Large Cafe Bag rave!
Since comments I found here were really helpful in my decision, I thought I'd rave a bit. I ordered a Large Cafe bag in the middle of March, but I wanted to give it a thorough testing before raving. The short version: I adore this bag.
The first thing I noticed, once I put it on my shoulder, was that my shoulder went down, and stayed down. Unlike pretty much every other one-shoulder bag I've ever tried, where I developed a crick in my neck.
Not only that, but it is comfortable to carry like that while walking around, when picking it up and putting it down frequently (a convention last weekend)
I'm trying to minimise: carry just what I really need, not all the stuff that gets piled up in the bottom of the bag because, well, stuff still fits. The Cafe bag is big enough to hold the stuff I really do need (see below for my standard list), but small enough that I need to stay on top of taking stuff out.
One important thing I was looking for (and that a number of other bag sites didn't do very well) was inside pockets: I really liked that I could find a decent photo of what the inside holders looked like. (More things like this would be fantastic, though.)
So, what do I carry?
(I almost never bring work home with me: I work in a high school library as a paraprofessional. However, I always have at least one book, and my notebook of books to read.)
* Standard size binder (which has my calendar, assorted copies of things I might need during the week, etc.) I tried a 1" wide binder and found it was a little tight with the other things I wanted to carry: a .5" does great.
* A sports water bottle
* A book (usually a library hardcover, sometimes a paperback)
* A small notebook with my "Books to read" lists (since I get suggestions from, well, everywhere, and want it handy when I stop by the library.)
* small 'wallet' with 3x5 cards (my to-do lists and other info)
* iPod mini + headphones (not quite earbuds: these go over the back of my ears, and take up a little more space)
* cell phone
* wallet pouch (small coin purse size pouch with cards, cash, coins, etc.)
* med pouch (asthma inhaler, ibuprofen, bandaids)
* small jar with loose tea I'm drinking this week.
Sometimes I have an AlphaSmart Neo with me (in their soft-side case) I can fit both the Neo and my binder in there, but it's a tight fit.
I never expected to use the back open pocket much, but I love it when I'm wandering around somewhere where a map or a schedule or notes in my hand that I don't want to set down and lose. (Also good for sticking my book in if I've been reading while waiting in line somewhere.)
1) I half-wish it was about half an inch wider and half an inch deeper: there are times things get a little tight. However, I love the balance and how it feels on my shoulder so much, I wouldn't want to change that.
(Even when things are tight, everything still fits, and it still balances well. It's just a pain to dig something out of the bottom.)
2) I'd really love something like the top half of the organiser side of the Freudian Slip for additional pocket space. (a few cell phone/small notebook size pockets, pen pockets, etc). I know I could get the organizer pouches, but I really want to just look one place for a particular item, not figure out which pouch it's in.
3) Related: I'm odd in that I don't want to wear my cell phone, but I do want to be able to get at it easily when I want it. Right now, it's in the outer pocket with some other things, and I don't always grab it by feel quickly enough. I know some people have clipped it onto the waist strap attachments, but I don't trust my phone clip that much.
Something that either attached to the outside or clipped to the spare ring inside would be great.
That's an excellent description of what a Large Cafe Bag can hold. I'm going to link your post from the Large Cafe Bag page. We get a lot of questions about what the bags will really hold and this helps.