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Thread: Which is the best man-bag???

  1. #1
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    Which is the best man-bag???

    Fellow Bihn Addicts, I come to you to help me with a problem.

    I strongly believe that I need a man bag (or man purse, or murse) for use on a regular basis to carry my day-to-day stuff. I have no issues with carrying one, but my wife and teenage daughter firmly disagree. They claim that most man-bags are too feminine and purse-ey.

    I have tried my ID, which I love dearly and serves me well as my work briefcase... but it's a might too big for day trips when you just need the basics (phone, sunglasses, sketchbook, maybe a water bottle, and assorted sundries). I would love to get your thoughts on an appropriate bag for these occasions, and a color scheme that I can convince my ladies passes the "manly" test.

    We did order a small cafe bag in black at one point, but my wife felt it looked too much like a purse. I have heard differently about the larger cafe bags, though... and I have seen some recent pics of the Imago that look sharp.

    Any thoughts or recommendations? Any suggestions (or moral support) would be appreciated!
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    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  2. #2
    keb
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    There was a thread a while back about this very debate. I use a small rugged backpack for those days so I can hang wet board shorts off of it and put a diving watch around a strap to make it look more manly. Got a navy synapse to take its place but it is so neat looking I'm not sure it is even manly enough. The bottom line is that any bag with a shoulder strap that isn't clearly a work/function bag like a large messenger or camera bag, or a briefcase like the Zephyr or EB, is a tough sell...

    If I am not mistaken, Maverick will definitely jump in in defense of the large cafe bag, which he always has in pictures. When not on the shoulder it is manly enough. I, like you I am sure, am secure enough with my manliness to use a man bag, of course. Having said that, ("Curb" fans...), I don't have one because I think once I wore it on my shoulder my 15-year old daughter would be, in her text language, LHAO....
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

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    Thumbs up Large Cafe Bag....

    I've got the Large Cafe Bag in Navy/Cayenne as my everyday carry, and it works for me. The Black is a little boring for me, while the Blue is still a masculine looking bag, but adds a little color. I prefer the LCB, as it has pen slots.

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    How about the Imago in a "manly" color? It's the only bag I've used since I bought it in August. It can hold a lot or just a wallet and it looks fine either way. I think the shape, orientation and slightly larger size make it more appropriate for a guy than any of the Cafe bags.

    Then again, I'm not a guy, so what do I know? ;-)
    Happy owner of a medium cocoa Cafe, small plum Cafe, plum/green Utility Tote, black/purple Lux, mini cork pouch, mini kiwi pouch, mini clear pouch, small blue pouch, assorted key straps, prototype Stuff Sacks, and navy/storm/sapphire Imago!

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    Tried to edit my response, but failed!

    Wanted to say: No offense intended to all you guys who carry Cafe bags! As long as you are happy and comfortable with your bag, that's all that really matters!
    Happy owner of a medium cocoa Cafe, small plum Cafe, plum/green Utility Tote, black/purple Lux, mini cork pouch, mini kiwi pouch, mini clear pouch, small blue pouch, assorted key straps, prototype Stuff Sacks, and navy/storm/sapphire Imago!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi Jill View Post
    Tried to edit my response, but failed!

    Wanted to say: No offense intended to all you guys who carry Cafe bags! As long as you are happy and comfortable with your bag, that's all that really matters!
    No worries, Heidi Jill. I have both and often carry them together.
    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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    I think that a Imago would be perfect as would be a Large Cafe Bag.

    Both would be most likely to pass the family test with flying color. You might even loose them if the color is found suitable by your teenage daughter.

    In France, men used to carry bags that were the size of the Small or Medium Cafe Bag and it looked fine.


    It is all about scale, if you are 7 feet tall or slightly under, don't wear a Small Cafe Bag, if it would make you self conscious but, frankly, this is a great bag for stroll biking, (you know the kind you do when the whole family with Toddler and Grandma on tricycle, Mom and Dad on cruisers get passed by joggers)

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    I'm going to weigh in on this since I posted a similar question awhile back.

    While these bags are popular in Europe, they haven't really caught on here. (Have you seem the Progressive Insurance commercial that makes fun of them?)


    Here's what I found:

    Very few bags for men are vertical. Horizontal is more common.

    Your age matters. Younger men can get away with it more than older.

    Darker colors are better.

    The bigger, the better. It really needs to almost pass as a laptop case.

    I have a bag that's about the same size as the Medium Cafe bag. It looks ridiculous on me (I'm a fairly big guy.) I need something bigger if I want to carry a bag.

    For around town use, I got a "Side Effect." Works fine for what I need and I was surprised how much it can hold. (Don't even think of using it as a shoulder bag...not in Philly.) Waist packs are still fine to use in the U.S.

    When I have to carry my netbook, I have a different laptop bag or I use a backpack.

    BTW, a backpack like the Synapse, in a darker color, would be fine.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagicTiki View Post
    I strongly believe that I need a man bag (or man purse, or murse) for use on a regular basis to carry my day-to-day stuff.

    ...for day trips when you just need the basics (phone, sunglasses, sketchbook, maybe a water bottle, and assorted sundries).
    hi bob!

    i think you can definitely use a medium or large cafe bag, as per your preference, to accommodate the items you describe. you could also use the imago if you prefer - the size is similar to a large cafe bag, but in a horizontal rather than vertical orientation.

    as far as comments about a purse, there are people who think that way. my personal approach is to do what i am comfortable with, and i am completely fine carrying a cafe bag, imago, and every other bag that tom has designed.

    my large cafe bag is plum/wasabi, my medium is navy/cayenne, and my small is black/cayenne.

    it's up to you to decide what you feel is right for you. but i personally don't think that any of the bags that tom bihn offers would be classified as being only for women.

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    While it is a computer bag, you can always consider a Ristretto (and not put a computer in it!). I've used one since it was introduced and have never been challenged on it. (I am an older fart -mid-50s.) I swap it out with an ID depending on my mood and needs.

    You might also take a look at SF Bags Musetto - a kind of Ristretto clone using leather. It looks like a nice bag but I prefer the Ristretto. All in all, I do think it boils down to feeling comfortable with yourself.

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    I hope this isn't too off-the-wall, but if masculinity is at the core of what kind of bag you carry, then maybe the best "man bag" is really a backpack, like the Ruk's Sack or Synapse. Think about it: you have great capacity, you can still wear it on only one shoulder whenever you want to, both shoulders as well, and your other male friends won't snicker when they see you with it. The Ruk's Sack is only $70 to boot. Some people might look upon a backpack as being too studentish, but Bihn offers such a variety that there's bound to be one you'll get comfortable with.

  12. #12
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    I don't give a damn what people think, so my bag is a small TB Cafe bag. My masculinity has nothing to do with what I buy, PERIOD!!!
    WMW40 likes this.
    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Author of 101 Financial Ratios 5.0
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM4HIRE View Post
    I don't give a damn what people think, so my bag is a small TB Cafe bag. My masculinity has nothing to do with what I buy, PERIOD!!!
    FINALLY!!!

    Hear, Hear... pip pip, and right on, Tom! And you put it a little more nicely than I would. Large Cafe bag, here.

  14. #14
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    LOL! And thus ends the debate. ;-)

    Thanks for your thoughts and comments, everyone! Very helpful! I will take these back to my ladies, and see what they think!

    --Bob
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  15. #15
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    HeyMagicTiki:

    Just saw the thread! I think vertical bags are very popular in Europe...where presumably men are more "sensible" and less "masculine" (I hope you know I am being facetious!)--I just wish men would carry bags so that we women don't have to carry all the excess flow which is what happens in my experience!!! With larger and larger car key fobs, phones, ipods, and all the other gadgetry, it is too much for pockets. The Territory Ahead makes some smaller vertical bags that have a different appeal, although they are simply not as well made or thoughtful as TB bags. Waterfield Designs has some nice vertical bags (called Vertigos) which would do the job too!

    shiva

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