We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics


Topics: 14,525   Posts: 187,787   Members: 6,487   Active Members: 306
Welcome to our newest member, cguan17.


No announcement yet.

A crafty minimalistic person looking for "the" bag.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    A crafty minimalistic person looking for "the" bag.

    Hi everyone,

    I have tried the following bags, and will list how I use them, and what my issues are with each. Space and wearability are my two big sticking points, though I've loved each bag. I keep things paired down, but I like to read and knit, and have water on me when I go places. And I'm in the PNW so I usually need to stow a light jacket.

    Ristretto, amazing while I was in school and so comfortable to wear, but too small for EDC, the padded laptop area takes up too much interior space, and I don't walk around with my laptop anymore. *Sold it

    SCB, this has been my purse/EDC for 5 years. I love it. A lot, but I'm finding myself sad that I can't fit a knitting project and book inside of it with my EDC stuff. It's just too small. I also kind of hate the flap, but deal because I love the vertical orientation and the open back pocket and the handle on the top of the bag. All are essential, and have ruined me for life for buying regular purses.

    Swift, as a knitter I wanted to love this so much. And I did as far as a thing to tote my knitting around in, but the handles always rolled right off my shoulders, and the smallest bump by others would send the bag falling off me. Super aggravating while shopping, and carrying. Many of my outings are knitting related so this bag became useless as far as being wearable. *Sold it and got the MB

    MB, this was supposed to be a Swift having a baby with a cafe bag. I thought it would solve my shoulder strap issue and space issue in the SCB, but the horizontal orientation and giant width made it saggy and it just didn't work with my body. It feels like a swaying growth while I'm wearing it, and it takes on the form of whatever you shove inside of it for better or worse, for me usually worse. I do love the bag, but for me it's more of a bag to haul things in, not a bag to wear. *Gonna sell this

    Sidekick, love it for paired down EDC, but it's too small for a book and a knitting project. And the horizontal orientation does annoy me as does the thin strap so it's not worn as much.

    DLB, I love my DLB. I just wish it had a little more structure for everyday stuff, and it lacks organization for EDC. I LOVE wearing the DLB. I forget it's there unless I have something heavy and lumpy in it.

    So, I'm thinking about getting a S19, and using it as a EDC, with my Sidekick or cubelet as a pop out bag for running into the store etc. Keeping in mind that I'm an avid reader/crafty/pen/paper person is this the best choice?

    I wish TB would make flapless Cafe Bags. I prefer backpacks above all else, but have steered toward crossbody bags because shopkeepers and store owners get weird about backpacks and I don't like being treated like a thief or being asked to stow my bag up front with a stranger. Given my choice I'd go with a backpack.

    Any backpack EDC for life people here?

    Thoughts on S19 vs S25?

    I'm 5ft 5in, and all torso. Small to medium build, female.

    I really like the zip tote small tote bag for EDC. Has room for all you mention, its not a backpack so no store proprietor suspicion. I like having that little extra room when I'm out and about. I keep my TC inside it. Straps are comfortable, but do slide off nylon jackets, so in that case I carry it by the hand or over my elbow. At least if someone knocks it off of you, its zipped so everything doesn't spill out.

    To be honest, I have another brand 10 liter backpack for those time when I really don't want to shoulder carry, as the Luminary's aspect ratio really didn't work for me - it was tall and thin so I was often emptying the whole thing to get to something on the bottom, plus the outer pockets were so small I could really only carry keys in them. It's not Tom Bihn quality, but it also wasn't Tom Bihn price. 10 liters would probably be a bit small to carry a light jacket, unless your other carry was small. I have a water bottle, and a 3d cube in it, and a bag of snacks typically.

    I also would like a flapless Cafe bag- I prefer the vertical orientation, but really don't like the flap both for aesthetic reasons as well as having to take up a lot of space to move it open. If I'm in a tight space, I bump into other people.
    Getting to the point with too many bags to list them all. Current daily carry is a PickUp Truck and Everyday Cubelet. Love all my shop bags, ghost whales, cubelets. Hoping to travel again soon to use my A30 and co-pilot.


      What about a Co Pilot? I have used mine as a Every Day Carry more than once. I have room for a notebook or book or both. A few weeks ago it went to a conference with me and had room for all of my everyday things, a big external battery, notebook, and 3 bottles of water. It was a little heavy with all that water, and one was glass, but wasn't unmanageable.


        Maybe wait and check out the Luminary 14 when it comes out early 2019 as well as the S19..
        Agree with @Rae that the Co-Pilot could be an option, depending on how bulky your carry stuff is...
        I cross body carry the Daylight Briefcase (halcyon) quite a bit walking around, when I need to carry randomness plus water bottle plus light jacket...
        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...


          I agree about the CP. I think that's a nice choice and the water bottle pocket is awesome. I don't carry mine as a purse, only because it's bigger than what I need but I do use it as a conference bag when I'm traveling. It always includes a water bottle & knitting project. And snacks. And a book. And my notebook. Not big enough for my monster laptop, unfortunately. If it could fit my laptop, it'd be my EDC, with a SE in the one of the front pockets.

          If you love the SCB, would the MCB be a good option? I can easily fit a water bottle, purse stuff and a hat or sock knitting project (in its own project bag) in my MCB. I love it.
          Current Carry: Swift (Verde/UV), SK (Steel/Iberian) & SSC (Sitka)


            Originally posted by AHesting View Post
            If you love the SCB, would the MCB be a good option? I can easily fit a water bottle, purse stuff and a hat or sock knitting project (in its own project bag) in my MCB. I love it.
            I was going to suggest the MCB too except for the flap hate, though maybe you can get over this for the right bag... You'd have plenty of room for all the things you want to carry , and the thing I appreciate about the flap is that it provides a place to stash a coat if it doesn't quite fit in the bag. Have you ever noticed on the bottom buckle of your SCB that you can pull the webbing out from the elastic strap that holds it in place and gives you a little bit more give to contain those bulky things? I realized it on a day when I was carrying stuff for my husband and I and it made all the difference...

            Here's a picture that I posted the other day for someone else that gives you a better idea of how everything fits in it - plenty of room for your water, knitting, something to read and your coat.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	fullsizeoutput_29c5.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	153.3 KB
ID:	304435

            Let us know what you decide on!
            A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

            TB Newbie First factory visit - 9/21/2018

            Heart’s desire: a S19 or S25 in original NORDIC.


              A crafty minimalistic person looking for "the" bag.

              I’m team DLBP. I find the organization of the S series overkill.


                I have had aside Effect, and Kick, Pilot and SCB and MCB, small Swift, more shops bags than I need and I would say my S19 is my favorite. It has enough structure so it doesn’t get floppy when it isn’t full, enough pockets so you can find things quickly. It fits my bill.

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                A30-halcyon/UV,, S19-black halcyon/Island, SCB-Original halcyon/Wasabi, MCB-Halycon/Wasabi, SK-black halcyon/Island, SE-Aubergine/Wasabi, LS-Aubergine Fjord, shop bags and numerous bits and bobs in as many colors as i can rationalize


                  The S19 is really a wonderful EDC with the SCB as a cross body to reach essential really fast, the TC does a great job at this as well, if you need more, easy to reach essentials, consider the SK or the DLBC.

                  The S19/SBC is my rainy, chilly and cold weather EDC.

                  The LSB is my sunny and hot weather EDC, it is very lightweight and hauls a ton.

                  I think that your EDC will fit into the Zippered Small Shop Bag.

                  Bonus: zippered, is a regular and lightweight purse, easy to unzip and stuff things in. A cross body SK or TC can fit the essentials and be placed in the Small Shop Bag if necessary.

                  If you are able to get to the store, try on the Pop Tote, it fits differently than the Swift. I think it is the Ballistic fabric.


                    I am a lifelong backpack person, and since I discovered Tom Bihn that is pretty much all I carry for EDC. I have three variations in almost constant circulation. I'll describe each, but first a bit about my typical day. I usually car commute, but still often find myself on a train or in a Lyft. I live in the northeast with its changeable weather. I must always have coffee and/or water with me. I almost always have a 9.7" iPad Pro and Kindle Paperwhite and physical book or magazines with me too. I'm 5'5" and best described as, um, Rubenesque

                    S25 and Side Kick

                    I'd say this combo gets used 70% of the time for work. In the main compartment I have a Cache against the back wall of the bag (the new one, that fits my 13" MacBook Pro). The Cache is where I'll slip my iPad and Kindle and small loose papers. I'll also have a large Moleskine that I use as a brain dump; this is just loose in the bag. The Sidekick goes in the main compartment as well, and it holds a DOP as my wallet, both of my phones, and a small OP with things like pills, bandaids, etc. In the stretchy compartment in the main part of the bag is where I keep a folded up NPR reusable tote. The side pockets are where I keep my work ID and badge and office keys (on the left side) and glasses in a case and spare car key (on the right side). The bottom pocket holds a 3D OC with all my charging cables (phones, iPad, Apple Watch), bottle of Alleve (everything aches as I get older!), small umbrella, and random snacks. The water bottle pocket holds either a water bottle or a travel mug of coffee. The very top pocket holds lip balm and my keys. There's plenty of room left everywhere for more - I can easily fit a rain jacket in the main compartment.

                    S19 and Side Effect

                    This is just the pared down version of the above. I'll carry this on weekends a lot when I don't need the iPad or work stuff. Not that the above is heavy, but this combo is just easier, especially when shopping or going into the city for any reason. I can still carry everything I need, just in a smaller package. For instance, I'll leave the chargers behind and just carry an external battery pack. Of course there isn't as much room if I pick up extras along the way, but I still have that NPR tote bag with me Also, and this addresses one of your concerns, if I'm going into a museum (which I do frequently in NYC), I sling the S19 onto one shoulder and then let it slide sort of under my armpit, so it sort of looks like a tote bag on my shoulder. I have never had anyone ask me to check it yet. It probably also helps that the one I most often carry is Black Halcyon.

                    Smart Alec and Side Kick

                    I'm using this combo now. It carries the same items as when I use the S25/SK combo, but since there aren't as many pockets I'll put the loose items in Stuff Sacks. There are two things about this combo that I really like - I can put my lunch bag (a Built neoprene zip tote) right on top of everything else and it stays upright, and I can stuff things like a scarf, gloves, or hat on top as I shed layers throughout the day.

                    I hope some of this helps in your decision making - good luck!
                    Eat well, travel often.


                      I was so torn I took forever to come back here and respond. Thank you guys for all of the ideas and suggestions. I do love my DLBP + SideKick combo. It's just not super shopping friendly the way the pockets are set up, I have to take off the back pack, and then dig for my wallet. This is why the Cafe Bags are so awesome. Everything is right there.

                      Nik's Minimalist Wallets pushed me into making a decision about an EDC bag because I knew they'd sell out fast.

                      I ordered the Pop Tote in Nebulous Grey
                      And a MCB in the same color with cloud FS

                      Having a knitting bag and an EDC in one probably won't work for me. The Pop Tote with it's exterior side pockets looks perfect for me for a bigger bag when I need to bring things to stave off boredom, and the Freudian Slip will work in that and the MCB. I can fit a small knitting project in the MCB, and my planner. It wasn't working in my SCB.

                      I also got 2 of the wallets, Style #1 in Cloud, and #4 in Dawn. I like the idea of having one that clips into my bags, and one that can just go in my pocket.

                      I also threw in a Dawn Cubelet for my knitting periphery, and a Northwest Sky YSS.

                      And now I'm off to Seattle to go fetch my stuff.


                        I too am a knitter and bibliophile. I understand your dilemma!
                        I have carried a MCB daily for something over a year, and I love it. I use organizer pouches for my wallet and small things, and there's plenty of room left for a knitting project and my water bottle.
                        When I go to knit night I take the Swift with all my supplies but I don't go anywhere without a small project in my purse. 😊 If you can get past the flap hate, I highly recommend it.

                        I am hoping to get a synapse soon but for me the cross body style is best for EDC.


                          I like your choice! I use and love a Pop Tote with a MCB Freudian Slip inside...biggish, yes, but with the zipper open it compacts well under your arm and when it's full it's nice to have a zipper to close it.