Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.
Empire Builder
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    Empire Builder

    Tom Bihn bags are proudly made in the USA
    The Empire Builder is so popular that we are all sold out of them. We expect to have them back in stock soon.

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    Empire Builder

    Decades of design and build experience resulted in this briefcase. You’ll hand it down to the next generation.

    The Empire Builder is the result of three years of product development and 30 years of bag-building experience. It is uniquely styled, superbly functional, and built to endure years of abuse.

    The asymmetrical front flap of the Empire Builder closes with a strong 2" side-release buckle and has three pockets: a horizontal zippered pocket to fit power supplies or small electronics; a vertical zippered pocket designed to store an iPhone for quick access; and a diagonal, open-top pocket for a plane ticket or any similarly sized items you might need quick access to.

    Under the front flap, there is a large, zippered front pocket that extends almost the length of the bag, and behind that pocket, a large open-top pouch that has two organizational pockets for notebooks or small electronics, three pen pockets, and a business card pocket, plus an O-ring to which the included 8" Key Strap is attached. Key Straps are useful for keeping track of your keys (many folks leave their keys attached to the Key Strap) and can also be used to clip a pocket watch or Swiss Army knife to the bag. (Additional and extended-length Black and Color Key Straps can be purchased separately.)

    The main compartment unzips low on the sides, exposing a "bellows" that allows access to the depths of the bag. The front, back, bottom, and sides of the Empire Builder are padded and stiffened by 1/4" (6 mm) closed-cell foam to protect its contents and maintain its sharp looks. Inside the main compartment are three hard plastic file dividers (included with the bag) that make organizing your papers a snap. They also help to keep those important papers from getting damaged by the other contents in the main compartment. The dividers stay put inside the bag but are easily removed if you don't want them. You can order Extra File Dividers for even greater organization.

    Also in the main compartment, you will find clips for the optional Brain Cell laptop case, which, once clipped inside the Empire Builder, transforms it into a sophisticated and highly protective laptop briefcase. The Brain Cell is sized specifically for Apple laptops and PC laptops and provides the ultimate in laptop protection with soft, thick foam padding, hard, corrugated plastic walls, and a suspension system. We recommend using our Laptop Bag Fit Guide to determine which size of Brain Cell is right for your laptop.

    The back of the Empire Builder features an open-top pocket for magazines or newspapers. It also has a slot that allows you to stack the bag on top of rolling luggage — slip the handle of the rolling luggage through the slot on the Empire Builder. The slot zips shut at the bottom so it can be used as a pocket when you're not using it to fit the bag on rolling luggage.

    Did we mention the handles yet? They are amazingly comfortable — constructed of U.S. made, 1050 denier, high tenacity ballistic nylon rolled around high quality, 1/2" thick PORON® foam; they lie naturally together at the top of the bag, so there's no fishing around for your grip. The Empire Builder can also be carried across-body or over the shoulder with the optional Absolute Shoulder Strap. The Absolute Shoulder Strap, which combines a soft, durable neoprene pad with comfortable stretch backing, has a unique internal control-stretch system that has given it a well-earned reputation as the best shoulder strap available. We say it makes bags feel 50% lighter, which might sound like a bunch of marketing nonsense, except it's actually true.

    The Empire Builder is made of our custom, U.S. made, high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon and is lined with U.S. made 500 denier Cordura® nylon. It features #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers for the main compartment and exterior pockets. The front pocket under the flap has a #8 YKK coil zipper.

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