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Thread: Your go-to bag

  1. #1
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    Your go-to bag

    Well, I'm heading up to Alaska (again! In winter! I must be nuts!), and I've just finished packing. I have a decently-sized Tom Bihn collection at this point, so I ended up with numerous carry options--I could have done the Smart Alec or the Western Flyer for my main bag, and my Ristretto or my small Cafe Bag for my personal item. My Smart Alec has thus far been my default bag when out and about--it's gone to Renn Faire, to downtown Chicago, and lots of other places. My Western Flyer, on the other hand, has taken me to Greece and Rome, and to Alaska before. It's how I found Tom Bihn in the first place--I wanted to one-bag it in Europe, and I took the small size and amazing organization of the bag as a personal challenge .

    And this time, again, I found myself packing up the good old Western Flyer. I have nothing against my Smart Alec--also an amazing bag, and they're both in Indigo, so gorgeous!--but the WF is just so incredibly amazing that I always find myself going back to it. I've got a week's worth of clothing in there, my laptop (in a Cache) and laptop accessories, my hat, and (best of all) my toiletries in a brand-new 3D Organizer Cube, ready and waiting for the TSA to ogle. The bag feels solid and compact; it sits comfortably on my shoulders and I know that, in a pinch, I can even get it under the seat in front of me. It's just such an amazing product that I have to sing its praises and thank TB for making it, even though I've had it for more than two years.

    Does anyone else have this sort of darn-near scary admiration for one of their bags? One that's been through thick and thin with them? Of course, I use my Ristretto and my SCB very frequently, but there's just something about the Western Flyer. It's bag perfection. How about you guys?

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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    I too have a WF and adore it, but I have a hard time picking just one TB bag that I have "darn-near scary admiration for". Depending on my circumstances, I have felt this towards my Little Swifts, Swifts, Western Flyer, and Synapse. Each has been just right-sized and spec-ed for more than one occasion for me when no other bag would fit the bill. All are well constructed. Each is made with fabric combinations that I love. Picking just one from the bunch seems so unfair to me for the serious bag love I have at times. My most highly used TB items are my Organizer Pouches. Since I received my first one, I haven't carried a bag without one. Most days I have 6 or more at a time in my EDC. Excellent products that really make Tom's bags useful to anybody's level of organization!
    Edited to add: your coming trip sounds fascinating, travel with care, and come tell us about it! I think your Europe trip with the WF is one of the Flickr sets that sold me on the WF being the bag for me, thank you for sharing! I really agree about how well designed the WF is. It inspired me, a perpetual over packer, to realize just how lightly I could attempt to travel.
    Last edited by dorayme; 01-21-2012 at 01:39 PM.
    backpack and Lani like this.
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    EDC? (I am having a bout of memory loss....)

  4. #4
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Every day carry
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, SE, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP-A, SC, BB, SCB, FJN, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, PCSB K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP-T/WF, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, SE, S, C-P, P, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, PCBP-T/WF, SE2, MCB, RiPad, SB, LSB

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    Ah! Of course.... Thanks. I too tend to vacillate. For me, the bag of the moment is my Synapse. I am about to travel to the Midwest and will be using a shiny, new Smart Alec which appeared here earlier this week. It will be my first foray into one-bagging with a true backpack. I have used my TriStar in backpack mode before but do not need the capacity for this trip. We will see how the Smart Alec does in the airport.

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    Registered User Janine's Avatar
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    Side Effect. It's my most-used PLO (purse-like object). I can't remember what I did without it...probably banged a mammoth thigh bone on the ground and shrieked when I saw fire.
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    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    I'm sure I couldn't use it for everything I do, but I'm most amazed by my MCB. I have at least four other bags made by other companies that are MCB-like, but I don't use those. Ever. I use the MCB nearly every day.

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    During last Tuesday night tornado warning, I had my UV Synapse and my Plum Large Cafe Bag in my safe room next to my bike helmet.

    I place my plugged netbook on top of the large laundry on wheel and my plugged phone right next to it.

    I also have a set of clothes ready to go.


    I should place a change of clothes or two inside the Packing Cube Backpack for Aeronaut and toiletry inside the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag as well as other things placed in one of my Brain Bags.

    So I have to say that no matter the circumstances my go to bags are Large Cafe Bag, Synapse and if more stuff is needed the Brain Bag.


    But, just like Dorayme, in everyday life, I cannot be without my Shop Bags (green shopper must have) and Swifts (yarn, needlework, crafts and book organizers).


    I am sure I will schedule outside dinner dates when I get my Little Swifts.

    Which are next on the Wish List but had to take a back seat to Holidays/Valentine Azalea LCB/SCB order, I was afraid of missing out on the Small Shop Bag in UV and Steel so they took the slot of the Little Swifts.

  9. #9
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe View Post
    And this time, again, I found myself packing up the good old Western Flyer.
    Between me and my husband, we have 4 TB carry-ons (1 Aeronaut, 2 Tri-Stars, and 1 WF), and I wind up using the WF a lot. Mostly because it's a great size for shorter people like me (the Tri-Star, when worn like a backpack, makes me feel like a Galapagos tortoise), but like you, I admire its compactness and smart design. You can pack a lot in there, and it holds its shape and keeps everything snug as a bug in a rug.

    My everyday bag is actually a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. I know for a lot of people, that must be like walking around in a slip or nightgown since Dyneema is "inside fabric" but it's really a perfect sized purse/day bag for me, and I love its floppiness and how little it weighs. I even have medium and large Cafe Bags (I gave the small one away to a former co-worker when she left), but I always go back to the PCSB. In my mind, it's about as perfect a day bag as I can get.

    When I travel, I also take a Side Effect with me to use when I just want a little cross-body (or a little fanny pack while sightseeing). I've even been known to pin a brooch on the front and latch a Handle Loop on there to turn it into a clutch for taking it out for a nicer dinner.

    Hmm hard to decide what one bag I love the most. For a max carry-on, I'd say WF. But for everyday use, I'd say PCSB.
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    My everyday bag is actually a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. I know for a lot of people, that must be like walking around in a slip or nightgown since Dyneema is "inside fabric" but it's really a perfect sized purse/day bag for me, and I love its floppiness and how little it weighs. I even have medium and large Cafe Bags (I gave the small one away to a former co-worker when she left), but I always go back to the PCSB. In my mind, it's about as perfect a day bag as I can get.
    I love the PCSB too!!! I got one in Iberian and I'm thinking of adding another one in Steel on my next order. It almost always goes with me, either with my knitting in it or empty inside my usual handbag - so many times I've needed an additional bag when out and about but since the PCSB entered my life I'm never caught short... well, almost never
    Bags: Aeronaut Crimson/Steel w Absolute Shoulder Strap & Packing Cubes: EndPocket, L Steel, S Steel x2. Synapse Bl/UV, Co-Pilot St/Iberian Dyneema. Smart Alec Bl/Bl/St, Snake Charmer Bl
    Cubes: 3D Clear Org Cube x2, Clear QPC in Iberian w Shoulder Strap,
    Pouches: Mini x2, Small x2, Small Clear x1, M Clear x3, L Clear x1, Pencil Clear x2
    Other: Guardian Light, 16" Key str x3, Handle Loop x2, Ultrasuede Strap Wrap

  11. #11
    Registered User Janine's Avatar
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    I'll vote for the PCSB, too! Can I have two votes? I love both my Side Effect and my PCSBs. I use my PCSBs more, but they are (since it is cold outside) usually inside other bags. When the weather is nice and we are strolling with the boys, the PCSBs are clipped to the strollers.
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    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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    My vote is for the Synapse...which surprises me, actually, because I'm not a backpack person. In fact, the Synapse is the first backpack I've ever owned. I LOVE the water bottle pocket in front, as I'm the type of person to bring a water bottle with me everywhere and I really like that it's not flopping off of the side like most backpacks' water bottle holders. I also love the side compartments for pens and paper and keys and wallets. I have eight kids and the bottom compartment is perfect for the various sized diapers and wipes...the main compartment is great for my giant calendar (necessary for the appointments and sporting events, etc etc for eight kids) and the random stuff that the kids always seem to be handing me as well as snacks and baby toys and other such treasures. Love the Synapse! That being said, got a baby Cadet for Cmas that I haven't really tried out yet. Love the looks of it and can't wait to take it for a spin!

  13. #13
    Registered User Janine's Avatar
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    Eight! Wow! My hat's off to you!

    Please do post a review of your Cadet when you put it to work. And your packing list. And pictures. :-)
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    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  14. #14
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    For traveling, the aeronaut is my bag of choice. Granted, it's fairly big for shorter trips and in those cases, my husband and I share the bag. For walking around town, my bag of choice is the Medium Cafe Bag. I do wear my Little Swift a lot in the summer (less so in the winter; I find the handle too short to be able to pull over the shoulder when wearing bulky winter coats) and occasionally the side effect. I've ordered an Imago recently and it has become my work/laptop bag of choice.
    ncb4, JonP and TavaPeak like this.
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  15. #15
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    For traveling, my bag of choice is my Western Flyer. I travel almost every week on a 2-3 day trip and the WF is perfect. It carries a lot of stuff and is still compact. Although I usually manage to store it in the overhead, I've on occasion had it under the seat. Of course one of the things that makes it so useful are the packing cubes, so I'm not sure if those count separately or not . On longer trips I use the WF with the PCSB and the PCBP so I can have two other bags to schlep smaller and larger amounts of stuff around.
    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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