / weight and balance related.

    I had confirmation of this during the two years I carried a Large Cafe Bag and a Swift, in matching colors .
    It is a gorgeous combo but my body whined after walking from my place to the bus, from the bus to the metro and from the metro to the library. The library, in the nearby city, had more of the books I wanted. The same whining occurred if I took books to and from the neighborhood library which was really close by, but, on the bottom of a very steep hill.


    As a result, even with my Small Cafe Bag, I feel the need for a backpack, I experimented with the Aeronaute Packing Cube Backpack and I have a Swift on order.

    Instant magic, no matter what I pack up! I am known to pack for an expedition even when I am going to the mall.
    Well, I used to live in earthquake country, then I moved to possible hurricane country then to tornado country and now I live in tornado and earthquake country.

    PS: I should move to Ellesmere island.=> cold and expensive but 24 hours daylight from late may to august.
    Last edited by backpack; 09-03-2011 at 05:01 PM.
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    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorayme View Post
    Thank you! I too live in a rural area so car transit is the way I "go". I too love the LS as my EDC "bucket" bag, as I like to call it. IMHO It's amazing. I too am leery of the vertical orientation of the cafe bags so I'm unsure that I will love one. I do have an original iPad in Apple case and I just stick it down into my LS when I want to take it and not carry an additional bag. The charger fits into a OP. Most times my LS isn't anywhere near being stuffed so I have plenty of room to push a few pouches aside to accommodate the iPad.
    Do you like the MCB because it's a slimmer profile when you want your iPad?
    Is it because it's more secure than the LS with the flap?
    Is it because of the organization or orientation?
    What exactly makes it a great iPad bag for you?
    I currently am carrying my hemp LS, but soon I will be switching to cork, and when Azalea becomes available, of course I will be ordering. . .
    It doesn't have o-rings or organization other than the front slash pocket sadly, but I use my UV Packing Cube Shoulder Bag sometimes as you describe your MCB. There is less structure there, so I am careful with it, but with the car travel, it's mostly for transport. It's my grab and go iPad bag. I have plenty of room inside along with the iPad to carry pouches with purse contents as well as a smallish knitting WIP.
    (I feel like I talked myself out of the MCB again. . . and it doesn't feel OK that I don't especially want one, lol) halp
    Of course it's OK if you don't want a Cafe bag! Some of us are natural-born east-west people (in terms of bag orientation), and others are natural-born north-south folks. The reason I steered away from north-south, or vertical, bags for so long was that problem Maria mentioned, of things just falling to the bottom and getting lost. I've "solved" that problem with the MCB by only using it for situations where the majority of items I'm putting in the bag are also tall, or longer than they are wide: like the iPad, and also my thermal mug. The zippered wristlet that I use as a wallet also measures about eight inches wide, so when I put it in the MCB, I stand it on one end, so it doesn't sink to the bottom of the bag.

    The o-rings also help keep things organized. I can thread the detachable strap of my wristlet through one so it's not only secure inside the bag, but easy to find. Then I use keystraps and various Organizer Bags to make sure that my other items don't get lost inside the bag.

    But to answer your question about why I prefer the MCB to the LS as a bag for my iPad, it's partly the vertical orientation, partly the sense I have that the MCB offers more protection for my iPad. The flap is a large part of that. I've tried carrying my iPad in my LS once, and it was just too open and vulnerable. What if it starts to rain? What if I'm being my usual klutzy self, and slinging the LS around, and the iPad just slips out of that wide open top and I drop it? Aiyee!

    So for a purse, the LS is my favorite, no contest. But for an iPad carrier, then the MCB gets my vote.
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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Thank you backpack Maria, gmanedit and ncb4 for your thoughts. I agree that the cafe bags definitely work wonderfully for some folks. They appeal to me with all of the pretty colors and how comfy they look when other's share their pictures. . . that is until I think about how they function for those people. When it comes down to it for me, many of the things that make the Cafe Bag family a favorite for so many happy customers, makes them not appealing to me.

    1. I prefer a bit of rigidity in my bags so that they at minimum semi stand up and can hold their shape, especially at the opening. Floppy and molding to my contour is not what I am looking for. (an exception so far is the Dyneema bags and due to the piping/binding used in their construction, they are what I like to call softly structured.
    2. I prefer a wide/generous opening to access contents. One of the things that will quickly drive me to a near panic attack is not being able to find something.
    3. I prefer an east to west orientation, the things I carry work better this way. Exceptions are bags that fit well into #1 and #2^
    4. I am prone to being frustrated by black hole syndrome, possibly because I tend to toss items into my bag and am not as organized with the clipping/placing as I would like to be. See #2^

    I am still interested in hearing comments on the wonders of the Cafe Bags. I think it's helpful, useful information that may come in handy for somebody considering them. I may change my mind down the road, Azalea almost "made me do it". For now though I think I have identified a little more closely exactly what I do like and don't like, and I am unsure the Cafe Bags fit into my picky bag criteria, lol.

    Sucks for me, but backpack, sharing your Imago experiences made me feel a little better.
    Maria, I don't think I would cry over ANY TB bags, but I realize the Cafe bags are not the "best" for me.
    ncb4, I guess I lack your creativity and flexibility to find vertical orientations of my things and I wedge my iPad down into my LS, and mostly use the button tab when I carry it for extra security.
    gmanedit, I use my bags completely different from how you describe using your LCB, I can understand why it is such a good fit used as such.
    Ladies, it's good to know that you all will share of your time and energy to help a sista' figure this all out. Keep on spreading the TB love!
    backpack and Maria like this.
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorayme View Post
    ....For now though I think I have identified a little more closely exactly what I do like and don't like, and I am unsure the Cafe Bags fit into my picky bag criteria, lol.

    Ladies, it's good to know that you all will share of your time and energy to help a sista' figure this all out. Keep on spreading the TB love!
    That's what we're here for, to help each other figure out what works best for each of us, in our specific individual situations. And it sounds like you've got a very good grasp of how you use your bags, and what you want from them. The good news is, you've already found more than one TB bag that works beautifully for you, and that you love.

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Dorayme - so well said!

    ncb4 - cheers to that too!
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmanedit View Post
    I find the differences between car drivers and pedestrians interesting. As a pedestrian, I use the Large Cafe Bag and Synapse the most (plus the Large Shop Bag for grocery and fruit cart runs). Which depends on how long I'm going to be out, how far I'm going, and whether I have multiple stops. For quick rounds in the neighborhood, it's the cafe bag—light enough that I can carry just a book or my Kindle (in a medium padded pouch) without feeling that the bag is overkill, yet large enough that I can bring back cat food, a takeout food order, or a three-pound bag of ice. It's so light that I don't feel the need for the medium or small version.

    Can you explain how you fit all that in a Large Cafe Bag.

    I want to understand the logistic.
    Last edited by backpack; 09-03-2011 at 03:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Can you explain how you fit all that in a Large Cafe Bag.

    I want to understand the logistic.
    It holds more than you think it would. Today's round, for example: Kindle and passport pouch when I left the house; items picked up at drugstore; one-pound container of Indian food (creamed spinach; yum!); one-pound container of baba ganoush and a package of pitas. And that's without rearranging things, just adding them as I bought them. What a great bag!

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