So I own one Tom Bihn bag--a Swift, which I love and is my favorite knitting bag, and really if I was rich I would have every single Tom Bihn bag out there, but I am not, so I wanted some advice on my next purchase and I have two questions.
I am an academic and about 3-4 times a year I go to conferences that usually last around 3-5 days. So my question is this- I am looking for a good day bag to carry around with me when I am at a conference.
I want the bag to be able to squish down into my carry-on luggage easily. So it can't be too bulky.
I need to be able to carry an Ipad, conference packet, a notepad, my purse stuff (wallet, pens, lipstick, Epi-Pin, brush, gum) and my conference knitting (usually a sock or shawl), water bottle and snacks
So it needs to be big enough, but not too big to comfortably haul around all day. And it needs to be easily packable. Up til now I have been using a baggalini handbag, which works fine, but is almost too floppy and flimsy, especially with my ipad in it. It also bulges funny when full and I can't carry it cross-body.
So I was thinking the MCB or Co-Pilot, or maybe even the Imago, but I wanted people's opinions on what they think will work best.
Question # 2
I always carry a smaller carry-on bag and a rolling suitcase when I go to these conferences. For years I have been using a Timbuk2 tote bag, which is large and sturdy (and keeps my stuff dry in the rain) but it can also get unwieldy when over-stuffed because it has no structure to it.
So in my rolling suitcase are my clothes (suits, multiple) shoes, hair iron, etc. In my smaller carry-on, I tend to carry my ipda, kindle, purse stuff, a few notepads, my jewelry, multiple knitting projects, water bottle, and (here's the big Pain in the butt) a lot of food. Why a lot of food? Well I have celiac disease, and it can be very hard for me to find "safe" food to eat at conferences, or to find a place to buy said food while in the downtown (aka touristy area) of a major city- if I don't carry a large amount of food with me, I sometimes run the risk of A) eating something dicey that makes me really ill for days--a bad thing to happen at a conference or B) starving. So for a typical conference I carry 3-4 apples, packets of nutbutter, usually a few large bags of nuts, dried fruit and trail mix. Canned salmon or tuna, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free cookies (usually macaroons) dried fruit strips, and a variety of bars (like Larabars, etc). Oh and teabags, and a travel teamug. (and yes I do get this all past security. I have had my nutbutter confiscated because it is a "liquid", but now I buy little single serve packs of it and it gets though.)
So I want a bag which I can carry all my usual stuff, and have a compartment for my food. In the past I have stuffed as much as I can into the smaller bag and then put the other half of the food in my rolling suitcase, which works, but sometimes stuff gets squished. And also getting into the bag without disrupting everything that is shoved in there can be hard.
So I was thinking of getting a Western Flyer for this purpose (as the second carry-on-- and I could slide it onto my rolling suitcase, which is appealing) or do you think a Synapse would be big enough for this purpose? It might be more comfortable to backpack things around.
Questions, questions... thanks for listening.