Backcountry Treks Video Review of the Brain Bag

Tom Bihn Brain Bag Backpack [Review] from Justin Lukasavige on Vimeo.

More:
Backcountry Treks Video Review of the Synapse
Backcountry Treks Video: Best Medium Lightweight Pack
The Synapse
The Brain Bag

Wasabi and Iberian: So Good They’re Gone

TOM BIHN Travel Stuff Sacks in Iberian and Wasabi
Travel Stuff Sacks in Iberian and Wasabi.

Background for those of you new to us: we’re fans of color, variety, and high quality fabrics. That means our fabrics are the best out there and most of them are custom-produced especially for us in colors we design in-house. For a company of our (pretty small) size, we offer a wide variety of colors and custom-produced fabrics: it’s more fun for us and more fun for you that way. One of the fabrics most associated with our bags is our Dyneema/nylon ultralight rip-stop fabric, made for us in Japan. Our Dyneema/nylon fabric is usually made and offered in four colors at any given time. Recently, Solar, a bright yellow, was replaced with Wasabi, a slightly less bright yellow green. Wasabi is a classic TOM BIHN color and one we’ve used as a lining fabric in various bags for over ten years. We figured Wasabi would be popular as a Dyneema/nylon color, but we didn’t realize just how popular it would be…

You might have noticed many new color combinations up for pre-order are lined in Steel or Ultraviolet (iPad, 11″, and 13″ Ristretto in Steel/Steel or Aubergine/Steel, Western Flyer in Aubergine/Steel, Co-Pilot in Steel/Steel) and not Wasabi or Iberian. Don’t worry: we’re not giving up on those two colors. Here’s what’s going on: Wasabi and Iberian have been so much in demand that they’re temporarily gone. The geniuses we work with in Japan to produce Wasabi and Iberian Dyneema/nylon are at work on the next batches of these fabrics but it will likely be a couple of months before we receive them. And once the fabric is received, our Seattle factory crew will begin work on the next batches of Wasabi and Iberian lined bags, but getting from cut fabric to finished bags takes time. That means we should be seeing more bags in Iberian and Wasabi sometime January – March 2013.

And here’s a shout-out for Steel and Ultraviolet. Some folks worry that Steel might be too dark as a lining color. We understand the concern, and though we think it’s definitely subjective, we don’t find the Steel to be too dark. First: we never lined our bags with black fabric. In fact, we specifically chose the shade and lightness of grey known as Steel (yes, we even choose our own grey) because it’s light enough to serve as a lining fabric, yet strong enough to hold its own as a
conservative inner or outer color. Ultraviolet separates those of us who are fans of purple and those who aren’t: if you do like purple, chances are you’ll appreciate Ultraviolet, as it pairs well with just about every other color we offer.

If you’ve been thinking of ordering bags made out of, or lined with, Wasabi or Iberian Dyneema for the holidays or at least before the end of the year, we’d recommend ordering now. Below is a partial list of the bags still available in Wasabi and Iberian. When they’re gone, they won’t be back until early 2013.

Travel Stuff Sacks
Yarn Stuff Sacks
Travel Tray
Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut)
Aeronaut
Tri-Star
Clear Quarter Packing Cube
Shop Bag
Dyneema/nylon Organizer Pouches

Travel Stuff Sacks in Steel and Ultraviolet
Travel Stuff Sacks in Steel and Ultraviolet, the two colors we will have available through the end of the year.

moriond on the 20% lighter Aeronaut and Tri-Star

moriond on our new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop fabric and the resulting 20% lighter Aeronaut and Tri-Star:

“Another way to put this is that if you’re flying on a European airline like Lufthansa or SAS that has an 8 kg weight limit for carry-on luggage, or an Asian airline like ANA where the weight limit is 7 kg, getting the weight of your bag down to just a hair over 1 kg (e.g., 400d Dyneema Aeronaut) can make a big difference. I think it’s just a question of understanding the trade-offs. These may not replace your Tri-Star, Aeronaut, or Western Flyer in Ballistic nylon, but for some folks this provides an important option. See, also, this USA Today article on carry-on luggage weight limits.”

Read the full thread — Introducing 400d Dyneema/nylon in Nordic and Steel — in the Forums.

The Aeronaut in our  new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop fabric
The Aeronaut in Nordic 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon.

Photo: Aeronaut in Tasmania

TOM BIHN Aeronaut in Tasmania

Thanks to Brett Charlton for the photo.

See also:
The Aeronaut
More customer photos

20% lighter travel bags

The numbers are in: our Aeronaut and Tri-Star travel bags in 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon are 20% lighter than the same bags made out of our U.S. 1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon.

Weights:

Aeronaut in 1050d: 3 lb 0 oz / 1360 grams
Aeronaut in 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon: 2 lb 6 oz / 1075 grams

Bottom line: the 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon Aeronaut saves 10 oz / 285 grams in weight.

Tri-Star in 1050d: 3 lb 6 oz / 1550 grams
Tri-Star in 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon: 2 lb 12 oz / 1230 grams

Bottom line: the 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon Tri-Star saves 10 oz / 285 grams in weight.

Perspective: 10 oz / 285 grams = the weight of a down jacket in a Travel Stuff Sack, a light waterproof shell jacket, or an Icebreaker hooded sweater.

On airlines that impose a weight limit for carry-on luggage, such as Hawaiian Airlines, Ryanair, Easyjet, and Flybe, this savings in weight is a difference that can truly make a difference.

Learn more about our 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon.

It must be noted that while our new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is a very durable fabric, there is a compromise in choosing it over 1050 ballistic or Cordura® nylon: your bag will be lighter, but it won’t stand up to the all-out abuse these heavier fabrics can handle. You will need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat a bag made from 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. It’s a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it’s a compromise to consider.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut: a 20% lighter travel bag
The Aeronaut in Steel 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon.

But She’s a Girl: Mighty Tri-Star

“You don’t need to use the packing cubes, but I thought that as I was spending a fortune to import the bag, I might as well get a set of those while I was at it. I haven’t used them to capacity yet, but they are very useful for segregating and organising your gear and also making sure that you don’t over-pack. Since the packing cubes are sized carefully, you know that if your stuff fits in the packing cube, it will fit in the bag. This sounds trivial, but is actually quite reassuring for someone like me who has had some stressful moments in the morning before a flight anxiously sitting on a suitcase lid to wrestle the thing closed.”

Read the full post @ but she’s a girl… See also: the Tri-Star and Packing Cubes

but she's a girl on the mighty TOM BIHN tri-star

Introducing 400d Dyneema®/nylon

Dyneema®/nylon ripstop: the ultimate fabric for making tough, ultralight travel bags

TOM BIHN Synapse backpack in Steel 400d Dyneema/nylonThe Synapse in our new Steel 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop.

When Tom was first introduced to the 200d Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric we now use extensively as a lining fabric, he began requesting a beefier version, along the lines of a 400 denier weight. While the 200d weight is a surprisingly tough fabric, Tom also wanted something even more durable, something that would make an outstanding exterior fabric. Tom wanted a fabric that would allow us to make ultralight carry-on luggage, daypacks, and more: a fabric that would offer
significant weight savings yet still have great tear strength and abrasion resistance.

After a few years of encouragement, the mill in Japan relented, and we received samples and began testing this new fabric: 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. Like the 200d Dyneema®/nylon, its great tear strength and surprising abrasion resistance comes from the grid of white Dyneema® yarns woven approximately every .25″ / 6 mm parallel to both the X and Y axes (the weft and warp), forming the distinctive “ripstop” pattern (the Dyneema® yarns don’t accept dye and hence remain their natural white color). The Dyneema® yarns in the new fabric are twice the weight and hence much stronger than the original 200d fabric.

TOM BIHN Synapse backpack
Synapse in our new Nordic 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop.

In both fabrics, the base fabric is nylon (the nylon accepts dye and hence is what you’ll see as the ground color). The nylon yarns in the new fabric are twice the weight as well (420 denier as opposed to 200 denier) and will offer just that much more durability. Over-all, the new 400 weight fabric is almost 50% heavier than the 200d weight. Additionally, the new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is a plain weave and thus lacks the fancy diamond pattern of the 200d; we feel this makes for a more straightforward, subtle, and visually appealing exterior fabric.

TOM BIHN Tri-Star in 400d Dyneema/nylon
Tri-Star in Steel 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop.

Like our 200d Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric, the new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is not a textured fabric: it will slide in and out of the overhead compartment as smoothly as our 1050 ballistic bags, and it won’t collect pet fur and other debris like Cordura® will.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut in 400d Dyneema/nylon ultralight ripstop fabric
Aeronaut in Nordic 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut in Nordic/Steel Dyneema
Aeronaut in Nordic 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. This photo shows the bag empty and flattened.

It must be noted that while our new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is a very durable fabric, there is a compromise in choosing it over 1050 ballistic or Cordura® nylon: your bag will be lighter, but it won’t stand up to the all-out abuse these heavier fabrics can handle. You will need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat a bag made from 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. It’s a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it’s a compromise to consider.

Ready to ship in 400d Dyneema/nylon:
Swift (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel)

Shipping soon in 400d Dyneema/nylon:
Synapse (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel) (Ships by mid-November)

Available for pre-order in 400d Dyneema/nylon:
Aeronaut (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel)
Tri-Star (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel)
Western Flyer, Backpack Straps (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel)
Western Flyer, Rolling Luggage Handle Pocket (Steel/Steel)
Co-Pilot (Nordic/Steel and Steel/Steel)

TOM BIHN Swift in 400d Dyneema/nylon, Steel
The Swift in Steel Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop.

papids2000: Westerns Flyers Packed and Ready to Go

Western Flyers Packed and Ready to Go
Posted by papids2000 in the TOM BIHN Forums

“We are taking a 12 day tour of Europe starting 1st week in October. We will be traveling light so we are only taking the Western Flyers plus the backpack packing and shoulder cubes as daypacks. The only electronic devices we will be taking are the Iphones. Each of us will have 4 sets of clothes and 1 extra pair of shoes. Also will have an outer fleece jacket since it could be pretty cool by then. Of course Kiya wants to go also but she still did not get her passport.”

The Westerns Flyers Packed and Ready to Go

And an update:
“Wanted to follow up on our 12 day trip to Netherlands and Germany. Just took the two Western Flyers and it was so easy to move around on the trains. These bags our now our favorite for travelling light and efficient but also not looking like a backpacker. We also had the shoulder packing cube for which holds more than enough fo day trips in the city.”

The Westerns Flyers Packed and Ready to Go

Read the full post. See also: Western Flyer, Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

ProfHacker: Smart Alec is an Ideal Commuter’s Backpack

ProfHacker: TOM BIHN Smart Alec backpack is ideal

“Finally—but perhaps most importantly—the Smart Alec is incredibly comfortable. The straps sit easily on my shoulders, and the (removable) sternum strap helps me keep the bag positioned in just the right place on my back. I removed the waist straps, but they might be useful for some users. In short, I’ve hiked all over with this bag quite full, and I’ve never felt burdened.”

Read the full review @ ProfHacker. See also: the Smart Alec

In stock: Knitty 10th Anniversary Swift in Aubergine/Steel/Ultraviolet

The Knitty 10th Anniversary Swift in Aubergine/Steel/Wasabi-Lined-Pockets quickly sold out. We’re making more, but they won’t ship until mid-January.

Because a) that’s a long time to wait and b) you sent requests for this, we came out with a second color combination that’s in-stock and ready to ship now: Aubergine/Steel/Ultraviolet-Lined-Pockets

Knitty 10th Anniversary Swift by TOM BIHN