Quality did not match Tom Bihn standards
I want to preface this review by saying that I have been a TB customer for about almost 10 years. I have purchased, routinely used, and loved thousands of dollars worth of bags and accessories from this company. I was extremely excited when the Techonaut was announced, as my Aeronaut 45 has literally travelled around the world with me for both work and adventure and the only shortcoming of the A45 is the lack of a laptop compartment. The Techonaut 45 does have a laptop compartment, but at the expense of everything that makes TB bags worth the investment.
While the large YKK pulls feel solid, the zipper itself is very loose and flimsy and lacks any weatherproofing on the interior. Perhaps the Techonaut zippers are a newer, updated weather resistant zipper, but they are demonstrably inferior to the A45 zippers. The lack of a lining on all of the Techonaut panels is problematic given the upside down egg shape of the bag, as the top of the bag bulges in a way that is both uncomfortable and problematic to get in and out of easily. Finally, the back panel of Techonaut does not function well-perhaps owing to aforementioned egg shape of the bag.
Rated 1 out of 5
Hi M P,
We’re so sorry that you aren’t happy with your Techonaut! Customer service is sending you an email today about this.
First up, we want you to know that we honor your experience of the bag and appreciate the review/feedback you’ve shared with us.
We also wanted to share some context about the design and materials choices we’ve made and their subsequent impacts, just because sharing our thinking behind our choices is something we like to do. Plus, sometimes sharing more context and asking questions (customer service will reach out with those!) can help us understand more about your experience.
The zippers on your Techonaut are YKK Water Repellent Racquet Coil zippers, whereas the zippers on your Aeronaut 45 are YKK Aquaguard® zippers. Here’s a recap from a (https://www.tombihn.com/blogs/main/zipper-updates ~ warning, super long) blog post that we wrote about the evolution in zippers from 2019 - now:
“To recap: we’ve been testing and using DWR RC zippers for the last couple of years, and, in our own tests, we found that the water repellency of the Racquet Coil zipper treated with DWR to be on par with that of the standard coil Aquaguard® zippers. RC zippers don’t require that little bit of an extra tug to open and close: they zip open and shut quite smoothly, in fact. Though our Aquaguard® zippers are quite durable, RC zippers are reputed to be even more so. The smaller RC sliders give just a little extra room and sometimes that counts. And the fact that we can utilize a DWR RC zipper for the laptop compartment of the Trinity meant that design could continue to move forward.”
I’d add to that that some folks thought our YKK Aquaguard® zippers to be of inferior quality because they required a bit of an extra tug, whereas some folks like yourself preferred that extra tug.
And here’s the background on what we think of interior panels and what folks often refer to as “lining”:
We use interior panels of lighter materials to create and define the various compartments and pockets of a bag. We don’t typically add lining material to a bag for looks, and it’s not a strategy that typically works to provide structure or shape. To provide structure or shape, it’s more about the seams, the patterning, any potential piping, and sometimes adding a layer of closed cell foam (which requires an added ply of lighter material to contain the foam within the bag). The choice of exterior fabric itself effects the perceived softness or rigidity of the bag as well — 400d Halcyon offers less structure as an exterior fabric than 525d or 1050d ballistic, for example.
The Techonaut and Aeronaut have pockets in different locations based upon what we see as the ultimate intended use of each bag — overall, the Aeronaut actually has less interior lighter weight material (“lining”) than the Techonaut.
What we think you might be referring to (we’re just guessing, but will ask in email) is that The Techonaut does have one pocket that isn't as deep as the entire main compartment (meant for wallet/phone or other small objects) so the interior "lining" created by that pocket only goes halfway across that panel.
Okay, so there you go, we’ve basically written a whole blog post! These things were also on our mind in a timely way because we’re working on the Production & Design Notes for the Techonaut (long overdue as the OSCA notes were already published!) As we often say, ask us the time and we’ll tell you how we’d build a watch (but wait, no one even asked us the time!)
Again, we appreciate and honor your experience, and we don't expect this to change things or anything (a certain bag could work for some folks but not others) but we did want to share our thoughts.