imperator puts the Western Flyer to the test

imperator received his new Western Flyer and he’s already put it to the test, as detailed in the two reviews he’s posted in our forums.

Western Flyer Review, Part I: The First Week
TOM BIHN | Western Flyer put to the test
“While my first impression of the Freudian Slip was comparable to paying for the seat belts and rustcoat on the car, it turned out to be a great way to flex my daily briefcase into a travel bag. It was also unexpectedly handy to use in the office, I can keep the FS, with my documents and tools inside at my desk, while the WF stays out of the way. And when it comes time to take off for vacation, the FS can stay behind and make room for the guayaberas. And a pocket to put my coffee into when I need to free up a hand to carry rolls of blueprints? Genius.”

Western Flyer Review, Part II: The Conference
TOM BIHN | Western Flyer put to the test
“Walking from the train, navigating the airport, being the tourist and walking around the city, all were substantially easier to navigate with the straps. On the last day of the conference, when everyone is inevitably hauling their rollerboards around after checking out, I switched to backpack straps to navigate tight spaces between tables. And sitting aside it was unobtrusive.”

In stock: Pilot, Cadet, Tri-Star, more…

Another team effort — our production crew made the bags (many ahead of schedule) and our shipping crew sent out backorders ASAP. The following bags are now back in stock and ready to ship within one business day:

Field Journal Notebook, all colors
Clear Quarter Packing Cube, all colors
Pilot, all colors but Black/Steel
Western Flyer Packing Cubes
Tri-Star, most colors (Black/Steel, Black/Solar and Steel/Iberian ship early April)
Cadet, all colors
Western Flyer, most colors

TOM BIHN | Pilot Personal Carry-On Bag MADE IN USAThe Pilot in Black/Steel (thanks, Mason, for the photo!)

The Brooks Review on the Founder’s Briefcase

The Brooks Review | TOM BIHN Founder's Briefcase

“What I really liked about [the Founder's Briefcase] was the ability to leave it standing (it stands well on its own) and zip just the top open to grab my laptop, or iPad — while reserving the option to lay the bag on its side and open it all the way. It’s a nice compromise in that you can easily use the bag as a top-loader (as I do 90% of the time), but it doesn’t bat an eye lash if you want to open it all the way up and lay it flat. This makes it a solid day-to-day option for the traveling person and excellent for neatly packing away your items for a longer journey.”

Read the full review over at The Brooks Review.

The Guide’s Pack Watercolor

TOM BIHN | The Guide's Pack Watercolor

Dan Bransfield’s watercolor sketch of his new Guide’s Pack.

Carryology: Synapse 25 is “Best Carry On”

TOM BIHN | Carryology names Synapse 25 best carry on backpack

“This was the most debated category for us, as carry-on has traditionally been treated as ‘maximum legal’ carry-on. The TOM BIHN [Synapse 25] is more of an overnighter than a week away, but it’s every bit a Carry Awards credentialled winner. Excellent fabrics and zips. Flawless construction. An interesting three-dimensional pattern that grows and shrinks without need for compression. And every organizing pocket you could want. Tom Bihn care about making excellent carry, and it totally shows. Oh, and particularly in this pack, we like the black.”

See the Synapse 25 for yourself. And head over to Carryology for more Carry Awards coverage.

Haute Americana Interviews Tom

Haute Americana’s interview with Tom on design, life, travel, and U.S. manufacturing is up. Excerpt:

Haute Americana: What are your essentials for traveling?

Tom Bihn: I used to manage the youth hostel in Santa Cruz — there I watched what people carried and how they traveled. I realized that the weight of a person’s bag was usually inversely proportional to the fun they were having. With that in mind, I try to travel pretty light, though I always seem to need to carry an extra pair of shoes or sandals. Otherwise I guess I carry the usual stuff – a swimsuit is surprisingly a good idea, as I try to jump into water whenever possible.”

Read the full interview.

Tom Bihn interviewed by Haute Americana | TOM BIHN

James Martin Reviews the Pilot

TOM BIHN | James Martin Reviews the Pilot

“The diminutive Pilot bag isn’t cheap, but if you travel a lot like we do, it makes a great investment. It’s made well of high-tech materials, designed to last a very long time. I’ve never been able to wear out a Tom Bihn bag, no matter how much abuse I pile upon them.

On the plane, you should be able to get away with calling this a “personal” bag, like a purse, so that you can also carry another carry-on bag into the plane with you, which you can store in the overhead compartment while you keep the Pilot below the seat in front of you.

It works great for what it’s designed to do, and it’s a welcome bag to have by your side on those long flights. If you travel far and frequently, you’ll appreciate this bag.”

Read the full review by James Martin at About.com Europe Travel.

Eric on The Guide’s Pack

Eric sent us the following email — thought you all would appreciate it as much as we did.

Tom and Crew,

I kinda had an emotional reaction reading the description of The Guide’s Pack. I have an old REI toploading rucksack that really looks similar, though it has the dreaded black plastic accessory strap holders, which have all failed. I’ve toted that thing for one purpose or another for the better part of 30 years. One of my favorite packs.

Anyway, reading the description of The Guide’s Pack, well, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Tom’s obsessive desire to get the design right really flies off the page. It’s like he took my old REI pack that I love, and made it better, with all the benefits decades of technological improvement.

I don’t know when I’ve ever had such a strong reaction to a product description. I did with this thing though. It’ll take me awhile to come up with the scratch to get it, but get it I will. Can’t wait.

More broadly, thank you for being such a damn great operation. Over the years my wife and I have wound up buying a few different bags from you, all of which have exceeded our expectations. And the fact that we’re buying from a local manufacturer, with local employees really counts for a lot.

Okay, I’m putting the tissues away and gettting back to work. Congratulations on another job very, very well done.

— Eric

TOM BIHN | The Guide's Pack

A Watercolor Artist and his Field Journal Notebook

Get to know watercolor artist Dan Bransfield (and see how he uses his Field Journal Notebook) in this video.

See also Dan’s watercolors of our bags: Sketches from Japan, Yarn Stuff Sack, the Cadet, Aeronaut, Sketches from Italy, Sketches from Nambodea, and, though not a sketch, it’s definitely worth checking out Dan’s creative use for a Yarn Stuff Sack

In stock: Aeronaut, Travel Stuff Sacks, Packing Cube Backpacks, more…

Thanks to our amazing crew (a true team effort here: our production crew, well, makes everything and our shipping crew never ceases to amaze us by shipping out backorders as quickly as soon as they possibly can) the following bags are back in stock and ship within one business day:

Aeronaut, most colors
Travel Stuff Sacks
Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut)
Packing Cube Backpack (Tri-Star/Western Flyer)
Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
Snake Charmers
Ego
Knitting Tool Pouches
Pilot Packing Cubes
Aeronaut Packing Cubes
Coyote Organizer Pouches (including a new size – Micro)
Super Ego
Zephyr

And here’s what’s getting low and might soon be backordered in all colors…

Shop Bag, Side Effect, Founder’s Briefcase, Pilot

Shop Bag Reusbale Shopping Bag Made in USA | TOM BIHN
The Shop Bag in Wasabi.