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Cambiata - First Look

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    Cambiata - First Look

    Tom Bihn provided a Cambiata to me for review, my opinions (and you know I've got 'em) are my own.


    First impressions only (though I feel I just wrote a book); more as I test pack this week (let me know if you want anything packed/photographed).


    TL/DR: This bag will sing to you or fall flat (see what I did there?) depending on your use case.



    I started a new job about 3 months ago and was carrying the 19.8L Paragon until I got the 21L Paramour (which I like more for the front pocket than needing the extra space).

    Since this Cambiata is also 21L, I just transferred all my stuff and will carry this bag for the next couple weeks; more photos once I have daylight again.
    Now that I've started to play with it, I want to take it to knitting class this weekend, see how it goes... my MCB FS should fit just fine along with YSS, water bottle, etc. I like that it stands up on it's own reasonably well.




    Overall

    -It's got the normal fantastic TB build quality and as should be apparent from the product page, it's a very space maximizing, trim looking, 3D rectangle.

    -I feel it's a shoulder/backpack convertible, not a tote/backpack convertible, based on how I define and use 'totes' vs 'shoulder bags'.

    -I'm 5'4"; for me this is a backpack first, shoulder bag second, rarely a cross body bag, and probably never a hand carry.



    Backpack Carry:

    -The vertical is 15.9", which is great for my torso length (16" is ideal, 18" I'm fine, over that starts getting annoying) so this is dandy.

    -The shoulder straps are Contour straps (same as on the Zeitgeist, Paradigm, and the recently updated Daylight Backpack). I'm fine with these straps, even with pretty heavy weight, but given the 21L size of the bag, some folks might be able to load more weight than they find comfortable, so consider what you carry and what level of cushion you require.

    -The bag feels good on my back, a touch wider than the S19/S22, and somehow feels 'flatter', but is comfortable. I definitely would use the sternum straps.



    Shoulder vs Crossbody Carry:

    -I don't carry 'on the shoulder' bags normally...anything non-backpack (SE, SK, PCSB, DLBC, Icon, etc) I tend to carry cross body. Actual 'totes' that have two handles, I usually carry at full arm extension, sometimes on one shoulder, and sometimes in the crook of the arm.

    -Since the aspect ratio of the bag is vertical/portrait vs horizontal/landscape, it's a pretty tall bag for my preference & didn't feel very comfortable carried cross body on the front/hip.

    -Crossbody to the back, strap above my chest, carried high up, was better for height, but the weight to where the strap hits me is uncomfortable.

    -Shoulder carry, bag hanging down at my side where it could swing a little and not whack into me was ok, but for any heavy load, I'd want this on my back for balance & comfort.

    -The strap itself was more comfortable than I expected, because it's the wider 1.5" that spreads the load.

    - I have 1.5" double gatekeepers on order to hack my mini Op-Tech to see how that feels... but may end up just wanting faster clip access because I don't think I'll care if the gatekeepers are just hanging around when it's in backpack mode.


    (I had previously test packed & returned a Large Cafe Bag (which is a shorter) because it felt too tall. You can see on the photo gallery for the Cafe Bags that people my height do carry them, it's just not comfy for me.)



    Hand Carry

    -With the strap fully doubled up, I'm still too short, so the bag would drag on the ground, though it was surprisingly comfortable in hand even though it wasn't Poron handles like on the Shop Bags.

    -Any sort of major weight would make it annoying for me to carry for any distance in the crook of my arm.

    -The built-in carry handle, since it's only on one side, means the bag hangs more on the diagonal... I'd only use this handle as a brief grab/move handle.



    Front Exterior Open Pocket

    -It's big!

    -Easily swallows a magazine or several. It's not a 3D pocket, but I put a big 1" thick grammar workbook in there with no problem, to test it out.



    Tall Exterior Side Pocket

    -Gussets!

    -The lining has minor gussets which helps with fit, even though it still would steal some space from the main interior of the bag if you put really big stuff in there. Shown is my Microlite water bottle.

    -Good for water bottle/umbrella/rolled raincoat, etc

    -When zipped closed, the zipper is at the top of the bag, closest to your back.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220720_004432995.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.36 MB ID:	341064



    Short Exterior Side Pockets

    -Two of them, one on top of the other, equally sized, ~7" (178mm) tall.

    -A little harder to get into, depending on what is in the main compartment, because the zipper opening is horizontal ~5in (127mm). Not really 3D.

    -Note: when closed, the zipper pull is closest to your back, if you're concerned about security.



    Laptop Pocket

    -Easy access just above the shoulder straps, big wide opening, and some cushion to the front and back of the bag.

    -Big flat space for files or whatever, if you don't carry a laptop, feels easy to get in & out of.

    -Because of how they stitched the bottom, it's a bit suspended from the base of the bag (~1" or so?).

    -Shown is my MacBook Air 13" and the work Dell Latitude (15?")

    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220719_231913196.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.59 MB ID:	341065


    Backpack Strap Stowage
    -Don't forget that if you want another place to stash some flat stuff, you can put things into the pocket where you stow the backpack straps.
    -This stowage area is open at the top, not zipped like on some bags, but seems fine because of how flat the Contour straps are




    Top Lid/Flap Interior Mesh Pocket

    -I like these lid pockets, just like in the Aeronaut/Techonauts.

    -It's slightly shaped because of the shape of the pocket and the piping; the pocket is bigger than the opening, but there's a limit to the overall size of a single object you could put in.

    -Zipper opening ~7.75" (197mm) (not including the zipper itself)

    -Shown is a Kindle Paperwhite and a chocolate bar (mnnn, dark chocolate). Have to tuck the Kindle up beyond the zipper to fit... it didn't fit with my zip case on.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220719_234659940.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1,022.6 KB ID:	341060
    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220719_234729218_exported_1272_1658274830589.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.26 MB ID:	341061


    -When I loaded several items into the pocket and the main compartment of the bag was not full/pushing at the lid, the weight pulls in/down the lid/flap, which makes it slightly harder to unzip the top flap... trying to show that in these two photos.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220720_004322552.jpg Views:	0 Size:	864.9 KB ID:	341059
    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220720_004245548.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.89 MB ID:	341062


    Inside Large Open Pocket
    -Elastic pocket as seen in several other bags, holds files, etc. There's about 1/2" of stuff in there... and those are two 3DOCs way way down there, there's a lot of room in this bag!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220720_004357439.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.39 MB ID:	341063


    Inside Side Open Pockets
    -Stacked above each other, on the same side as the stacked exterior pockets, so they steal space from each other (inside vs outside).
    -I would tend towards maximizing the outside pockets, as they're easier to get to than digging through the main compartment.



    Bag Sizes for Reference

    Synapse 19: 11.4" (w) x 16" (h) x 7.9" (d) / 290 (w) x 410 (h) x 200 (d) mm; 19L
    Paramour: 13.4" (w) x 17.9" (h) x 10.0" (d) / 340 (w) x 455 (h) x 255 (d) mm; 21L
    Cambiata: 12.8" (w) x 15.9" (h) x 7.5" (d) x 325 (w) x 405 (h) x 190 (d) mm; 21L
    LCB: 13.3" x 12.9" x 3.3" / 340 x 330 x 85 mm; 11L
    Last edited by G42; 07-19-2022, 08:09 PM.
    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...

    #2
    G42 Just wondering how does the Cambiata feel on your back vs the Paragon? The Paragon felt too wide on my back and the shoulder straps never sat properly no matter how much I adjusted or loaded into the pack. If the Cambiata is just a touch wider than the S19/S22 it could work for me since love the way the S19/S22 carries. Thanks so much for the detailed first look!
    Black/Tidal Smart Alec, Night Walk/Northwest Sky Synik 22, Night Walk Daylight Backpack, everything Acuity and Fjord

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for these first impressions, G42. What you seem to be saying is that it may not be ideal for heavy loads, right? Tempting as that huge storage area may be, the bag works better when it's not overloaded.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks so much for the great review! I really appreciate the photos too.

        This is intriguing and I’ll see if it is successful and TB comes out with variants of it. For example, something between a Zeitgeist and a Paragon, size wise, would fill a gap for me in terms of something that might work for a walk around and at-seat bag while on vacation.
        ----
        All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
        Edmund Burke

        Comment


          #5
          I'll add my thanks to the others G42 Very helpful observations! I'm with bchaplin in that I'd like to see variants on this bag, so hopefully it will sell well. I really do love it and am smitten by the design, so I'm excited to read others opinions also. Hopefully others who received review bags will post before the pre-order window closes. Thanks again!

          Comment


            #6
            G42
            Appreciate very much for the quick write up. I'd been waiting to see one's perspective on the bag. It has been super quiet since its debut last week. I wonder why so. Probably some last minute design change and resulted final version's production to be delay.

            Anyway, I'm glad to see such a bag from Tom Bihn. It has been a long while, may I say? It is quite different from the others and most importantly, a great Work EDC with built-in laptop compartment and price just right at $200. In my opinion, I really don't like the flow of removing my laptop in a cache. I moved site to site in between daily, so it can be hesitating to take the cache, put in the cache then put the cache in the bag. And when I need to get the laptop, I need take cache and use two hands, to pull the laptop out then put back the cache into the bag or somewhere else on the table. It isn't really productive and not those quick grab kind. It can be irritating sometimes, especially a long day at work. Therefore, happy to see Cambiata. Similarly, I hope to see such built-in laptop compartment into other project of Briefcase/, Messenger especially the Pilot or even the Daylight Briefcase.

            Alright, back to the Cambatia.
            The last photo of G42 showing the Large Open Pocket of Main Compartment, does not look like it is huge.

            Comparing Dimensions, Smart Alec and A30.

            Cambiata: 12.8" (w) x 15.9" (h) x 7.5" (d)
            A30 12.6"(w) x 19.7"(h) x 7.9"(d)
            Smart Alec 11.75" x 18.5" x D7.75"

            I don't know why but I find there is similarity with SA like the top opening, big bucket and side pockets. While A30, due to the boxy dimensions of A30. Just the opening orientation is different.

            ​​​How would you G42 shall one compare to the SA and A30?

            I have both SA and A30. Do you think, I would have better test pack's idea shall I use my A30 to test pack? To see how the main compartment could handle the water bottle and paper/folders/laptop. I'm little worrying how the water bottle on the side, could impact internal main compartment space.

            One thing, I really appreciate is the exterior open pockets on the front and back. Since it is a work EDC, I could put papers in folders, slide in those pocket, usually pending to do for the duration of the day. Rather than I need to slide it into the main compartment, which I might missed out.

            For sure, I'm excited to see this bag.
            Nothing perfect. Certainly, this round or this first pre-order, doesn't have much Halcyon lining options. I somewhat looking forward for the Wilderness Green with NSW Grey Halcyon, least.

            Thanks you,
            Sorry for the long post.
            Solar/Yellow: A45 Navy, CP Black, SA Black, SCB
            Steel/Grey: UMP Steel 400d, PU Coyote, DLBC, PCSB, TC
            Olive/Green: A30NWS, SCBCanyon, SKIsland
            Mars Red/Red: SENordic, SKCanyon, DLBCCanyon, SCBDawn


            BrainCell Size1 M4800, Cache 13"MBPR E7240

            ~Live Long & Prosper by Vulcan

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
              Thanks so much for the great review! I really appreciate the photos too.

              This is intriguing and I’ll see if it is successful and TB comes out with variants of it. For example, something between a Zeitgeist and a Paragon, size wise, would fill a gap for me in terms of something that might work for a walk around and at-seat bag while on vacation.
              Yeah, something between the Zeitgeist and Paragon sizes would be extremely interesting for me. I picked up a 13" Ristretto off of eBay a few months ago and used it as a conference bag, and it's fantastic -- but if it had a zipper opening rather than the flap, and some light backpack straps, that would hit a real sweet spot for me in terms of utility. I'm thinking a smaller version of this Cambiata could easily fit the bill there.
              Bike commuting with the Smart Alec!

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you for the great review and photos. You have confirmed to me that it's too long to be a tote for someone who's short. I would love to see a horizontal variation of this bag with tote bag handles long enough for shoulder carry since it has great features.

                Comment


                  #9
                  latchford The Paramour & Paragon (same back panel) hang a bit lower on my back (see pic, I lined the top of the straps up & you can see the Paramour bag end extends further). The Cambiata feels snug and I can't really tell from the first pass if the 1" or so extra width is noticeable. Part of me thinks it might be like the difference between a Synapse without a frame or laptop vs one with a frame. Still too early for me to judge on the overall feel and straps...more this week as I carry the bag.


                  Click image for larger version  Name:	PXL_20220720_135047729.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.12 MB ID:	341079

                  dirkhaun I'm pretty sure based on past experience that I won't have a problem with the bag & weight but based on comments on these Forums from others, I think there are people who will. It's a pretty subjective thing, but this is the biggest capacity bag with Contour straps we've seen, so I want folks to mull it over.
                  With that being said, I think the bag itself will handle the load just fine, it feels - due to the shape, the back panel padding and the piping - to actually be very structured - I don't think it will slump much.

                  bchaplin Tonya Yes, it's an interesting solution and I'm thinking over what problems it would solve for me. I was thinking of the Cafe Bag family and the Maker's Bag...this is like a MB in a LCB aspect ratio, sized up, with the backpack carry option. I would like to see a convertible bag that starts as Shop Bag/Pop Tote that converts to a backpack...something that has two padded handles offset of the opening and converts to a pack.

                  weirdguy I only received the bag on Tuesday, don't know if the others have gotten theirs yet. Normally I wouldn't post same day but with the pre-order opening now and only for two weeks, wanted to get some impressions out there. I also find the cache to be more fiddly than I usually need, so these built-in laptop pockets have worked well for me so far on the Paragon & Paramour. This Cambiata has a bigger pocket and is even easier to access.
                  The inside open pocket has some good elastic on it - it's currently holding several file folders that are 12" x 9.5" plus a couple Moleskin notebooks and and you can barely see the top of them peeking out - it is a pretty big pocket - it's basically the width of the bag minus the seams/piping.

                  Same idea on the open front pocket - it's holds a Medium Cafe Bag FS perfectly - pics later.

                  I don't think this bag should be compared to the Aeronaut/Techonaut 30 - those have always felt like luggage first, not EDC, plus they're 9L bigger. It's 5L smaller than the SA and would depend on how you want to use it...
                  If people don't want or need the shoulder option, I would say to get a regular backpack instead of this one. All convertible bags make compromises. Sort of like a Swiss Army Knife vs individual knives.

                  epeterson Yes, I think this could compare to a large Ristretto with closure & conversion features.



                  More later, have to go to my real job :)

                  I'll be checking the bag out as a knitting setup and a picnic setup too - I know I can fit one of my insulated soft sided lunch bags in it

                  ETA: added the photo
                  Last edited by G42; 07-20-2022, 07:36 AM.
                  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


                    #10
                    Thanks for sharing this information G42. I pre-ordered a Burnt Orange Cambiata (I chose a COLOR other than black!). I will be excited to see if it fits my needs- especially as I am leading a series of outdoor seminars and forest walks (and carrying a medical kit, thermos for a tea ceremony, and some other books) as part of a new peace building/conflict transformation class I am teaching at the college this fall.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by nsh View Post
                      I pre-ordered a Burnt Orange Cambiata (I chose a COLOR other than black!).
                      Hah, I was seriously eyeing the Black/Zest combination but I'm afraid Zest might just clash with too much of the TB gear I already own, so I went with Burnt Orange as well. I imagine this bag could be an alternative to my Maker's Bag (in BO, of course) in some situations. We shall see.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by dirkhaun View Post

                        Hah, I was seriously eyeing the Black/Zest combination but I'm afraid Zest might just clash with too much of the TB gear I already own, so I went with Burnt Orange as well. I imagine this bag could be an alternative to my Maker's Bag (in BO, of course) in some situations. We shall see.
                        It’s so funny you say that about the Zest because I was thinking the same thing! I was considering the black/zest combo and I love orange but it didn’t work for me as an interior color- I can’t handle clashing colors. I have a new LPD coming my way and it has the red (sangria? I forget the name they use) interior…I will see if I can handle that combo…I really like Northwest Sky/Tidal as interior colors.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          nsh that sounds like a cool class & yay for trying colour!
                          Burnt Orange was seriously tempting me... If it had been with Taiga, I would've gone for it. I do like the Cerylon fabrics and colours but Fjord with any of the greys are such soothing combos to me, so that's what I ended up with.

                          First guess is that yes, all your stuff would easily fit.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by G42 View Post
                            nsh that sounds like a cool class & yay for trying colour!
                            Burnt Orange was seriously tempting me... If it had been with Taiga, I would've gone for it. I do like the Cerylon fabrics and colours but Fjord with any of the greys are such soothing combos to me, so that's what I ended up with.

                            First guess is that yes, all your stuff would easily fit.
                            I almost went with the coyote/sangria, I have no clue why but it was calling to me. I ended up going with Aubergine/mountain grey because #predictable but I hope I don’t regret not taking the odd color plunge later.
                            "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


                              #15
                              Cheers for such an informational post! Even though the Cambiata isn't a bag I'm considering, it's nice to see such thoughtful observations.

                              Originally posted by G42 View Post
                              I do like the Cerylon fabrics and colours but Fjord with any of the greys are such soothing combos to me, so that's what I ended up with.
                              How is cerylon, as a material and as a liner? I haven't seen too many impressions of it, and of those few I have read, some have mentioned it feels "cheap" compared to the 200 halcyon (whatever that means). However, as the materials page notes that cerylon's threads have the same twisted weave ballistic nylon uses, I'm wondering how it could give that impression, given that ballistic stuff feels nice. It also raises the question of what the operative difference is between 210 ballistic and cerylon (is it just weight?).

                              I'm a fan of neutral gray interiors, and the Cambiata is the first time I've seen lots of pictures of what Mountain Grey cerylon looks like when used as a liner. Seems a bit darker than NW Sky halcyon, overall, but based on your experience with the fabric, is that distinction noticeable to you without having the two side by side to compare? Is it still light enough that it's easy to look in and see everything you've got in a bag?
                              Last edited by ittoujuu; 07-20-2022, 10:47 AM.

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