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The Luminary 12

Regular price $130.00
We've retired the The Luminary 12 to make way for new designs. Stay tuned for what we come up with next!
  • 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.

    Face Masks
    Our masks are satisfaction guaranteed. Please if you're happy with your mask *or* there's something that doesn't work for you. We want to hear from you!

  • Our bags and face masks are designed and cut & 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 more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.


bluesign® certified 525 denier High-Tenacity 2x2 Ballistic nylon exterior
bluesign® certified 210 denier High-Tenacity 2x2 Ballistic nylon lining
Closed-cell foam back
Edgeless EV50 5/16" / 8mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)
Tough Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
#8 YKK Aquaguard ® water-repellent zippers


Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials
100% finished seams


9.8" (w) x 15.0" (h) x 5.9" (d) / 250 (w) x 380 (h) x 150 (d) mm
1 lb 5.0 oz / 595 grams
725 cubic inches / 12 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
What's Included:
1x 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
1x Black Zipper Pulls w/ Plastic Ends (8-Pack)
Total O-Rings: 4 (2 in the main compartment, 1 in the left pocket, 1 in the right pocket)

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. Looking for a Luminary that fits taller or broader folks? See the Luminary 15

In 2018 - 2019, Tom made the following design updates to the Luminary 12:

  • 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.
  • The zippered side pockets themselves are now deeper (wider) so they can accommodate a wider variety of phones and phablets, notably the larger varieties. One of the side pockets is a bit taller than the other (this makes the main opening a bit asymmetrical, but that’s OK, we promise) so even some pretty gigantic phones will now fit. The iPhone XS, iPhone Plus, and HTC U Ultra fits in the taller zippered side pocket of the Luminary 12 (and in both zippered side pockets of the Luminary 15.)
  • The piping (the trim that sits in the seam between the front panel and the top/sides of the pack) is now color-matched to the main exterior color of the bag.
  • Tom added a small zippered pocket to the interior front face of the pack. It’ll fit a pair of AirPods, Nik's Minimalist Wallet and a Lara bar or similarly sized objects. 
  • If you'd like, you can read more about the thinking and process behind those design updates here.

Though the design of the Luminary 12 may look straightforward, its simple lines hide its subtleties. While on first blush the Luminary 12 appears to have a single compartment, its long zipper with four sliders actually accesses the main compartment as well as two side pockets. Both side pockets are sized generously to fit most smart phones; one side pocket is a little taller than the other (some functional asymmetry that we found beguiling aesthetically) and that pocket can even fit iPhone XS, iPhone Plus and or the HTC U Ultra. The side pockets have O-rings so you can tether keys, multi-tools, Organizer Pouches, whatever.

Handy too is the largely inconspicuous zippered padded back pocket that is sized to fit a 10.5" iPad Pro or similarly sized (or smaller) tablet. Your tablet is protected by the 1/4” / 6mm foam back padding, yet is easy to access via the vertical zipper. Inside the main compartment is a zip-away stretch mesh water bottle pocket/divider: when zipped into place, the divider creates three vertical spaces to help you organize your gear and control the load. If that’s not your idea of a good time, leave the divider unzipped and push it out of the way.

The shoulder straps are gracefully curved and feature soft knit edges and undersides; they are padded with 5/16” / 8mm thick EV50 closed-cell foam. They may be the most comfortable shoulder straps ever. The top handle/grab loop is new too: made with our soft webbing that's easy on the digits but isn't padded or bulky. A 3/4” / 20mm sternum strap and 1” / 25mm waist strap are there if you want them and easily removed if you don’t. 

We’ve opted to make the exterior back panel from the same fabric as the rest of the bag. Though some users may find it not as cool as our spacer mesh back panels, because we intended this bag for less aerobic activities we kept the aesthetic simple and design elegant.

Stuff that's good to know:

Some folks are inclined to wear smaller backpacks low on the back by adjusting the shoulder straps to their maximum length. We don't recommend wearing the Luminary 12 this way. Why? The shoulder straps of the Luminary 12 are designed to conform to one's neck and shoulders when it’s worn relatively high on the back, y'know, like a proper backpack. If you let out the straps and wear the Luminary 12 low on your back, the padded portion of the straps won’t be adequately long, and the adjusting buckles will likely poke you in the wrong place. Additionally, the curve of the strap won’t ride correctly over your shoulder and the straps will tend to splay widely apart: you might think that the sternum strap will fix this, but it’s now too high on the strap to ride anywhere near your sternum.

If you’re a tall person, you might find that the above issues happen no matter what. Do not despair: just make your way over to the Luminary 15 page.

The Luminary 12 is designed for folks who carry a tablet and/or phone as opposed to a larger laptop, and the tablet is meant to be carried in the padded back pocket of the Luminary (it fits tablets up to the size of the 10.5" iPad Pro.) While laptops up to the size of the 12" MacBook or 11" MacBook Air in their respective Cache sleeves will fit in the main compartment of the Luminary, the bag itself does not have rail loops for the Cache. We do not recommend trying to fit laptops larger than the 12" MacBook in the Luminary 12.

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