February 19, 2019

Pre-Order + Official Updates to the Luminary 12 and Luminary 15

A person wearing a Luminary 12 ,reaching up to pull a book from a bookshelf.

The updated Luminary 12 and the new Luminary 15 backpacks are here! And, as promised, we're also offering the much-requested Shop Bags, The Truck, and Packing Cube Shoulder Bag in 210d ballistic for order at the same time as the Luminaries (and before the March 1st 5th price increase). Details below.....

The following new designs and new fabric/color offerings will be available for order on Tuesday, February 26th:

The Luminary 12 in Aubergine.

Luminary 12
The Luminary is a small everyday backpack designed for an evening on the town, a day spent at museums, the commute to work and back, and traveling the world: wherever you go, the Luminary 12 has your back. This, the original Luminary 12, best fits folks 5'10" and under. It features several design updates that Tom made based on user feedback.

The Luminary 15 in Nebulous Grey.

Luminary 15
The Luminary 15 is designed to fit taller and/or broader folks. The bag itself is approximately 15% taller, 10% wider, and an inch or two more in depth (as it projects away from your back) than the original Luminary 12. Both of its side zippered pockets can fit phones as large as the iPhone Plus / XS or the HTC U Ultra and its dedicated padded device pocket can fit laptops up to the size of the Dell XPS 13" or the Apple 13" MacBook Pro.

The Large Zip-Top Shop Bag in Black 210d ballistic nylon.

Small Zip-Top Shop Bag (new 210d ballistic options)
The Zip-Top Shop Bag debuted in 2018 and has been popular ever since. We basically took our original, classic Shop Bag and added a much-requested zipper closure, which allows one to use this design as a tote bag or as an impromptu almost-duffel-like-object. At your request, we are now offering the Small Zip-Top Shop Bag for pre-order in our 210d ballistic nylon colors in addition to the usual 200d Halcyon options. Will we continue to offer the Zip-Tops in 210d ballistic? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how popular (or not) they end up being.

Large Zip-Top Shop Bag (new 210d ballistic options)
Same as above, but in a larger size to fit more stuff.

Original Large Shop Bag in Viridian 210d ballistic nylon.

Original Large Shop Bag (new 210d ballistic options; last production batch before this design retires)
The classic, the original Shop Bag is retiring due to the popularity of the Zip-Top Shop Bag design. We may make the rare production batch of the Original Large Shop Bag in the future if we can find the production time to do so and there's enough demand.

You can sign up on any of the pages linked above to be notified via email the moment each bag is available for pre-order.

In addition to the pre-order bags listed above, the following bags will be in-stock available for immediate order. And yes, you can place one order that includes both pre-order and stock items: read all about it in our Pre-Order FAQ.

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag in Black 210d ballistic nylon.

Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
The classic Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is now available in Viridian, Dawn, Black, Coyote, Island and Grass 210d ballistic nylon in addition to Northwest Sky and Island 200d Halcyon; features an additional o-ring in the main compartment. Option of a new abrasion resistant and smooth webbing 1" shoulder strap.

The Truck in Coyote 210d ballistic nylon.

The Truck in 210d ballistic nylon
As promised in our announcement of a price increase effective March 1st 2019 effective March 5th 2019, we will be offering The Truck in 210d ballistic nylon just like you've asked us to. It's worth noting that we think The Truck is at its best in 525d ballistic nylon. Additionally, the 525d version of The Truck is by far the most popular. Still, there's some of you who wanted the chance to buy it in 210d, and this one's for you. And, hey: we probably won't be offering The Truck in 210d again, so this is your last chance.

The Design Updates to the Luminary 12 and Luminary 15

Here's the scoop on the design updates Tom made to both sizes of Luminary.

External Design Updates

Showing off that new zipper garage.

The zipper sliders for the side pockets now close to the top rather than to the bottom – some folks will find this makes more sense, as zipping a pocket shut to the bottom may have seemed counterintuitive, though arguably it’s somewhat arbitrary. We were able to achieve this by redesigning the clever way in which the main zipper morphs to become the pocket zippers: it was clever before, but now it’s even more cleverer. On the new version, at the juncture between the main zipper and pocket zipper, a small “garage” of fabric spans the width of the zipper (it’s actually just one zipper, with four sliders), more-or-less covering the small gap at the top of the “pocket zipper” and offering some weather protection for the contents.

Both zippered pockets on the Luminary 15 can fit even the largest phablets. The taller zippered pocket on the Luminary 12 fits the largest phablets; the other one can fit smaller phones.

And those side pockets? We nudged things around a bit to make them deeper (wider) so they can accommodate a wider variety of phones and phablets, notably the larger varieties. We still weren’t satisfied, so we made one of the side pockets a bit taller than the other, so even some pretty gigantic phones will now fit. All well and good you might say, but does that not mean the main opening is now a bit asymmetrical, zipping a bit further down one side than the other? My, you are paying attention aren’t you! Yes indeed, that main opening is now a bit off center, something you are likely not even to really notice in use, or perhaps you will notice and it’ll make you smile every time to recall that symmetry is totally overrated.

The piping (the trim that sits in the seam between the front panel and the top/sides of the pack) is now color-matched: not a functional change, but we thought it fit with the lean aesthetic of the overall pack.

Internal Design Updates

You asked and Tom added a small, zippered pocket to the interior front face of both sizes of Luminary.

We added a small (like, wallet-sized) zippered pocket to the inside upper front. Several of you asked for this feature, and though Tom was cranky about dropping everything when he was so close to wrapping up the new design, he realized he really ought to have thought of it earlier. Like we said, it’s a tiny pocket — it will not fit your 15” MacBook Pro — but it’s still quite useful for stowing away a Minimalist Wallet, iPhone, or small notebook and pen.

And more about the Luminary 15...

The comfortable shoulder straps of the Luminary 15 are designed to fit a wide variety of people.

The original Luminary 12 was specifically designed to fit folks of about 5'10" (178cm) and under: our intention was to offer folks short of stature and/or slight of build a super-comfortable everyday backpack. The Luminary 12 was well received, but folks who are taller/bigger wanted one too, so Tom set to work designing the Luminary 15. The L15 fits a wide range of people quite well -- those who have tested or worn it for us ranging from 5'0" to over 6'0" tall have reported it's quite a good fit.

The Luminary 15 is approximately 15% taller, 10% wider, and an inch or two more in depth (as it projects away from your back) than the original Luminary 12. You’ll get more capacity from the 15 of course (approximately 15 liters vs 12), and you’ll be able to carry a slightly larger device in the back pocket as well (think a small laptop like the 13" MacBook Pro in the L15 vs a tablet like the iPad in the L12). While we designed the two sizes to best fit different sized people, we know some folks will choose the 15 simply for its greater volume, and that's okay with us.

Timeline of the Luminary design updates / development of the Luminary 15

Luminaries in process in Tom's design studio.

The Luminary 12 debuted in June 2017. One of the ways we know a design is going to be successful is when the people who buy it use it a lot and thus are able to provide informed feedback based on experience about its features. That was the case with the Luminary 12 (thanks for the feedback, everyone!) and Tom took that opportunity to spend the next year designing and incorporating updates to the original Luminary 12 in addition to making the larger, Luminary 15 designed to better fit broader/taller folks.

Samples of the new Luminaries were made and given to friends, family, and current/former employees to test; more feedback gathered and the designs were finalized. (A guest post by former TOM BIHN Bag Guru Hollie -- the main tester/evalulator/feedback-giver of the Luminary 15 -- will be published later this week.)

In May 2018, we posted this update on the progress of the new Luminary designs. And later, in September 2018, we posted another update. We shared some of the reasons behind the long design timeline of new Luminaries in this post: On The Design Process: Inspiration, Timeline, Testing

The PPB (pre-production batches) of the updated Luminary 12 and the new Luminary 15 were completed in mid-January. We'll publish a post all about the PPB process later this week.


TB Crew - November 19, 2019

@Nina That’s the new Ghost Whale Organizer Pouch. They were originally planned to be part of this pre-order debut, but the winter weather and resulting snow days here in Seattle mean we’re a little behind on production. We do think we’ll be able to debut the Ghost Whale around the end of this week or early next, though! A last minute surprise…

Steven - November 19, 2019

@TB Crew Neat!

TB Crew - November 19, 2019

@Steven Yes! Zeke, the filmmaker who works on our videos, is working on this documentary: https://www.lastblockbustermovie.com/

Steven - November 19, 2019

Was… was that a Blockbuster Video card inside the Minimalist Wallet?

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