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Thread: Comparison to other brands

  1. #1
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    Comparison to other brands

    Hi, I live in Japan I have to pay extra for shipping if I were to order. (Though if I visit family in the US I can get regular shipping charges). There is a lot of eagle creek stuff available here, as well as many other brands of stuff sacks, packing cubes, etc. I've never ordered TB stuff before, so I'm wondering if there is much of a difference. I can't see much difference between them and other brands besides the look of it.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Hi Rufus,

    Welcome to the forums. There are a lot of forum members who order Tom Bihn products internationally, and most of us have never has a chance to visit their store or factory in person. I'm not sure what sorts of differences you're thinking about between the Tom Bihn products and the other products you refer to. For example, it's fairly common for forum members to cite the quality of the workmanship in Tom's bags, and we may get people posting pictures of the bags they purchased 10, 15, or more years ago and regularly used. Another common discussion point is how well the bag designs scale to be comfortably worn by users over a wide range of heights and body builds.

    Most of the forum members are familiar with other bag brands, and may own bags made by other manufacturers. They're here because they prefer Tom's designs.

    if you're asking about accessories, we do have a lot of forum members who also use Eagle creek products, too. For example a lot of people use the 18" Pack-It folder in the Western flyer and Tri-star luggage bags. The main advantage of the Tom Bihn packing cubes is that they're designed to make optimum use of the interior of Tom's luggage bags, so I generally find I can pack more in, and also pack with higher efficiency if I use Tom's packing cubes.

    You can find out about specific packing cube combinations that are used with particular luggage items by asking your questions on the forums.

    HTH

    moriond

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    Hi moriond,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well in my original post.

    Basically, I've decided to get a small Cafe bag and was considering a S25 as well. But I also wondered if I should get a bunch of accessories as well. (Various sizes of stuff sacks and organizer pouches, and maybe a packing cube.) I happened to go out shopping today and noticed a whole bunch of other companies sell similar products (such as Eagle creek). I will definitely have to order the bags from TB since these are unique, but I was wondering about these accessories. If there isn't much difference besides cosmetic (maybe dyneema is better than the material eagle creek uses? I don't know much about this stuff), I thought it would be easier to just pick it up locally.

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    Like many members here, i already had a large number of eagle creek pouches and packing cubes before I bought my first TB bag, which was a co-pilot.
    I did buy a TB packing cube for my new western flyer, as that will maximize packing, for one section.
    However, i use both EC and TB packing aids in my bags.

    If you have access to the eagle creek spectre series of cubes and sacs, they are actually lighter weight than equivalent TB or original EC cubes.
    Rufus likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Hi moriond,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well in my original post.

    Basically, I've decided to get a small Cafe bag and was considering a S25 as well. But I also wondered if I should get a bunch of accessories as well. (Various sizes of stuff sacks and organizer pouches, and maybe a packing cube.) I happened to go out shopping today and noticed a whole bunch of other companies sell similar products (such as Eagle creek). I will definitely have to order the bags from TB since these are unique, but I was wondering about these accessories. If there isn't much difference besides cosmetic (maybe dyneema is better than the material eagle creek uses? I don't know much about this stuff), I thought it would be easier to just pick it up locally.
    Hey Rufus, to answer your questions there are huge differences between Tom Bihn's products and other brands. All of TB's products are US made with mainly US sourced materials which are vastly superior to anything from Eagle Creek or other brands. Obviously, TB bags are not cheap but you get what you pay for. I have no doubt I'll be using my Tri-Star bag for many years to come. Definitely do your research before you place your order on the forum and also check out Tom Bihn videos on this site and YouTube. I was originally going to buy the Aeronaut before I saw the video for the Tri-Star and I'm very satisfied with it.

    It's only when you get to look and feel a Tom Bihn bag do you realize what you've been missing. Sure you can get a regular travel bag at a local shop for a lower price but after a few uses it starts to look ratty and get loose threads, etc. Lastly, since you are in Japan why not place one large order and save on shipping. :-)

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    While I don't own an S25, I do own quite a few Tom Bihn bags. I also own most of the Specter line from Eagle Creek.

    Before you ask yourself what to buy, ask yourself how you like to pack. Do you like using packing cubes/folders/sacs? If so, do you prefer to put lots of things into a few larger cubes/folder/sacs or have lots of smaller ones?

    Make a list of the things you pack and then figure out how you would pack them. Once you have that done, then you can decide which packing accessories to get. Make sure you take dimensions into account and the fact that none of these items is made of hard material. If not fully packed, they can molded into tighter spaces. Well, all except the packing folders.

    As for the material used in the packing accessories, the Specter line is lighter weight than the TB products but the TB products have stronger material and better zippers. Both are fairly sturdy but I believe the TB products will probably stand up better to long term use.

    What you might find yourself doing is using a combination of the two. That's what I often do.

    As an example, I leave for a trip on Monday and I'm using my Aeronaut. Inside is a combination of TB packing accessories and Eagle Creek Specter. I use the EC Specter 18" Folder for pants and dress/casual shirts. I use a TB small packing cube for sweater, gym shorts and a couple of t-shirts; a TB sack for underwear and socks (or i might switch to a Specter tube cube); a TB 3D cube as a 3-1-1 bag and a clear quarter cube for toiletries--one side daily use, one side for other essentials. I'm also using a EC Specter Shoe Sac for my dress shoes. (I find it easier to clean than the TB end cube.)

    I pack differently for every trip and even the above may change before I leave.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  7. #7
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    People all have favorite TB accessories. I like being able to clip pouches where they belong, so items can't fall out or be easily taken.

    Here is what I use for every trip, not matter what bag I take: 3D clear organizer cube with strap for 311 & toiletries, Dyneema/clear mini pouches, clear organizer wallet, Side Effect with 2 double carabiner clips. (If you get an S25, the Side Effect and 3D clear organizer cube fit beautifully in the front pockets - well worth the investment.)

    For a longer trip, I add a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, a Size 2 knitting tool pouch (perfect size for pens/pencils), and Travel Tray.

    I have Eagle Creek bags, and they are nice. But I find the fabric, details, modular options, and build quality of TB bags to be far superior and more functional.

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    Rufus, where in Japan are you and how soon are you trying to order? My wife and I are going to be couch surfing through Japan for a few weeks from around the 25th of this month. I have a tri-star, aeronaut and dynema s19. I don't have any tb accessories, but you can at least see the material difference from the Eagle Creek stuff I have.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk

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    A brief aside - Frank - How do you fit an EC 18" folder into an Aeronaut. I am struggling getting a 15" one into my aerounaut.

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    Unsnap the two dividing panels between the main compartment and the end compartments. They then move freely and the folder can then be placed into the main compartment of the Aeronaut. I find keeping the end compartments empty while inserting and removing the folder makes it a lot easier.

    I've even packed with both an 18" and 15" folder in the main compartment.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  11. #11
    Registered User tpnl's Avatar
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    Rufus, welcome to the forum!

    I was attracted to TB products because of a combination of three important (IMHO) criteria:
    Excellent, well thought out designs for their target market (e.g. business professional, frequent travellers, adventure hiking)
    Quality workmanship and attention to detail
    Best in Class materials that are durable and appropriate for many types of environments (eg. Business, Travel, Hiking, etc).

    The above key attributes apply for all their accessories. The quality and durability of the small things, like packing cubes, pouches, straps, etc, is still all there – same as it is in the main bags and also make them, in general, better than other brands IMHO. The additional advantage of buying the TB products is that they are tested to work well with their products as intended - e.g. correct packing cube sizes to maximize use, water bottle fit in their bags, etc. They will even tell you when they are not a good fit – e.g. Large size Cache in Synapse 25, etc. Finally, even the accessories have well thought out features and can be used in multiple ways – e.g. Packing Cube Backpack can be used as a Packing cube and double as a Backpack, Lead’s Pocket holds and keeps organized lots of small items and can be carried as a waist pack or hooked into a backpack with Annex clips.
    For those items that they do not make themselves, they have selected what they feel are the best of what is out there (e.g. Guardian Light, Lifefactory Water bottle, etc) and I have to agree.

    I would be remiss if I did not also mention the huge color selection that there is with TB products that I do not find with other similar products. Also, with all the customization that can be done with colors and accessories, this allows you to make your own unique combination of bag - have it your way as they say!

    Finally, I have found, to my surprise, that it is more than just the purchase that makes me want to interact with the company. TB's Customer Service is first rate and this forum that they have setup only helps to increase people's understanding of how versatile their products can be as it allows customer and potential customers to ask questions and find solutions - just like you have done.

    So, in summary, you could get other similar items (and I have done so) but if you want the best, most flexible items, TB products have a reputation of being the best. The TB versions are definitely more durable and well thought out. Who else makes pouches out of super durable 1050d high tenacity Ballistic Nylon? Also, the "after purchase support" via the TB customer server and this forum really helps to engage you to try things with your TB bags in different and better ways making it a second adventure.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers

    P.S. As an international customer myself (ok - just in nearby Canada), I usually group my purchases to save on shipping. Also, if you have any questions on what accessories to get or which are best to get, just post a question on the forum.
    Last edited by tpnl; 03-01-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Hi, I live in Japan I have to pay extra for shipping if I were to order. (Though if I visit family in the US I can get regular shipping charges). There is a lot of eagle creek stuff available here, as well as many other brands of stuff sacks, packing cubes, etc. I've never ordered TB stuff before, so I'm wondering if there is much of a difference. I can't see much difference between them and other brands besides the look of it.

    Thanks.
    the honest answer is no rufus...welcome to the forum by the way..tom bihn has several individual packs/bags that are unique in design but to say they are far and away the best would be a stretch...tom bihn has a certain style which appeals to a niche crowd...the following companies make great stuff and there are 10 times that many more then my list that are as good as tom bihn...its just up to you to decide what you want...also take a look at whats called an "admin pouch" to go along with other packing cubes/stuff sacks...

    kifaru...
    mystery ranch...
    duluth pack...
    topo designs...
    timbuk2...

    good luck in your quest...check out edcf for a place to start with bag reviews..

  13. #13
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Comparison to other brands

    ^I don't think the OP was asking if TB makes the Best Bags in the Whole Universe, but rather if the accessories that are more easily and less expensively available to him would work just as well as TB-branded accessories. He's already decided to buy bags from TB anyway.

    Rufus, this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. I think that if you're the kind of person who likes packing cubes (not sleeves), then having cubes designed for your specific bag makes sense. Since neither of the bags you're getting have dedicated packing cubes, it's up to you to decide if you want proprietary TB colors inside your bag. The one TB accessory that I find the most invaluable in my S25 is the Clear 3D organizer cube. As others have pointed out, it fits splendidly in the bottom pocket, works as a 311 bag, and, at least in my experience, does the most to turn my S25 into an overnight/weekend bag. It's one of the accessories I got most recently, but is the one I wonder why I waited so long to get. I don't have a SCB at the moment, but for the most part, I rarely needed more than a mini organizer pouch or wallet inside. Ymmv if you carry lots of little bits and bobs.

    Here's one last consideration: if you don't currently use pouches and sacks to organize the inside of your bag, you may find that it's too risky to put forth a large chunk of change for accessories you might ultimately not use. However, if you do use such products, I would suggest getting the TB ones since, if you decide you want to sell them, it will be much easier to do so than trying to sell EC or some other brand that saturates the market. I am confident I could sell my entire stash of TB accessories. My EC sleeve and tube cube, not so much.

    Hope this helps! がんばってくださいね!


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Hi, I live in Japan I have to pay extra for shipping if I were to order. (Though if I visit family in the US I can get regular shipping charges). There is a lot of eagle creek stuff available here, as well as many other brands of stuff sacks, packing cubes, etc. I've never ordered TB stuff before, so I'm wondering if there is much of a difference. I can't see much difference between them and other brands besides the look of it.

    Thanks.
    take a look at the shadow pockets from goruck...4 different sizes...might as well read my review of the tom bihn smart alec while you are at it...

  15. #15
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    Hi Rufus, I have a Synapse 25 and can echo the recommendations for a 3D clear cube and a 3D mesh cube. Those 2 fit perfectly in the Synapse 25 bottom pocket.

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