“We have a full review forthcoming, but after interviewing frequent flyers and researching customer and professional reviews, we like the $280 Tom Bihn Tri-Star for its 1050 denier ballistic nylon exterior, YKK water-repellent zippers, and design touches like an exterior pocket with webbing to hold a water bottle. One Bag One World and The Next Web love it, too. Our travel expert, Rob King, also uses one. He told us, “Tri-Star is the go-to for up to four days on the road.”
#4 on Gene Marks’ 8 Easy Ways to Become an Expert Traveler? Lose the rollerboard and get a TOM BIHN bag:
“Never, ever check luggage. It takes too long to retrieve and costs extra. Adapt, pack less, and buy a Tom Bihn bag. Why? It will fit anywhere, even under a seat when you’re crammed into one of those little regional jets with smaller overhead space. And you can fit the universe inside.”
“When I connected the strap to the stirrups on the sides of the bag, and placed it over my shoulder, it felt so light, I thought ‘Am I actually carrying my laptop’. Well frankly the answer is yes.”
“The build quality was consistent with what I’ve come to expect with Tom Bihn which is to report it was flawless. Tom’s gear is pricey but considering the abuse that most travel gear endures, spending a little extra is well worth the investment if you’re buying kit that will last. And this bag is definitely built to last.”
Western Flyer Review, Part I: The First Week
“While my first impression of the Freudian Slip was comparable to paying for the seat belts and rustcoat on the car, it turned out to be a great way to flex my daily briefcase into a travel bag. It was also unexpectedly handy to use in the office, I can keep the FS, with my documents and tools inside at my desk, while the WF stays out of the way. And when it comes time to take off for vacation, the FS can stay behind and make room for the guayaberas. And a pocket to put my coffee into when I need to free up a hand to carry rolls of blueprints? Genius.”
Western Flyer Review, Part II: The Conference
“Walking from the train, navigating the airport, being the tourist and walking around the city, all were substantially easier to navigate with the straps. On the last day of the conference, when everyone is inevitably hauling their rollerboards around after checking out, I switched to backpack straps to navigate tight spaces between tables. And sitting aside it was unobtrusive.”
“What I really liked about [the Founder's Briefcase] was the ability to leave it standing (it stands well on its own) and zip just the top open to grab my laptop, or iPad — while reserving the option to lay the bag on its side and open it all the way. It’s a nice compromise in that you can easily use the bag as a top-loader (as I do 90% of the time), but it doesn’t bat an eye lash if you want to open it all the way up and lay it flat. This makes it a solid day-to-day option for the traveling person and excellent for neatly packing away your items for a longer journey.”
“This was the most debated category for us, as carry-on has traditionally been treated as ‘maximum legal’ carry-on. The TOM BIHN [Synapse 25] is more of an overnighter than a week away, but it’s every bit a Carry Awards credentialled winner. Excellent fabrics and zips. Flawless construction. An interesting three-dimensional pattern that grows and shrinks without need for compression. And every organizing pocket you could want. Tom Bihn care about making excellent carry, and it totally shows. Oh, and particularly in this pack, we like the black.”
See the Synapse 25 for yourself. And head over to Carryology for more Carry Awards coverage.
“The diminutive Pilot bag isn’t cheap, but if you travel a lot like we do, it makes a great investment. It’s made well of high-tech materials, designed to last a very long time. I’ve never been able to wear out a Tom Bihn bag, no matter how much abuse I pile upon them.
On the plane, you should be able to get away with calling this a “personal” bag, like a purse, so that you can also carry another carry-on bag into the plane with you, which you can store in the overhead compartment while you keep the Pilot below the seat in front of you.
It works great for what it’s designed to do, and it’s a welcome bag to have by your side on those long flights. If you travel far and frequently, you’ll appreciate this bag.”
Eric sent us the following email — thought you all would appreciate it as much as we did.
Tom and Crew,
I kinda had an emotional reaction reading the description of The Guide’s Pack. I have an old REI toploading rucksack that really looks similar, though it has the dreaded black plastic accessory strap holders, which have all failed. I’ve toted that thing for one purpose or another for the better part of 30 years. One of my favorite packs.
Anyway, reading the description of The Guide’s Pack, well, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Tom’s obsessive desire to get the design right really flies off the page. It’s like he took my old REI pack that I love, and made it better, with all the benefits decades of technological improvement.
I don’t know when I’ve ever had such a strong reaction to a product description. I did with this thing though. It’ll take me awhile to come up with the scratch to get it, but get it I will. Can’t wait.
More broadly, thank you for being such a damn great operation. Over the years my wife and I have wound up buying a few different bags from you, all of which have exceeded our expectations. And the fact that we’re buying from a local manufacturer, with local employees really counts for a lot.
Okay, I’m putting the tissues away and gettting back to work. Congratulations on another job very, very well done.
Luke emailed us a review of his Aeronaut and we had to share it with you guys:
I am not usually inclined to write up a review, but had to brag about my new Aeronaut. Just spent three weeks in India, my third time back in three years. This time was planes, trains, taxis, buses, and rickshaws on a 2k mile odyssey from Chennai up to Delhi. Last two trips I took a sturdy wheeled carry-on that awkwardly converted to a backpack. I’m not going to lie, it did serve me well, but this year I challenged myself to find the most painless way to do the trip, and that included researching a new bag. That’s when I found Tom Bihn.
I won’t recap the quality of the bag and it’s remarkable versatility/utility that are touted in the website videos. I do have anecdotal evidence from the field though. I very comfortably packed all I needed for three weeks that ranged from hot and humid to chilly and damp. The bag held up well strapped to the top of a van barreling through the jungle, and wasn’t phased getting knocked around bus stations or stuffed in train cots. The zippers and tightly weaved material kept the contents clean and dry, and I easily lived out of it while it lay open on a hotel chair, hostel shelf, or dorm bed. It was super easy to break down at security checkpoints and was the only bag I’ve ever had that I wasn’t worried about getting to fit in an overhead bin.
I really love this bag, and am glad about my new investment in travel comfort and utility!