Tom designed the Paradigm (you're here now) and Zeitgeist specifically for folks who’d been asking him for years to design a small backpack PLO (Purse-Like Object; read about the origin of that acronym in the Forums).
Both backpacks share the same main compartment: a slightly teardrop shape with a zipper across the top and down the sides. Same shoulder straps too – a new style of strap offering a gentle contour and a touch of padding. Both have the same padded back panel with an interior padded sleeve suitable for a iPad or similar (sound familiar? It’s a scaled down version of the back panel of the Paragon).
After that, the Zeitgeist heads in one direction and the Paradigm heads in another…
The Paradigm has exposed #8 YKK RC DWR zippers on both the main compartment and the front pocket. And the Paradigm’s front pocket has a lot of good stuff going on, so take a deep breath and read carefully on. First of all, this pocket is a full 3D pocket, having on its own a volume of about 2.7 liters / 165 cu.in. It’s divided vertically into three sections: if you fully unzip the top of this pocket you’ll be peering down into all three of the sections, but if you only want access to one of the sections then you can simply move the two zipper sliders around in such a way as to only expose that section (much easier to do than to describe!)
Naturally, you can put whatever you want into these three compartments, but the center one is perfect for a small water bottle or mug: remember, keeping your water bottle dead center makes for a more balanced load. Alternately, that center section can be great for a compact travel umbrella — we added a drain grommet at the bottom for that use.
Lastly, on the interior back wall of the left and right (but not center) sections of the Paradigm’s front pocket are simple open top flat pockets – nice for wallet or smartphone.
Walk through the features of the Paradigm.
3D Front Pocket
This pocket is a full 3D pocket, having on its own a volume of about 2.7 liters / 165 cu.in. It’s divided vertically into three sections: if you fully unzip the top of this pocket you’ll be peering down into all three of the sections, but if you you only want access to one of the sections then you can simply move the two zipper sliders around in such a way as to only expose that section (much easier to do than to describe!)
Contour Backpack Straps
Our new Contour Backpack Straps were designed to be an upgrade from basic webbing straps. They have minimal foam padding to bump up the comfort factor, while remaining light and proportional to smaller or lightweight packs.
Tom developed the shape and fit of the Contour straps over several months, asking for feedback from friends and crew of all heights and sizes — many different refinements were made to the shape and fit. The result? While no backpack strap design is likely to work for everyone, it’s surprising to all of us how many of us love these straps in particular — folks ranging from 5’0” to 6’0” find them comfortable and well-fitted.
Smooth Back Panel
The back panel of the Paradigm is always smooth 525d ballistic nylon in Black, no matter the main exterior fabric or color.
Padded Device Pocket
The Paradigm's padded compartment offers just-right padding without adding bulk or weight. Don't plan to carry a device? Know that most of the padding and construction of the compartment would be there regardless to offer comfort to your back and structure for the bag itself.
The Paradigm will fit devices up to the size of the 11" iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (but notably not the S7+).
We added a simple webbing grab handle to the top of the Paradigm. It'll come in handy if you'd like to hang the pack on a coat hook, grab and hoist it up onto a table, or carry it briefly by the grab handle itself.
We include the following accessories to give you a good amount of options for your new bag right out of the gate.
A Key Strap is a strip of webbing with plastic snaphooks on the end. The 8” Key Strap in Black that’s included in most of our larger bags is, for many, the gateway to a world of organization via Key Straps and Organizer Pouches. All the members of the Key Strap family are intended to make locating things in your bag easier and more instinctive. Pulling out a small item or pouch tethered to a strap is easier than rooting around aimlessly in the depths of your pack; you can also rest assured that anything hooked to a strap is much less likely to fall out or otherwise be left behind. You can find more Key Strap colors and varieties on the Key Strap page.
Some folks prefer metal zipper pulls. Others prefer cord pulls. So, what to do about that? We think the best solution (in most cases) is to offer metal pulls and include a starter pack of Cord Pulls with most bags. The most popular solution is to weave the Cord Pulls through the metal pulls, effectively silencing them without having to remove them. A video demonstrating various Cord Pull options and more colors/varieties of Cord Pulls can be found on the Cord Zipper Pulls page.
An adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your sternum strap, remove it and leave (almost) nothing behind.
Choosing an Exterior Fabric
You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Paradigm is typically available* in three 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: email@example.com
- 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 High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
- 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.
1000 denier Cordura®
- plain weave
- 1000 denier type 6,6 texturized nylon, discontinuous surface fibers that mask surface damage caused by abrasion
- medium urethane
- Made in:
Choose this fabric if
- You want a durable, canvas-like, natural-feeling fabric, and don't mind the slightly rough or abrasive texture.
- You appreciate that it's been the outdoor industry's go-to, classic pack fabric for the past four decades.
- You don't care about your bag collecting pet hair or lint.
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 since 1972 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.
- Margaret K.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Compact, Good Storage Size, High Quality Craftsmanship1 month agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Compact, Good Storage Size, High Quality CraftsmanshipRated 5 starsPerfect DEC backpack
The bag's size fit me very well!
Not that big not so small.
The design very handy and useful.
When it loaded, it can stand by itself.
The only thing I think can be develop, is it better have a pocket in front of the main compartment, as the same as daylight backpack's pockets on the back, make more management.
But is can solve by another way.
I use a freudian slip of small cafe, it's fit perfect!
Love this bag! it's the third favorite bag of tom bihn I ever have!Was this helpful?
- Patti F.Verified BuyerBought For GiftProduct Standouts High Quality Craftsmanship, Good Storage Size, Easily Adjustable, Comfortable, Made in USA6 months agoBought For GiftProduct Standouts High Quality Craftsmanship, Good Storage Size, Easily Adjustable, Comfortable, Made in USARated 5 starsLove it!
I asked for this for Christmas to replace my handbag. I'm older and have a cranky shoulder. I hoped to wear it on my back thereby putting the weight evenly on both shoulders. As it turns out, I can't get it there w/o help. BUT it is just as useful as I thought it would be -- it keeps everything organized and easy to get to. I carry it w/my good arm OR wear it on my chest using both shoulders - depending on the day! As a geezer, I really don't care how I look as long as it works!!!Was this helpful?
- Michele B.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Durable, Easily Adjustable1 month agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Durable, Easily AdjustableRated 5 starsI am beyond in love with this thing
I've been travelling exclusively with an Aeronaut 45 since 2015. I love that thing so much I bought one for my now-husband not long after we started dating. Over the years I've purchased so many Tom Bihn bags and gifts for friends/family/loved ones, and I finally decided to treat myself to a PLO. I have hypermobility spectrum disorder, so finding something that's functional and comfy is hard. It also doesn't help that I'm 5'2 so most proportionate bags are kiddo bags, which means that straps are of questionable quality and often awkward because...you know, they're not designed for an adult. This fits the bill on all accounts while making sure that there's plenty of space for all of the things I need for work (college prof. and grants coordinator), real-life (mom to a toddler and 2 dogs), plus play (three words: hands. free. adventuring.) If you're thinking about it like I was for the longest time...JUST ORDER IT! I swear it's 1000% worth it.Was this helpful?
- Mariko A.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Finishings, Compact, Versatile1 month agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Finishings, Compact, VersatileRated 5 starsPractical backpack for those who are shorter
I needed a daypack to wear during travels that would not be too big so that I could not fill it enough stuff to make it too heavy to carry for hours on end. The Paradigm is perfect for that - I can fit in a few books, a jacket, umbrella, iPad and other travel essentials in this small PLO. The downside is that the front compartment is rather short - I found that nothing bigger than a Yeti 12oz bottle or Hydroflask 18oz bottle (fyi it will be a little harder to get the zips to pass the top of this bottle) will fit. But I'm ok with that, I can just fit my bottle into the main compartment. Lastly, I tried ordering this in both Ursa and Coyote Ballastic - the latter has a beautiful sheen to it that the Ursa lacks, and I noticed the Ursa picked up scuffs that were really visible (although could easily be wiped off). Just FYI as well if that bothers you.Was this helpful?
- Beth C.Verified Reviewer1 year agoRated 5 starsGreat bag for short people and/or short trips
I received a Paradigm as an advance copy, and after writing up a review, offered it to my sister, who is not "into" Tom Bihn gear like I am, but is 4'11" and appreciates lightweight, no-fuss backpacks that let her pack up and go quickly, without overpowering her small frame. Shortly afterwards we had an emergency one-day trip, and this is the bag she showed up with. It held her essentials, a water bottle, a book and other things needed for a train trip and the rest of the day, and was easy to walk around with. She seems to really like it. (I do too, but I ended up personally preferring this bag's twin, the Zeitgeist).Was this helpful?