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Alternative to Veloce Shoulder Bag

Hi!
Heading out this fall on our first Rick Steves tour and am excited to try carry on only after being an unashamed overpacker for years. Right now, I am considering a main carry on of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35, a small travelon crossbody for my purse and some sort of shoulder bag for my personal item on the plane. Airline dimension restrictions are 16 x 12 x 6. The Veloce shoulder bag seems to tick most of the boxes (and I'm hoping I could store the small travelon purse in it while flying). The catch is, I don't really love the look of it (sorry, I've read that lots of people love it). I am considering the Tom Bihn Pilot, but it's a little spendy (of course all seems relative after following the rabbit trails to recommended bags that are much more expensive) Has anyone used a shoulder bag for a personal item? Any recommendations? Anyone love or hate the Tom Bihn Pilot?

Posted by
6698 posts

Tom Bihn bags are spendy, but as someone who has been buying them for over 15 years, they are very well made, durable and last forever. Plus they're made in the US, and I love the interesting designs and fun bags they have. I think they're worth the price.

The Veloce has 15L capacity as opposed to the Pilot, which has 13L, but looks mean a lot and the Pilot is a really good looking bag. And it doesn't look so much like a "travel bag." I like the RS bags but really wish he would branch out with the colors. Those four "same-old" colors are deal-breakers for me.

Posted by
6698 posts

Coming back to add that of course, I had to go to the Tom Bihn site just to see what's new and fell down the rabbit hole. 🙄 I was going back over some older posts here (you may want to check them out, also) of members with the TB Pilot, and the only real complaint I saw about it was that it was a bit too small for some people. It may be fine for you but I was wondering if you have considered the Tom Bihn Cadet, which is 15L. It's a titch bigger than the Pilot but is still considered carry-on friendly.

Posted by
11 posts

Ooh, wish I could take the larger Cadet! It's about a half inch too tall and too wide and I don't wanna run into any trouble at the airport. :^(

Posted by
292 posts

I own many TB bags, and like most of them. The ones I don't like, and won't buy again, have the swivel-type hooks on them. I just don't think the hooks are sturdy enough. I also own an Allapa28. I love that one! I think the 35 would be great for a trip to Europe if you want a backpack style. We use the 28s for shorter, domestic trips.

One thing I have learned about crossbody bags, such as the TB Pilot, is that I greatly prefer for them to be more of a vertical design than a horizontal design. The horizontal design tend to bounce back and forth against my upper leg and hip as I walk. A vertically designed bag has less of a "bouncy" effect when I walk. That being said, I don't like the look of the Veloce either! Yes, it is more vertical than horizontal, but, sorry Rick, it's just not pretty. Maybe you should spend some more time on the TB website... Not that I'm encouraging you to spend more!

I realize you are not looking for another backpack, because you will have the Allapa on your back--I'm just sharing this for information for others who may be interested. We use Cotopaxi Batac 16L bags as our personal items for the plane. Then, at our destination, we use them as our day bags. I love how light and flexible they are! I have found some of my TB bags too stiff. The Batac 16 is 19inches high, but just don't stuff it full and it will fit airline dimensions.
Good luck finding your perfect bag!

Posted by
6698 posts

I think you would be as long as you don't overpack it. And thank you for that—another bag site to suck me in! 🤣

Posted by
7365 posts

Hi, I switched from a 2-wheel carry on in 2023 to the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L, and love it! When I switched, I needed to change my personal item since the Cotopaxi is on my back now. I purchased the Sherpani Camden convertible backpack after looking at many options as my personal item for my trips last year. I carefully cut off the backpack straps I didn’t want or need, and I just use the other two options - the tote handles or the crossbody strap. I use the crossbody strap when I want to be hands free for boarding a train, for instance, and the tote handles if I am carrying it to my next hotel.

These colors are 50% off
https://sherpani.com/products/camden-sale?variant=46692740596012

Posted by
292 posts

Oooh, good recommendation, Jean! I have multiple Sherpani bags, and I like them all! Geez, it's really sounding like I have a lot of bags! TBH, I DO! I even have a Cotopaxi 60L Gear Hauler to hold them all!

Posted by
7365 posts

@slbdaisy, when I bought my Cotopaxi, they had a pretty Pacific blue color for the main front with black sides & back. Two of the zippers are reddish orange. When I bought my Sherpani, they offered it in a black with a blue middle block section. It’s uncanny that the two blues are exactly the same color - even the coated zipper pull of the Sherpani matches the zipper of the Cotopaxi!

Posted by
98 posts

Here's another option from a company I learned about at some point on the Packing Forum that doesn't look as "suitcase-y":
https://us.hedgren.com/collections/crossbody
Although I own this style, below, instead and keep coming back to it despite having 3- 4 others because it's such a perfect size:
https://us.hedgren.com/products/galactic-navy-cosmos
It is just slightly under your required dimensions and I find it a really nice "fit" on my shoulder when also dealing with backpack straps, I don't feel like I look overburdened. I have a few very small cross- bodies- I do have the TB pocket and Kanken pockets, both in black since that's what I mostly wear! I very much like to have my traveling IDs and credit cards/some cash and my phone worn cross body and right with me, with the plane needs in the tote. Once on the plane it's easy to add the cross body to it.
It's not big enough for a bulky sweater, but does fit my turtl neck pillow at an angle.

Posted by
197 posts

I have the Tom Bihn Pilot and it has worked well as a plane personal item. What I like about it is that the different compartments and inside pouches make it easy to stay organized. I have used the larger rear compartment for a laptop and work items or for some clothing. I take a small crossbody and tuck it into the Pilot as we are boarding. When I first got the Pilot, I wasn't sure about it, but once I became familiar with the various compartments, I love it. FYI, I did buy their upgraded shoulder strap which makes it even more spendy but oh so comfortable to wear. I have never had an issue with the bag flopping around as I walk.

That Sherpani bag on sale for $50 looks pretty nice too!

Posted by
206 posts

Good luck with the search, OP! I hope it’s okay to put in a good word for the Veloce bag. See below for my reasons….

It’s been my valued companion for domestic trips for many years (I’m on my third one), and it works so well for me, I’m taking it overseas for six weeks. That said, I look at everyone’s personal item bags, because there are some great alternatives out there.

I viewed the links in this thread, and elsewhere. I’m sure many bags would work well.

Here are the assets or “box tickers” that make the Veloce bag right for me, yours may vary:.

  1. Bag with vertical orientation works best for me. I hate the type of bag that knocks into people on the train or elsewhere. The vertical ones seem not to do that.
  2. Has a sturdy and adjustable water bottle carrier sleeve.
  3. Is water resistant and has a durable finish with good wear and tear in many situations. Do I yank on it or drag it or set it down on the pavement sometimes? Oh yes.
  4. Is expandable--nice on the tour bus or under the plane seat, but it can be streamlined for public transit/etc.
  5. Convertible to backpack or used as shoulder bag. Shoulder strap is removable, backpack straps can be tucked away.
  6. Can slip over the handle of rolling carry-on when needed.
  7. Holds rain gear and lunch.
  8. Has secure pockets, multiple. Yet I know where to find everything. Some bags are designed with identical sections and I’m forever opening the wrong zipper to search for an item on the mirror image side of the bag.
  9. Allows easy access, yet can be turned so the accessible parts are facing me.
  10. Economical-if something happens to it, I won’t feel terrible about the money spent on it.
  11. Fairly lightweight and not bulky.

Drawbacks of the Veloce bag that aren’t dealbreakers for me:
1. It is a tank in a world of Ferraris when it comes to purses. Not winning design awards for beauty -but I don’t mind.
2. It’s too big to go into museums so I have a self-stuffing nylon purse for those days.

Posted by
9733 posts

I wouldn't reject the Cadet for its 1/2 inch "excess" in either direction. That is just not going to be a problem for a squishy personal item.

Posted by
6698 posts

I agree with Kim. If it were a larger carry-on; even a soft sided piece; you would be right to worry, but a squishy personal bag is not going to raise any flags or even any eyebrows. 😊

Posted by
3217 posts

I have two favorite personal items that I use on British Airways or most flights really. I tend to do my best to fit in with measurement requirements to lessen the risk of having a problem. There are enough other things that can go wrong. LOL

My present favorite is the Sherpani Soleil. As I believe Jean indicated, it can be a tote, crossbody, and backpack. I absolutely love this bag. It is five or six years old and looks like new. I use it a lot at home as well. I have not removed the backpack straps as I do use them at home, at least. The strap (?), sorry I'm blank, that allows you to slip the bag over the handle is tight and does not work on one of my bags, my Eagle Creek Tarmac, because the top of the handle with a good grip is too large. This is not a problem for me because I find using an add a bag strap is much more comfortable and makes the wheeled bag less heavy (physics). I seldom slip a bag onto the handles, if ever. If I recall, the luggage strap works on all my other bags. However, I'd be happy to check for you if I have the make of bag.

PS, in the Sherpani, I use one of my long and narrow packing cubes, which fits perfectly on the bottom to hold my change of clothes and sleep shirt in case I check or have to check my wheelie and it wanders elsewhere for a day or two, which has never happened while on a trip, but...

The other bag I've used is the Classic Backpack by Travelon. This bag does not have the strap to put over the handle. Again, for me, it has the tote strap with which I use the add a bag strip if I don't have it on as a backpack. This is a nice bag as well; however, I find I could not settle on a use for the front zippered pocket, but that's just me. I like everything to have a place and if I can't become statisfied with using the organization, I'm not quite as happy.

I will also add that I just signed up for Poshmark, and they have a lot of lightly used bags or not used bags for nice prices...this might have been a mistake for me. LOL

.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks so much for all the great tips! I ordered the Sherpani Camden because it looked like it would fit my needs and my small crossbody purse at a great price! Still eyeing up all those fun little bags on the Tom Bihn site - all those organizers bring back memories of all the fun back to school shopping!

Posted by
7365 posts

Silverliningspotter, after posting about the Sherpani Camden that I like when traveling and looking at the colors on the 50% off sale, I bought a second one! I have two weekly places where I volunteer here in Idaho, and that size is perfect to corral my supplies and books that I always need to bring. This time I bought the Summer Camo color, although I would call it a mathematical trapezoid graphic! ; )

Posted by
3217 posts

That looks like a great bag! Nice decision. I will just keep repeating: I don’t need another bag…