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Cafe Bag - Small VS Medium, which bag was the original size?

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    Cafe Bag - Small VS Medium, which bag was the original size?

    Hello,

    I discovered Tom Bihn bags recently and really love the thoughtfulness of the design. I've got a Small Cafe Bag which I really dig and recently purchased a new/used Synik22 GE which has yet to come.

    Initially I purchased both Cafe Bags (small and med) and while I think the small covers me day to day I have been wondering if the Medium is better all around. Especially in winter now the MCB carries that beanie and gloves with room to spare for my other things. This leads me to my two questions: which was designed first and what bag do you prefer? In the blog an articles reads that the small was the first cafe bag designed, however on the site the page for the medium states that the medium was the original cafe bag. Does anyone know which is true? What are your thoughts on the usefulness of these bags.

    #2
    Welcome to the Forums prach138 !

    The Cafe Bags were introduced before I found TB... hopefully some of the long time members will chime in with stories
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

    Comment


      #3
      I have both SCB and MCB.
      I prefer the size of the Small but what makes the Medium more practical is the two larger sized pockets inside the bag, which allows me to separate my phone and Field Notes.
      SCB only has 1 of the large pocket.

      Comment


        #4
        I am curious to the answer too. Tho if I had to guess I would have said TB most likely rolled out both at the same time.
        "Not all who wander are lost"
        "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
        Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

        Comment


          #5
          Small. https://www.tombihn.com/blogs/main/d...-tom-cafe-bags

          Comment


            #6
            It's interesting because I read that blog but on this page it says the Medium came first: https://www.tombihn.com/products/med...39432161853629

            "The medium is the original size of cafe bag"

            Comment


              #7
              We need Darcy to chime in on this mystery
              I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

              Comment


                #8
                I can't speak to which came first as I've only discovered TB in the past year or two. (Some people took up baking over the pandemic, I took up wistfully browsing and collecting Tom Bihn bags hoping to travel again someday.)

                I can chime in that the Medium Cafe Bag was what got me started on this whole obsession. I'd been looking for something to carry my 12.9" iPad Pro to coffee shops and such for awhile and hadn't yet found "the perfect bag" … my qualifications were:
                1) Big enough height and width to fit the iPad Pro without being so big it floats around inside.
                2) Deep enough to fit a handful of accessories and stuff but not so thick it bulged out. (Most backpacks were out because of this.)
                3) Present but minimal organization. Carry my charger, cables, headphones, etc. but I don't need a dozen pockets and pouches everywhere taking up space and adding bulk.
                4) Color other than black and design that says anything other than "laptop bag." More stylish and/or bohemian.*
                5) No interior zipper pockets, so the iPad or other devices don't risk getting scratched or damaged.

                The Medium Cafe Bag has ticked off the most of these requirements moreso than any other bag I've tried over the years and I'm super happy with it! I will say I've several times been VERY tempted to order a Small Cafe Bag to go with it, tho I'm not sure exactly what I'd use it for … it's a little TOO big for my iPad Mini, and I already have a Side Kick for when I roam with that.

                Side note: I can only think of two things that would make the MCB even more awesome. First, as I mentioned as the *bohemian requirement above, I don't know if it's ever been offered in a soft canvas or hemp type of material in a natural color (off white, tan, coffee, etc.) I would be SUPER tempted. And second, I think my DREAM bag would be exactly the size, shape, and form of the MCG, but as a convertible sling: One wide strap starting at the top center of the bag behind a grab handle, splitting into two straps connecting to the lower two corners, with a zipper down the middle so it can be closed to carry over one shoulder as a sling or unzipped to wear as a mini backpack over both shoulders. I know it's unlikely but that would be my ultimate bag.
                ---
                My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
                Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
                With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

                Comment


                  #9
                  Cooner, I prefer the Cafe Bags in the small size, but either way, I think your idea of producing it in a natural material (perhaps the olive-y colored cotton twill, or the materials used for the recent Trucks) could be really interesting! I love the form factor for all the reasons you mention.
                  Last edited by bchaplin; 12-22-2021, 11:03 AM.
                  ----
                  All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
                  Edmund Burke

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by G42 View Post
                    We need Darcy to chime in on this mystery
                    Mystery solved! The Small Cafe Bag is actually the original size, as shared in the blog post linked by Shortie

                    Not sure why the Medium Cafe Bag page said it was the original... oops. I removed that, plus that very outdated note about the 5/6 pre-order!

                    I don't think many folks know this, but we did once make a Mini Cafe Bag for a school's birding project. It was sized to perfectly fit the National Geographic Guide to Birds of North America. I'm always reminded of it because it's on the wall in our conference/prototype/material samples room
                    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Cooner , it's not the same material obviously, but CBs in Linen cordura were made. IIRC, Linen was the color of a sandy beach; much more tan than off-white and people were pleasantly surprised it didn't show stains. Here's a blog post showing a MCB in Linen: tombihn.com/blogs/main/stock-brain-bag-snake-charmer-ego

                      SCBs and I'm pretty sure LCBs were also made in Linen and I'm pretty sure the color combos were Linen/Olive and Linen/Navy, but there *may* have been a Linen/Steel combo as well. You may find a used Linen CB on Ebay or query the FB group if you visit that site.
                      Long live Burnt Orange! Zest! 152!

                      EDC: Side Kick, Everday Cubelet, DL PCSB (planner pouch); Travel: Smart Alec + Side Kick, Small Yeoman Duffel

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Aeon Hmm, interesting! I do remember when I ordered I was debating between the cordura or ballistic, but ultimately I decided to go all-in on Burnt Orange because I was able to collect my full suite of matching bags in that color from what was available at the time.
                        ---
                        My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
                        Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
                        With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Cooner View Post
                          Side note: I can only think of two things that would make the MCB even more awesome. First, as I mentioned as the *bohemian requirement above, I don't know if it's ever been offered in a soft canvas or hemp type of material in a natural color (off white, tan, coffee, etc.) I would be SUPER tempted.
                          Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                          Cooner, I prefer the Cafe Bags in the small size, but either way, I think your idea of producing it in a natural material (perhaps the olive-y colored cotton twill, or the materials used for the recent Trucks) could be really interesting! I love the form factor for all the reasons you mention.
                          We actually made a couple of cotton canvas Cafe Bag samples back in 2018 or 2019 or thereabouts. They're beautiful, but the heavy weight of the cotton canvas we used at the time just wasn't workable or reasonable to sew on a regular basis. Tom uses one of those cotton canvas Cafe Bags, and I believe the other hasn't been used... could be a future Rare Bag Giveaway, now that we've been reminded of it!

                          Since back when we made those samples, of course, we've found other options ~ I like the idea of offering them in our new Organic Cotton. We'd need to make a sample to see if it works.... I'll ask Lisa and Fong what they think!


                          Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                          Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Darcy View Post

                            I don't think many folks know this, but we did once make a Mini Cafe Bag for a school's birding project. It was sized to perfectly fit the National Geographic Guide to Birds of North America. I'm always reminded of it because it's on the wall in our conference/prototype/material samples room
                            What! Darcy no photo!? 😲 😊
                            I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                              I like the idea of offering them in our new Organic Cotton. We'd need to make a sample to see if it works.... I'll ask Lisa and Fong what they think!
                              That sounds potentially amazing <3 Keep us posted! Thank you!
                              ---
                              My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
                              Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
                              With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

                              Comment

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