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  1. #1
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    Cafe bag: small or medium?

    I'm feeling rather indecisive so I thought I'd ask for your opinions... I've got an ID bag (which I love) but it's a bit too big to take with me on days off, when I don't need to lug around multiple books, gym gear, etc.

    Sometimes I can get away with stuffing my usual necessities--phone, wallet, keys, contact lens drops and ipod--in my pockets, but if I add an umbrella (damn this rainy SF weather...) and a book or magazine, it's a bit too much, though not enough to call for the capacity of the ID.

    Thus, I am looking for a "day-off" bag, either the small or medium cafe bag. I'd carry around the things above (some can stay in pockets if needed) and perhaps a water bottle, but not much more. Errr, well, perhaps a PDA, tho the ipod is a shuffle so it's small.

    I'd love to hear from people who have used either or both of these sizes before--is it big enough? What can you usually fit in it? Would you rather have bought the smaller/bigger size?

    I'm leaning towards the small as the medium seems like it will be too close to the ID, but the 3-inch width of the small might limit what I can put in there.

    (And once I get the size sorted out, I'll have to choose a color...olive and steel? steel and blue? or good old black? Ahhh, the choices.

    Any tips are welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have a medium cafe bag that I purchased a few weeks ago. I couldn't decide between a cafe bag or a buzz, and I didn't know how much either would hold. Here's a link to my original thread with my issues and here's the thread with the result. More to the point here is my flickr set of my bag and what it can hold.

  3. #3
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    hi mike,

    i actually asked darcy about a small essentials bag recently - smaller than a cafe bag, to hold what i consider my daily essentials. these are different for each individual. for me, they are:

    1. wallet - i use a fairly thin one.
    2. cash.
    3. blackberry.
    4. ipod.
    5. business cards.
    6. pen.
    7. lip balm.
    8. keys - too many on my key ring, unfortunately.
    9. odd items, like receipts and frequent shopper card at pie gourmet .

    i used to carry most or all of this stuff between pockets in my pants and jacket. i say most because i would invariably forget something. either i would forget to take something out of one jacket and move it to another or i would forget to grab something as i got dressed in the morning. besides, with the summer coming, i won't have the jacket pockets.

    so i decided i should put all this stuff in a bag.

    you can put all of this in the buzz or a small cafe bag, and have room left for other stuff. and that would be great.

    but i want something smaller for just the essentials.

    for the interim, the solution i came up with is working out alright. i took an ipod gear pouch from waterfield, customized with d-ring's at both ends. i added a shoulder strap so that i can carry the bag across diagonally across my upper body. all of my essential gear fits nicely inside. it works, but it's still not the right solution. i know that i have found the right solution when i stop looking for another solution.

    i think i am going to try out a cafe bag or buzz also - for a slightly different need. my wife found a diaper bag that she really likes. unfortunately, it is faux suede in brown and pink; it has written on it "LOVE" in swarovski crystal; and it has a section on one side that is labeled "Hot Mama." needless to say, unless i am walking with her, i won't be caught with this thing. so the cafe bag or buzz will hold the essentials for both my baby and myself. and it won't have a section for "Hot Mama" !!

    maverick

  4. #4
    Joy
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    my wife found a diaper bag that she really likes.
    The Lux is, supposedly, going to have diaper-bag inserts available eventually...

  5. #5
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    Excellent! Thanks for the info, everyone.

    Mike

  6. #6
    I work at Tom Bihn
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    Hey Mike -

    I stuffed one of the small Cafe Bags with like-sized items on your list, and realized that it's probably do-able, on the assumption that your book isn't a beefy hardback, and your waterbottle is small. Unfortunately, you'd haveto roll your magazine to get it to fit, where as with the medium, they fit perfect.

    I'm currently using the medium-size with similar items as to what you're carrying, and find it to be very accomodating. I considered The Buzz as well, but since I don't own a laptop that would fit in it, I figured the sleeve inside would just take up room that I needed.
    Right now my Cafe Bag is stocked with a small dayplanner, wallet, checkbook, about half-dozen pens, keys, iPod Shuffle, cellphone, 10x7 spiral sketchbook, 6x8 spiral journal, address book, meds, 'zine, and a file folder. It weighs about 10lbs. Hah.
    Hope this helps! Best of luck with deciding on colors!

    Amy
    Tom Bihn Sales Associate

  7. #7
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    The decision

    Well, in the end---after ordering both the small and the medium--i choose the medium and have thus far been quite happy with it.

    I just took it on a trip to hawaii and it made a great light carry-on bag for flight essentials (book, water bottle, magazine, sweater, etc) and has been great as an around-town bag when i don't need the size of my ID (eg, for days when i don't go to the gym but still want to carry my usual city essentials like book, snack, pens, papers to grade, phone, mp3 player, etc) with some room to spare if i end up buying something. As one of the TB employees pointed out, i don't have to fold magazines or similar sized things to get them into the bag--which means my students will get their essays back without a crease down the middle.

    Although the small cafe bag was perfect for my day-to-day things, its small size made it just a little too purse-like for my tastes, just slightly crossing the line from man-bag to purse. somehow, the medium helps negate the purse-effect, as does the all-black combination. :-)

    and now there's that new aeronaut. very nice indeed...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeY
    Well, in the end---after ordering both the small and the medium--i choose the medium and have thus far been quite happy with it.

    Although the small cafe bag was perfect for my day-to-day things, its small size made it just a little too purse-like for my tastes, just slightly crossing the line from man-bag to purse. somehow, the medium helps negate the purse-effect, as does the all-black combination. :-)
    Choosing a bag which doesn't look like a purse seems to be a recurrent theme for some cafe bag buyers. ;-)

    For the benefit of maverick, I'll note that while the LUX bag with planned diaper inserts is not labeled "Hot Mama", it has a tote bag style (see links to pictures of bag in use at end of that post). Here's an earlier post by Seth with his thoughts on what might make a good diaper bag.


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