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Thread: Decision time!

  1. #1
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    Decision time!

    Well, it's now time to choose a bag. I know I'll be getting an Aeronaut, so I'm covered there. Now I have to pick out a everyday bag, along with a Tote or Lux for trips to the market, grocery shopping, etc. I'd appreciate all the help I can get as far as feedback, advice, experiences, from people, especially those that have (or had in the past) the same bags I'm interested in.

    What I'm currently using: a detachable day pack off the Dana Designs "Far Flung"
    25 Liters-I think, I had to go to an old review to get the capacity.
    18' H x 12" W x 3" Deep (8" expanded)
    Wide and minimally padded shoulder straps
    One large main compartment w/two lockable zippers
    One pocket 7" H x 7" W outer pocket on the front w/ one zipper
    Pack is angled so, when seen from the side, it's shaped like a capital letter D. It does not have a flat bottom, so when you go to put it down, it has to be propped up against something to avoid falling over. The back (the part resting against your back) is padded. Inside, against the back, is one 6" W x 6" H pocket, which I can store CD's, or my 5 1/2" H x 4 1/2 " W passport ( Here in Hong Kong, you use your passport a lot for identification purposes, so it gets used a lot), and three pen pockets. It has one 7" H x 5 1/2" W mesh water bottle holder on one side.

    What works:
    I've carried a cell phone, jackets, clothes, sandals, a small umbrella, thermos and food for a picnic, an impressive amount of laundry to the cleaners, books, magazines. It's great for carrying (upright) paper copies of my resume, and other important papers that you can't fold. It's even carried my 13" MacBook and cables. Not all at one time of course, but it is versatile. I like the small pocket on the inside to conveniently carry my passport and pens. There's also a detachable key fob on the inside.

    What doesn't work:
    When I go out, I start by carrying it by one shoulder, but I constantly have a problem with it slipping off my shoulder, so I have to get a grip on the strap with one hand while walking. The pack keeps slipping off, loaded and empty. I'll be carrying it by one shoulder at say, McDonalds, and as I go to set the tray down on the table, the pack will fall off my shoulder and slide down to my wrist, almost upsetting my grip if I'm not careful. If I use it backpack style, with both straps, then it feels like I'm carrying a cylinder on my back, which is uncomfortable and annoying. In Hong Kong, it's MASSIVELY crowded, everywhere you go. The sidewalks are narrow, so you're trying to thread through hundreds of people in a small space. The double decker buses and trams, the mini buses, and the subway are crowded also, especially during rush hour. The apartments/flats are small and cramped, as are the elevators, especially if they are full of people. Wearing the backpack, you're more conscious of hitting/bumping into someone. I've been in a crowded elevator, and had to stand with my back to the doors, facing the people to avoid bumping somebody with my pack. The mesh water bottle holder is basically useless. It's too short and too wide to carry a 770mL bottle, which is mainly the popular/convenient size here. I've had the bottle of water go shooting out of the holder more times than I can remember. Now I just carry it on the inside of the pack.

    Tom Bihn bags:

    In thinking about a everyday pack, I need/want to be able to carry my 13" MacBook with some protection. I've looked at the Brain Bag (too big and too unwieldy for me) , and the Ruck's Sac (I really don't like the styling for me personally, plus I'm afraid it's too small, same with the Buzz). The Ego and SuperEgo are way too large. The Zephyr and Empire Builder are nice, but too "briefcasey" for my tastes. I do like the aerodynamic styling and clean lines of the Smart Alec, I think it looks really good, but it is a backpack, and it's current not available while it's being redesigned.
    The bags that offer this that I'm interested in are the Imago, the ID, and the Large Cafe bags. What I'm looking for is this:

    A bag I can carry my 13" MacBook in easily in, to work if I need/want to, the coffee shop, and going to another country/city. And all the necessary cords, power supply, and adapters in. (MacWorld is coming up in San Francisco in January, and there's currently rumors on the web that Steve will unveil a laptop with a smaller/lighter form factor. Hey, we can dream right!? But that may be a factor to consider in the whole scheme of things.).
    BUT, if I'm NOT carrying the laptop, and if I'm just bumming around town, and only carrying small, everyday items, I do not want a huge bag! We've all seen people carrying bags that are obviously to big for them, proportion wise. I want whatever bag I choose to fit me proportionally. I'm 5' 4", 160 lbs. I want something that can carry a sizable load if need be, but also work well with carrying only smaller, everyday items. Something that is smaller and more easily out of the way in crowds and tight spaces. It should be like I'm carrying nothing, like it's part or an extension of myself. I think a well designed, well thought out bag "disappears" when you're carrying it. You're not really conscious or aware of it (you're certainly not fighting with it).
    I want it to be weatherproof. In Asia, when it rains, it POURS! I want it to protect what's inside during tropical downpours.
    I want it to be efficient, with good organization. I like the pen holders and the pocket that I can easily keep, and get to, my passport when I need to. I don't want to have to paw through my belongings trying to find something that I need.
    I want space to carry my resume, and other important papers in, ideally upright, so they can't be wrinkled or messed up. I like the height and width of the Large Cafe, but I'm afraid of it being to small for everything else I may need or want to carry with me.
    As far as that goes, these are the type of things I plan on wanting to be able to carry, maybe not all at once, just combinations, but you get an idea:
    13" Macbook and assorted hardware, cell phone, jacket, change of clothes for 2-3 days, toiletry bag, sandals, small digital camera, passport, 8x11 resume or other papers, a 770mL bottle of water (ideally in a designated spot/holder, but I guess I'm willing to take what I can get), space for loose coins (I have a small Eagle Creek waist pack that I bought to carry the digital camera in only, at the time, I'm using for these). I carry my keys, loose coins, and my wallet sometimes in my pants pocket, the waist pack, or the day pack. They're spread out all over the place, and I can't tell you how many times I've left where I live and forgotten my wallet or keys! It would be nice if I could carry them all in one place. Maps of the city I'm in currently, a small umbrella, lunch, and Tupperware containers of food, a thermos. Laundry, books, magazines. A Swiss Army knife, or a Leatherman.
    I want to use it on trips to the market, store, shopping. It needs to hold SOME purchases while carrying the laptop. Another thing is, and this is a big one, I want/need to be able to stow it away in a (packed) Aeronaut during a trip, to be able to use it at my destination. So the ability to fit folded up in the Aeronaut would be great. Also, a Utility Tote or Lux should fit (folded) into whichever everyday bag I choose. Ideally, you could fit all two empty bags together into the packed Aeronaut. Or maybe the talked about Dyneema Rip-Stop tote that's on the horizon might be better for my needs. Any new word there? I'll vote for some type of padding on the carry handles (I'm hoping they're long too, my wife's totes handles are short, you can't really fit them on your shoulder, so you end up having to carry them, and they're unpadded, so your hands really feel it after a while!)

    Lastly, I want a bag that I like the style/ color combination of, which is very subjective. I like the Large Cafe for that reason, but again, I'm fearing it would be too small. Second would be the Imago, then finally the ID.

    As far as random thoughts go, I'll again throw in my vote for Tom Bihn luggage tags. I'll also throw in for zipper pulls. My day pack has them, they're flat pieces of nylon webbing, threaded through the zippers, and then folded and sewn together (think of a Breast Cancer, Aids, Support Our Troops ribbon. The webbing ends are still loose and separate).You could also offer pulls as an optional accessory on the website for those people that want them. But something you can also use one of those small brass padlocks with, on the lockable zippers anyway.

    I'm really interested in the new toiletry bag with more organization that yet has to be made, any status in that.

    I'm getting the Nikwax too when I order. Is there any reason to purchase and use the Nikwax cleaner before applying the Nikwax gear proof spray, or are the bags "clean" when they leave the factory, and don't need the Nikwax cleaner, only the weatherproofing? I ask because I have in the past "nuked" my backpacks/travel gear with up to three coats of Scotch-Guard, letting each coat dry before I put another coat on. I think it attracts dirt, as now some of the gear is showing sort of a mottled, spotty appearance in some areas. It looks like washing the item will restore it, but you've lost the Scotch-Guard at this point. How does one use the Nikwax for the best protection, and can you apply multiple coats at one time?

    I'd love to be able to come to Seattle and spend some time looking over the bags, trying them on, seeing where and how they are made, seeing them up close and personally, seeing what really works, and having someone there who's able to give professional advice. And to meet everyone there at Tom Bihn! But unfortunately that's not feasible right now. It would make for a VERY expensive bag! So, I'm having to rely on myself, Darcy, the website, and your opinions, knowledge and experience when I choose my bag. So thanks for all of your help in advance!

    Dave in Hong Kong
    Last edited by dbradford; 12-08-2007 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    The bags that offer this that I'm interested in are the Imago, the ID, and the Large Cafe bags.
    Okay, get the ID. I'm not sure how packable it is, but it's your best bet that covers all the requirements you listed.

  3. #3
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    If I were you I would buy a large Cafe Bag for your everyday stuff; a thin letter size poly folder fits in it; and a Vertical Brain Cell for your computer

    Or an Imago and an Horizontal Brain cell if you like to east west layout better

    Add a Lux or Swift for the groceries, extra jacket, etc...


    The Cafe Bag has such a thin layout that it is perfect for public transportation, I just used my Lux on a crowded subway and it is great too.

    The Brain Cells have a very thin footprint, they are light but are heavy duty shields for your laptop.

    Look at the sturdy construction of the Brain Cell on this page

    http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/CTGY/300


    The Absolute Shoulder Strap is compatible with the Cafe Bags, the Imago and the Brain Cells.

    I have an Absolute Shoulder Strap on my Large Cafe Bag and it is the greatest strap ever.

    I also looove my Lux and will order Swifts which are like the Lux but with more inner pockets and more "o rings".

    The "o rings" are little rings that you can clip anything on.
    I use them to clip Organizer pouches, a Kit and Key Straps.


    Let me know if you have more questions.


    PS:I am just a very happy customer who really like to share how wonderfull the products and the company are. Strong, Stylish and Ergonomic.

  4. #4
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    I just got a Imago and have been evaluating whenther it is practical for me.
    I am surprised at how small it is.
    It will accept my 12" Powerbook Brain Cell in the main pocket but not much else.
    I have not tried cramming stuff inside yet as I think I will gift this to my father instead of keeping it.
    My point is that it seems useful for a smaller computer and some related items but mot a whole lot more.

    Now don't misunderstand,this is a great bag and is designed and constructed just like every other Bihn Bag I own or have seen,it just is too small for my needs.

    I carry an Empire Builder mostly and am used to being able to carry both my 12"PB in the Brain Cell and my Toughbook in front of it but not in any other case. In addition I get a loaded Snake Charmer next to the "Brain Celled"PB and this is all in the one compartment!

    I use the E.B. as a catch-all for daily work and when I clean it out I always find things in there I had forgotten I had put there.
    The E.B. holds a lot more than it seems it will and I would urge you to look at the Zephyr as a possible choice.

    I too am a satisfied and devoted fan of this company and I am sure you will not go wrong whatever you decide.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    Well, this seems to be an evolving process! In looking the bags over online, I have some thoughts. By no means have I made my final decision,
    I'm sort of leaning towards a bag that either is small enough that it stays near a persons body when on the go, or has a little give to it, so that it molds to your body. It seems like with a more rigid bag (Empire Builder, Zephyr ?), you run the risk/annoyance of snagging, bumping, catching things with the front or back ends, especially when fully packed. The Empire Builder and Zephyr are nice bags, but they seem a little to business oriented with the briefcase styling. I do like the Zephyr the best I think out of the two, considering my height (5' 4").
    The Large Cafe is nice, but I worry about needing to pack a laptop, and clothes for a 2-3 day trip.
    The organization of the ID and Imago both seem nice. Can either of the bags be stowed into a packed Aeronaut (with them empty of course!)?

    Does anyone know here if the Large Cafe, Imago, and ID have the following:
    Dedicated water bottle storage?
    Dedicated pen/pencil pockets?
    Carrying handle, besides the strap? I like the versatility/ option of carrying the bag multiple ways.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far! I feel like I'm getting closer to a decision anyway.

    Dave in Hong Kong

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    Well, this seems to be an evolving process! In looking the bags over online, I have some thoughts. By no means have I made my final decision,

    The Large Cafe is nice, but I worry about needing to pack a laptop, and clothes for a 2-3 day trip.
    The organization of the ID and Imago both seem nice. Can either of the bags be stowed into a packed Aeronaut (with them empty of course!)?

    Does anyone know here if the Large Cafe, Imago, and ID have the following:
    Dedicated water bottle storage?
    Dedicated pen/pencil pockets?
    Carrying handle, besides the strap? I like the versatility/ option of carrying the bag multiple ways.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far! I feel like I'm getting closer to a decision anyway.

    Dave in Hong Kong
    Hi Dave,

    My reaction was the same as Just's: based on what you describe, go with the ID bag. I'm going to send you to another post which contains links to photos of the ID bag that I particularly like. This is an old design ID bag, but the interior contents and pockets are the same, so you can see how the interior pen pockets and such are used. The current design ID bag has a water bottle pocket and a different front flap and outside pocket design. You can read about some of these differences in this post of my questions when the new designs were introduced. One feature I liked in the old design that I have is easy access to an airplane ticket wallet pouch (see the link to Siv's post in my last linked post; I got my ID bag just after they moved the position of this pouch for easier acccess following his suggestion). This pocket is no longer there in the new design.

    The Imago and ID bags can both fit your 13" Macbook -- but it will only just fit in the Imago, and you'll need to use a light sleeve like the Soft Cell instead of a Brain Cell. There's some discussion about relative merits of Brain Cell and Soft Cell in this post (which also has a link to the Tucano Second Skin that I use for my 12" PowerBook since the Size 5 Soft Cell is slightly loose on this). The ID bag has a small handle at the top, but it's not really for carrying -- more as another way to access or pull over the bag. The Imago has no handles, and just some simple front pockets. It's really a different style of everyday bag -- very stylish, I think, but without all the same organizer pockets that you'd find in the Large Cafe Bag or Imago. Both these two bags would require that you use a Soft Cell or some other type of sleeve, like my Tucano Second Skin (which also has a nice version for the MacBook). The Imago and the Large Cafe Bag also don't have dedicated water pockets. I realize that the pictures on the ID Bag web page don't show the water bottle pouch very well, so I've added this link to the review of the ID Bag on the Gear Diary page. The cinchable water bottle pouch is at the left, in the first view of the back of the bag. You can also see the handle.

    The other reason that I suggest the ID Bag is your comments about the weather -- I love the color availability of Cordura, but I really think you want the extra water resistance (and perhaps the less saggable fabric for your laptop) of Ballistic Nylon. See my comments about Cordura and Ballistic Nylon. You can get an Imago in either Cordura or Ballistic Nylon, but the Large Cafe Bag only comes in Cordura. (Just so you know, my first Imago is Cordura and looks like the one Just got, and my second Imago is Ballistic Nylon and looks like eristick's Imago. You can see the pockets on this. The pocket organization is simpler on this bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    The organization of the ID and Imago both seem nice. Can either of the bags be stowed into a packed Aeronaut (with them empty of course!)?
    I think that the Imago (which I have with Quick-Adjust Messenger Strap) may work better as an everyday bag for you. While both Imago and ID bags can fit into the Aeronaut (empty), the Imago fits flatter and more easily. On the other hand, the ID bag gives you more durability and more protection for your laptop. And it's still small enough to conveniently take around. But I think there's a reason people like eristick, Darcy, and Just choose the Aeronaut/Imago combination in the What is your personal carryon? thread. Remember, in that case they're not using the smaller bag for a water bottle, they don't expect to be out in heavy rain, and a smaller bag is a combination with a "one-bag" carryon for travel. If you want the organization compartments and water bottle carrier, and more protection for your laptop, then go with the ID bag. If you want the smaller size and convenience, and are less concerned with pen pockets, water bottle carrier, and extra protection for the laptop, go with the Imago.

    Darcy can probably comment on the relative merits of the Large Cafe Bag under rainy conditions, but I would suggest a Ballistic Nylon Imago or ID bag. (This material would also match your Aeronaut).

    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    I'm sort of leaning towards a bag that either is small enough that it stays near a persons body when on the go, or has a little give to it, so that it molds to your body. It seems like with a more rigid bag (Empire Builder, Zephyr ?), you run the risk/annoyance of snagging, bumping, catching things with the front or back ends, especially when fully packed. The Empire Builder and Zephyr are nice bags, but they seem a little to business oriented with the briefcase styling. I do like the Zephyr the best I think out of the two, considering my height (5' 4").
    Finally, just a comment that I found the size of the Empire Bag just didn't work as well for a 5'4" person. It's a great bag, but less conveniently sized with respect to relative weight and proportions than the other bags. This is why they redesigned a smaller version, the Zephyr. Just has that bag, so you'll have to ask her for comments. Just my thoughts. Hope this helps.

    P.S. I personally pack a LUX in my Aeronaut when I travel as an extra bag. It packs very flat, has comfortable handles, and is quite durable. The Utility Tote carries more, but the LUX can hold its shape and will stand up even when empty or slightly awkwardly loaded. But this is probably a comment for your thread One for the ladies/girls/women out there.
    Last edited by moriond; 12-10-2007 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Added links to Gear Diary page to show water bottle pocket on ID Bag

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks to all who've responded so far to this! Moriond, you're post was especially helpful, thanks! I'm beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

    A dedicated space for a water bottle is sort of a necessity when you really can't trust the local water supply, and I really like having dedicated pen pockets handy, I hate having to dig around in the bottom of a bag for a pen when I need one in a hurry. I would really like to have the best of both worlds when it comes to packability/storage, AND wearability, ease of use and convenience. I think about it now every time I go out on the street here in Hong Kong (especially rush hour), and you're trying to dodge hundreds of people on narrow sidewalks.
    I also as a perfect example, this Sunday, have to go to the mainland (Shenzhen) to renew my visa. I'd love to have an everyday bag which I can use for a 1-2 day change of clothes, have space for purchases and shopping, and maybe carry my MacBook along (with all the cables, adapters, etc.), maybe not...AND have it hang or drape right on my 5'4" frame. I'll need a space for bottled water, clothes, something to eat, a handy pocket for pens and a passport while going through immigration (with HUNDREDS of other people pushing, crowding, bumping up against you !)
    When I get home, and want to relax, maybe I'll go out with my wife to dinner, and the coffee place. There, I won't be taking a laptop, just the basic necessities. I'd want the bag then to easy to carry and use, not awkward because I only have it partially packed with stuff.
    By hanging or draping, what I mean is, after watching people carrying a "softer" shaped bag, without a lot of stuff crammed in, the bag sort of bends or pulls up on the ends, where the straps are, thereby molding closer to the person's body. I sort of like that, seems like it would be easier to get through a crowd that way. On the other hand, I've seen "rigid" looking briefcase types, usually carried by business men, that tend to be more rigid and ungainly through a packed crowd (don't get me started on wheeled luggage briefcases!) with the ends sticking out at right angles.
    One last thought...On the street for example, because of lack of space on the narrow sidewalks, when you're trying to go somewhere through a throng of people, your bag is constantly brushing (hitting, snagging on, careening!) against walls, fences, barriers, scaffolding, etc,. The bag will probably see a LOT of abuse here in Asia. Ballistic Nylon might stand up better to the rugged use and abuse that a bag will endure.
    Well, I'm closer to a decision anyway, and getting closer. Can someone confirm that a Large Cafe, considering my wants and needs, is NOT a good choice for me? I love the look of the bag, but with no water bottle storage, and enough storage for a MacBook AND clothes for 2-3 days, plus room to spare, it would unfortunately be too small for what I need.
    Any more thoughts?


    Dave in Hong Kong

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    A dedicated space for a water bottle is sort of a necessity when you really can't trust the local water supply, and I really like having dedicated pen pockets handy, I hate having to dig around in the bottom of a bag for a pen when I need one in a hurry. I would really like to have the best of both worlds when it comes to packability/storage, AND wearability, ease of use and convenience. I think about it now every time I go out on the street here in Hong Kong (especially rush hour), and you're trying to dodge hundreds of people on narrow sidewalks.
    I also as a perfect example, this Sunday, have to go to the mainland (Shenzhen) to renew my visa. I'd love to have an everyday bag which I can use for a 1-2 day change of clothes, have space for purchases and shopping, and maybe carry my MacBook along (with all the cables, adapters, etc.), maybe not...AND have it hang or drape right on my 5'4" frame. I'll need a space for bottled water, clothes, something to eat, a handy pocket for pens and a passport while going through immigration (with HUNDREDS of other people pushing, crowding, bumping up against you !)

    One last thought...On the street for example, because of lack of space on the narrow sidewalks, when you're trying to go somewhere through a throng of people, your bag is constantly brushing (hitting, snagging on, careening!) against walls, fences, barriers, scaffolding, etc,. The bag will probably see a LOT of abuse here in Asia. Ballistic Nylon might stand up better to the rugged use and abuse that a bag will endure.
    Well, I'm closer to a decision anyway, and getting closer. Can someone confirm that a Large Cafe, considering my wants and needs, is NOT a good choice for me? I love the look of the bag, but with no water bottle storage, and enough storage for a MacBook AND clothes for 2-3 days, plus room to spare, it would unfortunately be too small for what I need.
    Any more thoughts?


    Dave in Hong Kong
    OK, a few more pictures. First, to get an idea of the relative size of bags, I'm going to point you to this thread showing pictures of different bags together. The second post (by maverick) shows the Large Cafe Bag besides the classic ID bag (the older model, with no water bottle pocket and with the original strap). This gives you a relative size comparison. Now scroll down to Just's pictures showing the Aeronaut, Large Cafe Bag, and (original version, Cordura) Imago. She's right that it's hard to see the size as well for the Imago and Aeronaut because of the way the material has sagged. If you check the volumes for the Large Cafe Bag, Imago, and ID bag, the ID bag has nearly twice the volume of the other two. That's largely because the depth can expand more, although you can cinch the strap to close down on this if your bag is not full.

    Another reference point: look at the Imagometrics review of the ID bag. This is the current model, and this review has better pictures of the water bottle pocket. (Please note that Zephyrnoid added a lot of extra accessory pouches -- there really isn't a Microshield sticking out from the water bottle pouch, or those extra doohickeys sticking onto the Absolute strap in the right hand side picture below.) As the Gear Diary review noted, the water bottle pouch is also distinguished by having cinchable straps to secure it in place. Also, I realize that in the current design, you can use the handle to carry the bag if the main buckle is securely fastened. You can also see an inner handle (bottomost picture). Part of the reason for recommending the ID bag over the others, (apart from the water bottle holder and pockets for pens, etc.) was your requirement of carrying clothes for a couple of days and laptop with accoutrements. For example, under "Ease of Use" in this review, Zephyrnoid writes:

    The ID Bag is extremely accommodating to the needs of its users. I found it to be very practical as a carry-on bag, easily substituting for the champion of carry-on's, the Aeronaut. No. You can't haul a laptop and three days worth of clothes in an ID Bag, but it performs well for the minimum of carry-on tasks.
    While it doesn't work for three days worth of clothes, I bet it would work for you with 1-2 days worth of clothes and your laptop and associated paraphenalia. I don't think that's really possible with the other two bags (unless you can travel without a laptop, or use one of the ultraportable models in place of your Macbook). Check some of the review comments of other ID bag owners.

    For comparison, take a look at the Imagometrics review of the Imago. That's a 13" MacBook in the picture inside an Archetype laptop case, and it pretty much fills up the compartment. You can carry additional papers and small items in the front pockets, but you don't have room for 1-2 days of clothes.

    One more set of pictures: ID Bag photos from Pop Wuping, a Taiwan-based site. This shows a lot of pictures with the bag worn. I'd guess the girl is about 5'3" or 5'4", and should give you a better idea of proportions. That's the old bag, and the old strap. The review is no longer on the site, the closest I can get is from the Internet Archives. This lacks most of the pictures shown in the Tom Bihn Blog. I'll quote from this review below:

    You can really pack a great deal of stuff into the ID - I don't. A 12" Powerbook, adaptors, power brick, a momobay firewire hd, Apple mouse, second mobile phone with local sim if traveling, pens and notebook, audio cable, and maybe a pair of headphones. Maybe that seems like a lot but it hardly comes close to filling the ID. If you travel light like I do you might even be able to fit a weekends worth of clothes in the bag.
    So averaging in the two review comments (and knowing that Zephyrnoid is a lot taller than 5'4" to figure into that comment about not being able to haul a laptop and three days of clothes), I think the ID would fit your needs.

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    It's all your fault, dbradford and moriond... now *I* want an ID! Too bad Black/Black/Olive isn't an option anymore... sure looks nice though.

    I already weighed in on this thread... and my advice remains the same. Go with the ID.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    It's all your fault, dbradford and moriond... now *I* want an ID! Too bad Black/Black/Olive isn't an option anymore... sure looks nice though.
    Calm down. You're probably just feeling frustrated about the last cafe bag in pine being sold. I refuse to take responsibility for what is clearly an addiction. You don't see me buying more bags indiscriminately, do you? (Hides all her purchases behind her back).

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    Talking

    Ha ha! well, I guess it's sorry from my end, can't speak for moriond! ;-) The things that are holding me back from pushing the button are the size (is it to big for my frame? Is it too small to pack enough clothes and stuff ALONG with a laptop?), how does it drape, and I like the color choices and the size a little better on the Imago. But it does have the water bottle storage, and the pen pockets. I'm still trying to decide...It was funny to see the rave on the ID this morning though!

    Dave in Hong Kong

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbradford View Post
    The things that are holding me back from pushing the button are the size (is it to big for my frame? Is it too small to pack enough clothes and stuff ALONG with a laptop?), how does it drape, and I like the color choices and the size a little better on the Imago. But it does have the water bottle storage, and the pen pockets. I'm still trying to decide...It was funny to see the rave on the ID this morning though!

    Dave in Hong Kong
    Look again at the pictures on the Pop Wuping link. That's probably the best set of reference pictures for frame size.

    Also, here's another thread with Zephyrnoid's comments on the the ID bag while he was traveling with it before his review. Look at some other links in my post (2nd post in thread) that show more pictures of people wearing the ID bag. All I can say is, I'm 5'4" and I could use the ID bag as a general carry-along bag with some clothes. I couldn't do this with the Imago.

  13. #13
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    P.S. Since you mentioned having to decide between the LUX and the Utility Tote, here are my comparisions. You might, however, also consider the newer Swift desgined based on the Lux, but as a knitting bag. I prefer the open design of the Lux (no rivet and securing tab to close the bag), but the Swift has additional nice pockets and D-rings on the inside. And if you get the ID Bag, you should get it with the Absolute Strap. (The version for the ID Bag attaches to toothed plastic adaptors. You'll want a separate Absolute Strap that can hook onto D rings for the Aeronaut, and for other bags you might want to use).

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    Psst dbradford, you might want to look into two separate solutions - the ID *and* the Imago! Just a thought!!!

    Psst moriond - I think you might need a tent.. they aren't all fitting behind your back

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    Moriond, why didn't you TELL ME you had an ID!! :-) Just kidding ! Just when I felt like I was leaning in a certain direction...I had to go to Central from where I live in Wan Chai, so I took a 15 minute bus ride. Let me tell you it was PACKED! Central was for some reason crowded like I've never seen it before...On the bus there was barely room to breathe, with everybody crowded up against you. You couldn't help but bump into people. So that got me thinking along the lines that I needed a small bag, one that moulds to your body as much as possible, one the doesn't protrude and offer angles and corners to hit/bump into objects and/or people. After my business was down, just going though the crowd on the sidewalks and the street was a chore, and then the subway was jam packed going home. Then later on, I watched a girl, cradling a cell phone in the crook of her neck, trying to rummage through the bottom of a backpack for a pen to write something down (maybe the backpack had pen pockets, if it did, she wasn't using them) and I thought about the pen pockets of the ID as a necessity, along with the whole organization of the bag. Also, for some reason, it was hotter today (Hong Kong has been cooling off, and the temperatures are probably equal to San Francisco or Seattle), hot enough that it made me start to think about a dedicated place for a water bottle that's really useable.
    I look at the pictures of the ID in the link you sent me, and it seems big to me, at least in the pictures. Can you give me your thoughts, since we're the same size?
    So we have:
    Large Cafe - I like the form factor, I like the small size (footprint, if you like). It's good for carrying a FEW papers upright, along with a laptop. Maybe a lightweight jacket too. Some pockets, and no place to stow a water bottle. Smaller size means I probably can't pack it for a 1-2 day trip with toiletries, clothes, jacket, and a laptop. It wouldn't have any extra room.

    Imago - I also like the form factor, seems like it would mold better, at least with the Cordura fabric. Still small, so being in a crowd or a cramped place might be a little easier. Might fit my frame better. No pen pockets or dedicated water bottle storage. Small size limits the amount of stuff you can pack in it, especially with a laptop, for a 1-2 day trip.

    ID - Seems boxy and rigid to me, (stiff) at least in the pictures. I like the colors offered on the Large Cafe and Imago better. Provides maybe the best amount of space, and organization. Has pen pockets, and a dedicated place for a water bottle. Probably offers the most room to pack 1-2 days worth of clothes, toiletries, and a laptop, along with the little extras you have with you, or might pick up on the way. Has does it look without a laptop in it, and carrying just a few everyday items? I might be using it without a laptop in it for days or weeks at a time, carrying only essentials with me. Does it then look a little awkward? Would it be a suitable bag for someone with my frame size, almost empty or fully loaded?

    Just,
    I wish I had the space in my room, along with the inclination to get both, it would probably be simpler all the way around. But I don''t...(Along with the money) I'm not only getting an everyday bag, I'm also getting myself n Aeronaut, and either a LUX, Tote, or one of the Dyneema Stuff Sacks that have been talked about. I also am going to get my wife a Western Flyer, a everyday bag (purse replacement) and her own Lux, Tote, or Dyneema Stuff Sack for shopping. This in addition to whatever I need a far as straps, organizers, Snake Charmer, laptop protection, and finally Nikwax. If they want, Tom Bihn & Co. can close early that day, because they'll have made their quota for the day just on my purchase alone! Kidding, Tom! :-) Seriously, I want to wrap this up and have my order ready for early next year when some of the new stuff comes out.

    Dave in Hong Kong
    Last edited by dbradford; 12-12-2007 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Spelling

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