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First Bihn bag, looking at Medium Cafe

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    First Bihn bag, looking at Medium Cafe

    Hi everyone,

    It was suggested that I take my question directly to the Tom Bihn community in hopes that you could help me decide on a bag. I'm a college age student currently taking some time off and working but I'm a big nature lover. I'm looking for an EDC bag that could hold an assortment of items that would be coming in and out depending upon the days activities. On any given day, it'd need to hold a small/medium notebook, wallet, keys, phone, pepper spray and pocket knife. On days when I'm out in the field, I'd be additionally carrying water, binoculars, and a field guide. I currently have a Magellan outdoors backpack that carries all these things, but I dislike the inaccessibility of having to take the bag off my back every time I need something. I'd much rather have a cross-body bag that would allow me quick access to an item when I need it. Problem is, I want this to be something that will be big enough to carry what I need but not too big for when I'm just running errands in town and carrying the basics. The Medium Cafe looks like a nice size but I just wanted to get some feedback from people who've actually owned these bags that could help me decide. So, all that said, what can you tell me about this bag and what I can expect as far as carrying capacity and versatility?

    #2
    Hi AJMitchell welcome to the forums!

    My first thought: for field day that might be a tight fit depending on your water bottle and binoculars. Have you compared your backpacks volume specification with that of the Medium Cafe Bag (MCB)?
    If your bottle is slim though and your Binoculars are not too bulky I think this could work.

    Ilkyway
    “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

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      #3
      I carry a nalgene and my binos are rather small. I can usually fit them in my cargo pocket. The cafe bag has rings attached where you could clip stuff on right? That'd work for the water bottle and keep condensation from harming the stuff in the bag. The big reason I want this style of bag is while I do spend a lot of time birdwatching and they would stay around my neck, if I'm scratching selling looking for more terrestrial animals they hang down and risk getting dirty or broken. I hope to be able to use this to have them at reach at any point in case something flies up.

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        #4
        https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...html#post99178

        That's a link to a hack for attaching a water bottle to the outside of a cafe bag which, if I read correctly, you're interested in having your water bottle on the outside of the bag. There are two o-rings inside the medium cafe bag on opposite sides at the top that you could attach a key strap to for the bottle to hang on the outside or some folks use a stuff sack inside the bag if their brand of bottle has condensation issues (or there are bottles that are leak proof/don't sweat). I tried hanging a 24oz filled Tervis bottle with a key strap from an interior o-ring of my MCB (original Nordic Halcyon/Solar), but I didn't like how it pulled down the side of the fabric or how the bottle swung around with walking. For your intended use, I think Halcyon fabric would be preferred over cordura in case it needs to be wiped/rinsed after field excursions.

        I do think the MCB would carry your listed items and it works well as an every day bag/purse too. When I first read your question, I thought of the Maker's Bag which is described as a field bag, among other uses, on the product page. It has two mesh pockets inside for water bottles. It's larger than the MCB so may be more bag than you need. I have one (navy ballistic/wasabi), but use it as a messenger/laptop bag and not as a purse for out and about.

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          #5
          The Co-Pilot and Pilot have dedicated water bottle pockets separating the bottle from other objects in the bag--worth a look, although quite a bit pricier. Also important to note that returns are simple and easy, so if you are not sure about a bag, perhaps the 10 dollar return is worth ordering both bags you think might work, and test packing, and then returning the other. OH, and if you like the Medium Cafe Bag, but think you might need a larger size, know that the Large Cafe bag is being retired after the current stock is sold, so if you are interested in that size, you may want to take a look sooner rather than later. (I imagine that you would have a few months before it sells out, but that is completely a guess on my part.) Good luck!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by threeteez View Post
            https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...html#post99178

            That's a link to a hack for attaching a water bottle to the outside of a cafe bag which, if I read correctly, you're interested in having your water bottle on the outside of the bag. There are two o-rings inside the medium cafe bag on opposite sides at the top that you could attach a key strap to for the bottle to hang on the outside or some folks use a stuff sack inside the bag if their brand of bottle has condensation issues (or there are bottles that are leak proof/don't sweat). I tried hanging a 24oz filled Tervis bottle with a key strap from an interior o-ring of my MCB (original Nordic Halcyon/Solar), but I didn't like how it pulled down the side of the fabric or how the bottle swung around with walking. For your intended use, I think Halcyon fabric would be preferred over cordura in case it needs to be wiped/rinsed after field excursions.

            I do think the MCB would carry your listed items and it works well as an every day bag/purse too. When I first read your question, I thought of the Maker's Bag which is described as a field bag, among other uses, on the product page. It has two mesh pockets inside for water bottles. It's larger than the MCB so may be more bag than you need. I have one (navy ballistic/wasabi), but use it as a messenger/laptop bag and not as a purse for out and about.

            Yeah I like that hack. My problem is that a) I can't afford some of the bigger bags like the maker's. and b) I don't want something too big because if I'm carrying it around every day to say run errands or go shopping, I don't want to be hauling around this big bag that just looks... extra.. IDK how else to describe it. I honestly think the medium is going to be the right size for me.... now just to wait until payday!

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              #7
              I often clip a water bottle to the carry strap of my small cafe bag using one of the double carabiners (though any carabiner would work). It only works if you have a water bottle that has a "clippable" loop though, or maybe one that has the clip built in. I can also usually fit a small 500ml water bottle inside the small cafe bag.

              If you're waiting to purchase anyways, you might want to look at the Medium Cafe bags in the new fabric choices, see if there's one you'd prefer.

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