Indicates that one is ready to combat the busy day!
Indicates that one is ready to combat the busy day!
I too started a thread about this about 6 months ago. I have a large Cafe Bag in green which I use regularly. I also had it pick pocketed in Montreal over the summer, so that was another thread too... (argghhh). My suggestion? Get a smaller bag and lock it to the inside of the Cafe Bag, preferably with the smaller bag's zipper locked shut too in high petty crime areas.
The Cafe Bag will probably serve you in 70% of the situations: going about town, day-to-day work, etc. If you get it in black, you can probably cover about 80% to 90% of your situations simply because black is a bit boring, but it goes better if you're in more formal attire.
But to be honest, if you need a very classic looking man-bag for formal/semi-formal occasions, you might have to up your game to something in leather, such as a satchel from Saddleback Leather Company. I don't own one, but they do look classic in that sense. Of course, they're much heavier and I'm not sure as convenient when traveling as a TB Cafe Bag (which I can always collapse into my Aeronaut).
Good luck, and let us know what you get!
That's why I suggest putting a Side Effect inside the large cafe bag and connect it with a key strap. For a number of reasons:
1) When traveling for leisure purposes and you go someplace, like a museum where you are forced to check your "larger" bags, all your ""valuables" can be in the Side Effect. Out it comes and goes around your waist until you leave the museum. No need to worry about your "stuff's" safety while checked;
2) If you should be the victim of a theft, it would be difficult for the thief to get their hand into the cafe bag and steal the Side Effect if it is attached or even open it.Too much work and it will take too long--long enough for you to realize what is happening.
3) If you're in an area where they cut open bags hoping to scoop up what falls to the ground, well, the Side Effect will drop down but not to the ground thanks to the key strap. This could even be doubled in safety by attaching the side effect with two key straps, one on each side.
You might ask what goes in my Side Effect--cellphone, battery charger, camera (If I'm carrying one), Ipod (if I decide to have it with me), Tom Bihn wallet (attached to O-rings inside the Side Effect).
Passport (if overseas), credit cards, debit cards, Id's, additional cash are in a moneybelt under my clothes.
This reminds me of a current Progressive Insurance commercial where a man and women ask the agent for insurance and she makes a comment about "no more carrying her purse" to which the wife replies "It's a European shoulder bag" and the husband says "It was a gift" and slightly points his eyes to his wife. I do like that commercial because the poor guy is so beaten down. And I'm sorry, but he IS carrying a purse.
To the question, I would recommend the Imago with a dark color and the cross chest strap. When I wear it across my chest it's more of a backpack. I only wish I mine was in a dark neutral color.
I do think any backpack is certainly a "manly" choice. But I find them better for hauling then I do for quick access.
I also think to be safest you need a dark neutral color. Almost anything in black is manly.
Maybe I'm too closed minded but from my observations on how things look on me the key is having the bag more on the back then on the side or hip, unless it's a briefcase.
I think quick access is the key. I am still up in the air about the imago or large cafe bag, but one of them will be the final winner, methinks! I'm leaning towards the large cafe bag, because I like the look.
Thank you for the input!
With the standard strap it would hang low and was easy to access but it was driving me crazy for walks with the dog. Having the bag loose down low it would bump and move all over the place. So I got the QAM strap to I could cinch it to my back. This was great but when it came time to get a dog treat I found it annoying. The QAM was shorter and didn't fall as low. So when it's loose I find it still too high to access without reaching up or bending at my elbow or raising my shoulder. Now it's not horrible but it is a bit annoying at times. I also find it hard to open the bag and see at the same time with that strap on. Then again my torso is long and I'm normally with one or two dogs at the time so it's awkward to begin with.
I have an Imago that is all black with no accent color that I like to use. Nobody has ever made any comments to me, but I always seem to have some kind of camera bag or brief with me. Although, when I travel to the midwest to see family, many family members always wonder why I have to carry any bag with me. Prior to my Imago, my grab bag was a small Domke satchel in light gray canvas. Its a great bag, especially for my camera gear, when I want to travel light, and I use it or my Imago, depending on my needs.
I use my Ristretto (olive/cayenne) as a daypack, and I've never felt like my masculinity was taking a hit. Of course, it's usually carrying a MacBook Air, but most people who see me don't know that. I think the fact that it looks taller and less square than the Large Cafe Bag makes it a bit more masculine. (I say this only based on the website; I've never seen any of the Cafe Bags in person.)
If the Ristretto isn't your thing, then I'd consider the ID messenger bag or the Zephyr briefcase -- I think both look pretty masculine. (I never had the ID, but I did have a Super Ego back when carried a lot more stuff.)
Another pack I'd consider (depending on your age) is the Buzz slingpack. I think it would look more appropriate on a young person, but I don't think anyone would find it feminine. Seems like it should hold everything you need.
To be honest, most days I go bagless. (Shocking, I know!) I keep my wallet in one back pocket, my Field Notes notebook in the other, keys and Fisher Space Pen in a front pocket, and iPhone in the other. If I have a drink bottle with me, I carry it in my hand. I'm not suggesting this for you, but keep in mind that if you have room in a bag, you'll be tempted to fill it. It might be worth a thought experiment to think in the other direction about the possibility of carrying less with you most days. Could you get by with less?
For example, your sketchbook might be able to fit in a large, zippered Trapper Keeper-like case. (I used to have something like this in my pre-Tom Bihn days.) You could put one or two Tom Bihn pouches inside to hold some of the smaller things you carry. There are two potential problems with this for you: No place for a water bottle, and it will need to be held in a hand rather than by a shoulder strap. Definitely looks masculine though -- you'll look like an artist or a writer. (Which you may already be.)
I've never seen one in person, and wouldn't judge any man carrying one, but the Imago looks feminine to me. That's a shame, because in a perfect world where I could walk around 100% judgment-free, I'd carry a cocoa or olive Imago most of the time. It seems like it would be the perfect bag for those computer-free days.
I think color combinations really are a matter of personal style. I love my ID in the black/steel/cayenne combo. I'll have to go look at some of the Imago photos and see what color combos catch my eye...
Up until recently I used to tote a bag, I'd carry my kindle, ipod, cell, water bottle and a few other items (small 1st aid kit, granola bars, etc). About a month ago I bought a ScottEVest jacket to try out for a few days - well - no more bag for me - it all fits in the jacket/vest now. You could even fit a laptop in it if you wanted to (that's a bit much though).
Sorry to post a competing product line, but, these things are pretty incredible. I still use & love my Bihn bags for traveling though.
Hi crpeck, welcome to the forum. That is an interesting product line, though I don't see it as competitive with the Tom Bihn lines. Apples or oranges will solve your hunger. It's a matter of preference. Very different approach to solving luggage needs. Years ago I used to use a vest with lots of pockets, and the new low profile pockets seem intriguing. But I don't see myself using them instead of my bags. I do see that such a garment could be useful at times, more as a compliment to my bags, not as a replacement. I guess everyone's mileage would vary on this. Thanks for posting the site. :)
Hi ex - thanks for the welcome. I agree completely. They are apples & oranges. I still have a few different bags, which I use on occasion (especially when it's warm out), and, I'm not going to carry my Macbook Air in my vest! I think I need a iPhone app to tell me where I put stuff in my scottevest.
I have to admit that I'm looking forward to my next flight, just to see the look on the TSA x-ray folks face when my vest goes through.
Scottevest sent me an email yesterday saying that in today's climate of limited carry-ons, use a Scottevest as there is no limit on coats.
(This might be good for people traveling from Canada to the U.S. where no carry-ons are allowed at all. )