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Thread: My Top 5 Tom Bihn Bags

  1. #31
    Registered User papids2000's Avatar
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    Here is our list:


    1. Western Flyer (ballistic nylon). Our top bag for travel. Light, simple a
    and perfect one bag carry-on.

    2. Synapse 19 (cordura) perfect edc bag with great organization.

    3. Smart Alec. (420d dyneema) Lightweight, unlimited organization, great
    for day hikes and light travel.

    4. Small Cafe Bag (cordura) with the cafe stabilizer strap. It has become
    the number one bag I use on my bicycle rides. The stabilizer strap has
    transformed my cafe bag into a true bike messenger bag.

    5. The Tri-Star in (ballistic nylon). When I need to have just a bit more
    room for packing then the Western Flyer but still want to stay light
    and nimble.

    PS: This list is subject to change since Darcy has mentioned a prototype
    bag being tested. Hopefully a lightweight hiking backpack.
    Last edited by papids2000; 08-08-2013 at 08:53 AM.

  2. #32
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    Figure I'll jump in as well. No particular order.

    #1: Aeronaut - four years old now and still looks like the day I bought it. Packs well for everything from a weekend to a two week trip. I only wish mine had the compression straps inside, but that's what packing cubes are for.

    #2: Synapse 25 - quickly becoming my EDC despite the fact that I just don't carry that much. Handles everything from a small load to a full bunch of groceries. So very comfortable to carry.

    #3: Side Effect - (I cut the strap off of mine before the new version) - used as my EDC when all I need are my wallet and phone. Can also fit in a few other bits and bobs. Slip the strap over my wrist and off I go.

    #4: #2 travel sack - I think I'm up to four of these. I prefer them for drop spindle and small knitting projects vs the yarn sacks. They just fit better in my Imago and SCB.

    #5: MCB - when I want a cross body bag to carry a day's worth of stuff. Prefer this to my Imago. I can fit almost as much into it and it doesn't seem to weigh anything while carrying it.

    Honorable mentions: SCB, large shop bag, small shop bag
    Would probably sell but then I'd want it again: Imago - just never quite fell in love with this one despite carrying it to work daily for over a year. Always feels just a bit awkward once packed.

  3. #33
    KmK
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    Wow...tough call...because for me "favoriteness" has to do with functionality in a given context and different bags are suited to differ contexts... But, that being said...in no particular order, here are five of my standbys...

    1. TriStar. Just used this during my time in Cuba and it was awesome...I love the organized and contained feeling it provides. There is always room for one more thing and yet, there is nothing extra. Sleek, purposeful, and aesthetically pleasing.

    2. Smart Alec. The companion to the Tristar this summer. Fantastically functional...trim enough to not appear obnoxious yet spacious enough to be the one who always said "stick it in my bag...there's room." A durable bag to count on for all sorts of travel.

    3. Large Cafe with a QAm strap. LOVE this combination...The size is ideal for me, a 5'2 woman who hauls several notebooks, a paperback, a cache of writing supplies, lunch, papers, perhaps a pair of shoes, and the assorted standard whatnot of an EDC, every day. It is large enough to hold it all and yet it has enough give or "flop" to stay flat against me. The QAm is a great strap for it for me...e extended padding is nice for my neck, shoulder, and back, even when I leave the bag at the level of my pants pocket and not hiked up my back.

    4. Organizer wallet. What to say? Holds just the right amount in an durable, organized way. Love the color options, too...currently using a kiwi...love it.

    5. Assorted other pouches...so helpful for organizing...large can function as an envelope-brief at meetings or conferences too.
    WenV likes this.

  4. #34
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    Top 5? How about Top 2?

    Ego is my go-to bike commute bag with plenty of room for ECD plus a change of clothes, plus a space for a blinky on the back.

    And, when I am car commuting or just carrying less, the Cadet has all the space I need for the iPad, office stuff, lunch, etc.

    And, the Travel Tray is a best-kept secret for being on the road or even at home, where all the pocket items, keys, cards, etc., can go and not disappear amidst my clutter.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I'll play too!

    Heavy packing category (Cordura Bags)

    Brain Bag: Quoting phillyfan because his description fits my experience with the bag: "This was the first bag that I purchased from Tom Bihn and is still my favorite. Versatility, durability, comfort. It is the Swiss Army Knife of backpacks. ...The front pockets provide an adequate level of organization. Need more organization? Just add the Vertical Freudian Slip. Need to carry 2 labtops? No problem, it’s covered. Every time I need to fit just one more thing into my luggage, the Brain Bag always seems to have that little extra room to spare. For me, it is the perfect bag. No complaints. Ever."


    Large Cafe Bag: Perfect travel companion to the Brain Bag. (I even matched the color)

    Swift: Perfect car travel companion for the first two, great library, book, craft or yarn store jaunt


    Light packing category (Dyneema Bags)

    Aeronaute: The ultimate maximum carry on in a lightweight profile.

    Tri-Star: The ultimate organized carry on in a lightweight profile.

    Synapse 19: The ultimate ultra light carry on for people who wear small and medium clothes.

    Ultimate Every Day Carry for iPad sized electronic. Field Journal Notebook and paperwork in a Large Pouch.

    Small Cafe Bag: Ultimate stylish minimalist purse.


    Traveling with the Tri-Star, Synapse 19 and Small Cafe Bag in Dyneema gives one such sense of freedom, it is really empowering.

    I last visited the Seattle store with a 40 pounds Brain Bag/Large Cafe Bag pair, I can't wait to go back with the Tristar, Synapse 19 and Small Cafe Bag in Dyneema all 15 pounds of them!
    How do you carry the Tristar and Synapse at the same time? Which one is on your back, etc.?

  6. #36
    Registered User CallaVandy's Avatar
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    Brain Bag is also mine favorite because of its large capacity, as it is my habit to take a lot of rubbish with me while going anywhere....

  7. #37
    Registered User rlandis's Avatar
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    Ditto about the Syn 25!!! It's my favorite now. And, I know I'm going to love the "Pilot" if it ever comes out (hint).
    Owner, Fool On The Hill Recording, Nashville TN

  8. #38
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    I can't believe I somehow missed this thread!

    Well, better late than never...so here's my list:

    1. The Imago is my EDC, my personal item on planes, and my daybag when I get where I'm going. (I once used it as my overnight bag on a 2 day business trip!) Love its organization, with O-rings in just the right places, and an outside pocket perfect for folders and magazines. I'm on my second Imago (aubergine, hemp, and steel to replace my steel, cork, and wasabi one) and will baby it to make it last as long as possible.

    2. Western Flyer--this was my first Tom Bihn travel bag, and it's my go-to bag for short trips (a week or less) or longer trips where I won't need my laptop. Mine is the old sling configuration, which I never use, and instead I use the absolute shoulder strap, which could get a spot of its own, but instead I will cheat and include it here. Best carrying strap ever, and I mean ever! I swear it feels like it takes 20% off the weight being carried. And it's built to last forever, with highest quality clips.

    3. Tristar--which I didn't think I needed till I saw one in person and realized that of course I did. The middle section is perfect for holding my computer and electronica, and the outer two sections provide additional protection for them. I've traveled for up to six weeks with the Tristar as my only bag; this makes me wish that I could organize the rest of my life the way the Tristar organizes me on the road. I honestly don't know how I traveled before the Tristar--if I had to pare down to one travel bag, this would be it, hands down. (But I'm grateful I don't have to...)

    4. Travel tray--a clever concept, flawlessly executed. The perfect way to corral all of the little bits and pieces that get lost or mislaid or stuck where they shouldn't. I bought a second one for my husband and when he isn't looking, I sneak off with that one, too. And it fits neatly into the corner of...

    5. Packing cubes--I roll all my clothing into tidy little bundles and put them Tetris-style into a packing cube. The long ones have plenty of room for clothes and the travel tray too. And once I'm in my hotel room, they organize my stuff there, too. (For some reason Chinese hotels seem to lack any drawers at all. So the packing cube becomes an 'instant drawer.'

    Of course, this list leaves off the Aeronaut, my collection of café bags, the ever-so-handy shop bags, the Side Effect, and all the pouches...all honorable mentions.
    Last edited by flitcraft; 10-06-2013 at 12:56 AM.
    dorayme and WenV like this.
    Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.

  9. #39
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    I can't believe I missed this thread too

    1. Western Flyer - This was my second Tom Bihn bag. I use it nearly every week for business travel (2-3 day trips) by air, weekends by car or train, and even week-long trips. It's a lovely crimson and steel with an Absolute Strap (couldn't imagine using the bag without it). Since I'm almost always on the road, some things stay packed: travel tray, packing cube shoulder bag with a 3-D organizer bag with toiletries, umbrella, and Ziploc bag with liquids.

    2. Small Cafe Bag - This is my EDC, full of key straps and mini-pouches to organize things. I switch between the conifer and linen cordura, and the Nordic Dyneema.

    3. Imago - This is my computer/work bag. I actually have two, one for my PC and one for Macbook Air. I could say I got tired of switching all the accessories, etc. when I switched computer, so got a second Imago. In reality I wanted to get the Cardinal/Hemp Imago.

    4. Side Effect - as others have said, this is the perfect minimalist bag.

    5. Swift - an amazing bag that I've used for carrying stuff for yoga to carrying computers/iPad to carry-on.

    And of course, I kind of cheated by mentioning pouches, etc. in the above...
    Last edited by wennefer; 10-06-2013 at 08:17 PM.
    WenV likes this.
    Owner of Crimson/Steel Western Flyer, Forest/Steel Zephyr, Olive/Cayenne Ristretto for iPad, Olive/Cork/Steel and Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Linen/Steel and Conifer/Steel SCB, Steel Breve, Plum/Black Swift, Steel FJN, Horizontal Freudian Slip, black Brain Cell, Iberian Packing Cube Backpack, Ultraviolet Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, and various organizer pouches, caches, and other odds and ends.

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