The Smart Alec is one tough kit

“I thought I’d drop you a line to tell you how impressed I’ve been with my Smart Alec, and what a tough bit of kit it proved to be.

I have ridden my motorbike to work and back, every day, no matter what the weather. My Smart Alec went with with me on every journey, safely carrying my laptop and other bits and pieces. Last year I was involved in an accident, in which I bounced down the road at around 50mph. My motorcycle was a wreck. I broke both legs and smashed one arm to bits. But….. my backpack and contents survived with just a little scuffing as you can see in the attached photo. I think a few “battle scars” only add to its appeal!

So it was really no contest what make of bag I chose to protect my new tablet computer – I’ve just received my Ristretto and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

Many, many thanks.”

– Ian

The TOM BIHN Smart Alec backpack is one tough kit

Note: Ian’s Smart Alec probably looks different to you because it’s the original version. The updated Smart Alecsee here — has the distinctive reflective and removable bungee cord.

What fits in each size of Ristretto

Ristretto for 13″ MacBook Air or MacBook Pro fits:

TOM BIHN Ristretto for 13" MacBook Air or MacBook Pro vertical messenger bag fits....
Plus a water bottle.

Ristretto for 11″ MacBook Air fits:

TOM BIHN Ristretto for iPad or iPad 2 vertical messenger bag fits....

Ristretto for iPad or iPad 2 fits:

TOM BIHN Ristretto for 11

In stock: 4Z Vertical Brain Cell, Synapse, Smart Alec, Side Effect

Previously on backorder and now shipping within one business day are the:

Size 4Z Vertical Brain Cell
Smart Alec
Side Effect
Yarn Stuff Sacks in Ultraviolet
Size 2M Horizontal Brain Cell

And by the end of the week, the Brain Bag will be in-stock in all colors.

Introducing the updated Ristretto

The Ristretto is a vertical messenger bag available in three sizes designed specifically to fit the iPad or iPad 2, 11″ MacBook Air or 13″ MacBook Air or 13″ MacBook Pro and a minimum amount of accoutrements (power supply, pen, notebook, wallet, phone, magazine). It’s great for realizing the dream of a mobile office: work at the coffee house, on the light rail, at the airport or on the plane.

Tom has updated the design of the Ristretto in three key ways:

Tom makes three updates to the design of the Ristetto

The Ristretto is now made with an exterior U.S. 1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon and an interior lining of our ultralight Dyneema/nylon rip-stop fabric from Japan. Both fabrics are made specifically for us. Previous, the Ristretto was made with an exterior of 1000d Cordura® and an interior of 500d Cordura®. For the time being, we will continue to offer one Cordura® color combination — Olive/Cayenne — in all three sizes of Ristretto. Why the switch in fabrics? Our 1050d ballistic nylon has a stiffer hand and a rich weave and we like the way it reflects light. We work with our fabric mills to get this fabric just the way we want it. Our Japanese ultralight Dyneema/nylon fabric saves weight and is as tough as nails. And it’s quite handsome to boot.

Tom updates the design of the Ristretto for iPad, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

A curved, #8 YKK Uretek® splash-proof zipper on the front compartment (under the flap) replaces both the zippered front pocket and open-top pouch in the previous version. Inside of this front compartment is an organizer with pockets for pens, iPhone and passport or wallet. There’s also plenty of room inside this pouch for your power supply, phone charger, and sunglasses.

Tom updates the design of the Ristretto

The back (or top) grab handle, previously a webbing loop, is now a 1050d ballistic nylon handle padded with Poron® foam. Poron® is our foam of choice for handles because it simply doesn’t break down, even after decades of use.

Behind the scenes, Tom’s updates included several rounds of new patterns and prototypes constructed by Tom, Lisa, and Fong in our Seattle factory. Using 1050d ballistic nylon as the exterior fabric means the Ristretto takes a little longer to sew, but our expert crew is up to the task.

And because of the change in fabrics, new color combinations are available in the Ristretto: Black/Steel, Steel/Iberian, Forest/Steel, Navy/Solar, Cardinal/Steel (Ristretto for iPad or iPad 2 only), and Olive/Cayenne (Cordura®).

See the: Ristretto for iPad or iPad 2, Ristretto for 11″ MacBook Air, and Ristretto for 13″ MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. All three sizes are available for pre-order and ship by early-late April. Note: the Original Style Ristretto is still available in some sizes and colors.

One Bag, One World: New Aeronaut Review

One Bag, One World updated review of the Aeronaut

“I own eight carry-on bags. (While that seems like a lot, when you run a website like this one, lots of “light travel” products seem to arrive at my door.)

But this will soon change. At least half of those bags will be sold. Why bother keeping them to collect dust? With the Aeronaut, I can’t imagine too many scenarios when I will need anything else.”

Read the full review at One Bag, One World.

One Bag, One World updated review of the Aeronaut

Every Day Commentary reviews the Cadet

Every Day Commentary on the TOM BIHN Cadet

“The Cadet is a small bag. A very small bag. You need to know that. If you can accept the size, then be prepared. The design is like nothing else. I have seen and used about a dozen different styles of bags and briefcases (what do you think lawyers talk about?). There is nothing, not even my uber pricey ____, as well laid out and as well designed.”

Read the full review at Every Day Commentary.

Every Day Commentary review of the TOM BIHN Cadet briefcase

More from Beers & Beans: Aeronaut review and photos

Beers & Beans reviews the TOM BIHN Aeronaut maximum carry-on travel bag

“Whether you are embarking on a weekend trip to the coast or a multi-month, overseas journey, TOM BIHN’s Tri-Star and Aeronaut are more than capable of handling all of your luggage needs. Intuitively designed with impeccable craftsmanship the Tri-Star and Aeronaut are instant classics. Manufactured in the United States, Seattle to be exact, TOM BIHN’s stylishly hip collection of travel bags make packing fun again.”

Read the full review (with many more great photos) at Beers & Beans.

Beers & Beans reviews the TOM BIHN Aeronaut maximum carry-on travel bag

Beers & Beans: Straight Outta Seattle @TOMBIHN Tri-Star Review

Beers & Beans review of the TOM BIHN Tri-Star travel bag

We’re sharing with you an excerpt from the Beers & Beans review of the Tri-Star. Tomorrow, we’ll post an excerpt from their review of the Aeronaut. If you want to read both reviews now, head over to the Beers & Beans site (you’ll probably want to do that anyway because it’s a great travel blog, with, as you’ll see if you haven’t already, great writing and great photos.)

Freeing the bag from its cardboard shipping cage, I held midnight blue luggage into the air as if it were a newborn cub and I was its proud father.

“My god, this is a piece of work,” I thought to myself, just then realizing Beth had the same gleam in her eye too.

The bag was sleek, cool and had more pockets than a 1980s Michael Jackson jacket. Immediately, I had visions of being that minimalist traveler you see strolling through the airport with only a carry on. Confident, light and happy, they step on and off the plane with ease, slipping their luggage easily into and out of overhead bins.

I wanted to be light and airy too. Even more so, I wanted to be light and airy in Europe. And that’s when it hit me. “By George,” I exclaimed silently, “could I take this bag on our upcoming Hazy Shade of Autumn Tour?”

Unzipping the bag, I got my answer: ‘Yes!’

Read the full review at Beers & Beans

 Beers & Beans review of the TOM BIHN Tri-Star travel bag

Beers & Beans review of the TOM BIHN Tri-Star travel bag

Dog Jaunt reviews the Citizen Canine

Dog Jaunt Reviews the Citizen Canine

“The Tom Bihn products we own are beautifully designed and very well made. They wear like iron. They’re also costly, but given their advantages, that’s been a downside I can accept. So it is with the Citizen Canine.”

Read the full review at Dog Jaunt.

Dog Jaunt Reviews the TOM BIHN Citizen Canine

Photos, Packing List: Three-week trip with an Aeronaut

Three-week trip with an Aeronaut

Posted by Badger in the TOM BIHN Forums. Read the full thread.

Mrs B and I are taking off tomorrow for our three-week trip to Europe, hard core one-bag style.

Here’s my list:

To wear on the plane: shirt, pants, etc., and Vivobarefoot Neos with the insoles removed for extra ground feel. I’m wearing both of my jackets (fleece and rain) as well. In pockets: headphones, iPhone, pen, notebook, hemp organizer wallet, gum, lip balm, sunglasses. Hat, gloves, and scarf.

Clothes: jeans, cashmere sweater, merino sweater, 1 technical T-shirt, 2 regular T-shirts, hoody, gym shorts to wear around the rental apartment. 2 pairs of chonies and socks.

Electronics: Olympus PEN E-PL2 with a 20mm f1.7 aspherical lens (in a Side Effect). iPad in cache. A couple of extra SD cards and an iPad SD card reader. Plug converter, iPad charger, and PPU clip for charging the camera battery (thanks for the recommendation, FrankII). All the chargers and stuff will be in my FOT pouch.

Toiletries: contact cleaner (so many little bottles), toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturiser, eye drops, blister stick, band-aids, kleenex, advil, deodorant. Dr. Bronner’s soap for hand washing.

Etc: a few teabags, a little bag of nuts, Klean Kanteen, rosary, sink stopper, reusable grocery bag. I’m also pleased that I fit in my Medium Café Bag, empty, to use as an EDC upon our arrival.

The whole bag weighs 12.8 pounds, which is great because my clothes aren’t particularly small (something to take care of in 2012, I guess).

[Read more...]