Beyond the Smooth

“Roll-aboard”, carry-on size wheeled luggage is as ubiquitous as a delayed flight. We here at TOM BIHN advocate for the road less traveled, and offer carry-on sized travel bags that quickly and easily convert to be worn on your back. There are some significant advantages to eschewing wheels when it comes to luggage, and we thought we’d take a moment of your time to point them out:

  • Our Aeronaut travel bag, for example, is 60% lighter in weight than a comparable roll-aboard — you can carry almost five pounds more stuff without adding an ounce to your total load, or you can simply enjoy being five pounds lighter.
  • Our Aeronaut has 25% more internal capacity than the comparable roll-aboard. With less volume taken up by the wheels and associated stiffening materials, you have more room inside the bag: room for an additional change of clothes, room for gifts to bring back home. Think about it: if you can carry 25% more clothes, your trip can last 25% longer.
  • Our travel bags maintain their shape through their heavy-duty fabrics and internal dividers, not rigid plastic stiffening. This leaves our travel bags soft enough to be squeezed into small and oddly shaped spaces – into overhead bins otherwise deemed “full”, and even, as a last resort, under the seat in front of you.
  • Using one of our travel bags in backpack mode leaves your hands entirely free: you can make a phone call, flag a taxi, pay for a latte, or give your mom a hug — all the while with your belongings safely attached you.
  • With your load secured to your back, your travels are not limited to smooth floors: down dirt roads, cobblestone alleys and rutted pavement lay new adventures, not obstacles.
  • Less impact on your neighbors — as you use buses, trains, even just walking down a crowded airport concourse, you will take up far less space and impose less on those around you; no noisy wheels means you’re quieter, too.
  • Certainly wheeled luggage has a place, and for folks who aren’t physically able to carry the weight of their luggage it can’t be beat. But if you are reasonably fit and up for the world that lies beyond the smooth, our convertible soft luggage may be the ticket.

    – Tom Bihn

    Photos by Alexandra Guerson of her TOM BIHN Aeronaut
    Above: Alexandra Guerson’s photos of her Aeronaut.

    Seattle Factory Photos: Meet Kieu, Mo-Fong, and Tao

    TOM BIHN Imago reviewed by Whatever

    Kieu specializes with our bartack machine. Bartacking is a very efficient way to add extra reinforcement to stress area. We use a lot of bartacks.

    TOM BIHN Imago reviewed by Whatever

    Mo-Fong uses the Double Needle and Single Needle sewing machines and is also an expert at setting zippers.

    TOM BIHN Imago reviewed by Whatever

    Tao is an expert at Binding. She binds the inside seams of our bags, which prevents them from fraying (and they look nice too.) Tao also makes the handles of bags such as the Shop Bag.

    Seattle Factory Photos: Meet Ying, Candi, and Lulu

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory

    Ying specializes with the single needle sewing machine and works on sub-assemblies, like building pockets. In this photo, she’s working on the sub-assembly of the Checkpoint Flyer.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory

    Candi works with the single needle sewing machine. In the above photo, she’s adding the drawstring hem to the Yarn Stuff Sacks.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory

    Lulu is a part of our Quality Assurance and Final Inspection crew. In this photo, she’s trimming loose threads off of Padded Organizer Pouches.

    Seattle Factory Photo: Lisa and Lee

    Lisa and Lee at the new TOM BIHN Seattle Factory
    Lisa (Sewing Supervisor) and Lee (Findings Lead) at our new Seattle factory.

    Photos: First Day of Production At New Seattle Location

    Today is our first day of production at our new Seattle factory and company headquarters.

    TOM BIHN: First Day of Production At New Seattle Location

    RuDi, Joiner.

    TOM BIHN: SFirst Day of Production At New Seattle Location
    Lee, Findings Lead.

    TOM BIHN: First Day of Production At New Seattle Location
    Irma, Fabric Cutter.

    Photos: Shipping Room, Tom Drives Our New Forklift

    Not too many new photos today — we were busy unpacking.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle
    A Medium Cafe Bag in Conifer stocked in our new shipping room.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle
    Tom sets off to move some stuff with our new forklift.

    Photos: We’re all moved in. Now we begin unpacking.

    More photos tomorrow as we unpack…

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    The move is going well — more photos later today.

    We think everything will be moved in to our new Seattle location by this evening. Stay tuned for more photos.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Tom and Mark of Bowie Electric go over plans for powering the machines.

    Photos: Our move to a new location is underway

    We’re moving as I type this — and we won’t be done until late tomorrow. Then the unpacking and setting up really begins. Thanks to everyone involved, the move is going really well. We’ll share more photos over the weekend.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Tom surveying the new Seattle factory location — the first sewing machines have just been moved in.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Robb Joyce of A.R. Joyce Remodel, INC., our contractor, adding a vent.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Bernie of Bowie Electric adding lighting above the sewing machine area.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Hansen Brothers Moving boxes.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    The first rolls of fabric to arrive. Our new fabric rack system is going to be pretty cool — we can’t wait to show you.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle
    The first sewing machines to arrive at our new location.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle
    Robb with his Boston Terrier Darby.

    Reminder: We’re closed tomorrow (Friday, 01/21) while we move

    TOM BIHN Customer Service and Shipping will be closed tomorrow — Friday, January 21st — while we move to our new factory and company headquarters location in the Gerogetown district of Seattle. All orders received Friday will be shipped on Monday, January 24th.

    Keep checking back: we’ll be posting photos of the moving process all weekend on this blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

    TOM BIHN Seattle Factory moving... to Seattle

    Bowie Electric installs wiring for the Q&A station in our new location.