3/4 shot of the Paragon in Black 525 Ballistic. 3/4 shot of the Paragon in Taiga (olive green with grey grid) 400 Halcyon Taiga Halcyon Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Taiga interior. 3/4 shot of the Paragon in Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic. Nebulous Grey Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Acuity interior. Nebulous Grey Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Sitka interior. Nebulous Grey Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Ultraviolet interior. Black Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Northwest Sky interior. Black Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Taiga interior. Black Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Solaris interior. Black Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Coyote interior. 3/4 shot of the Paragon in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon Original Halcyon Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Island interior. 3/4 shot of the Paragon in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon Black Halcyon Paragon with the main pocket open to reveal the Northwest Sky interior.
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An updated and limited edition version of a backpack design made by Tom back in the 1970's. Design Lab blackout label.

19.8 liters (1200 cu. in.)

Design Lab Taiga 400 Halcyon/Taiga 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Black 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Original 400 Halcyon/Island 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Black 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Black 525 Ballistic/Taiga 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Acuity 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Ultraviolet 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Sitka 200 Halcyon
Design Lab Black 525 Ballistic/Island 210 Ballistic
Design Lab Black 525 Ballistic/Coyote 210 Ballistic
Design Lab Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 210 Ballistic
Top-down shot of the Paragon open. Reverse shot of the Paragon Person walking down the street wearing the Design Lab Edition Paragon in Nebulous Grey. Person walking down the street wearing the Design Lab Edition Paragon in Nebulous Grey. Person pulling a book out of the front exterior pocket of the Paragon backpack. Person pulling a phone and a pen out of the interior zippered pocket of the Paragon. Person pulling a tablet out of the device compartment inside of the Paragon. Person walking down the street with their bicycle wearing the Paragon in Taiga 400d. Person standing and holding the grab handle of the Design Lab Edition Paragon in Taiga. Person standing and wearing on their back the Design Lab Edition Paragon in Taiga. Person pulling lip balm out of the top interior zippered pocket of the Paragon. Person pulling a laptop out of the device pocket of the Paragon.


This is the page for the Design Lab Paragon: it has the Design Lab edition label and a clean front.  Looking for the Guide's Edition Paragon


The Paragon is an updated version of a pack design I made myself back in the 70’s. Named the Simplex (one main compartment, like the Paragon) or Duplex (two main compartments - like the Brain Bag but smaller) these basic packs are likely the ones etched into our consciousness when we think of the word “daypack”. Classic rectilinear shape with radius corners; diagonal zippered front pocket (more on that below); flapped zippers; and, well, not a whole lot else going on, which is what some folks love about this design.


A Duplex Pack in orange on a bed of snow.

Above: one of the actual Duplex backpacks made by Tom in the 1970's.


I can’t help but make some updates to even my own classic designs — after all, I originally made the Simplex and Duplex over 45 years ago. Here’s what I updated for the design of the Paragon:


Diagonal Zipper Pocket >> Horizontal Zipper Pocket 

Yes, I know, the diagonal zippered pocket is part of the classic look and many of my packs from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s featured that. Let's face the facts: it's 2021 and we're carrying various electronic devices. I found that sliding my tablet into the diagonal zippered opening didn’t really work. It’s just easier to get all kinds of stuff in and out of a horizontal zipper front pocket — and, after all, isn’t that what a pocket is for? 


Padded Back Panel

Padded back panels were not the norm back then, but we’ve all come to expect them now – partly because we now tend to carry laptops or tablets. Which of course leads to.....


Laptop/Device Compartment

If you’d like some padding for your tablet or you carry a laptop, you can stow one or the other in the minimalist built-in laptop compartment of the Paragon. It’s a straight-forward pouch of the same foam laminate that we use to make our Caches, and is accessed inside the main compartment. Fits the 16" MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 17" and, of course, any devices smaller than those two. (And to be able to fit those bigger laptops, I did have to make the Paragon more square and less oval than the original Simplex and Duplex packs.) Now don’t get all mad if you don’t carry a laptop: that compartment also provides additional padding for your back. 


Edgeless Shoulder Straps

Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of this strap allows it to more softly conform to your shoulder; we find that this increases comfort. Yet the straps aren’t too soft: the 1/2” thick EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® certified foam means the strap is robust enough to carry a heavy load. 


We decided to release the Paragon with the Design Lab edition label because it’s an experiment of sorts: it’s the first of several upcoming reissues from the TOM BIHN design vault. 


And that’s not all: the Paragon has one interior zippered pocket and includes a simple (and removable) sternum strap and waist belt.

I unearthed this pack design around the beginning of the pandemic — we had talked about debuting a new design that would be something fun we could share with all of you sooner rather than later. (That sooner months and months later turned into this later: we became surprisingly busy at the factory sewing masks and ended up not having the time to debut the Paragon.)  


I wanted it to be something that’d be pretty easy to cut and sew — in early 2020, things were changing quickly, and one of our crazy brainstormed ideas was that Darcy would learn to cut fabric, Nik would sew bags at the factory, and I would sew bags at home in my garage workshop. We’re nowhere near as skilled as the production crew, so, yeah: simple would be better. Bonus points if it wouldn’t take me all that long to design. Pulling a design from the archives — one I’d patterned, cut, and sewed when I was something like 14 — made sense. (There’s a couple of other simple designs from the 70’s/80’s/90’s that we’ll be reissuing this year: stay tuned…) Of course, we’ve abandoned this quixotic idea of the three of us pretending to be a factory, but out of that pipe dream we did get the Paragon. :)


Folks who love our Daylight Backpack but wanted some laptop protection, a padded back, and replete-with-comfort shoulder straps will appreciate this pack. Folks who like the organization of a pack like the Synik or the mega-capacity of a pack like the Brain Bag may want to stick with those. Those who like simplicity, classic design — they’ll find much to appreciate here (precisely because there’s less.) Those who want to see innovation — well, this is a pack about where we came from, not where we’re headed. People who want to complain will complain. And people who want some drama… well… 


The Paragon in Halcyon — it’s perfectly imperfect (just like you. Aw.) Because it’s impossible to line up the grid of the Halcyon, it’s well, not lined up. The effect may be visually jarring to those of us who like things to be perfect — it also creates some optical illusions . . . .  that one end of the flap above the horizontal zippered pocket might appear to be shorter than the other, for example. On the bright side, it means each bag is ever-so-slightly unique in a way that’s more obvious than the usual imperceptible slight variances created by the fact that humans cut and sew these bags. How all of this lands for you is up to you — we just want you to know about this when it comes time to choose the right fabric for you.

- Tom


2x #8 YKK coil zipper with metal sliders (exterior zippers)
1x #5 YKK coil zipper with plastic sliders (interior zipper)


Closed-cell foam


Edgeless EV50 1/2” / 12mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)

Laptop Compartment

.25" / 6 mm thick foam padding laminated between black, heavy-duty polyester knit and brushed tricot


Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components


Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials 100% finished seams


13.4" (w) x 17.9" (h) x 6.8" (d) / 340 (w) x 455 (h) x 175 (d) mm


525d Ballistic: 1 lb 7.6 oz / 670 grams
400d Halcyon: 1 lb 5.0 oz / 595 grams 


 1200 cubic inches / 19.8 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)

Laptop Compartment

14.09" x 9.68" x 0.64" / 357.9mm x 245.9mm x 16.2 mm

Total O-Rings

4 (2 in the main compartment, 1 in the interior pocket, 1 in the front pocket)

Choosing an Exterior Fabric

You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Paragon is typically available* in two different exterior fabrics. Our Materials Glossary explains each fabric in great detail, but here are some quick facts that may help you decide which to choose. And we're always here if you have questions: emailus@tombihn.com

400d Halcyon

plain weave with 1/4” / 6mm ripstop
400 denier type 6 filament nylon (base fabric); 420 denier ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene ripstop grid
light urethane
Made in:

Choose this fabric if

  • You want a lighter weight alternative to traditional nylon fabrics that has remarkable tear strength and good abrasion resistance.
  • You're looking for a fabric with a modern, "technical" appearance.
  • You have pets: 400d Halcyon doesn't collect pet hair, reducing your monthly lint roller costs.

525d Ballistic

2x2 “ballistic” weave
525 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon, twisted
heavy urethane
Made in:
South Korea with Canadian yarn

Choose this fabric if

  • You want your bag to be soft and supple yet tough as nails.
  • You want a fabric that's stately enough to be at home at work, the mountains, or a nice hotel.
  • You don't want your bag to collect pet hair or abrade your clothing.
*There may be times when one of the exterior fabrics mentioned here isn't available. Even with our best efforts, the demand for our bags occasionally outpaces our production capabilities: at times, some products, color combinations, or fabrics might be temporarily unavailable or "In Production." See the In Production color combinations as a guide to what our factory crew is making and what will be available next.
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Sewn in Seattle

Our bags are designed and sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

Intrigued? You can find out more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.

THE BIHN Guarantee

Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

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Rated 4.6 out of 5
Based on 11 reviews