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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    13

    Western Flyer as a backpack?

    Hi all,

    I am looking for a new backpack and I am curious about the Western Flyer. Is it suitable for use primarily as a backpack or would I be better off with a proper backpack? I walk 20+ blocks a day with my current backpack, a free Ogio Metro. I used to carry a Filson padded computer bag but it was too heavy and I found using a backpack was much more comfortable.

    I regularly carry a 14" Thinkpad, an ipad air, a liter of water and a pair of leather soled shoes with shoe trees.

    I like the idea of a cross between my Filson and my Ogio but if a proper backpack would be more comfortable for me then I will skip the WF.

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    North East US
    Posts
    50
    You may want to order a WF and a Synapse 25 (or other backpack) to see what suits you best.
    I find the WF comfortable as a backpack, and have spent many hours wearing it as such, but I use the handle and shoulder strap options more regularly.

    Since the lower anchor points of the shoulder straps are built into little pockets, the WF and TS do an interesting thing to improve their comfort as a backpack. These pockets deform the foam backing and create a lumbar support for the bag. You can actually see this effect in the video for the TS. So, instead of a flat panel sitting against your back, the bag conforms to your back better, like a good backpack should. (The obvious effect of the pockets is the clips are hidden when the straps are not clipped in.)

    The organization and orientation of the backpacks may make them a better option, though. Remember, the WF will be on it’s side in backpack mode, thus creating vertical zippers and o-rings on the sides. The backpacks are designed to have the pen slots, interior pockets, etc. oriented to the way they are to be carried. In warm weather, I suspect you will appreciate the specified materials and design of the backpacks’ backing, as well.
    All that said, I don’t think you should disqualify the WF right away. Try it out in comparison to another backpack and see what suits you best. You may find it fits your needs, and you’d wind up with a more versatile bag.
    > SIQUID WESTERN FLYER NON CAPIT, DOMI RELINQUENDUM EST.

    Western Flyer (ballistic backpack), MCB (parapack/dyneema), Pilot (ballistic), Cache (6Z), Travel Tray, Packing Cube (WF large), Pouches (clear, dyneema, cork, padded, large, small, medium, mini, nano), Pocket Pouch, Absolute Strap (curved), Tri-Power Whistle, a bunch of Key Straps (8" and 16")

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1

    Cool quickanswer backpack - long answer start saving

    I LOVE my Western Flyer and Synapse 19. I especially love their minimal designs, which of course comes with a price- they can't do *everything* well and have settled for doing *specific* things well. You can guess where this is going I bet If your primary need is a backpack do not hesitate but go immediately buy a backpack. The folks at TB have really spent time figuring out how to get the bag to fit to your back, be lightweight, comfortable, carry the load well, and a million things I don't even know they did. Same for the WF- it's design as a suitcase is phenomenal, and I have used the backpack straps a few times and appreciated they were there, but never for a second forgot I was carrying a suitcase on my back. It just doesn't (and doesn't make sense to) have the same accommodations for back-carry that a purpose-built backpack does.

    So you should, in my opinion, go buy a backpack and then start saving for the WF/Aero because once you own one TB you'll want another, and another, one for each travel situation


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