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design

Luminary Pre-Production Batch (PPB) Notes

Luminary Pre-Production Batch (PPB) Notes

Note: for details on the Luminary 12, 15, and 210 ballistic bags pre-order, see this post. Pre-order opens 02/26 and closes 03/05. Tom, Nik, Mike and Velia (not pictured) at the final Luminary 12 and 15 Pre-Production Batch meeting.   Ever since we first mentioned our pre-production batch (PPB) system in our Pre-Order FAQ -- "I placed a pre-order and it shipped earlier than expected! Nice. How’d that happen?" -- You received one of the few PPB bags available — congratulations. What, you may be asking, is the pre-production batch (PPB)? A pre-production batch (PPB) of any new design is...

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Top-Loader Backpacks: a Blast From the Past

Top-Loader Backpacks: a Blast From the Past

Any sort of bag or backpack that needs to get closed up tight requires, well . . . a closure. It’s likely that the very earliest closure used was a draw cord threaded through holes punched in the top edge of the bag’s material (which was likely animal skin), then pulled tight by the user and tied shut. If Ötzi had carried a backpack, it likely would have utilized a drawcord closure. Things bumped along this way for thousands of years; somewhere along the line some clever person added a flap over the opening to keep the contents of the...

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Update on the New Luminary Backpacks

Update on the New Luminary Backpacks

Victor, Fong, Lisa, and Nik discuss the shoulder straps on the Luminary 14. As we shared back in May, Tom has been working on new versions of the original Luminary 10 and the new size Luminary 14. An update on the progress of the Luminary was included in our recent blog post on the design process. After we posted that update, Tom took additional feedback into account and added yet another feature and another design update to the bag, which added to the bag’s development timeline. As of today, both the Luminary 10 and Luminary 14 designs are complete. Yay!...

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On The Design Process: Inspiration, Timeline, Testing

On The Design Process: Inspiration, Timeline, Testing

Both Tom and Nik are designing various new bags and smaller items—everything from new backpacks to new travel bags to new organizer pouches. And that, of course, prompts questions: When will they be released? Will all the designs turn into real bags that will debut someday? There's an easy answer: we don’t know. But why do we not know? And further, how can we be comfortable with—and actually admit to—not knowing? First, we might identify the various impetuses behind the new designs, as the origin of their inspiration does impact the design process and timeline of development. The inspiration for...

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The Aeronaut Travel Bag: Frequently Asked Questions

The Aeronaut Travel Bag: Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of questions (and answers) that we’re asked -- or anticipate we will be asked -- about the Aeronaut 30 and Aeronaut 45 travel bags. If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, feel free to emailus@tombihn.com How did Tom come up with the design of the Aeronaut? What does Tom consider to be some of the more unique features and aspects of the Aeronaut design? How many design updates have been made to the Aeronaut over the years? Tom designed the Aeronaut so that the end user could carry it via three different methods. In...

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New Luminary Backpacks Are In The Works

New Luminary Backpacks Are In The Works

Tom sews one of the new Luminary prototypes in his design studio. Tom has made a couple of design updates to the original Luminary. Most notably, he's made the right side pocket large enough to fit phablets such as the iPhone Plus and the HTC U Ultra; the left side pocket is a bit bigger too (wider actually) than the first iteration of the Luminary. The asymmetrical height of the pockets makes the main compartment zipper extend further down one side than the other, which we think looks kinda cool. Yet Tom was able to nudge things around so that...

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Tom Bihn in the Dave Meeks Bee Barn, Santa Cruz

Some Thoughts for the Prospective Bag Designer

In my garage, Santa Cruz, circa 1983. The other day, someone stopped by the factory just as I was leaving – they are learning to design and make bags, and were hoping to look around. I was glad to give them a brief tour and answer some questions. Surprisingly, this request is not that uncommon: we've recently had more and more inquiries from people who’d like to start their own bag businesses or become bag designers, and are hoping I might give them some advice or wisdom to help them down their path. Of course, the thing about any map...

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TOM BIHN | The Field Journal Notebook Returns

Farewell to the Field Journal Notebook

Back in 2015 we made the decision to retire a number of designs including the Field Journal Notebook. And then, in 2016, we announced its return. Now, in 2018, we are once again retiring the Field Journal Notebook. This decision was made partly because of two materials supply related reasons: first, the Field Journal Notebook’s three-ring binder mechanism is no longer available, and second, the cost of the specially-produced-just-for-us FJN paper inserts/refills have gone up by a substantial amount that we’d rather not pass on to you. And so here we find ourselves once again: the Field Journal Notebook is...

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New: Guide's Edition Synapse 25, Pop Tote, and Synapse Internal Frames

New: Guide's Edition Synapse 25, Pop Tote, and Synapse Internal Frames

Meet our three latest designs... The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 The Pop Tote Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame Click the above links to go directly to the pages for the new designs to see all the details: photos, videos, specifications, full descriptions and more. Or, read on below for a summary of each of the new designs. All three new designs are in production at our Seattle, Washington, USA factory. They will be available for order on Monday, November 27th at 8:00am PT and will ship the same day if ordered before 12:30pm PT (as long as they're...

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Tom and Nik in the Seattle Factory

Our Guide To Backpack Frames

As with many things in life, deciding whether to use an internal frame—or if you even need one—is subjective: it's based on how you plan to carry your backpack, what you plan to carry in it, and how carefully you're willing to pack it. A lot of folks will find an internal frame useful, but not everyone will, and certainly not everyone needs one, especially those who carry smaller/lighter packs or less gear. Our Hero's Journey, Guide's Pack, and Guide's Edition Synapse 25 backpacks all come with internal frames included. Versions of the same internal frame are optional for our...

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