Patterns. Voyages. Backcountry and front.

September 2011

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1 (no, you can’t see it yet)

We recently tested the up-and-coming Camera Insert on a trip to Zion and Bryce National Parks. In it, we carried a Canon 7D body, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses, a Small Padded Organizer Pouch with memory cards, and a 3D Clear Organizer Cube containing a filter, battery charger, extra batteries, lens blower/brush, cleaning cloths, cleaning solution, and a remote shutter release cord.

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1
Here’s what we carried inside of the Camera Insert. We aren’t ready to show
you the actual Camera Insert itself — yet.

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1
The optional Tripod Bag will be available for purchase with, or separately from, the Camera Insert.

The Camera Insert fits perfectly inside either compartment of the Brain Bag, turning the Brain Bag into the ultimate laptop plus camera backpack. In addition to the Camera Insert, our Brain Bag fit a 15″ MacBook Pro inside of a Size 4Z Vertical Brain Cell, a Snake Charmer with various chargers, cables, and small accessories, an iPad in a Cache for iPad 2 (Vertical), our Gitzo travel tripod in its own protective sleeve (the sleeve will be an optional accessory for purchase with the Camera Insert and also available separately), a jacket, water bottle, plus the usual wallet, keys, etc. with more room to spare. It was a heavy load, but comfortable enough for several six mile hikes.

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1
The Tripod Bag clips securely to the front of the Brain Bag.

What did we learn after testing the Camera Insert? That it’s close to perfect. Tom wants to use different materials here and there and tweak the padded handles, but otherwise, it will be ready for production as soon as we receive its molded foam parts designed by Tom and produced especially for us. Because the parts are a highly specialized lamination of foam and fabric, it may take up to 8-12 weeks to receive them. We’ll keep you posted; once we know when the parts will arrive at our Seattle factory, we will make the Camera Insert available for pre-order. There’s a chance some will ship before the end of the year, but we’re thinking January or February just to be safe.

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1

The first size of Camera Insert is designed to fit the Brain Bag, Empire Builder, Super Ego, and Ego. It also fits in the middle compartment of the Tri-Star (though it will eat up some of the room of the compartments on either side of it), in the main compartment of the ID (it’s a tight fit, but it works as long as the Camera Insert isn’t overstuffed), and the main compartment of the Aeronaut.

Next Week: The Camera Insert Update: Part 2, where we take some hikes with the Camera Insert inside of the Brain Bag. You’ll see some beautiful photos that Darcy took in the Zion and Bryce Canyon backcountry, and you’ll get some straight talk from me about carrying 30+ pounds (14 kgs) of camera gear and more in a Brain Bag for two six mile (10 kilometers) hikes in high-desert sun and wind. — Tom

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1
Being able to carry our camera gear comfortably, safely and securely encouraged us to take more photos of our trip.

The Camera Insert Update: Part 1
Stay tuned for more next week.


In stock: Ego, Large Cafe, Co-Pilot, Ristretto for 11″ MacBook Air, Tri-Star

As usual, our Seattle factory is making more perfect bags faster than we even expected. (Thanks, Janine, for the laugh.) Here’s what’s newly in-stock this week:

Ego, all colors

Large Cafe bag, all colors

Ristretto for 11″ MacBook Air, all colors

Tri-Star, all colors

Co-Pilot, all colors

In stock: Ego, Large Cafe, Co-Pilot, Ristretto for 11
Above: the Co-Pilot in new color Navy/Solar.


kjole: First Trip with my Western Flyer

“It was just an overnighter for work, so I figured it was a good tryout for the small Western Flyer. I packed my clothes in a large packing cube in the non-divided side. In the other side of the bag I kept the divider zipped into the two compartments. In one, I had a Clear Quarter Packing Cube with non-liquid toiletries on one side and miscellaneous stuff on the other (cords, eye mask, earplugs, etc). On top of that I put my 3D Clear Organizer Cube with liquids. On the compartment I put a pair of shoes and next to them, my iPod, inflatable lumbar pillow and a Ziploc of snacks. In the large zip pocket I had my Kindle, a pen/pencil size Clear Organizer Pouch with lipstick, nail file, pen. In the small zip pocket I put my wallet, sunglasses and cell phone so I didn’t need to carry a separate purse.

The best part about the Western Flyer is that it fits under the airplane seat! When everyone was jockeying for position to make sure they could get a space in the overheads, I was stress free, knowing I would not be separated from my stuff. ”

Read the full post by kjole and a very helpful, informative response by flitcraft in the TOM BIHN Forums.


Kellie’s Photos: My new Swift in action…

Kellie posted these great photos of her new Swift on Ravelry (you’ll need a Ravelry account to see them there; if you don’t have an account, you can click Read More to see the photos here on our blog.)

Kellie says:
“okay! have finally got around to taking some shots of my Kiwi/Black Swift and the accessories I got with her. After travelling with her on a flight to Wellington on Friday I am even more in love with this bag. I am totally using this bag as my work bag. I have a professional managerial job but fortunately I am known for my love of colour (and bags and knitting!) so I can get away with pretty much anything ;o)”

Kellie's Photos: My new Swift in action...


guydickins: Tri Star – review and thoughts compared to the Aeronaut

“My first ‘proper’ post, so thought I’d do a review of my just purchased Tri-Star and compare it with my much loved Aeronaut.

I live and travel in the UK/EU, and I’ve been a Tom Bihn customer since late 2001 – first purchase was a Brain Bag (donated to a colleague), an Empire Builder (sold on, as I move to smaller and smaller computers), several Brain Cells (why oh why no 11″ Air Brain Cell?), an Aeronaut, and now, the latest, a Tri-Star.

I’ve travelled a lot with my bags – especially the Aeronaut, and I thought I’d try and contribute a bit to the fantastic reviews and resources that have helped me in the past.”

Read the full comparison review by guydickins in the Forums.

guydickins: Tri Star - review and thoughts compared to the Aeronaut


papids2000: The Aeronauts and Smart Alec Travel to the Philippines

“Just got back from a trip to the Philippines with the Aeronaut and the Smart Alec as our only bags
we took along. I was actually able to stow the Smart Alec in the Aeronaut I carried so we only had to carry one bag through security. This was much more relaxed and the bags still fit in all the
overhead bins except on one of the Philippine domestic flights.”

Read the full post by papids2000 in the TOM BIHN Forums.

papids2000: The Aeronauts and Smart Alec Travel to the Philippines


teacherman: Aeronauts packed to the brim (photos, packing lists)

In stock: RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Shop Bag, Packing Cubes, +more

Thanks to our awesome Seattle factory crew, the following bags are just in and ready to ship within one business day:

Empire Builder, all colors
RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, all colors
Shop Bag, all colors
Packing Cubes, all sizes
Medium Cafe bag, all colors
Smart Alec, all colors
Size 6X Horizontal Brain Cell
Tri-Star in Black/Steel and Steel/Solar (other out of stock colors will ship soon)


You Will Have To Read This: Aeronaut, Co-Pilot Review

You Will Have To Read This: Aeronaut, Co-Pilot Review

“I’d like to thank Tom Bihn for building the best bags I’ve ever used. I’d also like to say that they’ve utterly ruined all other bags for me. Every time I use any other bags, they feel cheap and unworthy of use. I’m going to have to replace my backpack with a Tom Bihn Synapse backpack, I need to replace my iPad and Kindle sleeves, I’m going to have to buy a new awesome 3D Clear Organizer Cube to replace my flimsy liquids bag that I’d been using for security checks, and my messenger bag I’ve been using for work is going to have to be replaced by an Empire Builder If you’re a serious bag enthusiast (those people exist, right?) then you have to check out Tom Bihn’s offerings.”
Read the full review.

You Will Have To Read This: Aeronaut, Co-Pilot Review