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  1. #1
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    Small zip top shop vs large original shop bag

    Hi there,

    I know this has been asked a million times but wanted to get some views about the large and small shop bags.

    Iím someone who thinks about weight a lot, even though I carry a synapse 25...

    I was considering buying a shop bag and would have gone for the small but I note the non zip one is retired. Is the zipper version much heavier? And I see the small zippered version is heavier than the large original one. Is this correct?

    For someone with a synapse 25 and dlbp, any preference? I donít like to carry a ton of groceries. In fact hate doing so but sometimes you have to. I live in London and so use public transportation a lot.

    Between the zip top small version of large original, which would be better?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TorontoSS View Post
    Hi there,

    I know this has been asked a million times but wanted to get some views about the large and small shop bags.

    Iím someone who thinks about weight a lot, even though I carry a synapse 25...

    I was considering buying a shop bag and would have gone for the small but I note the non zip one is retired. Is the zipper version much heavier? And I see the small zippered version is heavier than the large original one. Is this correct?

    For someone with a synapse 25 and dlbp, any preference? I donít like to carry a ton of groceries. In fact hate doing so but sometimes you have to. I live in London and so use public transportation a lot.

    Between the zip top small version of large original, which would be better?

    Thanks!
    Hi TorontoSS!

    Hmm... this is a tricky one. Personally, I find the difference in weight between the two shop bags to be negligible. However, I do find the zipper makes the ZTSSB slightly more annoying to stash in my S25 (not difficult just not quite as packable and slim). On the other hand, I would prefer the security of a zipper on London public transport!!

    I am sorry that's so unhelpful. Let's try this:

    Which is more important: security of your shopping in case of theft/ the bag tips over, or, the easiest possible bag to stash in your S25?

    I hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Hi @TorontoSS

    For the original shop bags, the larges were more popular than the smalls, but I'm one of SSB heavy users.

    The zip top small is about an ounce heavier than the original large... in day to day life, I never notice the weight difference between the original small, large or the two new zip tops. For many folks, it seems to come down to how well they fold up (original easier than new zip due to less fabric) and how they are used.

    I use the original smalls all the time for grocery shopping - tall things can easily stick out the top... as a single person, I don't buy a ton at once and I'd rather carry a small in each hand to balance weight than one full large one. I'm shopping with a car though. If I use public transit, I use a backpack.
    The new zip tops, both sizes, I use as my personal item on the plane. The zip top means nothing will fall out.

    So much depends on how you want to use things & what capacity you need.... if you think your groceries will fit into the new zip small, maybe that will work out better, since traveling by public transport means the security of the zip would probably be better, but YMMV.

    I'm sure the BihnHorde will chime in
    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...

  4. #4
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    I have two OLSBs that I bought when I was going to London for three weeks, living half a mile from the nearest grocery store. I knew I'd have to walk with groceries, and the padded handles were life savers! I could fit food for three or four days in one bag, but having two let me distribute the weight. In advance of the trip, I shopped for weeks looking for a bag with padded handles I could use for groceries. I thought the TB shop bags were too expensive, but they were the only thing that even came close, so I splurged. As soon as I used them once I knew they were worth every damn penny. I loaded my groceries, put the handles over my shoulder and thought, "ohhhhhhh, this is what grocery bags should always have been."

    Then when the zip top became available, I got a small one to try. I like the ZTSB, but not for groceries. The zip top is slightly in the way when you're loading it, and prevents you from packing it as full. HOWEVER, if I were taking public transportation, I'd want a zip top, so it would be worth the compromise.

    Regarding weight, my OLSBs (in halcyon b/c that was the only option available at the time) weighs 7.5 oz my on kitchen scale. My Halcyon small ZTSB weighs 6.7 oz, and the Ballistic one weighs 7.2 oz. Next week we'll get to see a bunch of ballistic colors in all the shop bags, and I'm so excited about it, I literally have it marked on my calendar.

    And, if you decide on the OLSB, you're gonna wanna do that in the next two weeks because they're retiring.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bunchgrass's Avatar
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    As always, the temptation with TB shop bags is to over fill them. I have OLSBs, OSSBs and the newer SZTSB. I have used all of them. I have filled the LSB to the point I couldn’t lift it. Plus, I’m short and it drags on the ground. My recommendation is the SZTSB for security and so you can carry it even when it’s full.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all of your replies, it’s very helpful. I wasn’t thinking of the security much (I’d hope no one would steal groceries on public transport??) but you make a good point about weather stuff would tip over and you know what? It would on a train if you’re sitting, with that in mind. May go for that! (Or both...if a friend comes from tha states)...

    Thank you!

  7. #7
    Forum Member Aeon's Avatar
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    I have returned every SSB I've purchsed but my LSBs are my workhorses. I'm short (5'3") and the LSB does not drag the ground, so that is not an issue for me. I vastly, vastly prefer the LSB over the SSB because I think the SSB is over-engineered for its size. I love to use the interior pockets of the SBs on the inside of the bags, as designed. But with the pockets somewhat full, I found it difficult to load and unload the SSB because items would not fit in the center of the bag easily. The length of the SSB straps also irritated me because the bag rested above my hips, which is where I prefer a tote-style bag to land. I kept wishing the Small Zip SB had crossbody attachments so I could wear it lower or the strap length of the LSB.

    I mainly use my SBs for groceries and carrying bulky items. The padded handles are a game-changer and make carrying a heavier bag more comfortable. As a grocery bag, I think the SSB pales in comparison to the LSB or other standard plastic grocery-bag size alternatives. I use packable reusable grocery bags that are lighter in weight than the SSB and don't require the just-so origami style folding method(s) that people use to store the SBs within other bags. That has always seemed like way too much of a bother and needlessly fussy to me. I can fit 4 of my reusable grocery bags into one side pocket of my S25 instead of 1 small shop bag. That's not to say that the SSB doesn't have its place or its uses, like as a personal-size carry-on, a lunch bag, or even a minimalist small tote/purse, but for occassional grocery shopping, you might be better served with a less expensive and even more lightweight reusable option.

    The zipper is nice to have, but as a grocery bag isn't needed, even on public transport imo. If you're using the zip SB for another use, then having a zipper will always be in the plus column for me.

    Long live Burnt Orange! Zest! 152!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TorontoSS View Post
    I wasn’t thinking of the security much (I’d hope no one would steal groceries on public transport??) but you make a good point about weather stuff would tip over and you know what?
    That's a good point...when I mean 'secure' I'm usually thinking about keeping stuff inside/not falling out, when in motion and on transit... I'm not as concerned about people trying to steal my stuff out of it, though I know that happens. That's why I use the zip top bags for under the plane seat... so things stay inside if it needs to get moved, etc.
    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...

  9. #9
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    I've never tried a SSB, but own two of the zip-top LSBs. I can't imagine a scenario where the non-zip would be preferred because the zipper (1) doesn't weigh very much, (2) pretty much gets out of the way unobtrusively if you don't want to use it. It's almost a free option to secure the contents. I do think it may be slightly harder to fold the zip top shop bag based on the videos of the regular SB that I've seen on YouTube. But as Aeon points out above, if you really wanted compact folding, a Baggu or other reusable shop bag is going to fit your needs better because the piping and padded handles are really the primary limiting factors on the SBs.

    Size wise, I had thought about the SSB, but am glad I purchased the LSBs because it is just the right size to pull out and carry whatever I need. It's shape is flexible so even if not full, it flattens out to minimize bulk. Great purchase and might consider yet another color w the 210s coming out...

  10. #10
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    I am a huge fan of the small shop bags, both original and zip top. I find the large size too big and heavy when full of groceries. Perhaps I should learn to pack better! I am 5 ft 6 ish and think the large shop bag handles are too long in hand carry mode for me - but I always shoulder carry anyway.
    The zip top in black makes an excellent all purpose tote bag.
    The original no zip shop bags are easier to smoosh down small than the zip top ones, but if you are walking in the rain your groceries will get wet.
    Original small is discontinued but pop up on eBay now and then. If you are interested in trying one please PM me as I am considering selling one of mine (I'm in the UK also).

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gqb View Post
    I am a huge fan of the small shop bags, both original and zip top. I find the large size too big and heavy when full of groceries. Perhaps I should learn to pack better! I am 5 ft 6 ish and think the large shop bag handles are too long in hand carry mode for me - but I always shoulder carry anyway.
    The zip top in black makes an excellent all purpose tote bag.
    The original no zip shop bags are easier to smoosh down small than the zip top ones, but if you are walking in the rain your groceries will get wet.
    Original small is discontinued but pop up on eBay now and then. If you are interested in trying one please PM me as I am considering selling one of mine (I'm in the UK also).

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk
    Thanks for your reply. Just Sent a PM. I saw two on eBay yesterday but missed out. Being in the UK you kind of have to think about it more because of the postage charge and duties.

    I am 5 ft 6 too, the large one may be too big for me but more useful to my husband - but he’s not into Tom Bihn like I am. Unsure if he’d use it.

  12. #12
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    I have a small zip top shop bag and the large ones in both zipped and unzipped. I stash the small zip top shop bag in the bottom of my commuter bag, which is a DLBP. I work downtown, so I often run errands before work or at lunch time - I like having the zippered top to keep everything in the bag while running around and taking public transit.

    However, I find the small size to not be as useful as my larger shop bags for when I pick up many and/or larger objects. I would rather have the versatility of a larger shop bag that is sometimes well under packed than wrangle a shopping bag from the store on public transit for larger items. Although the larger shop bags are slightly more bulky (due to size) and maybe don’t look as nice or fold down as small, the extra fabric is worth it for my uses/situations.

    The reason I don’t carry a large shop bag in my daily commuter bag is simply because they are already being well used, the zippered one for grocery shopping and the unzipped by my son as a sports bag. Going forward, I’ll be investing in more large zip top bags and not the small or unzipped versions. As Aeon mentioned, I prefer a smaller nylon type bag, like Baggu or Envirosax, as an “emergency” small shopping bag as they very compact and easily fit in a jacket pocket.

  13. #13
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    Thanks that’s very useful. So in general it’s the large one you prefer. I think I’m just going to get both!

    Can I just ask, would you be able to pack a large shop bag in your Dlbp?

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TorontoSS View Post
    Can I just ask, would you be able to pack a large shop bag in your Dlbp?
    Do you mean empty (and folded) or full? It fits very easily inside a DLBP when empty, but it would not fit inside when full.

  15. #15
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    Yes when empty, not full! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by aedifica View Post
    Do you mean empty (and folded) or full? It fits very easily inside a DLBP when empty, but it would not fit inside when full.

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