Full review of the Tri-Star:
I already posted an initial review of my Tom Bihn Tri-Star but I wanted to follow it up with a full review. I took a 3 week trip to Thailand in December and took my trusty Tri-Star with me. My initial thought when I open the TB box was that the bag was definitely very different than any other bag I’ve ever purchased. I did a lot research before coming across Tom’s website. Initially, I was going to buy a Timbuk2 Wingman bag which was a lot cheaper than TB’s bag from Amazon. After I read all the reviews on Amazon I saw a lot of negative reviews and one reviewer said it was a knock-off of Tom Bihn’s Aeronaut and to save for the real thing.
I checked out the TB website and was hooked immediately and then I saw the prices, yikes!! After the sticker shock wore off I could see why the prices were so high. I really do love the fact that TB bags are made in the USA with materials sourced within the US.
First, the 1050D high-tenacity ballistic nylon is heavy duty, smooth and has a beautiful sheen (not shiny) which is hard to explain. You really have to see and feel it for yourself. The bag was flawlessly made, not one stitch out of place, you pay a premium price for a premium product. The Aqua Guard YKK zippers are extremely easy to use and are smooth as butter.
Second, the bag was the perfect size for my trip; the three sections of the bag were really suited for the way I pack. I used the front section for my shirts, socks and underwear, the middle section I used the large packing cube backpack for my toiletries, snacks and whatever I needed during the flight, the back portion of the bag had my shorts and pants. I took out my packing cube backpack before I put my bag into the overhead compartment so I didn’t need to touch my bag during the flight. Unfortunately, I packed the bag too heavy and it was a bit too much carry around those long airport terminals. I used a scale and my bag weighed 15.5 pounds. I’m 5’6” and 135 pounds; I really should have kept it to 13 or less pounds. Even though my bag was heavy I used the Absolute strap (great) and the backpack straps and I managed. The backpack straps seemed too thin but after using them I found they contained just enough padding without being overly stuffed like a lot of bags these days.
Third, the accessories I ordered (packing cubes, 3D clean organizer cube, Absolute strap, travel tray, clear organizer pouches and travel stuff sacks) all functioned extremely well. I highly recommend the packing cubes, it makes it much easier to pack and organize your bag. I see a lot of videos where people stuff their TB bags to the gill where it looks like the bag weighs 30 pounds and there is some serious bulging going on. Yes, you can absolutely stuff a lot of gear into these bags however just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you’re 6’4’ and 250 pounds, you can probably handle 20+ pounds on the back with no issues but you really need to keep it light especially if you’re going to be walking around large airport terminals. In my mind, if your TB bag is bulging it’s most likely not going to be comfortable to carry.
So to sum up, Tom Bihn bags are definitely worth the money and will give you years of dependable service. Thanks Tom for creating such incredible bags, you have a customer for life!!! :cool: