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  1. #1
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    Is there any competition to TB at all?

    I think not, or are there any?!! Most other competitors are using the inferior 1680 Denier Nylon and the few who are sticking to 1050 don't have designs to my liking. What do you think?
    Last edited by bagman; 01-05-2010 at 09:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by bagman View Post
    I think not, or there any?!! Most other competitors are using the inferior 1680 Denier Nylon and the few who are sticking to 1050 don't have designs to my liking. What do you think?

    Tom Bihn is the sun, all other bag makers are but shadows.


    .
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  3. #3
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    Identical features are not necessary to define competition.

    There is plenty of competition, maybe not in your eyes, but certainly in the eyes of the everyday traveler.

  4. #4
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    rdu, you raise an interesting point. Indeed not everyone has their eyes set only on one particular type of bags. People willing to buy leather messengers will certainly have many other choices (and competition to TB).

    It's just that I spent 2-3 weeks looking at other manufacturers of messenger bags made from ballistic nylon, since I prefer a rugged yet very light bag, and IMO weren't as good. Then again, it's just my opinion and other people with similar needs may find other designs better.

  5. #5
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    Having said that, I personally prefer the Western Flyer I recently got (Obviously!) but I think anyone who is brand-loyal can often get caught up in thinking that they are the best.

    But many people I am sure will look at something soft-sided, and with dimensions X by Y by Z and then compare from there, and I'm sure not everyone picks Bihn.

    I can't envision any scenario where I'd choose a RedOxx over a Bihn, but I bet many on the RedOxx bandwagon would say the same thing in reverse!

  6. #6
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    You never know what makes people buy one thing over the other.

    I was telling extolling the virtues of the Tri-Star to a friend who was looking for a similar bag. He kept bringing up the point that the front pockets were not lockable and he'd be worried that stuff he put in there would be stolen. (He's a photographer.) I told him the pockets were very thin and I only put things in there that if stolen are no big deal: 3-1-1 bag, magazines, snack bars, etc.

    Still, that alone disqualified the bag. So, what did he do...he bought an air boss. Sure, he said, it doesn't have backpack straps, which was a big requirement for him, but it's outside pocket (one) was lockable. (I wonder how much he thinks he'll be able to get into that pocket. ) And add to it, he was looking for a smaller than allowable size because most of his travels are in Europe. The Tri-Star would be smaller.

    Go figure.
    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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    I agree with your points, fellow forum members. I do look at other bag sites and have ordered from them. Yet, since my introduction to Tom Bihn products I find myself using TB as my bell weather by which I measure other bags and those other bags generally come up short. Do I pay more for a bag to serve a function at Tom Bihn? Sure I do. But the quality of that bag, for my money, is worth it. I see my TB purchases as an investment. An investment in my personal satisfaction (really, who else but me will be cognizant of the stitching in my bags), the durability, and the dependability of my bags (never had a Bihn bag disappoint me, same can't be said for others I have owned.)

    Two bags I do use that are not TB bags are a Manhattan Portage Deluxe Europa, and an Ebags Professional Deluxe Carry-On Tote. Now the tote I got for under $20 due to a convergence of coupons and sales. I replaced the strap with an absolute strap which cost more than the bag! :P

    Both are good bags, but not at the level of the bags offered by Tom Bihn. Do I use those bags still? Sure, when my load size requires it, I use them with or instead of my Imago. They will likely be excised when I get my bag order off in March, as I intend to get a Zephyr or Empire Builder. I'll still keep those bags, they are good bags, but I will use the Z/EB as a primary, and they will be secondary bags. A Nice resource to have for unexpected or short term needs.

    I do see where some might prefer other bags for their needs. For instance, bundle packers may well indeed prefer a Red Oxx bag. Red Oxx makes a fine product line. Nothing wrong with them. I even use their monkey fists on my bags and I have their very cool sticker on my Moleskine (and two of the TB stickers on there too ;) But I use packing cubes. I like packing cubes. My clothing needs do not require me to be very concerned with wrinkles. For my needs and my likes, the bags at TB are a great fit. The mileage may vary for anyone of course, as taste, and needs are variable but for my bags, Bihn is the sun, and the other bags are shadows.

    That said, I don't think I am being brand loyal blind, just brand quality aware. If Tom cashed out, sold his company, and the new people started making cheap knock-offs in a place with exploited people and low quality control, I would not be buying that stuff. For me, quality is a central issue, and TB has raised the bar in may ways as regards what I, a regular consumer, can acquire. Having a custom made one-off is a nice indulgence, but I suspect a pricier alternative in the end. Now I can have a level of quality, design, and overall aesthetic that I hadn't been able to find previously. Am I a fan of TB? Sure. But, they earned it by making a great product line.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagman View Post
    I think not, or are there any?!! Most other competitors are using the inferior 1680 Denier Nylon and the few who are sticking to 1050 don't have designs to my liking. What do you think?
    Is this a genuine question, or are you merely making a statement disguised as a question?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    I was telling extolling the virtues of the Tri-Star to a friend who was looking for a similar bag. He kept bringing up the point that the front pockets were not lockable and he'd be worried that stuff he put in there would be stolen.
    Lockability of the entire bag is actually crucial for some people. Living in Australia most travel has to be via countries in SE Asia which have draconian laws on drug smuggling, imposing death penalties for possession of small quantities. This area also suffers from drug smugglers hiding drugs in checked luggage making someone an involuntary drug courier and therefore in breach of the laws on possession of drugs. Laws in these countries don't make any distinction as to ownership, just possession.

    Refer to the Schapelle Corby case - she's serving 20 years (and was lucky to not get a death penalty) for having marijuana in her bag, which she denies was hers and insists was placed there by a baggage handler. Her protestations were irrelevant under the law and she was convicted.

    There was another case of a man whose plane stopped for an hour at Singapore, they found drugs on him in a random check, dragged him out of the airport and after due legal process executed him a couple of years later. He wasn't even changing planes.

    I very nearly didn't buy the Tri-Star for this reason, and I was one of the people who protested at the original plan to use cord zipper pulls on it - I would not have bought it with cord pulls! There will be trips where sadly I won't be able to take my Tri-Star. The pocket for the backpack straps is enormous and a particular danger.


    The danger doesn't only lie with checked bags, by the way - you need to keep everything locked when the bag is in the overhead where someone else might access it.

    Audrey

  10. #10
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    I think there is plenty of competition out there, and lots of good products sold by good companies. This is a very good thing for two reasons because (a) it inspires innovation; and (b) one company cannot meet all the needs of all consumers all the time.

    For me, you'll find a TB product on my shoulder(s) every day of the week. But I am not adverse to peeking at the competition. :)
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    Bob P.
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  11. #11
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    Wow, falconea! I did not realize or consider these factors and I am grateful you posted these concerns as food for thought for those who travel to these places. This is an excellent argument for using just a one bag carry-on. It is also another reason for the development of a rain fly that could be used on Tom Bihn bags. I would feel pretty ok taking a nap if I knew my bag was wrapped in Dyneema, and locked tight in such a way as to prevent anyone from adding additional 'items.'

    I'm still floored they pulled that fellow right off a plane in a country he wasn't intending to visit. Scary.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  12. #12
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    I think there are other companies out there that make nice bags that serve different needs, have a different style, or perhaps have certain features (such as lockable zippers) that distinguish them. However, I've found recently that it really is hard to match Tom Bihn bags -- and in some cases there really isn't much competition at all.

    Let me explain: I pre-ordered a plum Synapse because I've long wanted a smaller backpack for days when I don't have to carry a huge load (when I do, the Brain Bag is fantastic). I used the Synapse for a few weeks, and really liked the layout of the pockets and the sleekness of the design, but I started to think that it just looked a little too small on me (I'm 6'0"). So I let my wife, who's 5'2", try it out -- she loved it and has been using it ever since.

    Well, using it for those few weeks really got me wanting to find a bag for the "lighter load" days, and I prefer backpacks to shoulder or messenger bags. I hadn't bought a non-Tom Bihn bag of any kind in years, but I decided to scour the web to see what was out there in the same size range as the Synapse that looked to be of decent quality. Answer: not much. I looked and looked, and finally ended up ordering a Timbuk2 "Q" backpack -- not crazy about their design, but it seemed like it might work. But despite being a bit longer and wider the the Synapse, it actually holds far less comfortably and its organization isn't nearly as good. Sent that back, searched around some more, and ordered a Dakine Factor. I like it OK -- it has a laptop compartment (though not a very good one), and has more pockets, but the straps aren't that comfortable and the construction just seems cheap. Of course, I wasn't expecting TB quality in a $40 backpack, but still. I'm sending it back, too.

    So, no, sometimes there really isn't much competition at all. And I think I know what I'm going to do now: pre-order another Synapse, in navy (they're out of stock until March), and stop looking for something else to come close, because if it's out there, I sure can't find it.

  13. #13
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    I'd really want to see a combo of the adjustable and the absolute strap. Then I can have my bag feel lighter when I want it, and also pull it closer to my body at other times.

  14. #14
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    Falconea.....there is a way to lock the backpack compartment shut.

    You need a lock similar to this one...it's the one I use:

    Rick Steves FlexiLock

    You put one end in the shut zipper of the backpack compartment and then loop it through the D-clip for shoulder straps. Then lock it. It just fits and there is no way to open the backpack compartment zipper. I've done this and I'm still able to use the Absolute Shoulder Strap.

    I'm still working on finding a way to lock the front zipper compartments.
    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.

  15. #15
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    I look at other people's backpacks, and they all look sloppy compared to the Synapse.

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