Biting the TB bullet - almost
Hi everyone, so I spent way too long reading through all your lovely posts and now I *really* want a cafe bag.
But I want to be smart about it, so I thought I'd ask a few questions here first...since it costs money to check it out for myself and I don't have as much of that as I want.
1. My biggest worry is the lack of zipper on the MCB and LCB (my two choices) - have you found that if the bag flips over, stuff comes out? Has anyone been robbed or had it attempted? I would want this to work as an EDC in place of my messenger bag when I don't have my laptop as well as a day bag for traveling.
2. Here's a list of what I'd (mainly) be packing, do y'all think this would all fit?
wallet - perhaps the clear organizer wallet? I'm looking to downsize a little bit.. also would like to fit bus pass tickets in here (like half size of an index card)
change purse (mini organizer perhaps?)
In small organizer from TB or elsewhere (or ziplock bag):
In small organizer (or just in the zip part of the bag if that works better):
camera - for travel only* (regular point and shoot, nothing special)
cell phone charger & battery(ies) - charger & second extra battery if traveling only* (smartphone)
ipod nano - only if traveling*
2-3 pens/1 pencil
1 small notebook (Moleskine maybe)
1 8x11 folder
water bottle (24 oz Nathan)
period kit (ya know, for girly stuff - it fits in a sandwich size ziplock folded in half right now, thinking about an organizer pouch)
hearing aid batteries
Hairbrush + ties
Reuseable shopping bag
3. I sometimes need to stuff my trench coat into my bag, especially if traveling, how possible would this be? I can squish it into a large hobo purse right now...
4. With 4 organizers clipped to o rings in main pocket and keys clipped in zippered pocket, would there still be room for all the others stuff? Keeping in mind some of it (camera, etc) won't always be there.
5. Could I also cram a lunch into there? Or a pair of flipflops?
I know, it's asking a lot of one bag - but I have lots of little things and when I don't have my laptop I don't want to carry the messenger bag around all the time. I'm a grad student if that matters, but I hope this bag lasts longer than my program!
PS. What about rain? will it withstand a "run to the car" type downpour?
Thanks so much for any help y'all can offer!!
Sorry, but no go on the MCB if you want a lunch and a folder and a jacket. If it helps, a folder will fit in the open back pocket of the MCB, but not super well inside. I'd say without the three biggest items in your haul (lunch, folder, jacket), you could probably make the MCB work. The LCB would likely be better, though, and it won't look so crammed full.
If the bag is clipped shut, it will be okay if it falls over/off a table (ask me how I know). Organizer pouches can help keep the small stuff contained, as you have already mentioned.
The cordura fabric can survive a bit of rain, but if it's really pissing down I wear my MCB under my jacket, especially if I'm carrying electronics.
I also think the LCB would be better, do get the Absolute Strap, it makes a fully loaded LCB feel like nothing and enables the owner to rush from the one side of the airport to the one where the gate is actually located (ask me how I know)
I can also confirm that a clipped shut, fell over or off an object LCB keeps its content secure, even spare keys that had found their way at the bottom of the bag and were discovered after a Major Pouch Reconfiguration, necessitated the emptying of the LCB.
I love my Tom Bihn Bags but... when I am doing errands in 100 degree, freezing cold, thunderstormy or windy weather, I don't have time to do a Tom Bihn runaway show, my Lare Cafe bag gets shoved, placed, squeezed in all over.
It just works!
Definitely the LCB! Badger is right on about the lunch and jacket. Without those, you could do the MCB, and I know because your list is almost exactly like mine! By the way, my period kit is in a pen/pencil OP and it works wonderfully. The good thing about the LCB is even if you don't have the lunch and jacket in there, it slouches enough that it doesn't look like a HUGE bag. You could always order both though and try them out. I know maverick has lots of pics and videos for comparison.
Backpack: "Tom Bihn Runway Show" made me LAUGH. Can you imagine Tom Bihn bags on the latest by Christian Dior or Michael Kors? I would give my right arm to see that!
Also, the period kit in a pouch sounds like one of the best. Ideas. Ever. No more scrambling in the bottom of a bag for tampons or napkins (or a few spare quarters for the vending machines in bathrooms if you run out). Damnit, now y'all are making me wish I ordered more pouches.
You can never have enough pouches! I add some to every order. The BF used to think they were ridiculous...until I put one in his briefcase with bandaids and tylenol and tums...and then put his headphones in a second one. Yeah, any dark colored ones seem to have magically disappeared!
Yeah, the pouches are killing me - I think I'm up to the price of the bag with those added! I keep going "well what if..." and there, another one appears in the cart! Pocket - yes, a period kit is a MUST, it's saved me and several other women when "something happens". And it's even better if it's all in one place that you know of quickly!
I appreciate all your comments - very good to know it falling over won't result in me scrambling on the floor for my things. As for trying both, I'm afraid the shipping costs would be a bit much ($30 is half the bag, after all - I could get 3, almost 4 pouches for that!). My hesitation with the LCB is that it might be too large - my messenger bag is currently 16x12x5.5, while the LCB is 12x13x3 - so the same height, and only 3 inches shorter and 2 inches less thick (my bag has a laptop compartment). Since I'm trying to minimize a bit, I'm not sure 3 inches is enough. I do have a separate bag for lunch, and the jacket would be rare (plus, being a trench coat, I'm not 100% sure it would fit in the LCB either, with everything else stuffed in). I'll check out more of the videos and such, but they aren't filled usually with "my stuff" so I'm just unsure.
Therefore, I will sleep on the MCB, perhaps tell DH (not that he'll understand, but it's important to share in a marriage) and then select.
Any other thoughts are welcome in the meantime, thanks again!
I use my Medium cafe bag more than any other bag that I own! On a regular basis, it holds the following:
Medium OP with random stuff like bandaids, hand sanitizer, folding brush, hair ties, neosporin, etc.
Nook Color with Trident case
Small OP with makeup
small moleskin notebook
mini op with travel toothbrush and toothpaste
point and shoot camera
mini op with bluetooth and a couple thumb drives
cell phone - Droid Razr Maxx in Trident case
ziplock bag with lara bars and tea bags
period kit in pen/pencil op (although I never knew to call it that!)
And if needed, I can usually stuff my Arc notebook in there. I have the smaller one, I think it is 9x6 although mine is a solid 2+ inches thick. Most of the OPs and my keys are on key straps.
With ALL of that in there, I usually have to take out the Arc notebook to get to anything else, but it all works. And now I'm looking at my list and seriously can't believe I fit all of that in there, but I literally just pulled all of that out of my MCB while sitting at my desk! Oh, there is a phone charger in here and a small cork OP with cash and loose change in it! Hermione hasn't got anything on the MCB!
darbs - great list, thanks so much!! It's good to see how to use the OPs too - you do great with that! Any chance I could get a picture? I'm a visual learner ;-)
And for everyone - has anyone ordered this in crimson/steel? I would love a red bag, but I can't see any pics of it!
I just put it all back in there! LOL! When I get home tonight, I'll spread it all out on the table and take a picture for you. They actually don't make it in the Crimson/Steel anymore. That is the color I wanted as well and when I finally went to buy one, they were all gone. *sigh* My MCB is Storm/Steel and I LOVE it. Seriously, it is a great color.
Alright, so I think I've settled on the medium cafe bag. I measured all my current purses/bags and I like that size for everyday use more. While I can't stuff a jacket in, I think I can get the folder/papers in the back pocket and I think I can take a few lunchy items stuffed in the top when needed.
Just have a few last questions - please help if you can!
1. Should I stick with mini op? Are the small ones small enough to put in 1-2 of them?
2. For colors, let's say in the future I may want to match a LCB and a WF - anyone know which color combos of MCB would be best for that?
3. Any way to get the OP(s) I order to match my bag?
4. Someone else in another post mentioned their bags rubbed on fabric and left holes - I wear cashmere, suede, wool, etc - would that be an issue? I don't want to kill my clothes with a bag!
5. I notice they have a shoulder strap wrap - how useful is this? Does it prevent #4 issues? Does it just bite less? How does it look?
Thanks so much y'all!!!
Edited: So I went ahead and ordered the bag after seeing the price increase thread. But if y'all could please answer the questions anyway - #1 - I got 1 small and two mini, plus a wallet - will that all fit? and #2, I got the plum wasabi - does the plum work with other colors? Is wasabi a common interior color for other bags? and #3 - I asked in the comments for OP to match, any one have experience with this?
Last edited by BMEPhDinCO; 07-22-2012 at 10:55 AM.
Yes! This all fits. I put them on different colored keystraps If you want specific colors, you can add the request to your order in the comments, just as you outlined in your item #3, or you can use the 800 number to call up and ask what's available. What color wallet did you get?
Originally Posted by BMEPhDinCO
Yayy! Plum is a great color. Works well with steel, navy, and black, among other Ballistic Nylon colors. Wasabi in Cordura has been used for lots of bags. And now that there's Wasabi Dyneema, we'll be seeing this show up as the lining of the travel bags.
Originally Posted by BMEPhDinCO
Answered above. You know, I couldn't help thinking that you might want to include a Shop Bag with your order when you mentioned "reusable shopping bag" in your list of contents. OK, I know you're already packing a lot, but it does fold into itself, and it's just so handy! Especially with the padded handles. And you could try out Ultraviolet (or more Wasabi) in the small shop bag.
Originally Posted by BMEPhDinCO
My MCB usually has a pen/pencil and two mini pouches in addition to everything else I put in the bag. They try to fill the pouch requests based on the comments in the box; I've always been happy with what I've gotten.
I let the crew pick the colors. They are all nice and a variety is helpful. My eyesight isn't great so sometimes I lose track of the pouch that is dyneema and matches the interior lining of my tristar but the rest I have no trouble with. The clear on one side work great for me.