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Thread: Confusion Reigns! Help clear the cobwebs before the dough goes elsewhere...

  1. #1
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    Confusion Reigns! Help clear the cobwebs before the dough goes elsewhere...

    Well, I finally have enough cash squirrelled away to order a new EDC bag for myself, which I’d like to do it before the holidays – so I don’t use my TB stash on gifts for others! The problem – and it’s a big one – is which TB bag of the many I admire is best suited for my needs?!? The bags I’ve been considering are the ID, Imago, Ristretto for iPad, Synapse, and as of last week, the Cadet. I’ve read a lot of information on the forum (and other websites) about these bags. Everyone has provided useful information – I’m just having trouble making it fit my personal situation. Also, there’s a chance a family member will generously gift a second bag to me as a Christmas or birthday gift in December. Provided I narrow down my choices before sharing our wish lists over Thanksgiving!

    I’ve been carrying a messenger-style briefcase for a while, so I’m used to carrying a bag on a single shoulder (not cross-body). However, I’ve been out in the field a bit lately, carrying my boss’ hiking backpack with our tape measures, files, etc., loaded into it. Now, I’ve started seeing the advantages of a backpack-style bag – hence the inclusion of the Synapse on the list.

    On a typical day, I carry the following: leather portfolio with 8.5x11” pad (portfolio is about 9x12x3/8”), 8.5x5.5” notepad, few paper files, several pens and pencils, multi-tool, checkbook in an aluminum cover, calculator, 6” long architectural scale, iPad 2 (in a Cache), iPod Classic, iPhone, Bose MIE2i earphones, chargers and sync cables, gum, TicTacs, wallet, and keycase. I also take either a 27-ounce Kleen Kanteen or a Lifefactory bottle and my lunch. I pack my lunch in a separate insulated soft-sided “lunchbox” I picked up from Lands’ End a few years ago, and I carry my water bottle separately. I wouldn’t mind carrying the water bottle in the EDC bag, but it’s not a deal-breaker. I probably will continue carrying lunch in the insulated bag; I dislike using the office refrigerator (grungy and far from my desk).

    Once a week, sometimes more, I also carry a 15.4” MacBook Pro (in a Cache right now) and everal times a month I carry a 1.5” three-ring binder and a couple of spiral-bound notebooks with project notes for meetings out of the office. Occasionally, I need to carry the MacBook and the binder. When I carry the MacBook, I need to take along its charger.

    Back in March, I ordered an ID; however, as my order was processed, the ID went out of stock. I was leaving for a trip in a few weeks, so I decided to try the Ego instead. When the Ego arrived, I found it way too big – especially the height. There was a lot of space at the top of the bag that didn’t seem to be good to hold anything – it was well above the height of my portfolio, notebook, and MacBook. This space just seemed to make the bag bulky and floppy, and the extra height didn’t hang very well on my body (I’m only 5’4”).

    The ID. Likes –the water bottle carrier, ability to carry my 15.4” MacBook in its Cache, the soft-lined side pockets for iPhone, the multitude of pockets for organizing all the little things I carry. Concerns – too big for EDC? Confusion – the website lists the size as 15.75 x 12 x 5.5”, which doesn’t seem much different than the Cadet that’s listed as 16.25 x 12.5 x 4.5". Yet, the ID is listed as 1275 cubic inches and the Cadet is 825 cubic inches, which does see quite a bit larger. Is the ID size incorrect? Is the size difference between these two bags great? I’d love to see a photo of an ID next to a Cadet, I did a web search, but no luck; the Cadet’s too new.

    The Imago. Likes – Overall fun yet classy style, compact for when laptop’s not needed, color selection. Concerns – not enough pockets to safely store little items, plus securely store bulkier wallet, checkbook, and keycase.

    The Ristretto for iPad. Likes – no need to carry and keep track of the Cache, vertical nature great on planes and trains, doesn’t call attention to the fact it’s carrying an iPad (unless you’re a fellow TB fan). Concerns – not enough space for all the junk I carry daily. Does an 8.5x11” pad in a portfolio fit? That’s one item I can’t eliminate from my daily haul.

    The Cadet. Likes – very clean, low distraction design; good for professional use; TSA friendly (although I don’t fly often). There’s a black/Iberian option, which matches my Aeronaut that I use when I travel (with backpack straps; I love it and use it a couple of weekends per month). Concerns – enough room for all my daily stuff? Work OK without the Cache and laptop on the several days per week I don’t take my laptop to work? Enough room for all the personal items I carry? Will the clean lines bulge when the front pocket is filled with chargers, wallets, and keys?

    The Synapse. Likes – great for train and plane travel, multiple packing zones for good organization and separation; dual shoulder carry to ease the burden on my bad shoulder and back. Concerns – not professional enough when I meet with clients, larger than I need. Will it hold a 15.4” MacBook Pro in a 4Z Cache in its main compartment? I’ve looked on the forum for that, but didn’t find an answer.

    So, I’m open to advice. I’d like to narrow my choices to the two bags that would be the most useful to me. Probably one for use as an EDC bag for when I take my iPad, portfolio and personal junk and a larger bag for when the laptop, binder, and more are needed.

    Wow, I was long-winded tonight! I hope I didn’t bore all of you to tears. Maybe I helped cure someone’s insomnia?!? I’m open to your opinions as to which pairing of bags would best suit my light-duty and heavy-duty EDC bag needs based on the above data. Thanks to all.
    Aeronaut in Black/Iberian, Synapse in Black/Iberian, Small Cafe Bag in Linen/Steel, 4Z Horizontal Cache in Black, iPad Vertical Cache in Black, 3D Organizer Cube in Steel, Large Clear Organizer in Pouch Iberian, Medium Clear Organizer Pouch in Iberian, Mini Padded Organizer Pouch in Black, Mini Organizer Pouch in Iberian, 16" Key Strap in Sapphire, 8" Key Strap in Storm

  2. #2
    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Gosh, I'm not going to be of any help as I have a Co-Pilot and am drooling for a Cadet. However, if there is a possibility of a family member being ever so generous to gift you a TB bag and if you have a choice in that gift...may I be so bold and thinking selfishly - to choose based on price. As in - how much is this possible gift person prepared / willing to spend? Could this gift be a combination birthday / Christmas bag and do double duty?

    Okay, enough of being greedy on my part, and trying to pretend others may understand my thinking.
    Now I'm off to drool over the Cadet pictures, and debate if I need (as in want) both sizes!
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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    At the risk of revealing my stupidity, what is an EDC bag? Every Day Casual? Elephant Dog Cat? The possibilities are frightening
    Jenne likes this.

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    (every-day carry)

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    Tlacltme - Sorry, I just realized that while I've only been a TB owner and forum member for about 7 months, I've started using the local jargon, such as EDC for every day carry. Although, for the way some describe their TB bags, an Elephant/Dog/Cat carry bag might not be so far-fetched!

    Maria - I have no issues with boldness! I love the Co-Pilot, but it's too small to hold my portfolio with 8.5x11" pad; I tried with the one that I purchased for my Mom for Mother's Day before her to use on a trip to Sweden. I really like the way the Co-Pilot is compartmentalized, but I need that portfolio, and sometimes a letter-sized wire bound notebook, when I use the bag for work. If there was a "Pilot" that easily held 8.5x11" pads/portfolios - and maybe 15" MacBooks, it would definitely be the bag I'd purchase right now. I'm with you on the gift idea as well - a combo Christmas/birthday option is not out of question. I'm leaning to purchasing a larger bag (Cadet or ID) for laptop days myself and asking for a smaller bag (Ristretto for iPad or Imago or Synapse) for iPad only days as a gift.

  6. #6
    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    I too am looking forward to a Pilot bag in the future. You may soon be able to carry the elephant / dog / cat combo if you get two TB bags by years end. ;0
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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    I believe the Imago, the Cadet and the Synapse would be great.


    I do not own the yummy Imago, because despite its good looks, it is an east/west or landscape orientation bag. I have been spoiled by my beautiful Cafe Bags.

    I did a search on Tom Bihn Blog for the Imago and here is the link, it should guide you to numerous compliments sent directly to Customer Service and reviews posted on blogs or this very forum about the great usefulness and versatility of the Imago.

    TOM BIHN Blog - search


    The Synapse is my everyday bag and it will work for you when you are not carrying the laptop. It holds a tremendous amount of things.

    People have used their Synapse as travel bag for children, personal item for overseas trips and for many, including myself, it is an everyday bag.

    I did a search on Tom Bihn Blog for the Synapse and here is the link, it should guide you to numerous videos, blogs, compliments sent directly to Customer Service and reviews posted on this very forum about the great usefulness and versatility of the Synapse.
    TOM BIHN Blog - search




    I believe that the Cadet would be great for the times you need to carry your laptop and big binder.


    The threads below should give you a tremendous help about what the Cadet is capable of handling.

    Introducing the Cadet laptop briefcase

    http://www.tombihn.com/forums/custom...-aeronaut.html



    The Cadet is so new, people who own both the Cadet and the ID will most probably start to chime in after reading your post.
    Last edited by backpack; 11-09-2011 at 12:54 AM.

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    Hey scattered. The Cadet is very capable but it might bite you on those days that you need to bring the computer and the 1.5 inch notebook along with everything else. Obviously, there is not a specific water bottle holder.

    If those two are deal breakers I think the ID would be a better choice for you.

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    Just checking in while eating lunch.

    Backpack - Thanks for the links. I'll check tonight to see if there's anything I've missed. I also agree with you on the orientation issue. I had a leather messenger style bag years ago that was vertical, like the cafe bags, but with more organizational pockets and large enough for letter files. I loved it. That's one of the reasons I was considering a Ristretto for iPad for non-laptop days. I considered a cafe bag, but thought it had a lack of pockets for the way I use a bag.

    JeffMac - Yes, that's one of my concerns with the Cadet. Although, if I take the laptop, I can probably leave the iPad behind, making some space for the binder. I believe from reading another thread on here that your a recent Cadet owner - how do you think it will be for just carrying an iPad and filesm no laptop? Too big or too floppy?
    Aeronaut in Black/Iberian, Synapse in Black/Iberian, Small Cafe Bag in Linen/Steel, 4Z Horizontal Cache in Black, iPad Vertical Cache in Black, 3D Organizer Cube in Steel, Large Clear Organizer in Pouch Iberian, Medium Clear Organizer Pouch in Iberian, Mini Padded Organizer Pouch in Black, Mini Organizer Pouch in Iberian, 16" Key Strap in Sapphire, 8" Key Strap in Storm

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    Scattered -

    I think that a Cadet may work for you. I was looking around my office here trying to find things that were equal/similar in size compared to what you had listed in your description above.



    This is a shot of my main compartment today. I have my Macbook Air in it's Cache, my iPad, Kindle, Medium Organizer Pouch and ledger all in this compartment. Based on what you said--my MBA in it's Cache is similar to your main writing pad. My ledger is similar your other writing pad. I also have all of my computer cables and accessories in that medium pouch. I can fit a 1.5" binder into the compartment with my MBA in it's Cache.



    My front compartment has quite a bit of stuff in it--but I feel like you'd be able to nicely fit your headphones, pens, pencils, scale, checkbook, wallet, gum and tictacs without much of a problem. I still have more room in that front compartment if I really needed to put anything in there.

    I also think you should be able to fit your binder, portfolio and computer into the main compartment if you went without iPad. You should still be able to use your smaller pad and files in the compartment--but I have no real way of testing this.

    Black/Steel/Wasabi Super Ego, Cardinal/Steel 15"/13" Cadet, Cardinal/Steel Aeronaut, Olive/Cayenne 13" Ristretto, Camera Insert/Outsert, Horizontal Freudian Slip, 13" MBA Cache, Brain Cell for 13" Macbook, Steel Snake Charmer, FoT/FoJ pouch, Organizer Wallet, and more organizer pouches than I can shake a stick at.

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    Hey Scattered, misterN has nailed the stuff you asked about in his pictures above.

    Also, the Cadet is structured enough that I do not think you will find under packing it to be a problem at all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scattered View Post
    Just checking in while eating lunch.

    Backpack - Thanks for the links. I'll check tonight to see if there's anything I've missed. I also agree with you on the orientation issue. I had a leather messenger style bag years ago that was vertical, like the cafe bags, but with more organizational pockets and large enough for letter files. I loved it. That's one of the reasons I was considering a Ristretto for iPad for non-laptop days. I considered a cafe bag, but thought it had a lack of pockets for the way I use a bag.

    JeffMac - Yes, that's one of my concerns with the Cadet. Although, if I take the laptop, I can probably leave the iPad behind, making some space for the binder. I believe from reading another thread on here that your a recent Cadet owner - how do you think it will be for just carrying an iPad and filesm no laptop? Too big or too floppy?
    The Large Cafe Bag is the best bag, ever, I usually make more pockets by using all kind of pouches.
    It is my Elephant/Dog/Cat bag without electronics but sometimes with compact photo/video gear, I choose a lesser image quality for portability.

    My Synapse with netbook and/or compact photo/video gear and Field Journal Notebook is my designated sightseeing bag.

    It becomes my EDC when it holds, a Clear Quater Cube, a folded Large Shop Bag, an extra top layer windbreaker/cardigan/vest, a Large Clear organizer Pouch which hold paperwork in a plastic folder, a 16 oz Lifefactory bottle, two small milk on the side pockets and the Field Journal Notebook.

    I have an additional EDC which is the Small Cafe Bag which holds things that need to be easy to get to and for which I need to keep an eye on at all time.

    I love the Large Cafe Bag and Brain Bag pair for domestic (U.S) travel.

    The perfect ergonomic was the inspiration for the Elephant/Dog/Cat errands and local things to do pair.


    I am sure I got you even more confused, so don't mind my post and look at the great informative pictures of the new owners of the Cadets who are doing their best to be "next order enablers".
    Last edited by backpack; 11-09-2011 at 02:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    The Large Cafe Bag is the best bag, ever, I usually make more pockets by using all kind of pouches.
    It is my Elephant/Dog/Cat bag without electronics but sometimes with compact photo/video gear, I choose a lesser image quality for portability.

    My Synapse with netbook and/or compact photo/video gear and Field Journal Notebook is my designated sightseeing bag.

    It becomes my EDC when it holds, a Clear Quater Cube, a folded Large Shop Bag, an extra top layer windbreaker/cardigan/vest, a Large Clear organizer Pouch which hold paperwork in a plastic folder, a 16 oz Lifefactory bottle, two small milk on the side pockets and the Field Journal Notebook.

    I have an additional EDC which is the Small Cafe Bag which holds things that need to be easy to get to and for which I need to keep an eye on at all time.

    I love the Large Cafe Bag and Brain Bag pair for domestic (U.S) travel.

    The perfect ergonomic was the inspiration for the Elephant/Dog/Cat errands and local things to do pair.


    I am sure I got you even more confused, so don't mind my post and look at the great informative pictures of the new owners of the Cadets who are doing their best to be "next order enablers".
    We live to serve.

    Black/Steel/Wasabi Super Ego, Cardinal/Steel 15"/13" Cadet, Cardinal/Steel Aeronaut, Olive/Cayenne 13" Ristretto, Camera Insert/Outsert, Horizontal Freudian Slip, 13" MBA Cache, Brain Cell for 13" Macbook, Steel Snake Charmer, FoT/FoJ pouch, Organizer Wallet, and more organizer pouches than I can shake a stick at.

  14. #14
    Doh
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    I don't want to add to the confusion, but have you considered a Buzz? I've had one for almost a year now (keep meaning to post a review) and it's a very nice bag that holds a surprising amount. Offhand I think it could probably carry everything - including the macbook and the notebook. There are some design pros and cons built into choosing a sling bag, but overall I think the Buzz is a great option (and my neck and back agree). If you can swing it, you might consider ordering a couple different bags so you can see them in person-- it made a big difference for me seeing how much the Buzz could hold (and how enormous the Brain Bag is).

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    Just wanted to comment on what you said about the Imago: "Concerns – not enough pockets to safely store little items, plus securely store bulkier wallet, checkbook, and keycase." That's what organizer pouches are for

    In my Imago I typically have two medium pouches clipped, each clipped to one of the interior O-rings. One holds the computer power adapter and cable, ethernet cable, various adapters. The other holds various chargers and Shure earphones. I have three small pouches, each clipped to a key strap, clipped to the aforementioned O-rings. Each pouch slips into the interior pockets. One holds several thumb drives, one holds bluetooth headset, and one holds iPhone stuff (ear buds, power adapter and cable, 3G Juice battery pack, car charger, and an Ultrasuede cleaning cloth). I also clip a pen/pencil organizer on the inside.

    In the front zipper pocket I clip a mini pouch to the O-ring, which holds odds and ends. In the front open pocket I keep a mini pouch with my business cards (on a key strap clipped to the O-ring) and clip a couple of pens there too.

    My guess is that you can probably come up with a similar arrangement for your small stuff, checkbook, wallet, and key case.
    Owner of Crimson/Steel Western Flyer, Forest/Steel Zephyr, Olive/Cayenne Ristretto for iPad, Olive/Cork/Steel and Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Linen/Steel and Conifer/Steel SCB, Steel Breve, Plum/Black Swift, Steel FJN, Horizontal Freudian Slip, black Brain Cell, Iberian Packing Cube Backpack, Ultraviolet Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, and various organizer pouches, caches, and other odds and ends.

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