Our Portable Culture Portrait blog series features TOM BIHN Forum members, the bags they carry, and what items they carry in their bags. It's inspired by our Portable Culture tagline. This edition features Forum member jujigatame. The previous edition featured Forum member bchaplin.
What’s the most useful item that you carry?
The most useful thing for me is a good pocket knife or multitool. My favorite knives have always been Spyderco and Swiss Army (viva MacGyver!) for their consistent quality and functionality. I like to collect old traditional slipjoints too. At work I carry a Victorinox Alox Minichamp. It’s very capable and the small size is acceptable around everyone. I keep a small Leatherman in my bag because it's nice to have pliers on hand.
What’s your most treasured item?
I suppose it would be the Seiko diver that has been my everyday watch for 10 years. It’s one of those things that is such a core part of my daily gear that I’d feel rather naked without it.
Which item do you use more often than you thought you would?
A notebook. A few years ago I got back into using a fountain pen and now I seem to accumulate small notebooks in which to write. Using an app for storing information is convenient but the act of putting ink or lead to good paper is pleasing, even relaxing at times. And when it comes personal notes or letters something handwritten is so much nicer than the digital alternative. I took that from my mother who always hand writes letters to her friends and enjoys fine stationery.
What's your daily carry packing list?
I’m currently running an A30 PCBP with a Freudian Slip. It gives me a lightweight platform in which I can organize the items I use everyday in the way I need them. I can easily add or subtract other item groups with pouches. It carries quite comfortably and the Freudian Slip adds structure to the large compartment that I prefer for using it primarily as a backpack. Figuring out how to make a carry setup work for a given bag or by mixing different items together is something that truly interests me. I tend to geek out on cool hardware like buckles, clips, swivels and the like. I enjoy testing out how they can be used to engineer solutions. When you can come up with a formula that works just right for you it is pretty satisfying.
· Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack
· Large Cafe Bag Freudian Slip
· Work keys
· Nock Co. notebook
· Phone charger
· Spare batteries
· Travel size deodorant
· Work calendar
· Clairefontaine notebook (used for keeping notes on classes and training information at work)
· Victorinox Alox Minichamp
· Small Apica notebook (did I mention I accumulate notebooks?)
· Pentel Graphgear 1000 pencil
· Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen
· Mini organizer pouch (contains a flashlight and multitool)
· Small organizer pouch (contains earbuds, small first aid items)
· Mini Q kit (contains other sundries like chapstick, aspirin, lighter, moisturizer)
· Latest read (Masters of Doom about two of the guys who started id Software)
· Small TB shop bag
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a lifelong resident of Massachusetts and I work in customer service for Wegmans. I majored in history at Syracuse, which means I can write you a 3-5 page paper on pretty much anything as long as it’s due tomorrow. In addition to using and talking about bags I love movies, beer, tying knots, puns, baked goods, and the craftsmanship of well made objects. It is exciting to have the opportunity to share all of this with everyone. Tom Bihn is meaningful to me as a company, a product, and a community so I am happy to take part.
I’d been intrigued by Tom Bihn bags for a while, mostly hearing about what a great backpack the Synapse was, but never made the move to get one. Then in 2013 I had the good fortune to win a prize as part of a giveaway at EDC Forums and that prize was a TB Brain Bag. I was really blown away at how nice it was and while it did not end up being “the one” it got me hooked on the brand for good. I moved on to get a Co-Pilot and that bag clicked for me like few things ever did, as if someone knew how my mind wanted a bag to work and carry beyond even what I could have articulated if asked. I got a Small Café Bag, then a Synapse 25, PCSB, Parental Unit, ID, and just recently the A30 PCBP. Each time I try a new bag, pouch, or accessory I am fascinated with the designs and how it is all made to work together. You can’t use something that you don’t have with you and Tom Bihn lets me carry the things I need and want with me in a dependable and efficient manner. That can take a good bit of the hassle and headache out of everyday life. I feel such usefulness is worth its weight in gold (or 1050 Ballistic).
Tom talks about the idea that what you bring with you out into the world each day is part of your personal culture. A significant point about Tom Bihn products is that when you get one you don’t just get a great bag, you get a great company of people behind it and a community of people who share a passion for them. To me this means that the bag is not just an object. It is a connection. It connects you to the people that designed it, the people that constructed it, the people that packed and shipped it, and the people who own one just like it. Webster offers one definition of culture as “the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time” and so having Tom Bihn products as part of our everyday lives and sharing the aforementioned connections is a culture. Perhaps not all of us are going to think of things in that way just from buying a new carry-on bag but I’d say it’s a good bet that once you set foot in the Tom Bihn universe and mix in that culture as a part of your own you will consider it a good and meaningful experience. I know I do and that Tom Bihn is a part of who I am going out in the world each day.