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

Boles Blogs reviews the Cadet

“When I recently tripped in Times Square and nearly fell flat on my face, the one thing that saved me from a smashed pelvis was the Tom Bihn Cadet bag I use every day to protect my 11-Inch MacBook Air. My iPhone and computer and teaching materials were in my Tom Bihn bag and, even though I fell, full-force on that bag, nothing was damaged except my ego and a few scrapes and bruises won on the way down.”

There’s more at Boles Blogs: read the full review.

TOM BIHN Cadet Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Briefcase

Dr. Bunsen: Matryoshka Hardware

Seth Brown on “Matryoshka Hardware”:

“Most activities that I do require a combination of activity-specific gear and a set of more general core hardware. A ski trip requires specific gear like skies and gloves, but also core hardware like a wallet and a good book. I’ve found that most activities of the same duration and complexity share the same set of core hardware. For example, a 3 day ski adventure, scientific conference, or holiday weekend requires much of the same core hardware.

A byproduct of this division between activity-specific gear and core hardware is that core hardware naturally organizes into layers. Core hardware that I use for shorter duration activities serves as the foundation for core hardware that I carry for longer duration activities. A smaller set of core hardware integrates into the layer above it. Each layer subsumes the previous layer like a series of Matryoshka dolls.”

Seth’s bag of choice for urban settings? The EB.

“For most urban settings I select the Tom Bihn Empire Builder. The bag has a well thought out design that supposedly took 3 years to develop. The pockets are positioned well the carrying handles are extremely comfortable. I especially like the integration with the Brain Cell for securely carrying a laptop:

Bug-Out-Bag Empire Builder TOM BIHN

Read the full post at Seth’s blog Dr. Bunsen.

Caro Hardy: Matériel de voyage 2013 édition nomade

Via Thomas Carney:
“My girlfriend has been travelling long term only with the 19L Synapse Bag. She loves it! Here is a list + video of her travel gear (in French) for ultra light travellers.”

More at Caro Hardy (in French). Google translation to English here.

monkeylady: Such a Little Thing…the Travel Tray

“On a recent two night trip, I simply added meds, headlamp, flashlight, and cables and chargers for mini Ipad and phone. When I arrived at destination, my minimal techno-stuff was easy to find and made part of my bedtime routine less cumbersome. On a much longer trip to farther climes and when I arrive in the wee hours, I’ll simply need quick access to this, my dop kit, and a packing cube filled with night shirt and the next day’s clothes…no need to empty the Synapse yet.”

Read the full post by monkeylady in the Forums.

Travel Tray in SolarTravel Tray in Solar.

Travelite FAQ: Solution to NFL Football Strict Bag Rule

“This week, the U.S. National Football League announced a systemwide policy that prohibits taking any bags into an arena for one of their football games….. The NFL is allowing small clutch purses “no bigger than your palm.” They are, however, allowing you to take a bag that’s transparent. My solution? A Tom Bihn 3D Clear Organizer Cube.”

Read the full post at The Travelite FAQ.

Travelite FAQ on the 3D Clear Organizer Cube for NFL Football gamesThe 3D Clear Organizer Cube in Steel Dyneema.

3x3x365: Emma’s new bag (and box art)

Emma's new TOM BIHN bag + box art

3x3x365 is three friends in three states sharing one photo every day. This photo of Emma is by the (awesome) Patti Digh (Asheville, NC; Emma’s mom). Patti likes raw fennel, kind people, cardamom lollipops, and the smell of lavender. She spends her free time watching movies starring Johnny Depp. p.s. She likes to laugh. A lot.

Patti writes:
“I love Tom Bihn bags. Sturdy, practical, beautiful.
I ordered one for Emma to take to London this summer
(she leaves Thursday on her excellent adventure!)
and on the order form, I wrote that it was going to London with her.
Imagine our delight when the box arrived,
complete with a hand drawn London on the front of it.

That is what customer delight looks like.”

More at 3x3x365 and 37days.