Our patterns are templates for making our bags. Patterns make it possible for every bag we make to be as perfect as Tom’s final prototype. There’s an art to pattern making; a graceful pattern can mean the difference between a pocket that lays smooth or one that doesn’t, or a sewing process that is efficient or one that isn’t.
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
“Instead of cords, my husband uses the Snake Charmer as a traveling espresso kit. He’s on the road a lot and must have his morning coffee just right. The hand pumped, pressurized espresso maker is from Handpresso and we picked up the perfectly Americano/ Cappuccino-sized (6.5 oz) stainless steel travel cups at REI. Espresso pods are from Illy and Starbucks.”
“I recently moved back up to Alaska and just want yo be outside all the time. Didn’t love my old backpack, so I ordered a Synapse 25, and mentioned that I hoped my bear spray would fit in the side pocket. I received this. Made my day.” — Katycorgi
Box art courtesy of Trevor. Read Katycorgi’s entire post in the Forums.
Earlier this year, we decided it was time once again to collaborate with Amy Singer, Editor of Knitty®, on the design of new knitting bags and accessories. Yeah, we could’ve Skyped, but we thought it’d be even more fun to bring Amy out to visit us at our Seattle factory/company headquarters. And to celebrate the occasion, we hosted a knitting party at Metrix Create:Space. People brought their Swifts and showed us how they use them/what they carry in them, knitted, talked, we showed everyone the prototypes we’d been working on over the weekend… and Amy even tried to teach Tom how to knit (that didn’t go so well) and Tom showed Amy a couple of things on a sewing machine (that went well).
Here’s just one of the prototypes we came up with (a tool pouch):
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.”
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.”
“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.”