The Zeitgeist with a Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic exterior. The Zeitgeist with a Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic with a Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. The Zeitgeist with a Black 525 Ballistic exterior. The Zeitgeist with a Black 525 Ballistic exterior with Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon interior. The Zeitgeist with a Ursa 525 Ballistic exterior with Forest zipper tape The Zeitgeist with a Ursa 525 Ballistic exterior with Tidal 200 Halcyon interior
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$124.00


Color: Aubergine Ballistic/Coyote/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon

A vintage reissue of a very small TOM BIHN backpack design from the 80's / 90's.

7 Liters / 410 cu. in.

We've retired the Zeitgeist so we can focus our efforts on other projects. You can sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page to receive updates on what we're working on next!

TLDR

Tom designed the Zeitgeist (you're here now) and Paradigm 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). The Zeitgeist is a reissue of a vintage TOM BIHN design from the 90's; the Paradigm is a more modern design.

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 Zeitgeist features a simple flat front pocket with a diagonal zipper; we’ve trimmed the zipper with contrast colored grosgrain ribbon just for fun. We went with the new version of an old TOM BIHN label to give it even more of a retro flavor — we call it the “Moon Label”. The Zeitgeist has a small zippered interior pocket like the Paragon; the main compartment zipper (#8 YKK RC DWR) has an old school weather flap and is also a bit longer than the zipper on the Paradigm.

Full Description

Walk through the features of the Zeitgeist.

Padded Device Pocket

The Zeitgeist'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 Zeitgeist will fit devices up to the size of the 11" iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (but notably not the S7+).

Person putting a tablet in the device compartment of the Zeitgeist.

Diagonal Exterior Pocket

The Zeitgeist features a simple flat front pocket with a diagonal zipper; we’ve trimmed the zipper with contrast colored grosgrain ribbon just for fun.

A person pulling a Small Q-Kit from the diagonal exterior pocket of the Zeitgeist

Interior Pocket

Small interior zippered pocket: perfect for a wallet, passport, keys, sunglasses or other small items.

A person removing a protein bar from the interior pocket of the Zeitgeist (also filled with a wallet and cellphone)

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. 

The Zeitgeist's straps on a person

Grab Handle

We added a simple webbing grab handle to the top of the Zeitgeist. 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.

Person holding the Zeitgeist by its grab handle

Moon Label

The Moon label revisitation of a label Tom used briefly back in the mid-1990s.

Close-up of the vintage reissue Moon Label

Smooth Back Panel

The back panel of the Zeitgeist is always smooth 525d ballistic nylon in Black, no matter the main exterior fabric or color.

Zeitgeist back panel

What's Included

We include the following accessories to give you a good amount of options for your new bag right out of the gate.

One 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap

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.


A Set of Black Zipper Pulls

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.


One Sternum Strap Assembly

An adjustable and removable sternum strap with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your sternum strap, remove it and leave (almost) nothing behind.

The Zeitgeist'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 Zeitgeist will fit devices up to the size of the 11" iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (but notably not the S7+).

Person putting a tablet in the device compartment of the Zeitgeist.

The Zeitgeist features a simple flat front pocket with a diagonal zipper; we’ve trimmed the zipper with contrast colored grosgrain ribbon just for fun.

A person pulling a Small Q-Kit from the diagonal exterior pocket of the Zeitgeist

Small interior zippered pocket: perfect for a wallet, passport, keys, sunglasses or other small items.

A person removing a protein bar from the interior pocket of the Zeitgeist (also filled with a wallet and cellphone)

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. 

The Zeitgeist's straps on a person

We added a simple webbing grab handle to the top of the Zeitgeist. 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.

Person holding the Zeitgeist by its grab handle

The Moon label revisitation of a label Tom used briefly back in the mid-1990s.

Close-up of the vintage reissue Moon Label

The back panel of the Zeitgeist is always smooth 525d ballistic nylon in Black, no matter the main exterior fabric or color.

Zeitgeist back panel

We include the following accessories to give you a good amount of options for your new bag right out of the gate.

One 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap

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.


A Set of Black Zipper Pulls

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.


One Sternum Strap Assembly

An adjustable and removable sternum strap with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your sternum strap, remove it and leave (almost) nothing behind.

Zippers

2x #8 YKK Raquet-Coil Water-Repellent Zipper

Back

bluesign® certified Black 210 denier High-Tenacity 2x2 nylon exterior
Closed-cell foam

Straps

Contour 1/8" / 3mm shoulder straps (#4 Closed Cell Foam)

Components

Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components

Specs

Weight

1000d Cordura®: 15.3 oz / 435 grams
525d Ballistic: 15.2 oz / 430 grams
400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop exterior: 14.6 oz / 415 grams

Dimensions

9.8" (w) x 12.8" (h) x 4.7" (d) / 250 (w) x 325 (h) x 120 (d) mm

Volume

7 liters / 410 cu. in. (ASTM Standard Measure)

Device Pocket

Maximum:  11" x 7.2" x .7" / 280 x 180 x 17 mm

Total O-Rings

4

(3 in the main compartment,
one in the exterior slash pocket)

Choosing an Exterior Fabric

You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Zeitgeist 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: emailus@tombihn.com

400d Halcyon

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

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

Weave:
2x2 “ballistic” weave
Fibers:
525 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon, twisted
Coating:
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®

Weave:
plain weave
Fibers:
1000 denier type 6,6 texturized nylon, discontinuous surface fibers that mask surface damage caused by abrasion
Coating:
medium urethane
Made in:
U.S.A.

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.
*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.
4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
Based on 47 reviews
91%would recommend this product
47 reviews
  • Christine T.
    Verified Buyer
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Sewn in USA, Durable
    1 year ago
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Sewn in USA, Durable
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    The backpack I have been waiting for

    I have been waiting and hoping for a small Tom Bihn backpack for years! I was so excited when I found out that the Paradigm and Zeitgeist were being made. I have used my Zeitgeist as my EDC at amusement parks, swap meets, and for travel. I have to say it’s the perfect bag for me. My 18oz water bottle fits nicely in the inside padded pocket. The padding allows enough cushion that I don’t feel it on my back. Inside zipper pocket holds my small wallet, chapstick, and meds. Outside pocket carries my cellphone. Inside can hold anything else I may pickup in my travels or a small jacket.

  • Candi Morgan M.
    Verified Buyer
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Made in USA, Compact
    1 year ago
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Made in USA, Compact
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Amazing for Light Hiking and Adventures!

    I love the Zeitgeist (I've sort of gone a little nuts with them - up to four now), but I think this one is my favorite! It's the Taiga/Coyote one, which is a gorgeous color. I think it's become my fave TB colorway, as well. This bag is super light and these are the most comfy small backpacks that I've ever found!

    I tested this one out today for a little light hiking at Phinizy Swamp, Augusta, GA (yes, I know, it doesn't have the proper back panel for that, but it's small and light and it was a short hike of about 5-6 miles with a few stops in mild weather in an area with good cell service). I've removed the sternum strap on all four of the bags because the shoulder straps fit solid as a rock, and it's almost like I'm not carrying anything, which is very nice.

    It will fit my Black Halcyon SE (packed out as my EDC and in the main compartment vertically), protein bars, an 18oz. wide mouth HydroFlask (vertical next to the SE), Packtowl Nano in a pouch, chap stick, sunscreen stick, cough drops, tissues, hand sanitizer, half-Buff headband, small first-aid kit, a map, keys, and a packable sun hat with no issue! I could have fit a light rain shell or long sleeved tee tucked into the top of the bag, but the weather was so nice today that I didn't need one.

    Love love love love love!!! ❤

  • John C.
    Verified Buyer
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Finishings, Compact, Versatile
    1 year ago
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Finishings, Compact, Versatile
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Big Zeitgeist fan

    I mostly use the Zeitgeist as an EDC on days when I'm not carrying a laptop, and occasionally as a daypack while traveling. The back panel is thick enough to be comfortable but not overbuilt, and it fits a surprising amount of stuff: light sweater, umbrella, small-ish water bottle (mine is 18oz), Kindle.

    It's also a unique look - I've gotten lots of positive comments and people asking where I got it. Overall I would definitely recommend it!

  • Erica L.
    Verified Buyer
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Thoughtful Design, Made in USA, Compact
    1 year ago
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Thoughtful Design, Made in USA, Compact
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Perfect Every Day Carry

    I am OBSESSED with my Tom Bihn Zeitgeist. I purchased it for an urban every day carry bag and it has been just lovely. Not too small, not too big. To really enjoy this bag, I find that mastering organizing it vertically made it the most functional. It is a slim bag, and I don't carry things like ipads or books, all of my doodads are rather small. After getting them situated in pouches that facilitated everything being organized flat, even when the bag was upright, was the key to success, because yes, the front pocket does use interior space. This doesn't bother me because I love the slim look of this bag. I keep my wallet and a little flashlight in the front pocket, and the rest of my stuff in the main pouch. I usually clip a water bottle to one of the shoulder straps.

    I love love love the sternum strap. the shoulder straps are comfy too! The loop at the top (grab handle?) is kinda soft, but super strong. It's pleasant to pick up the bag. The zipper pulls and key strap being included are much appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • Christina
    Verified Buyer
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Sewn in USA, High Quality Finishings, Compact, Versatile
    10 months ago
    Bought For Myself
    Product Standouts Thoughtful Design, Sewn in USA, High Quality Finishings, Compact, Versatile
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Perfect minimal gym bag and all around charming bag

    I love the zeitgeist! I’ve reached for it several times a week in the month since I got it. Mine is in original black Halcyon. I needed something compact to carry essentials and a water bottle to the gym for classes where our belongings are stored in cubbies. This fits the bill perfectly! I throw in my Side Effect EDC and a 19oz Owala water bottle and it’s everything I need. I clip my keys and Loop earplugs (the gym is so loud!) to the o-ring in the outer pocket for easy access. As a backpack it works whether biking or driving to the gym.

    I’ve also used it for errands around town. It can hold a bigger water bottle - I’ve also put my 24oz bottle in it. I’ve slipped library books into the tech sleeve, sunglasses into the smaller pockets, snacks and a packable puffer jacket into the main compartment, etc etc. I highly recommend!

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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 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.