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.

    Photo Gallery: More photos of the Ristretto in Mexico

    Photos by Mary Willson: The Ristretto in Yucatan, Mexico
    See the entire photo gallery on Facebook. Thanks to Mary Willson for the great photos!

    Photo by apyang: Synapse in Antarctica

    Photo by apyang: Synapse in Antarctica

    Read about apyang’s trip to Antarctica in the TOM BIHN Forums. See also: the Synapse.

    Photo by Mary Willson: The Ristretto in Yucatan

    Photo by Mary Willson: The Ristretto on the Yucatan

    Photo by Mary Willson. Mary took several amazing photos of the Ristretto on her trip to Mexico — we’ll share more of them soon.

    Photos by jannilee: the Co-Pilot

    TOM BIHN Co-Pilot Photos by jannilee

    TOM BIHN Co-Pilot Photos by jannilee

    See more of jannilee’s photos — and read her packing list — in the TOM BIHN Forums. See also: the Co-Pilot.

    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.

    Whatever review of the Imago

    Read the review at Whatever by Julie Okami.

    TOM BIHN Imago reviewed by Whatever

    See also: the Imago.

    New: Bags available for pre-order in Ultraviolet

    We’ve added several new bags as available for pre-order in our new Ultraviolet Dyneema/nylon fabric or with Ultraviolet lining:

    Aeronaut in Steel/Ultraviolet
    Tri-Star in Steel/Ultraviolet
    Clear Quarter Packing Cube
    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
    Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut)

    TOM BIHN Bags in Ultraviolet available for pre-order

    Above: Araceli and Irma prepare Ultraviolet for cutting.

    Photo by book boy: Cork Organizer Pouch for iPhone

    TOM BIHN Cork Organizer Pouch Photo as iPhone case by book boy
    See a larger version of the above photo by book boy via Flickr. See also: Cork Organizer Pouches.

    MILOfest Review: Empire Builder, Ristretto for iPad

    “There are some things about Tom Bihn bags that you should know. First, they are exquisitely designed. Everything about the placement of pockets, zippers, latchets, buckles and handles has been a deliberate choice by a top designer meant to benefit the user. There are no corners cut here.”

    Read the full review by Victori Medina of MILOfest. See also: the Empire Builder, Ristretto for iPad.

    TOM BIHN Empire Builder and Ristretto for iPad reviewed by MILOFest