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Thread: PCSB or PCBP?

  1. #1
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    Question PCSB or PCBP?

    Hi All,
    I'm going on a month long trip to southern Africa next year, partly on safari and partly on my own. I've already purchased an Aeronaut 45 for my main bag, and am trying to figure out what to get for my under the plane seat/day bag. The CP was my top choice until I realized that the safari company requires one bag only. So whatever I get for under the seat will also have to fit in my Aerostar as well. It will also have to double as a purse/daypack for a number of days before the safari starts. I'm not really fond of the Cafe bags. I was thinking of getting either the PCSB or the PCBP. I don't plan to carry much on the plane, but when I'm gadding around town, I will be carrying a 35mm camera (no extra lenses) and a few items such as a light jacket, and a small travel book--possibly an umbrella. Maybe even a small water bottle. I like the idea of the packing cubes as they can do double duties for any souvenirs I pick up. I've never packed this light before and don't think that I'm going to have a huge amount of extra space in the Aeronaut, though I may be wrong. Thoughts? Other suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Which country/countries are you going to? My sister and I did a safari trip to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe a couple of years ago. We went in September, which is the dry season. It was great because all the animals congregate around the water holes and are really easy to see. It was really hot, about 40c everyday and cooler at night.

    We were restricted to one bag weighing 10kg. Because it was so hot we just had a couple of pairs of shorts and t shirts, a dress, jeans and a fleece for the evenings. We were allowed a small backpack for camera, binoculars and water during the day. If you want to take pictures of the animals your camera needs to be easily accessible so possibly the PCSB would be easiest but it has little protection for your camera.

    I'm off to China for a month next week. There will be a range of temperatures from 5C to 30C. I'm taking both the PCBP and the PCSB. I'm using both as packing cubes in my A45. The PCBP will be used for my warm clothes eg jeans, fleece and long sleeve top and the PCSB will go in an end pocket with a pair of Skechers and a pair of Birkenstocks. I'm also taking my MCB as my EDC and will make decisions when I'm there as to whether I need to carry anything more than my MCB during the day. They are also insurance if I get carried away and buy a lot of stuff.

    Not much help for you in the decision making department. Just my experiences. I didn't have TB stuff for the safari. I borrowed a backpack which didn't really suit me. I was very envious of my sisters set up. Her bag had the Tardis qualities of the A45. It's what started me on journey to find the perfect bag.
    Last edited by SueK; 04-13-2015 at 11:10 PM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    I think if I were you I would order both, and do a test pack/weight. They both could be useful for this trip and future trips. I have both the A45, it's PCBP, and a PCSB. The PCBP fits in the main compartment perfectly, and I like to pack it with the back pack straps out, so the zippered lower compartment is accessible while the bag is in the A45. I put shoes (in a shoe bag), or PJs, or a small change of clothes there. I could see the PCSB used during your safari in the PCBP as a divider--perhaps it could hold your camera gear in the PCBP and your jacket and book could offer a little extra stability and padding. You could also get the simple shoulder strap--for shorter outings you might just want to carry the PCSB. The small book could fit into the zipper pocket to give the bag more form, or you could also order the medium double organizer pouch for stability.

    It sounds like it will be an amazing trip! Keep us posted!

  4. #4
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    I purchased both but have not used them yet. Both are very unstructured. I plan to use both next week on my trip to Europe but I may also bring an Eagle Creek packable daypack. Have you considered the Daylight Backpack? I don't have it (yet) but from what I've seen it has a bit more structure while still being compact able enough to easily fit in the A45.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Maybe get a Co-Pilot in Dyneema and pack it in your Aeronaut if needed, during the flights? That would really be the perfect bag, particularly if you are taking your camera out a lot when you are walking around town. The packing cube shoulder bag, Daylight backpack, etc. are all great lightweight bags, but don't provide much protection for delicate electronics. The CP is also nice because you can open separate compartments, keeping your wallet or passport in a closed compartment while another is open. I'm just thinking of security issues when you are walking around more urban areas.

    Enjoy the safari! I did one in Tanzania, many years ago, and it was one of the most memorable trips of my life.
    ----
    Please bring back the Portable Culture patch!

  6. #6
    Forum Member brucep's Avatar
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    How big are these items that you'd want to put in a PCSB?

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all of the suggestions. The safari that I plan to take also goes through Namibia, Botswana, and ends in Zimbabwe. I'll be in Cape Town for 3-4 days before that. However, I'll be going in May/June, which is the start of winter and will need a jacket for boat rides, Table Mt., etc (I assume). My safari company is a bit more generous, weight wise--I can carry up to 15kg.I do like the CP, but still think that it would take up a lot of space if I have to pack it in the Aeronaut. Maybe I'll rematch some of the videos. I like the Daylight Backpack too, but am not sure of the security of it in crowded urban areas. I guess that I will email the safari company to see if they allow small daypacks on the bus--we'll be covering vast distances, and I find it hard to believe that no one is allowed a small pack for emergency toiletries, water bottles, travel diaries etc. At any rate, I think that I will pick up at least one of the Packing Cube backpacks.

    The trip is over a year away, but I am an obsessive planner. I'm picking up at least one Tom Bihn travel thingie every month until then.

  8. #8
    Forum Member jujigatame's Avatar
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    The Co-Pilot in Dyneema will squish down pretty flat when it's empty. Under a pile of clothes I don't see it taking up that much room. On the other hand, it could be used like a packing cube inside a larger suitcase if one were so inclined. Perhaps not the ideal packing cube but it would reduce the amount of potential wasted space while letting you bring a bag within a bag.

  9. #9
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    I like your suggestion jujigatame. I've contacted my safari company and they say that a small bag is permitted on the bus/popup, but if the vehicle is entirely full, then it will have to sit on my lap, as space will be very limited. The CP would work well on the plane, and as a purse around town, but I'll still need a small backpack for a few hiking trails that I hope to hit. So, maybe, I'll get the PCBP for that. I think that I'll wait until close to the start of my vacation to order the CP--that way I'll know how much extra room that I'll have in my Aeronaut and whether I should go for the dyneema or ballistic.

    Oh, and brucep, I wanted something to carry my camera, possibly a light jacket, binoculars, and maybe a water bottle. The hikes that I plan to take are about 3 hours long. I realize that the PCSB is very soft sided, but I could always put the camera around my neck. The Daylight Backpack would really be better for that--I'm only going to be hiking one or two days though and I don't know if they could double as packing cubes.

  10. #10
    Forum Member monkeylady's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the CP is very comfortable for hiking in cross-body position. I actually prefer it to wearing a backpack in warm climates. Also, even though you are more or less one bagging it, you never know when you'll be forced to gatecheck a bag on heavily booked flights...wheels or no wheels. It just happened to me twice last month flying to Oaxaca. With that in mind, I always carry a small personal cross-body bag with wallet, camera, passport, snacks, any other small electronics that I will not entrust to the airlines. And if it has to sit in your lap in the bus, oh well. Good luck!

    P.S. If you decide to go with the PCSB, be sure to get a cover for the strap. The thin strap can dig into your neck if carrying a water bottle, jacket, and camera in it.
    Last edited by monkeylady; 04-16-2015 at 07:29 PM.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Lani's Avatar
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    Yokosmom -- I absolutely LOVE both the PCSB and PCBP, and I have the PERFECT suggestion for you: Take both!!! Both are very versatile, and you can easily pack the shoulder bag INTO the backpack if you want.

    For your flight, you can stow your Aeronaut in the overhead. Pack SMALL things into your Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. Things like hair brush, phone, etc. and use the PCSB as an organizer. Then put the shoulder bag inside your Packing Cube Backpack, and stow THAT by your feet. You can pack things like a jacket or sweater; bigger things, in the backpack.

    For your trip itself, you can carry your backpack or shoulder bag depending on the needs of the day and the weather. If you need to carry extra layers of clothes, take the backpack. If you just want a light, small "purse" that you can easily carry as a purse or crossbody, take the shoulder bag!

    Whichever you don't use, you can just stash in your Aeronaut.

    A couple of things to be mindful of:

    Anytime you wear a backpack, you cannot watch the zipper, so don't keep anything valuable in your backpack. My suggestion is for you to consider adding a little lock or carabiner to the holes in the zippers so it adds just a little bit of hassle to any potential pickpocket. Whenever you ride a bus or train with the backpack, wear it on your front and move the zipper pulls up to where you an visually see it.

    I also have a Co-Pilot and other "shoulder bags" from Tom Bihn but nothing beats the lightweightedness of the packing cube Dyneema items. They are flexible and you can stuff them to the gills. Heck, you can even pack a down or fleece jacket into your Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and turn it into a pillow. Love them!
    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!
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  12. #12
    Forum Member monkeylady's Avatar
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    What Lani says! Three+ likes. I recently did something similar. The Pilot was my personal carry and I used a PCSB inside my main bag. It provided more options to do this depending upon my daily load. I also used my SE as a storage cube.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    Ack! The trouble is, I WANT TO BUY THEM ALL. I've gotten to the point where I've started mentally arranging things into Things I Will Need for My Trip and Things that Aren't Needed for Trip But I Want Anyway. Decided to definitely get the CP. I just love the organization options in that one and I know from website photos that it will hold my camera. The PCBP/PCSB would add extra flexibility, so will get one or both. I've fallen in love with the DLBP, and I might pick that up, regardless of whether I use it on the trip as I could use a smaller backpack. I think that I will try a test pack early next year--I'll have a better idea on how much extra room is available in the Aeronaut. I can't do a practice pack yet--I'm hoping to lose weight this year and hope/plan to get some new clothes for the trip closer to the departure date.

    monkeylady, your mention of the SE intrigues me. I hadn't really paid much attention to it, but now that I've looked at it I realize that it would be perfect for my (sadly infrequent) day trips to New York City. Another thing for the wish list..

    I really appreciate all of the suggestions and options for the various bags (and would love to hear more). I've gotten some really great ideas. Just think, one month ago, I'd never even heard of Tom Bihn and now I'm the proud owner of an Aubergine Aeronaut 45. Unfortunately, I think that I have developed some sort of weird TB addiction, and I spend a lot of time mulling over backpacks, packing cubes, clear pouches, Q-Kits....It's hard to figure out what I actually need, and everything is so pricy that I end up going back and forth even over little things like stuff sacks.

  14. #14
    Forum Member weirdguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yokosmom View Post

    Oh, and brucep, I wanted something to carry my camera, possibly a light jacket, binoculars, and maybe a water bottle. The hikes that I plan to take are about 3 hours long. I realize that the PCSB is very soft sided, but I could always put the camera around my neck. The Daylight Backpack would really be better for that--I'm only going to be hiking one or two days though and I don't know if they could double as packing cubes.
    I am also planning to get a WF/TS PCBP next month. I originally intend to use it with my Size 1 BC, like what @tpnl showcase many times before. It is something I had long been wishing to get and also, Black Dyneema 400d just become available last month.

    However, I am switching to a 12.5" Ultrabook E7240 in coming days. I still couldn't be sure whether I wish to buy the PCBP that I had wished for quite a long time. Actually, it isn't that long. Probably like 6 months but anything wait in Tom Bihn world feel like eternity.

    Like @Yokosmom posted, I am also eyeing on the Daylight Backpack. I like its built-in multiple vertical pockets in the main compartment. Compare to PCBP TS/WF, it is a basically empty, without any built-in pockets. Have to ensure contents are packed vertically, stacked on top of each another to maximize space and that's where Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cube, Pouches and Straps come in handy. For some people (like me), this process is cumbersome. Plus, PCBP isn't padded backpack therefore, any irregular size contents may result not comfortable backpacking. The DLBP isn't padded either. But with additional fabric layers of Cordura (exterior), Parapack (lining & built-in pockets), these could act as some form of thin padded. However, I like PCBP Zipper Style. It goes all the way down, like WF and TS. I guess, like in life, nothing is 100% perfect.

    I haven't yet to own PCBP and I gave away my only DLBP (traded) to my brother shortly after I got it. I don't really have a long experience with it. Hopefully, my understanding and experience between the two aren't just purely my assumption from reading the Forum, Videos and Review.

    Sorry, my post may not help you much in your planning for your Africa trip. Still, happy planning over there.

    Note: While writing this, I think I will just get a Grey Daylight Backpack while the PCBP has to postpone again until I see any other good reason to for it.
    Solar/Yellow: A45 Navy, CP Black, SA Black, SCB, TT, YSS/Tall, OP/S, PP Navy
    Steel/Grey: UMP Steel 400d, PU Coyote, DLBC, PCSB, FBPW, MCB, OP/L
    Olive/Green: A30NWS, SCB, SC, DOP/M, COP/M

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  15. #15
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    Yokosmom -- Take both!!! Both are very versatile, and you can easily pack the shoulder bag INTO the backpack if you want.
    I couldn't agree more. I, like others, are lucky enough to have a variety of TB bags but the ones that get the most use are the 'multi function' dyneema items. I have the Tristar PCBP, Aeronaut PCBP and PCSB. Because of their relatively unstructured nature they can be rolled, folded or packed before finding a space in whatever main bag you take.

    I find shop bags also fit this idea of being so flexible, I just take one in the bag also. This gives a variety of options at your destination for very little space or weight compromise.

    It's ironic that these items are relatively expensive for what appears to be an accessory to the main bags but they constantly get the most use due to their almost limitless use in a variety of different scenarios.

    The best bags are the ones you use most and for me a PCBP/PCSB/SB option on all trips makes travel easy.


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    A vote for "Portable Culture"
    Aeronaut 45 ([Black/Steel), Aeronaut 30 (Navy/Iberian), Western Flyer (Navy/UV), Pilot (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (Grey/UV), Ristretto (Navy/UV), Medium Cafe Bag (Grey/Olive), Daylight Backpack (Burnt Orange), Daylight Briefcase (Grey) PLUS more 'bits' than you can shake a stick at!

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