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Thread: My Top 5 Tom Bihn Bags

  1. #16
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    The 25 hasn't been out very long.

  2. #17
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    Not to worry @bltkmt, I have the Synapse 25 on mine! In order:

    1. Synapse 19: I like this bag so much, I have two - Steel Dyneema/Solar, and Indigo/Steel; this is my go-to EDC. It works perfectly as a commuting bag, a day bag in NYC, a beach bag, etc. I cannot stress how much I absolutely LOVE this bag.

    2. Co-Pilot: A close second to the Synapse, I use this as an EDC when I need to look a bit more professional. I also love this bag so much that I have two - Black/Iberian and Nordic Dyneema/Steel. It also excels at fitting under the seat in front of me on the 10-12 flights per year I take. And? It fits nicely inside Favorite Bag No. 5!

    3. Medium Cafe Bag: I've bought (and sold) several colors of this great bag, but have finally settled on Navy/Cayenne as my favorite. This is the bag I grab on weekends if I'm running to the store, heading out to dinner, or going to the movies - Like Badger, I too use mine to carry *contraband* into the movie theater

    4. Synapse 25: Since I purchased my Black/Iberian Synapse 25, I have used it almost exclusively for long weekend travel. I can't stress how well this bag works for that purpose. It's about to go to Ft. Lauderdale for 3 1/2 days as my only bag. I've used it for weekends in Delaware and trips to visit my sister. I find myself thinking of places I can go for three days, just so I can use this bag.

    5. Aeronaut: This bag can't be beat for most of the 3+ day travel I do - it looks great, wears incredibly well, and holds lots (including my Co-Pilot, thus allowing me to truly one-bag it).

    There you have it; these five are certainly not the only TB bags in my possession, but they are certainly the ones that get the most use.

  3. #18
    Registered User Ms. Ferret's Avatar
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    I'm short (5'0") and walk/bus/ferry everywhere. I usually have a big fat work computer and a bunch of work computer crap with me.

    1. Cafe Bags -- my first Tom Bihn product. I have six of the damned things so I guess I like them a whole bunch. The Small is minimalist and unobtrusive -- great for wearing on planes. The Medium is the best everyday, kinda-unobtrusive, versatile, ready-for-anything ("oh no, I have to transport a bottle of rum in my handbag unexpectedly") purse I've ever had. The Large is NOT unobtrusive, but I CAN shove a whole frozen pizza, a loaf of bread, and a pint of ice cream into it if I have to (they tell you not to shop hungry for a reason, apparently).

    2. The ID + Q-AM strap. I love this combo. If you regularly haul ass to make buses/boats while carrying a laptop, the Q-AM strap is mandatory IMO. The ID has a relatively flat profile that is great for crowded buses. I had a Super Ego (a secondhand, super old one with a non-detachable strap) years ago and was miserable -- it's a neat (huge) bag, and it holds a lot, but walking an hour or so a day with your laptop bag bouncing around on your back is no fun (I gave it to a friend with a car). When I got the ID + Q-AM I was shocked at how much lighter the combo felt to carry (provided it wasn't overloaded, which brings me to...)

    3. The Smart Alec. When I have to carry a lot more than my laptop and its accessories, my ID starts feeling significantly less comfortable on my shoulder and I switch to a backpack. The Smart Alec hauls my computer + anything else I care to drag around without ever feeling too heavy (when it's on, that is). I really like the hackability the loops add to the bag -- straps? Bungees? Straps AND bungees? Pockets? Straps and bungees AND pockets? Glowire? Straps and...

    4. The Snake Charmer. Computer charger cords are sloppy and unwieldy and want to wrap around everything else in your bag if you leave them loose, so into the Snake Charmer they go. The other side can hold a headset and/or a portable hard drive (and all of THEIR stupid cords). I also use it as a two-sided packing cube for clothing when I travel. I wish they made a Dyneema version.

    5. Organizer Pouches! I actually don't know how many Mini and Small OPs I have. They are incredibly useful -- clear ones are great for receipts, Minis are great for knitting accessories or minimalist makeup kits, the wallet is great for other stuff too (mine holds interchangeable knitting needle tips in the front and interchangeable cables in the different sections), and they all come in CORK.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    I am hoping for a run of Nordic/Solar WFs so I can bequeath the Steel/UV WF to someone who is a bit more into purple.
    if the day ever comes that nordic/solar WFs are available, i'd happily take the steel/uv WF off your hands! my aeronaut is the same color combo and i lovelovelove it
    Last edited by capncat; 08-01-2013 at 07:17 AM.

  5. #20
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capncat View Post
    if the day ever comes that nordic/solar WFs are available, i'd happily take the steel/uv WF off your hands! my aeronaut is the same color combo and i lovelovelove it
    I will keep that information tucked in the back of my mind. I think it's a great color combo in general, just not my cup of tea. And the bag itself is stellar.

    Clearly, "Fields of [Tom Bihn] Opportunity"** always exist in Iowa.

    **Apparently, this is Iowa's slogan or something. Sigh.
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  6. #21
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    oh I love the challenge of this thread!

    As way of introduction, I'm 5'8" woman. I take many, many car trips-- really too many to count as I have kids that play travel sports. I fly a couple of times a year. I have 8 kids that range in age from 2 to 14 and so, while I've tried to significantly pare down over the years, by default I have a fair amount of crap to haul around at any given time. These are not in any particular order:

    the Aeronaut: the most versatile luggage ever. I can pack for me and the baby in this and we've had several adventures with it on my back, baby strapped to my front!

    Synapse 19: my first love, my first piece of TB madness. It blew my mind then. It still blows my mind. I actually have 2. My Navy/iberian one permanently houses my Great American Novel in progress (so that when I'm able to escape the house and kids, my writing adventures are all packed and ready to go). My black/UV one is frequently used as my EDC.

    Co-Pilot: also an EDC. Makes a fabulous diaper/parent bag. Elsewhere on the forums it has been described as a sorta horizontal version of the Synapse 19. Yes. Love the unique and practical design of it- especially the water bottle holder and pen slots

    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (with shoulder strap): this was an impulse buy last summer before the baby and I flew to Mexico. best impulse buy EVER. Then, I used with the Aeronaut as my purse/diaper bag. Trekked around airports with one bag (Aeronaut) on my back and baby on front. After we'd boarded, slid out the PCSB (with diapers and wipes and passports and snacks and the like) and put it at my feet and Aeronaut went in overhead bin. Perfection. When not flying I use it as the family toiletry bag. Spacious. Wipeable. Can sit out on a sink all week or travel back and forth to the bathroom. Fits everything for my crew (not diapers and the like).

    Cafe Bags: I know there are 3 different sizes so I"m kinda cheating here. Several of my kids have MCB that they pack for the myriad of after-school events (band concerts, basketball games, etc) or to bring to the pool, or various practices, etc. They usually put notebooks and pens and pencils and books they're reading and reading glasses and a water bottle or toys, etc. The MCBs get used a lot. I have a LCB. While I can fit my crap in a MCB, I prefer to have extra room. Because inevitably a kid or two needs me to hold something, etc. Plus I just like extra maneuvering room. And the LCB looks and feels good whether stuffed or empty. I love the regular shoulder strap that comes with it because I can slide the LCB from front to back to side so easily. I love that I can fit notebooks and magazines in it. Even my netbook on occasion. I will confess that I own several in various colors I love to change up my EDC


    A few honorable mentions (now I'm really cheating ):

    Brain Bag: best middle school and high school backpack out there. Durable. Spacious. My oldest LOVES his. I plan to get each kid one by the time they hit high school.

    Organizer pouches: particularly the small one. Almost every one of my kids has at least one. Perfect for putting in swim bags with pool pass and money. Or for putting in school backpacks with money or IDs or impt stuff. I use several in my EDC. One is my first aid kit (ibuprofen, kids ibuprofen, infant ibuprofen, band aids, lip balm). Another has my MP3 player and gym fob.

    Clear Quarter Packing Cube: awesome little diaper tote. Diapers and ointment on one side. Changing pad and wipes on the other. I've also used it for packing vitamins and health supplements on road trips.

    My family and I use many Tom Bihn items every day and they have made life so much more organized, efficient, and fun. THANK YOU, Tom Bihn and crew, for your smart, durable goods that have improved our lives!

  7. #22
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    Great thread. I'll jump in with my faves...

    #1: The Brain Bag. I've traveled all over the place with this one. Big, roomy, flexible... I never met a challenge it couldn't handle. From weekend trips to carry-on luggage to heavy work days, this is my go-to for large loads.

    #2: The Empire Builder. The best briefcase I have ever owned in 20 years of professional business. Everything you love about Bihn's design and durability in an office-appropriate package.

    #3: The Snake Charmer. Organizes all of my electronic do-dads, and doubles as my toiletry kit for family travel. It goes everywhere with me.

    #4: Organizer pouches. I always have 2-3 of these to keep my stuff organized, and it makes it simple to switch from bag-to-bag quickly and easily. I have different colors & fabrics to keep the goods sorted out.

    #5: The ID. This was my first Tom Bihn bag, and I loved it dearly. Great design, and tough as the get. Unfortunately, I sold it a few years back when I started to need more capacity. It went to a great home (a fellow Tom Bihn fan), but I do miss it dearly for casual use. Which leads me to my extra pick...

    #5A: My next Tom Bihn bag, once I'm done with my indecision over my next backpack acquisition.
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  8. #23
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    This is a tough thread - it's hard to chose just five but here goes!

    5. Tri-Star: I love how it expands and expands to hold more stuff and I really like the front three pockets, and the backpack straps - when taken out you can comfortably put magazines or newspapers in there. And my sister can't keep her hands off it!

    4. Brain Bag - This bag holds a ton which is great because I have a large laptop. Yet it never feels bulky or unwieldy but solid, manageable and comfortable. Great for packing a days of work and heading to library.

    3. Synapse 19 - A great EDC backpack. Holds much more stuff then you would think by looking at it.

    2. ID - My most stylish bag. I can fit a bunch of books, magazines and newspapers in it.

    1. SuperEgo - My first TB Bag. And you know what they say about your first love.

  9. #24
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    I'll rank by most often used:

    Shop Bag -- Used at a minimum weekly, sometimes multiple times a week (grocery store primarily)

    Snake Charmer
    -- "Used" everyday - sits in my drawer organizing / holding my most used chargers

    Clear Quarter Packing Cube
    -- favorite and most versatile packing accessory EVER

    Synapse 19 -- anytime I need a backpack, my go to bag

    Side Effect / Western Flyer (is that cheating?) I haven't used them much but the aubergine/wasabi color means they make the list by default


    sue


    Drats! I forgot my co-pilot -- that may tie with the Synapse 19. Fantastic DSLR accessory bag that stays "packed" and ready to go.
    Last edited by photocat; 08-02-2013 at 05:29 PM.

  10. #25
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    I really appreciate all of my Tom Bihn bags, but I thought I'd take a shot at ranking them. Tomorrow the ranking could change, but here goes...

    1. My Imago (am I the only one who loves this bag?). It is my EDC bag, and holds all I need for a day out.

    2. My Synapse 19, the bag I go to when I need to carry hands free or take more than my Imago can handle.

    3. My Swift. I love the hemp fabric, and the design is so functional!

    4. My Large Shop Bag, which I find I use frequently as either a pool bag or a library bag, depending on the day.

    5. My Side Effect. It is the perfect minimalist bag.

    Of course I love all the pouches. They are what really make my other bags work so well, and I can't imagine using my other bags without them. My absolute favorite is my FOT blue pouch, which holds my camera, but now I'm adding to the list, so I'll stop here!

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    I
    Shop Bags
    Yeah, so, I have so many of these I'm not even going to try to count them. I even have a Small in Sapphire. I keep them by the front door and in my car and folded up not-so-neatly inside of my bigger bags. They're great for grocery shopping (Seattle, like many other cities, has banned plastic shopping bags) and storing a bunch of last-minute-I'm-running-out-the-door-grabbing-things stuff. I like to give them as gifts because most people I know could use one (or two, or six).
    @Darcy agree with all these comments, but am wondering whether there was ever a Small Shop Bag made in Iberian. If so, I missed it. I figure if one was made, you'd probably have one in your collection.
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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    @Darcy agree with all these comments, but am wondering whether there was ever a Small Shop Bag made in Iberian. If so, I missed it. I figure if one was made, you'd probably have one in your collection.
    Hmm: it looks like we haven't ever made the Small Shop Bag in Iberian.
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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tlacltme View Post
    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (with shoulder strap):...When not flying I use it as the family toiletry bag. Spacious. Wipeable. Can sit out on a sink all week or travel back and forth to the bathroom. Fits everything for my crew (not diapers and the like).
    I just figured this out this past weekend! It was a freeing discovery. Dh and I had a conference in Orlando and my parents kept my kids. I needed to pack toiletries, meds, hair do-dads and a few other bathroom related items for the kids into one bag to make it easy for my mom. The PCSB was perfect! Everything fit, was easy to find against the wasabi background, and the strap made it easy to tote from room to room! Loved it!
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP, SC, BB, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, SE2, MCB, RiPad

  14. #29
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    This is a great thread. I love reading about others' favourites!

    These are mine:

    1. Aeronaut - this is the most amazing bag ever. It is beautiful looking and can always hold more things. I have taken it on many travels, including my first one-bagging trip. It has also helped in moving houses and carrying heavy stereo equipment. I love how it keeps a nice, tidy and slim shape even after being stuffed with so much. I only wish I could use this everyday.

    2. Synapse 25 – I already had a Synapse 19 for nearly 2 years which I really like too, but I find that the Synapse 25’s larger size makes it a lot more versatile. I am pleasantly surprised that it doesn’t look as big as I feared it would. It really just looks like a regular daypack in terms of size (I am about 5’6), and it doesn’t feel big even if I am just carrying very few things in it. But when you need to, it can hold everything you might need during the day or for an overnight trip (I am not a light packer). Perfect for those occasions when you need a change of clothes and shoes as my shoes can fit in the bottom pocket. A pair of Converse can fit easily. Bulkier gym shoes are unlikely to fit though. I do wonder whether a ballistic version of the Synapse could work because I love the ballistic nylon and because I have two pugs and it definitely shows on the black cordura!

    3. Smart Alec – I love its looks, especially when the front is cinched up. Also very comfortable like the Synapse. I have the older version without the mesh back, but it is still comfortable and hasn’t caused any concerns. This used to be my EDC before I got the Synapse 25. Now I alternate between the two most of the time.

    4. Medium Cafe Bag – this is the very first Tom Bihn bag I got (i.e. what started the addiction) along with a small cafe bag. It is the most comfortable shoulder bag I have from Tom Bihn. The size is just right – large enough to hold papers, books, a light jacket and a water bottle, and not so large that it becomes too heavy or unwieldy. Mine is in Linen/Olive which is a lovely combination. It is perfect for a day out when you don’t need to carry or buy much. I really love the zipper used in the front pocket - it makes a very satisfying sound when pulled shut (ok, i am a bit obsessed...).

    5. Western Flyer – again, a very beautiful bag! I love the black ballistic nylon, which is what my aeronaut is in too. It has such a nice sheen, and the black is solid and rich. I use this bag primarily for business travel where it doubles as a briefcase. I have had compliments on it from clients who cannot believe it can hold so much paper when I pulled out two large piles of documents from it. As with the Aeronaut, I just wish I could use this everyday.

    I am going to cheat and have a top 5 list for accessories

    1. Shop bags - i have so many of these. My favourite is the Nordic large shopping bag, which i now use almost exclusively as a swimming bag.

    2. Packing cubes - i never travel without these now. When i first got them i was pretty skeptical, but was quickly converted. They really help compact the clothes so much and keep everything tidy and organized.

    3. Pocket pouch - whilst not the most useful/most used Tom Bihn pouch I have, it is just so cute! It is the smallest TB item that uses both ballistic nylon and dyneema. I use mine for stuffing in things like pills, USB fingers, tickets etc.

    4. 3D clear organizer cube - toiletries bag when i travel or when i go swimming. takes a little bit of stuffing (especially the toothbrush) but i always manage to fit everything in in the end. Its small size also prevents me from taking too much unnecessary things.

    5. Clear dyneema pouches - it is helpful to see what is inside. I prefer dyneema to cordura as it is easier to clean. Or feels cleaner anyway because I haven't actually gone and wash any of mine....
    Last edited by sofapug; 08-08-2013 at 02:58 AM.

  15. #30
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    I feel as if I should contribute...so here we go!


    1. Synapse 19 - This bag is my soul mate. For real. I use it as my EDC at work and I also use it for overnight or weekend trips. The colors are beautiful (I have the Olive/Steel Dyneema model). I LOVE the olive color...my favorite shade of green, even! What I love about this bag is no matter how much I cram into it, it never seems to be bursting at the seems. There's always room for just one more thing. There's nothing I would change about this bag!

    2. 13" Ristretto - #2 was a hard choice. I had to pick my 13" Ristretto (Olive/Cayenne) because I used it as my EDC when I was student teaching. It was able to fit everything I needed including my 13" MacBook Pro, a legal pad, folders with papers, my large Moleskine, pens and pencils, my keys, a snack, some Advil or ibuprofen (bet you can't guess what I would possibly need that for! haha!), and a small stuff sack with some odds and ends. I carried the Ristretto and its load with the Absolute strap and I couldn't have been happier. The Ristretto prevented me from over packing which is a big deal since I'm a recovering over packer!

    3. Small Cafe Bag - When I'm not working and have to run some errands, my SCB turns into my EDC/purse. The SCB is just the right size to hold my wallet, keys, a reusable shopping bag (TB or other), my checkbook, pens and pencils, and other misc. odds and ends. I have the linen/steel model and it's beautiful. I don't use this bag as much as I want to since I'm always at work, but I still love it to pieces and wouldn't give it up. Ever. Don't even think about it.

    4. Co-Pilot - The CP comes in at #3 simply because I've only used it like twice. I used it once when I worked the night shift so I could take my iPad and a book and the other time was when I went on a 3 day camping trip. (The previous 10 day trip I used my Aeronaut). It works beautifully for toting around a small amount of equipment and clothing if needed. When I went camping, I just packed my clothes in a #3 Stuff Sack and it fit perfectly in the main compartment (it only took up half of the compartment). I'm going to be taking the CP with my to Berlin this fall when I'm there taking classes for 2 months to use as my EDC.

    5. Aeronaut - My Aeronaut (navy/wasabi dyneema) comes in at #5 only because I've used it once. Only once. Which is disappointing, but at the same time super exciting since no matter if a trip was only 2 days long, I used to pack a bag the size of the Aeronaut FULL for the said trip. Needless to say, I'm getting better at packing haha. Anyway, the one trip I used the Aeronaut for was for a 10 day camping trip and it worked beautifully! It fit all of my clothing and other odds and ends (including a change of shoes) with PLENTY of room to spare. I even left it out one day when we go on the boat for a few hours and it ended up down pouring for a good 10 minutes, but nothing inside the Aeronaut was wet. Magic. I'm really looking forward to using this bag (and the CP...only 2 bags I'm taking) when I'm in Berlin.

    If I didn't have to go to work, I would do my top 5 accessories as well. Maybe later!

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