phillyfan: My Top 5 Tom Bihn Bags

“Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to use many of the Tom Bihn bags. Without question, these bags are the most well made bags on the market and, when I am shopping for a bag, I have gotten to the point where I don’t even look anywhere else.”

And:

“Having owned or used these bags, I have made a “Top 5” list. I know everyone that uses these bags may have a different list, but when I first started shopping at Tom Bihn, I think this may have been helpful. First, I’ll give you a few details about myself that should shed some light on my choices. I am a working professional that travels occasionally for work (about 3 times per year). I do bring a bag to work each day that either contains my tablet or labtop. I often have multiple journals with me as well. I also travel with my family (2 children and wife) about 6-7 times per year. Of those 6-7 trips, about 4 are for long weekends with extended family. The remaining 2-3 trips are typically 1-2 weeks in duration.

Now to my Top 5…”

And since phillyfan’s original post, 10+ other forum members have posted their own lists. Read about everyone’s Top 5 TOM BIHN bags.

Top 5 TOM BIHN bagsAbove: @Ik_Bennett ‘s Aeronaut.

The Best Bags in the World: Brian Krank’s Synapse 25 Review

 

The Best Bags in the World: Brian Krank's Synapse 25 Review

“This backpack is magical, you can just keep putting things into it and it never seems to fill up. All of the pockets are perfectly planned out and none of them interfere with one another. The bag is super comfortable to wear, and it also has some of the nicest straps I’ve seen on a backpack.”

Read the entire review at his spouse’s blog, MyFeministBriefs. See also: the Synapse 25.

iPads in Higher Education on the Ristretto

“I’ve had the bag for three weeks and I’ve got to say, it is a perfect bag to grab and go on a daily basis. It’s going to hold everything I need to help professors get up to speed using Mobile Learning, and my everyday back and forth to work.”

Read the entire review at iPads in Higher Education. See also: the Ristretto.

iPads in Higher Education on the TOM BIHN Ristretto

Loaded Pocketz reviews the Packing Cube Backpack

“I normally take a day pack in addition to my carry-on when I travel so that I can use it for EDC once I reach my destination, but I was determined to keep things simple this time. Luckily, one of my favorite bag companies had just the solution. The Tom Bihn Packing Cube Backpack pulls double duty. In transit, as the name suggests, it’s a large packing cube. Once unpacked, it converts into an 18 Liter, 1,100 cubic inch backpack made out of tough 200 denier Dyneema® nylon that weighs only 9 ounces.”

Read the full review at Loaded Pocketz.

Loaded Pocketz reviews the TOM BIHN Packing Cube Backpack

Does the Aeronaut fit overhead on regional jets?

Excerpts from the “Aeronaut on regional jets” thread posted in our Forums:

travls: “I mostly fly United and have now successfully and easy fit my loaded Aeronaut into the overhead bins on all versions of their Canadair 700 and 200′s. The overheads are really small and to look at it you might not think it would work, but even with a full bag there’s been no problem.”

gmich: “I second this. On at least four occasions in the past several months I’ve been on a regional jet and have been able to fit my full Aeronaut in the tight overhead bin each time. Once I was the last person on the plane and watched as two other passengers tried to fit their carry-on in the only remaining bin spot and couldn’t do it — they both had to go tag their bags. But my Aeronaut slid right in.”

BJ Nemeth: “I only fly on regional jets about twice a year, but my Aeronaut has fit in the overhead bin every time. Meanwhile, *most* of the other passengers are forced to check their carry-on bags at the gate.”

nukediver: “I just flew round-trip to Nashville two weeks back on Embraer ERJ-145s and was literally the only person who didn’t gate check a bag. I had plenty of room in the overhead for my Aeronaut and plenty of room at my feet for my Co-Pilot. Granted, my Aeronaut was about half-full (can you say “time for a Tri-Star!”?) – I had my Co-Pilot in it until I got on the plane. Here’s a couple of blurry (sorry) pics I snapped while the other passengers were staring at me.”

The Aeronaut fits on regional jets - nukediver

Releaux: “I’ll throw another bag experience into this thread. The Brain Bag fits quite easily into the Embraer and Canadair United jets. On the CRJs, I have had to turn it sideways, but it fits “end-in” on the Embraer’s.”

dgarbutt: “Echoing the same sentiments here. I managed to fit my packed Aeronaut on a UA CRJ 200 in the overhead while many had to gate check their bag.”

Paul56: “My July flight experience with the Aeronaut on Delta… CRJ200 the bag fits fine in the overhead bins on a length orientation. If the bag is overstuffed it may be a squeeze. A319 the bag slides into the overhead bin on a width orientation very nicely leaving plenty of space in the bin.”

Mason Drumm’s Co-Pilot Review

Mason's TOM BIHN Co-Pilot review

“In short, I love this bag. As desired, it has enough compartments and organization options for me to always know where somethings at, and it is small enough for me to throw over my shoulder and carry along in any situation.

Aesthetically, it’s a very versatile bag. Being an English teacher at an elementary school, most of the time (in the summer season at least) I’m in slacks and a polo. The Co-Pilot has no problem fitting in.

When I need to be more dressed up and ready for a meeting at my City’s Board of Education… fine. The Co-Pilot has an appearance that works well with a suit and tie that doesn’t try and draw attention to itself.”

Read the entire review by Mason Drumm. See also: the Co-Pilot.

Nli: Guardian Light Strap Mount version review

“I love all of my TB products but have really found useful the strap-mounted version of the Guardian DF Light.”

I have one light attached to the closure strap on my hemp Swift. Hanging most of the time as shown, it serves as a safety light. When flipped over inside it’s really useful to find contents lost in the depths of the bag.”

Little Swift with the Guardian Light

The Guardian DF light with strap-mount base also attaches nicely and securely to the waist strap attachment points at one end of the SE [Side Effect] and is readily available when needed. I have not checked to see it the light will fit with the waist strap attached as I use the SE with the wrist strap.”

Side Effect with the Guardian Light

Read the full post by Nli in the Forums.

We get high marks from seasoned traveler Bill Kizorek

Bill with his TOM BIHN Packing Cube Backpack in Nepal

Bill — CEO of Two Parrot Productions, expert traveler (150 countries and counting), and all-around awesome guy — sent us this review of the bags he took with him on his most recent trip.

“Dear Tom Bihn,

Just got back from an international journey with six legs–USA-Japan-Thailand-Nepal-Thailand-USA. The necessitated that we travel as light as possible because we had to haul video equipment up and down mountain-sides in Katmandu, as well as place in over-head bins on six different aircraft. We were on a quest to create documentary films for IPAS and TEWA–two non-profits that took special care of women in Nepal.

Your collection of bags was incredibly functional, light, and durable. Along with the Brain Bag, Tri-Star, Packing Cube Backpack and other bigger pieces, we also took with us the cases you make to hold passports, money, receipts, cords, computer hard drives, headphones, clothing, batteries, food, and a variety of other essentials. I confess that I went overboard in ordering from your cool website, but I did not regret that I bought ten assorted pieces of your line.

I was amazed that the plastic front on the document bag did not scratch, and all of the pieces looked brand new when I got home–in spite of the battering they took along the way.

Job well done.”
– Bill Kizorek, CEO, Two Parrot Productions

Bill with his TOM BIHN Tri-Star carry-on

Brain Bag and Tri-Star overhead

How to sleep (well) on a plane

In the Forums, dwright17 asked: “Does anyone have any tips for sleeping on the plane?

Here’s excerpts of just a few of the responses:

tCook: “I like the Bucky eye mask that comes with ear plugs – the padded area below the eye blocks out a lot of light and feels comfortable to me. I listen to music and use the Bose QuietComfort 15 or current number – the around-ear fit is better (for me) than any on- or in-ear noise canceling headphones I tried.”

GriffCouch: “EarPeace plugs block noise, but allow me to have a conversation without shouting at the other person. I discovered them after my most recent international flight, but I wish I had had them then. They have been great for me on multiple domestic flights.”

Badger: “I sometimes use a white noise app, but I generally listen to music. I almost always wear a hoody on the plane. I just pull it over my head and pass out. Sometimes if I take a red-eye I pop a mini bottle or two of whiskey in my 311 bag to consume after we’ve reached cruising altitude. Those are always helpful.”

jea: “I bought a pair of really lightweight, black cotton warm up pants at H&M. Cost about $12 and roll up to/weigh almost nothing. On an overnight flight or transatlantic I’ll have these in my Synapse and change into them prior to sleep.”

Read more tips (or post your own) in the Forums.

“I’ve had my Empire Builder for almost four years now.”

John included this note with his order for a Brain Cell:

“I’ve had my Empire Builder for almost four years now. In that time it’s travelled in the back of pickup trucks to Haitian refugee camps in the Dominican Republic, accompanied me on flights all over the eastern United States, spent nights inside (and outside) of tents, been carried to and from my office every day, and recently it’s been a source of great fascination for my two year-old son. Amazingly, it has yet to be damaged – or even show any significant wear and tear — despite almost always being loaded with far more mass and weight than I suspect you ever had in mind. I also continue to get compliments on how great the bag looks. I’m thrilled to be adding a Brain Cell to my Empire Builder, and I’m certain that the quality will be of the same caliber. Thanks Tom Bihn and company for making such a great product. If my Empire Builder ever wears out (and I’m beginning to wonder if it ever will), rest assured I’ll be back for another.”

TOM BIHN Empire Builder after four years