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  1. #31
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    I have a Pop Tote that I use often and a Small Zip-Top Shop Bag that Iíll likely destash and replace with one or more 210d Ballistic versions when theyíre released (I havenít actually used it because I want to keep it in new condition, but I have test packed it).

    I like the PT as an EDC, though it gets a little cumbersome if I pack it too full/heavy and is a little too big for my height/frame. The exterior pockets arenít as useful for water bottles as Iíd like, but I like them for smaller things (keys, pens, sunglasses, occasionally my phone). I like how stylish it feels and that it can hold so much when it needs to. I can fit my Side Effect purse, a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (with my daughterís things), a couple Cubelets with various small things, and a knitting project in a small Yarn Stuff Sack comfortably with plenty of space left. Iíve packed it empty and flat in a checked suitcase, but canít imagine packing it in something smaller.

    I like using my non-zip Small Shop Bag for carrying my Side Effect and just a few other things (e.g. Kindle, small knitting project, a hoodie), and I imagine the zip-top version will be even better. But it wonít fit as much - for example, a PCSB wonít fit well inside. It also feels more like a shopping bag than a purse (though Ballistic instead of Halcyon should help a bit). I think it would work well packed in a backpack, and Iím guessing it could work in an MCB to give a couple extra carrying options (MCB in the SZTSB for a little extra room, the two separate for even more). Itís probably too big to fit well in an SCB, which is too bad because the SCB would probably fit well inside the SZTSB.

    So thatís my long winded way of saying that the two bags are very different beasts. Iíd go PT if you want a primary bag, SZTSB if you want an extra/sometimes/overflow bag or if funds are tight. (Another thing to consider if youíre interested in the non-black Ballistic SZTSB is that you may not have the option in the future, whereas the PT color/fabric options are likely to stay stable for a while.)

  2. #32
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    Thank you so much for all of the pictures and advice! Will the next run of SZTSB not be in other colors other than black? I think I must have missed that announcement.

  3. #33
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    The announcement about the March 1 price increase said they're planning to offer the shop bags in 210 ballistic non-black colors for pre-order. Another post (in that thread?) said it would be before March 1, I think. Would pre-orders be fulfilled before your March trip? Maybe customer service can tell you. But black is a very useful color anyway.

  4. #34
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    So I just got my order of stuff yesterday(!), but I'm realizing that I might be sending back most of what I got, I'm just not sure yet. I ended up grabbing a TC which is super small, which I know, but I'm going to have to mess around with it a bit to see if it will work. I also got a SZTSB which I don't think will work for me. I always try tote bags, but they never end up working well for me, I just prefer crossbody bags. The final think I got is the DLBP and I think I like it, but I'm not quite sure yet........ Do any of you guys like the DLBP and how do you use it?

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMoonMoon View Post
    I always try tote bags, but they never end up working well for me, I just prefer crossbody bags.
    Have you tried a Daylight Briefcase? Try one in halcyon (light, more flexible, packable), wear it cross body... it has zippers, so (I feel) it's more secure than Cafe Bags or Maker's ...

    The 16oz Nalgene fits upright inside
    https://store.nalgene.com/Nalgene-16...de%20mouth.htm
    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...

  6. #36
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    I struggled with tote bags until the pop tote. The o-ring system and external pockets solved the black hole problem, and now I'm a tote bag convert.

    I used to be a crossbody person but now that I'm over 40, I want anything too big or heavy for a tote bag to be supported by BOTH shoulders. So I'm also a backpack convert.

    To be fair, I haven't tried a TB crossbody bag (yet). DLBC is on my wish list, and I like the idea of A30-crossbody hands-free combo, so maybe someday I'll try again.

    I bought my sister a DLBP -- she's a backpack person. Her response to it was a baffled, "why is this so much better than all my other backpacks??? It's just a backpack, so what makes it so good?!" She's taken it on two trips in two months and says it's the answer to bag questions she didn't know she had. I recommend you do a Google search for "Tom bihn DLBP forums" (always works better than a search in the forums search tool for whatever reason). There's dozens of pages of rapturous gushing that might help inspire you as to how to maximize its potential.

    That's the perspective that has made me love my bags -- figure out what the bag is designed to do, and if that's a thing you need: yay! Some bags are designed to do a thing you don't need, and those bags aren't for you.

    I bought four crossbody bags in two years, thinking I just hadn't found the right bag. Turned out I needed a backpack or a tote, depending on the day. My experience with the pop tote was like love at first sight -- all of a sudden I understood that this is what I needed all along!

    Same thing with my A30. I packed it and went "oh! This is how I've always wanted to pack and carry luggage!" I just didn't know it until I had the bag that let me.

    I don't know many people who put as much thought into their bags as I do, but finding the right ones has made my life nicer every day. And you gotta enjoy learning which bags don't work for you, because now you know to try something else. So: worth it!

  7. #37
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I find I have very particular use cases for specific bag styles.

    - I have one SZTSB and it's good for rainy-day carries but I generally prefer the open-top Shop Bags.
    - The Makers' Bag is my main cross-body bag, I only use it if I'm going to a business meeting, as I like the landscape orientation for carrying paperwork and a laptop. (If I have a lot to carry/I'm traveling with a laptop, then I'll use the SA, but otherwise don't like my business stuff in a backpack. But I don't commute. My carry might be different if I was porting it daily to and from an office.)
    - DLBP: I like mine for protests and as a daypack for sightseeing. Very lightweight, easy to pack in other bags, not too deep (the PCBP is cavernous for me as a daypack), and the shingle pockets create organization without extra weight in the main compartment. I don't use it as an EDC - straps aren't optimal for me.

    If I was after all-around utility (travel and EDC), I'd probably pick the S19 and a Shop Bag, or S19 and my Little Swift. Or, if I had to go down to ONE TB bag (horrors!!) - that would probably have to be the Smart Alec.


    Quote Originally Posted by MsMoonMoon View Post
    So I just got my order of stuff yesterday(!), but I'm realizing that I might be sending back most of what I got, I'm just not sure yet. I ended up grabbing a TC which is super small, which I know, but I'm going to have to mess around with it a bit to see if it will work. I also got a SZTSB which I don't think will work for me. I always try tote bags, but they never end up working well for me, I just prefer crossbody bags. The final think I got is the DLBP and I think I like it, but I'm not quite sure yet........ Do any of you guys like the DLBP and how do you use it?
    Last edited by haraya; 01-30-2019 at 11:40 AM.

  8. #38
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    I ordered some bags as gifts, and inspired by this thread, I got myself a black zip top shop bag, too. It arrived today, and I am surprised just how very different it is from the Pop Tote. You look at them online, and you think, oh, they're basically the same bag, just a few subtle differences. Nope! Every functional thing about the PT and ballistic shop bag is different! They feel different, they act different.

    I'm going to be very glad to have the small shop bag when I need something light and flexible and small to travel with and use as a one-bag-does-it-all.

    I like the way the PT holds its shape when it's mostly empty. I like the external pockets. I like the way it holds my computer and a full size box of tissues and my ECD wristlet, a packed cubelet, and two travel mugs of tea (which is what I carried today, and, yes, it was too much for the shop bag). It's still my favorite, but it is way bulkier and heavier, which I have regretted when I've tried to pack it.

    Also, the ballistic shop bag is totally different from my halcyon ones! It's MORE flexible, which I didn't expect -- I have a Dawn Cubelet, so I thought I had a sense of the 210 fabric, but in the larger bag, the fabric behaves very differently. So I'm definitely gonna stock up on some colorful ballistic shop totes any time they become available.

    I'd post photos, but my phone died, so it'll take a little longer.

  9. #39
    Forum Member ClicketySnap's Avatar
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    I am also going to DC in March! Thank you for everyone's very helpful posts about places to go and things to do!

  10. #40
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    You guys are such a wealth of information, its amazing! I think I am going to keep the DLBP and send everything else back, but I'm thinking about ordering an SE, a DLBC, and a MCB. I think that a combination of the SE, DLBP, and either the DLBC or MCB with my A30 will work well. Now my only concern left is how/what to pack because it will be cold and I've never had to pack this lightly for that kind of weather. Would it be possible to get some help with that? I am staying with family in DC, but then might leave the A30 there when I go to NYC and take the DLBP with clothes and another bag for walking around. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMoonMoon View Post
    Now my only concern left is how/what to pack because it will be cold and I've never had to pack this lightly for that kind of weather. Would it be possible to get some help with that? I am staying with family in DC, but then might leave the A30 there when I go to NYC and take the DLBP with clothes and another bag for walking around. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
    Consider thin layers of merino wool or technical fabrics that give you warmth & breathability vs the bulk of big heavy pieces. March in the mid-Atlantic could be a blizzard, rain, or heat (all in the same week) - all depends Smilie
    Be sure to check out the weather a couple days before you leave and adjust accordingly.

    Consider a waterproof raincoat as your outmost layer instead of a heavy winter coat... that way if it's warm, it can act as a windbreaker and you reduce your inner layers... if it's cold/wet, it's wind and snow proof on top of more layers...

    Layer is the word of the day - can you tell?

    If you're prone to being cold, bring thermal undies - tops & bottoms. If that's you, get two pairs, that way you can sink wash a pair & wear the other... bonus that the clothes you wear on top of the thermals aren't going to get very sweaty/dirty (unless you're a klutz and spill a lot, like me) so you can rewear more before washing.

    Just make sure you size all your things so that the layers are loose enough to trap air pockets - not so tight you feel like a sausage... I always buy very large raincoats because of that... the waterproof technical ones are lightweight/thin, pack well - often in a #2 or #3 stuff sack.

    If you're going to be inside a lot, you really don't need to go crazy... I often just have a fleece vest under a raincoat, along with light gloves and a hat. If you're walking a lot in DC and NYC, your core will warm up walking, so focus on keeping dry and the extremities warm (hat, gloves, wool socks, waterproof sneakers/shoes). You want to avoid getting so warm you sweat a lot.
    Don't bother with an umbrella, they're a more bother than they're worth most of the time. Get a good raincoat that goes to mid-thigh and has a built in hood.

    And you don't have to go broke doing this... shop your closet and friends first... then hit up the clearance at REI and other similar retailers... and check out the fitness/exercise section at TJMaxx/Marshall's/Sierra Trading post...

    If you don't own a good waterproof breathable packable raincoat, that's the one thing I'd suggest paying attention to...

    Good luck and keep us posted - can't wait to see your final final pack out!!!
    (I'm rooting for A30 + DLBC)
    Smilie
    Last edited by G42; 02-03-2019 at 02:11 PM.
    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...

  12. #42
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    Yeah, layers! This summary from REI lays out the rules of my travel/outdoor wardrobe in all weather. This will really matter if you're going to spend any time outside, walking around the city.

    1. Base layer that touches your skin to wick sweat. This is so important. I recommend ultra light merino tank tops if it's above freezing, and a long sleeve merino tops for freezing weather or if you're not going to be very active. Cotton is bad for cold/wet weather in general, and especially for your base layer. Your base layer really can NOT be cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds on to it forever, so your own sweat will give you hypothermia! Hikers say "cotton kills."

    2. Mid layer(s) for insulation. I like shirts with (wool, especially merino) cardigans. I can wear just the shirt, or just the cardigan, or both. Three outfits!

    3. Outer layer that protects you from weather. A coat! If your coat's not waterproof, an umbrella.


    I really got the hang of minimalist packing when I got into the mindset to wear the same clothes over and over. I enjoy variety at home, but when I'm traveling, I far prefer having a light weight bag than a lot of clothing options. As long as I follow the layering rules, I always have something appropriate for the weather, and I don't need options.

    For a trip like yours, I'd take:
    three tanks
    two shirts
    two cardigans
    jeans
    other pants
    cute sneakers
    cute but waterproof boots
    3 bras
    plenty of (wool) socks and (non-cotton) undies that can be worn with any outfit
    warm hat, long/wide scarf, gloves
    I also like to pack comfy sandals/slippers to pad around the house/hotel.

    And I'd consider that sort of a heavy pack -- the sneakers, and second cardigan & pants are luxurious extras. The A30 can handle this plus toiletries and electronics with no problem, and even possibly fit your day bag inside so you can 1-bag en route.
    Last edited by Lia; 02-03-2019 at 03:22 PM.

  13. #43
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    So how often do you do laundry? Wash things out in the sink or bathtub and drip dry, right?

    Also, what about workout clothes, or a swimsuit for laps in the hotel pool?
    Happy owner of Original copilot, Nordic Original small cafe bag, Nordic Halcyon Synapse 25, Nordic Halcyon medium cafe bag, black Halcyon Sidekick. Gave son The Maker's Bag and he LOVES it. Gave Hubby a Pilot for Christmas!

  14. #44
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    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy View Post
    So how often do you do laundry? Wash things out in the sink or bathtub and drip dry, right?

    Also, what about workout clothes, or a swimsuit for laps in the hotel pool?
    I am not the person you asked, but this article was linked on the TB Facebook page, there are a couple of good tips about doing hotel laundry:
    https://rob.conery.io/2019/02/02/random-travel-hacks/

    I always ask for several extra towels so I can wrap the wet clean clothes in a towel and then press it to absorb most of the water.
    Last edited by Cristina; 02-05-2019 at 05:45 AM.

  15. #45
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Exciting! Everyone's supplied such great tips for wardrobe already. I just wanted to add - you will probably be in and out of museums, restaurants, etc., and will find that you get quite warm once inside. Having a packable down jacket is a huge help - if you squish it into a stuff sack, it will be small enough to put in your bag. Then you don't have to lug around a heavy wool coat. (Uniqlo has some deals on their ultra-light down right now.) Especially if you have a long waterproof jacket, a short down jacket should be fine as your primary warmth layer.

    (If it's sheeting down rain, you might as well grab a cup of coffee or something! And if you are truly cold when you're out and about, you can always buy an extra layer/pair of socks/ beanie as a souvenir! I've been known to stop at H&M to buy an entire outfit when my kid walked through one too many puddles. Smilie Not my original plan, but it wasn't too pricey an adventure. Smilie)

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