Please sign in to post.

Tom Bihn Medium Cafe Bag

Do you have one?



Do you use the waist strap?

Is it big enough to stuff a light jacket or sweater or sweatshirt into?

Posted by
960 posts

I had one and after a couple years ended up taking it to GoodWill. If you read the reviews on the website, people either love it or hate it.

I don't remember it coming with a waist strap, nor would I see the need for it.

I loved the organization in it. It may have been a little bigger than i needed.

Ultimately, I didn't like the way it opened - i didn't like the buckle and flap every time I needed something out of it. I much prefer a zipper for ease.

That said, I love MANY other Tom Bihn products and travel with lots of them.

Posted by
228 posts

I’ve been considering buying a Tom Bing bag, so I’m watching this thread with interest!

I’m worried that the medium size Cafe might be too big, because I’m looking for more of a purse that would fit a water bottle and some essentials (not necessarily a jacket). So considering either the small Cafe bag or possibly the Icon bag. The Icon is attractive (to me at least) because all of the compartments are zippered. I’m worried about the security of the Cafe’s main compartment with just the buckled flap as a closure (although I wouldn’t keep my wallet in that part and I use a money belt for deep storage).

Posted by
2252 posts

I have a couple of the small size Cafe bag in different patterns and love them. BUT I don’t use them for travel. I thought about the medium or large size for traveling but felt they were either too big for everyday use when out and about and the medium not big enough for a carryon. The large was just too big for me. When I looked at them, they didn’t have waist straps. Depending on what else yo plan to carry, I think the medium size can carry a lightweight foldable jacket but possibly not a regular size sweatshirt.

Posted by
11435 posts

I have the small café bag that I use for hiking/walking when I need "stuff" along but not a day pack. It easily handles my oversized hard side sunglasses case, a pair of gloves when needed, small first aid kit, phone, pen, keys and other assorted purse stuff. The outside pocket is great for a map or small guidebook/pages from a guidebook. The size keeps me from overstuffing and having it get heavy as heavy purses kill my shoulder. I cannot put a water bottle in it. When I need a bottle, I take a day pack.

Posted by
1259 posts

Yes. Got all three sizes.
The TB Cafè was the end of three decades and about twenty different man bags for me. It was just about perfect. The waist strap is deceptively simple and totally functional if you want the bag to stay on your hip instead of slowly moving to the front as you walk. The medium holds a lot of stuff and the specs will help you estimate if your stuff will fit. The organization slots are great, if you like that sort of thing, and the rear slot pocket easily holds a magazine. The front zipper pocket is secure behind the flap.

Tom Bihn is high quality kit. Your grandchildren will use your Cafè to carry their books to grade school and then to carry their jacket, binoculars, lunch, and passport around Europe.

Posted by
6793 posts

I've had Tom Bihn's Medium Cafe Bag for probably 10 years at least if not more. My daughter has the Small Cafe Bag, which she likes to take just around town, but I love the medium. I've used it as a regular crossbody bag for years, I've taken it on trips, and think it's just about perfect. It can hold a lot but it's not too big. I like it because it's easy to get to my stuff, and I can throw in a lot of quick things without thinking about whether they will fit. And yes, you could stuff a light jacket or light sweater in there. You could maybe fit a lightweight sweatshirt (depending on the size) but that would add a lot of bulk.

The quality is wonderful - as I said, I've had my bag for a long time and it's still in great shape. I would highly recommend their bags. I have never used the waist strap and did not buy one (I believe it's optional).

Posted by
6793 posts

ChinaLake67, you should have sold it. 😊 TB bags have very little depreciation and you can usually sell them for close to what you paid for them or even more depending on the bag and the style. I bought the TriStar a long time ago and rarely used it - didn't really suit me, but sort of forgot about it until I moved and started going through my closets. I wound up selling it on the Facebook TB Buy/Sell page for the same price I had paid for it 6 years before.

Posted by
1501 posts

I have a small cafe bag and a medium cafe bag. I have used the small as an every day bag and I use the medium for travel. The small bag definitely is too small for travel unless you are just looking for a smallish purse. The medium fits a REI 2XL rain jacket folded into its own pocket and a 12 oz Zojirushi water bottle, a journal, pens, wallet, passport and bits and bobs.
It has a volume of 8L. I don't think the bag is big enough to use a waist strap. I do attach a carabiner to the waist strap loops so that I can attach my jacket or my water bottle if I have more to carry. If I have less to carry it flattens.

Posted by
266 posts

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I'm thinking that not having a zippered main compartment would bug me. Something like the Veloce bag might be better.

I do like the waist strap option of the Cafe bag to keep the bag close. I normally use a waist pack at home. Nice to be able to pick up something large from the bottom shelf at the grocery store and put it in the basket or underneath without a cross-body purse swinging in the way.