“This is the first review in my “What I carry” series. It is appropriate that the Tom Bihn Tri-Star is the first travel accessory I review, because the Tri-Star is my go-to bag for traveling. It is an extremely versatile carry-on bag, with a tremendous amount of room and great organization. The Tri-Star allows me to focus on everything other than my baggage when I travel.”
“I travel for a living. I like having Tri-Star with all my valuable tech stuff at my side. And my side won’t hurt as much now that it’s a bit lighter. And yes, when I lift the old and new Tri-Stars by themselves, I can tell the difference. It’s quite noticeable in fact.”
“The Tom Bihn Cadet ($170) is closer to being a ruggedized laptop briefcase, outfitted with extra space. The 11-inch Cadet feels tiny, yet it’s able to just swallow up a 13-inch MacBook Air even though Tom Bihn’s site doesn’t even claim it can. A padded inner sleeve clips into the case for extra security, and two zippered outer pockets hold cables, loose bits of gear, and your phone. Many laptop briefcases skimp on extra pockets as well, but the Cadet is perfect for carrying on a plane or taking away for a weekend…or even daily commuting.”
“The Upper Modular Pocket is made from the same materials as the Smart Alec – the exterior is U.S. high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon and the pocket lining is 200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric. The zipper is #8 YKK Aquaguard®, which gives the pocket the same water repellency as the Smart Alec – something I rarely see in an admin pouch. The quality is flawless. The stitching is laser straight with no loose threads and everything is reinforced in the right areas.”
You’re leaving the country for a year. What do you pack?
It took me 6 months to finish answering this question. Not only did people say I was crazy when I told them I’d be trying to do it with a 32 liter bag, they said it wasn’t possible. I ended up leaving the country with a 26 liter backpack [the Smart Alec].
Traveling as light as possible was the driving factor because of the freedom it allows (and partially just to see if I could do it). When a 26 L backpack is all I have:
There’s no need to check baggage
I look less like a tourist
I have higher mobility
I have lower dependency on having to find a spot to store/lockup my bag
Read the full post, complete with a detailed packing list, over at The Quest for Awesome.
“The lastest Tom Bihn Ristretto Bag for iPad is an evolutionary step in an already terrific bag. I’m not used to the zipper for the front accessory compartment, but it’s a whole lot more secure now. I don’t suggest you get hit by a car to test out the durability of Tom Bihn bags. I’ve done that for you already. You’re welcome.”
“As a gear tester, there are those rare moments when you take something out of the box and you know instantly that you have something in hand that is going to be difficult to review because you’re not sure that words and pictures can do it justice. My unboxing of the Tom Bihn Smart Alec was one of those moments. The quality of materials and attention to detail is evident. Everything just feels better, which is strange because I’ve reviewed bags that on paper are constructed with many of the same raw materials.”