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  1. #1
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    Getting your bag mix right

    Like many of you, I started with one TB bag (a Western Flyer) and a few accessories...only to amass a sizable collection just three years later. Iíve tried to be thoughtful about adding bags that wouldnít be too redundant with the ones I already had and that would serve more than just the rare use case, but I feel like Iíve somehow ended up with more bags than I could ever really need and too often I find myself wishing I had a different bag that might work just a bit better.

    Can anyone relate? And for those of you who have similarly found yourselves with growing piles of Tom Bihn bags, how have you gone about editing down your collection over the years?

    Iím a researcher, and the word that keeps coming to mind is parsimony. I have this abstract idea that I want to get to a point where I have the smallest number of bags possible to cover the widest range of my common uses as I can. Maybe thatís just me, but Iíd love to hear how others have gone from having evaluating each bag on its own to thinking about how to construct the right combination of bags to cover your needs.

  2. #2
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    Itís funny (or is it irony). We come to TB for the ďone bagĒ implying minimalism. Then proceed to buy aaaallllllll of them Getting your bag mix right

    I have found the same as you. I started with one combo (A45 and pilot). Then progressed to A30 and WF. And now looking at WF and Mini Yeoman.

    Iíve held onto all my bags. They each have their own uses. My biggest problem though is before I used to fly a lot. Now I no longer do. Itís sad when I see my platinum Emirates status expire. Getting your bag mix right


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugsy View Post
    Can anyone relate? And for those of you who have similarly found yourselves with growing piles of Tom Bihn bags, how have you gone about editing down your collection?
    Yup! I'm in the process of editing my entire collection of bags, TB and beyond. I'm using the questions I ask myself in my kitchen, for my camping gear, etc.
    -How often do I use this?
    -How annoyed will I be if I need it but don't have it?
    -Do I enjoy using this?
    -How many different things have I used it for?
    -Is/how is it duplicative?

    Then when something new catches my eye, I'll ask myself:
    -Does it fill a hole in my collection?
    -Is it more awesome than something I already have?
    -How often will I use it?
    -Have I already destashed many similar items? (No instant pot for me! Wink )

    Evaluating individual items like this produces the right combination of tools for me. I don't get to that place without considering each item and how it fits in my ecosystem.

  4. #4
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    I have no doubt a lot of us go through this, and it's not specific to TB bags, but bags/packs in general from any manufacturer. I know for myself when I started getting really into bags and packs I would purchase and end up with all different sorts of bags of varying capacities, layouts, formats, etc. The idea being that I would use a particular bag for some specific loadout, for some specific situation, for some specific purpose.

    Before I knew it I had a pile of bags in the corner and set of criteria and parameters for using each bag. As I started to pare down and minimize my carry (both for travel, commuting, hiking, etc.) the collection of bags have also been pared down to the small handful that crossover each other just enough not to be redundant but specialized enough to be unique to my needs.

  5. #5
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    Lost in the Midwest
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    When I first started buying TB products 2 years ago, I made the mistake of purchasing as if I were a frequent flyer:

    A FREQUENT FLYER NEEDS: A30 and S19, right? NOT!

    Then I purchased as if I was an

    EXPEDITION HIKER/WORLD TRAVELER, who needs: S25 or Brain Bag, one bag carry. NOT!

    Then, CITY COMMUTER, who needs a pilot/cafe bag/copilot. NOT!


    I think I was just giving myself an excuse to try every TB product : - )


    What I actually ended up with were HOUSE to CAR COMMUTER TOTES (PT, TRUNK, SK, and LOTS of my FAVORITE all-fabric 3DOC's, and some packing cubes). I also have a Luminary for when I bike around town or go somewhere that I am walking a lot and need a SMALL backpack. I do NOT have ANY shop bags anymore (blasphemy!) because I LOVE the new TRUNK and it STANDS UP in the car, yay!


    I FINALLY figured out what my ACTUAL needs were and let go of the IMAGINARY SELF, lol. Sure was fun though, trying all those products. Now I buy for family/friends who love my bags (my mom is a BIG fan). Still trying to get my hubby to decide on an S25 color.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    When I first started buying TB products 2 years ago, I made the mistake of purchasing as if I were a frequent flyer:

    A FREQUENT FLYER NEEDS: A30 and S19, right? NOT!

    Then I purchased as if I was an

    EXPEDITION HIKER/WORLD TRAVELER, who needs: S25 or Brain Bag, one bag carry. NOT!

    Then, CITY COMMUTER, who needs a pilot/cafe bag/copilot. NOT!


    I think I was just giving myself an excuse to try every TB product : - )


    What I actually ended up with were HOUSE to CAR COMMUTER TOTES (PT, TRUNK, SK, and LOTS of my FAVORITE all-fabric 3DOC's, and some packing cubes). I also have a Luminary for when I bike around town or go somewhere that I am walking a lot and need a SMALL backpack. I do NOT have ANY shop bags anymore (blasphemy!) because I LOVE the new TRUNK and it STANDS UP in the car, yay!


    I FINALLY figured out what my ACTUAL needs were and let go of the IMAGINARY SELF, lol. Sure was fun though, trying all those products. Now I buy for family/friends who love my bags (my mom is a BIG fan). Still trying to get my hubby to decide on an S25 color.
    I'm currently going through the same thing as you did. I purchased all these bags (A45 and Synapse 25) for when I go on a long flight...but I never go on a long flight. My first long flight was this past year and I hated all the stuff I brought so I bought all this new stuff and the next time I go on another trip like that might be in 2020. I actually hate going on trips, even weekend trips, because I have to find someone to watch my pets (birds) and it's a hassle and stressful for me.

    My most used stuff right now is the PU, Travel Cubelet/Side Effect, small snake charmer and fabric 3d organizer cube. The rest is just sitting in my closet. I might eventually need it, but I was in such a hurry to buy it and there was no need to be.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    I FINALLY figured out what my ACTUAL needs were and let go of the IMAGINARY SELF, lol.
    I love this! It's so true.

    My kids are still little so my actual self's needs have changed so much and so frequently it's hard to keep up.

    Before I had kids I didn't need to think so much about what I carried. The stakes were lower. There weren't spontaneous needs for changes of clothes. No one came home covered in mud and sand. I didn't used to spend 8 hours outside in a park. I didn't used to wear a child on my back, making backpacks impossible. I didn't used to go away on trips as the only adult with two little ones with no car.

    Now it matters very much what I carry. I have to carry it all and hold little hands too. I take less on one of our mum&kids trips than I used to take for just me, but it is all thoughtfully organized and accessible thanks to my thoughtfully designed bags.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post

    My most used stuff right now is the PU,
    I just bought the PU for organized overnights, what an AMAZING bag. I will be taking it on it's first trip this weekend, 5 hour car ride to a wedding, spend the night and head back EARLY the next day. I got EVERYTHING in the bag without any packing cubes other than my toiletries which I pack in an All Fabric 3DOC AND I can see each compartment all at once. My SK fits right in the middle. Can't believe it took me so long to try it!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    I just bought the PU for organized overnights, what an AMAZING bag. I will be taking it on it's first trip this weekend, 5 hour car ride to a wedding, spend the night and head back EARLY the next day. I got EVERYTHING in the bag without any packing cubes other than my toiletries which I pack in an All Fabric 3DOC AND I can see each compartment all at once. My SK fits right in the middle. Can't believe it took me so long to try it!
    It really is amazing. I'm using it as my purse and love that I can keep my travel cubelet in the middle outside pouch for my wallet and keys to take with me on lunch breaks at work. The middle fits my Nintendo Switch and small organizer pouch with coins and coupons. The opposite front pouch has charging cords and a power bank in a small snake charmer, my emergency stuff (contacts, floss, hand sanitizer, tissues, Band-Aids, etc.) in a fabric 3d organizer cube, and a small travel umbrella. It definitely fits all my stuff and then some.

    I plan to use it as a plane, personal item bag as well on my next plane trip....whenever that is.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    I just bought the PU for organized overnights, what an AMAZING bag. I will be taking it on it's first trip this weekend, 5 hour car ride to a wedding, spend the night and head back EARLY the next day. I got EVERYTHING in the bag without any packing cubes other than my toiletries which I pack in an All Fabric 3DOC AND I can see each compartment all at once. My SK fits right in the middle. Can't believe it took me so long to try it!
    Wow! I can't imagine how you got everything in a PU for a wedding! Did you wear your outfit on the way, or was it hanging separately in the car?

    I love my PU, it is so handy to be able to see in all the pockets.

  11. #11
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    Oh, I'm guessing it's slinky and doesn't wrinkle, and fits perfectly in one of the pockets.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Wow! I can't imagine how you got everything in a PU for a wedding! Did you wear your outfit on the way, or was it hanging separately in the car?
    My dress for the wedding is a charming wrinkle-free number I bought at Goodwill! It rolls up into a tiny little ball. I wear ballerina foldable dress flats made by VIVOBAREFOOT. OH, and I should mention that the wedding gift ALSO fits (a gift card, lol).

  13. #13
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    Same boat here, started with one bag (S19) and I think I have been through almost all the models. Now I am downsizing into an RV so lots of things are finding new homes. My TB collection is the hardest to work through as I use most of them, but I certainly need to pare down to the few that actually get the most use. Right now that looks like a Smart Alec, SCB, Pop Tote and SE. Will probably also keep either the Pilot or Maker's Bag but not both. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

  14. #14
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    I feel for you! I've downsized my home a couple times. It's so hard to choose which regularly used and loved things to get rid of.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordAnubis View Post
    It’s funny (or is it irony). We come to TB for the “one bag” implying minimalism. Then proceed to buy aaaallllllll of them Getting your bag mix right
    That is so true. However, one-bagging is different depending on if I'm flying somewhere for a 2 day summer meeting, or for one month overseas in chilly Europe. I want to carry the smallest bag that will do the job.

    One of the things I love about buying TB bags is that I can sell or trade them very quickly and easily. Yes, I've bought too many. But I've also sold or traded a lot that didn't work for me.

    I originally bought an A30 and WF. They were too small for me, so I traded and now have 2 A45s.
    I originally bought a bunch of Large and Small Shop Bags. I never used the small ones and sold them. I just sold my large ones because I bought the Zip Top versions.
    Smaller accessories have also been sold or traded if I found I wasn't using them.

    Between the Trade post for members and the Ravelry TB Knitting group, I've had very good luck rehoming bags, so that makes me feel confident that I can buy more of them than I really should.

    I think my bag mix at the moment is:

    2 A45s (one for me and one for my husband). Normally I pack both our stuff in one bag, but 2 bags were needed for a monthlong trip to Europe. Laundry cubes for both, and a couple of travel trays, and 2 clear 3DOCs for toiletries.

    1 medium road duffle. I really don't need this since I have the second A45 now, but I LOVE the road duffle and it's discontinued so I'll never be able to get it back.

    1 Pilot. I've even traveled for 3 days using just the Pilot. Doubles as a briefcase for when I need to carry a laptop.

    Lots of shop bags, and a truck. I use these all the time. My most used TB items.

    Sidekicks. My favorite purse. I have 3 colors and I use them all the time. OK, maybe these are my most used TB items.

    1 travel cubelet. I needed a small purselike object that fit in the front of the Pilot. The Side Effect fit, but the zipper was on the wrong edge which meant I had to remove the SE every time I needed to get into it. With the TC zip on the top, I don't have to remove the TC to access its contents. Hence, I sold my SEs.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 09-21-2018 at 11:47 AM.

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