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  1. #1
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    Cafe Bag Security

    I'm thinking that a small cafe bag is a great choice as a personal item on the plane, and then a day bag while touring in Europe. Some friends have cautioned, however, that an open top is a possible invitation to someone who might want to put their hand in my bag. Does anyone have security concerns with the SCB? Is an o ring tether enough to feel reasonably confident ?

  2. #2
    Forum Member Surrealle's Avatar
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    I agree with your friends. It would probably be fine on the plane, but personally I'd get a more secure bag (or at least, not keep any valuables in it) when you're playing the tourist role in a foreign country. I've heard way too many stories about pickpockets, and that's even for people who took precautions.

    Bear in mind, you're likely to be distracted a lot of the time, and in and out of crowds. It only takes a second for someone to do something that will ruin your day, if not your trip. Why take unnecessary chances?
    Last edited by Surrealle; 04-14-2020 at 09:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrain View Post
    I'm thinking that a small cafe bag is a great choice as a personal item on the plane
    I think its an unwise choice on a plane. When stowed beneath a seat, items in the bag will fall out. Bags for any type of travel need to have a zippered opening, imo.

  4. #4
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    I used a Large Cafe Bag paired with a Brain Bag for all my domestic travels from 2006-2012, no problems about items getting out of the Cafe Bag.

    During that time many items dropped from my lap and rolled into the feet of the passengers in front of me, who handed me my items while I thanked them and apologized.


    Now, Tom Bihn has a variety of various sizes and shapes Pouches that can be tailored to the small items one is carrying.

    Since the Travel Cubelet has been introduced, this is the main zippered pocket inside my SBC, the other item is a 3D Cube, both are secured to the two side O-rings. What was in the small pockets of the SBC is now inside the Cubelet.
    Various other items are secured inside the front zippered pocket.

    So there is a way to travel proof the SCB and the MCB as well, using the same or slightly bigger accessories which have zippers.

    The weight difference between multiple pouches and a 3D OC versus a Travel Cubelet and a 3D OC is minimal.

    I know because I switched from the LCB to the SCB because of the need to weight balance, the main load was transferred to the S19 and I added an A45 then a Tristar as luggage.
    Last edited by backpack; 04-14-2020 at 10:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    I love my Café bags and have travelled both with a MCB and SCB. I've never lost anything -I keep any small items in the zipped front pocket or tether an OP from one of the o-rings. I'm not sure what people do to have things falling out... I'm German and travelled in Europe quite a bit and it was fine. A zipper is not a necessity, they can (force) open a zipper too if they want. I just swivel my bags to the front when I'm in crowds (e.g. public transport) and pay attention to my surroundings. Not paying attention helps thieves more than a specific type of bag IMO.

  6. #6
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    How about the ICON? When travelling I want access to zip pocket/s without having to lift a flap. Quick access to lip gloss, sanitiser, tissues, small coin stash for drinks/ public toilets etc.

  7. #7
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    I have done some mock-travel outings with the Icon, getting in and out of the car, placing the bag under my seat, slinging it in and out of the backseat in an effort to simulate plane and bus travel. I have concluded that my Patagonia 20 liter backpack is the best way to carry my travel items. However, I prefer my Cafe bags (both small and medium) for everyday carry and essentials around my home town, under normal social conditions.
    The Icon is a great bag but I am going to assume my packing And organization habits for airplane/bus are set and do not need to be modified at this point jsut to accommodate a new bag. BTW: The only times I have spilled something out of the Cafe bags is when I forgot to clip the flap closed and that would happen if I had forgotten to zip a different bag closed.

    About using a conventional backpack as a personal item for travel in the olden days (days that may come again): I can sling it over one shoulder, wear it in front, wear it in back. Large capacity main compartment with a couple of internal pockets for segregating items. Room for anything and everything I would want or need onboard. Grab handle, good zippers. Bright red color easy to spot.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Surrealle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b1gsky View Post
    A zipper is not a necessity, they can (force) open a zipper too if they want.
    True. There is no "theft-proof" bag. But if they have a choice between an easy target and a more difficult one, they're going to go after the easy target. Your goal should just be to make things more difficult than it's worth for them to try.

  9. #9
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I carried a Small Cafe Bag on a European trip a few years ago, which included a lot of urban areas. I felt very secure with it. I used the matching Freudian Slip inside, which added a lot to its function, because in addition to the zippered pocket underneath the flap, I also had a zippered pocket as part of the FS. I carried my wallet, train pass, phone and passport at all times, and it felt very secure. OTOH, I never left my bag unattended (it was basically always on my shoulder if I was out), and was very conscious of how I placed my most valuable items.

    Since that time, the Everyday Cubelet was released; this is also a method for securing things inside the Small Cafe Bag in a way so that they are zippered in. I now use both methods, depending on what I have with me.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  10. #10
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surrealle View Post
    True. There is no "theft-proof" bag. But if they have a choice between an easy target and a more difficult one, they're going to go after the easy target. Your goal should just be to make things more difficult than it's worth for them to try.
    True - that’s why I said you should be aware of your bag and your surroundings. But I think the only way a zipped bag would be more secure than a Café bag would be if you secure the zippers. That’s not an option for me personally: I want quick access to my things and I don’t want my bag to scream look at me, there are valuables inside, I’m worried they are going to get stolen. YMMV. All I can say is that I was never in my life pickpocketed and I lived in Berlin for seven years and travelled quite a bit.

  11. #11
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    I have carried Cafe bags and a Side Kick on travels. Things can fall out of Cafe bags under the airline seat. A pickpocket did unzip my Side Kick and I have learned to use a carabiner on the outer zippers and pouches attached to O rings on the inside. I also use a under clothing pouch for passports and an additional credit card. The icon’s angled zipper is harder for someone else to access if you wear it facing your body.

  12. #12
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    I have used both the medium and small cafe bags traveling domestically and internationally. I have never had issues with security or things falling out on planes. I have a (formerly travel) cubelet that I use with both. If I want something secure, there is the zipped pocket under the flap. The only time I have been “picked” was with a zippered bag that I carried carelessly on my shoulder behind me. The person who I believe picked the bag was a young girl right behind me that I noticed too late. When I turned around a looked at her (at a crowded road crossing), she backed up at little bit. I then brought the bag up front and noticed it had been unzipped a few inches. Sadly, the item taken was a TB zippered pouch with eye drops, aspirin, and chapstick. The other things were replaced but I was sad about the loss of the pouch. Since that time, the bag stays up front all the time.

  13. #13
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    My MCB was my carryon and EDC when we went to Japan last summer, as well as being my EDC until I recently switched to a side effect. It's been under a fair number of plane seats, as well as on trains, buses, etc. I've never had an issue with things falling out or being picked. I think it's about how you pack your bag. As a carryon, my MCB tends to be packed quite full and that helps with keeping things from calling out. For carrying passports, I used a small organizer pouch clipped to a 2 snap hooks - one attached on the right side O ring, the other on the left side - this means that even if someone grabbed it from one side, it is locked in place by the other side. But this is a pouch that didn't come out of my purse on a frequent basis (or ever, really, because I didn't need to pull it out after getting through customs). My wallet actually went in the front zipper pocket, again attached to an O-ring. I'm really a firm believer in the magic of snap hooks - everything is tethered to an o-ring and I think that helps, as well as being conscientious of your environment.
    A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

    TB Newbie Rainbow First factory visit - 9/21/2018

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  14. #14
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    This is all such sound, thoughtful advice. Thanks everyone for chiming in. I think I'm going to go with the SCB for this trip (assuming this trip happens) and I will employ some of these strategies. I love the double tether idea. I see that beautiful Ursa in my future!

  15. #15
    Forum Member KmK's Avatar
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    Another suggestion I would make is to wear it "buckle backwards.' Harder to tell what kind of entry it is...

    Side note, I still chuckle at my father appraising me before travel and saying--"Generally speaking, you don't look worth bothering with...I wouldn't worry." Truth is, I wasn't even trying to fly under the radar!

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