Bags

Ways To Secure Your Bag to Rolling Luggage

Some of our bags — such as the Cadet, Synik, Pilot, and Co-Pilot — have built-in rolling luggage handle pass-through slots. But what do you do if your bag doesn’t have a pass-through, or you have rolling luggage with a very thick, wide handle that can’t fit through the bag’s built-in pass-through?

There’s two solutions we can offer:

Option #1 Use the Webbing Waist Belt On the Bag You Have

Using the Gatekeeper waist strap to secure the Synik to rolling luggage

This is admittedly a bit of a hack, but if you have one of our bags, you might already have what you need for it and, in that case, it’s free!

1. Remove the Gatekeeper Webbing Waist Belt that’s included with most of our larger bags.
2. Connect the two Gatekeeper clips together: now you’ve got a long strap with a buckle closure.
3. Use that strap and wrap it around the middle of your Synik, Synapse, Pop Tote, Tri-Star or other bag as it’s sitting on top of your rolling luggage with its back against the handle of the luggage.
4. Clip the buckle around the rolling luggage pole.
5. Cinch the strap down.

Option #2 Use the optional Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap

Using the Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap with the Synik 30

Don’t have a Gatekeeper webbing waist belt, or don’t want to remove it from your bag because you use it? We made a purposeful version of the strap that effectively does the same job: the Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap.

What We Like About This Strap-Around-The-Bag Solution

It’s simple and easy to use. And let us be clear: this is not some smart or revolutionary invention. It’s a pretty obvious, low-tech solution. If and until we invent something more clever, this is it. It’s possible that you’ve already discovered this solution on your own, and if that’s the case, kudos.

In our experience, the bag — Synik, Pop Tote, Tri-Star, Synapse, Guide’s Pack, whatever pack we offer, or even possibly a pack from a different brand — is effectively secured to the rolling luggage in such a way that it won’t spin around or slide off. It feels stable.

It feels more stable than a webbing or elastic band sewn to the back of the bag because it’s holding the center of gravity of your bag and all of its stuff against the rolling luggage handle. This is also the reason that it works better than using the sternum strap and waist strap on one of our backpacks to secure the bag to the rolling luggage.

It’s a solution that’s not built-in to the bag: you can use it when you need to use it, remove it and stow it in one of the pockets in your bag when not in use, or leave it at home when you don’t need it at all. (In fairness to the rolling luggage pass-through pockets on the Synik, Cadet, and other bags: they don’t add any bulk and are dual-purpose.)

Note: these solutions work with two-pole handle rolling luggage; they won’t work that well with the less typical one-pole handle rolling luggage.

We asked members of our Forums to help us test these methods; here’s the feedback they shared.

If you use either strap method, we want to hear how it works for you: feedback@tombihn.com

Restock: Luminary 12 + 15, Pop Tote, Ghost Whales, 3D Cubes, Maker’s Bag and more…

We’ve been busy! Here’s what’s been restocked in the last two weeks…

Backpacks

Luminary 12

Luminary 15

Synapse 19

Pouches / Other Stuff

Ghost Whale Organizer Pouches

3D Clear Organizer Cube

Passport Pouch

Second Aid Pouch

Clear Quarter Packing Cube

Synapse Internal Frames

Cross-Body/Shoulder Bags, Totes and Duffels

Pop Tote

Maker’s Bag

Medium Cafe Bag

Large Zip-Top Shop Bag

Small Zip-Top Shop Bag

Mini Yeoman Duffel

Update on the new Ghost Whale Organizer pouches


Photo of the Ghost Whale Pouch, Size Small, posted by Dom in the Forums.

Our new Ghost Whale Organizer Pouches have proved to be a very popular design. And it just so happens that we are experiencing a supply issue with the #3 YKK zipper needed to make the Ghost Whale.

That means that the Ghost Whale pouches won’t be meaningfully restocked until mid-late April. Some colors/sizes of Ghost Whale may be restocked here and there because we’re expecting a small shipment of #3 zippers around mid-late March, but we need those zippers for other items as well.

Some colors and sizes of Ghost Whales are still in-stock, but others are already (temporarily) sold out. If you’d like, you can sign up on the Ghost Whale page to be notified the moment they’re restocked and available for order. We’re hoping it’ll be sooner than mid-late April!

In the meantime, you may want to browse the photos shared by our Forum community of their new Ghost Whales. The photos (and the questions asked/answered) can be helpful in determining if the Ghost Whale Organizer Pouch is the right organizational tool for you and, if so, which sizes/colors might work best. Here’s some quick links to the photos and discussion:

Cristina’s Ghost Whale / Other Organizer Pouches Size Comparison

imagineez puts their soft top glasses case in the Ghost Whale (size Small)

Wanderlust77 shows that most eyeglass cases are probably too big to fit in a Ghost Whale

G42’s first impressions of the pouches

ButtUglyJeff found his best use for the Ghost Whale Size Small: holding brick style battery banks.

bartleby’s Ghost Whale photos

February 2019 Pre-Order Is Open

Quick list of bags available for pre-order:
Luminary 12
Luminary 15
Original Large Shop Bag
Large Zip-Top Shop Bag
Small Zip-Top Shop Bag

Quick list of bags available for order:
Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
Ghost Whale Organizer Pouch
The Truck

Note: the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag has already (temporarily) sold out in colors Coyote and Dawn. We’re making more and expect them to be back in-stock by this Friday, March 1st. It’s also possible some Ghost Whale Organizer Pouches will sell out; if that happens, more will be back in-stock tomorrow 02/27.

Two Minor Updates to the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Serving as a lightweight shoulder/cross body bag on a hike in Hawaii

The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is a dual-purpose packing cube: in preparation for and during your journey, use it to organize and pack your clothing inside your larger travel bag (maybe you have an Aeronaut 45 or 30, Tri-Star, or Western Flyer, or a travel bag made by another brand) just like how you’d use our Packing Cubes. When you reach your destination and it’s time to leave your main travel bag in the hotel or hostel, repack the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag with a light jacket, wallet, phone, small water bottle, map, and add a shoulder strap: you’re ready to go out and explore, and you’ve saved space by not having to bring a separate bag for day use.

New to the current / most recent production batch of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is one minor (but much requested) update: the addition of another O-ring in its main compartment. As we said, it’s a minor addition, but one that’s been requested for quite some time by those who like to customize the organization of their bags with Organizer Pouches and Key Straps.

And there’s one more update: we moved the shoulder strap attachment point placements, just like we did with these other bags.

We’ve also made the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag available in most 210d ballistic nylon colors (much requested as well) — Black, Coyote, Viridian, Dawn, Grass, and Island.

Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, Black 210d ballistic nylon
Used as a Packing Cube >> Used as a day bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

TOM BIHN Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, Dawn 210d ballistic nylon
Used as a Packing Cube >> Used as a day bag

A Minimalist Convertible Packing Cube Travel Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

Convertible Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

12/13 Restocks

Our Seattle Factory crew are on a roll making sure as many bags as possible are in-stock before tomorrow at 4:00pm Pacific Time, which is the last chance for Mid-West and East Coast folks to order with UPS Ground ($10, carbon neutral) as their shipping method for delivery by or on 12/24. See our full Holiday Schedule for other important shipping dates.

We’ve just restocked the following bags:

Brain Bag, all colors
Side Effect in Black/Northwest Sky and Black/Island
Nik’s Minimalist Wallets, all types and colors
Daylight Backpack, all colors
Aeronaut 45 in Black/Northwest Sky, Black/Island, Steel/Northwest Sky, and Navy/Northwest Sky.

Holiday Inventory Update + Seattle Factory Showroom Open Saturday

Seattle folks: come hang out with us!

Our Factory Showroom will be open Saturday, December 8th from 10:00am until 2:00pm.

We’ll have hot coffee, Darcy’s homemade chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, vegan, and we swear they’re still really good), Tom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies Tom’s homemade biscotti (definitely lots of dairy and gluten and also very good) and, of course, bags. This is the only Saturday we’re open all year. Hope you can come down and join us!


Kat and Cody have decorated the showroom with lots of reindeer. Apparently, reindeer are as fond of O-rings as we are.

Holiday Inventory Update


Zhong is currently working on making Brain Bags.

Next Friday, December 14th is the last day to place an order via UPS Ground or USPS to make sure it arrives by or on December 24th. In an effort to make sure as many orders as possible can ship UPS Ground, we’ll be shipping all orders received by 4:00pm PT (our typical shipping cut-off is 12:30pm PT). And, of course, there will still be time to order and receive your order by December 24th — see our Holiday Schedule for more details on all of that.

Our production crew is doing their best to make sure the bags you’ve been asking about most are restocked and ready to ship by then. Here’s an update:

Restocked today as of 1:00pm PT:
Nik’s Minimalist Wallets
Western Flyer
Small Cafe Bags

Additionally…..

More colors of Aeronaut 45 and Synapse 25 were restocked yesterday.

Brain Bags in Black/Cloud and Nebulous/Cloud will be restocked early next week.
The Side Effect in Black/Northwest Sky (amongst other colors) is in the works / will be restocked by December 21st.
The Cadet in colors Black/Island, Burnt Orange/Northwest Sky, Verde/Northwest Sky, Steel/Island, and Navy/Northwest Sky is in the works / will be restocked by December 21st.

Top-Loader Backpacks: a Blast From the Past

Any sort of bag or backpack that needs to get closed up tight requires, well . . . a closure. It’s likely that the very earliest closure used was a draw cord threaded through holes punched in the top edge of the bag’s material (which was likely animal skin), then pulled tight by the user and tied shut. If Ötzi had carried a backpack, it likely would have utilized a drawcord closure. Things bumped along this way for thousands of years; somewhere along the line some clever person added a flap over the opening to keep the contents of the bag from being exposed to weather – making this flap into a pocket was an obvious next step.

Fast forward to the late the 19th / early 20th centuries, and zippers are invented (finally). Zippers have made their way onto bags and backpacks in the decades since, and mostly we’re all pretty happy about that: zippers provide a secure and convenient closure, and it’s hard to imagine a backpack entirely without them. (We use the very best quality YKK zippers out there, and that means that with appropriate use and care they’ll last a long time. Don’t use a zipper to compress the load, and if something gets jammed in the slider, don’t just yank it harder. Many of the packs I made back in the 1970’s still have functioning zippers, though some are stiff and cranky . . . a bit like me.)

When we set off to design The Guide’s Pack, we were inspired by the simplicity and elegance of backpacks that were made in the mid-20th century; most of these utilized zippers only for their pockets, and relied upon the (even then) very old school technology of a drawcord closure for their main compartment. I started making backpacks long before drawcord closures were “retro”, and appreciate from experience how completely bombproof the system is: not only is it almost impossible to break a drawcord closure, the very act of loading the bag and cinching the cord can be a great way to compress the bulkiness of your load. Packing one of our top loading backpack feels less finicky too: you can stuff away to your heart’s content without fear of buggering a zipper; since it’s not humanly possible to blow out the side seams, have at it.

Now we’ve added a second drawcord closure, top-loader pack to our line-up: the Shadow Guide. It’s a further riff on the simplicity of the drawcord design, plus it’s the only pack in our line-up with Cache loops to accommodate even the largest 17” laptops.

Top loaders aren’t for everyone. Some folks will always prefer the greater access that a well-designed zippered closure can give. It’s sort of like choosing to drive manual over automatic. For those who do appreciate top loaders, here’s some tips on packing a top loader like The Guide’s Pack or the Shadow Guide:

— Stuff the stuff that you may not need access to in the bottom main compartment of the pack. (Perhaps your rain shell or warm extra layer, depending on where you live.)

— Above or on top of that, your lunch and water bottle.

— Laptop (if carrying) against the back of the pack.

— Quick access items in the mesh pockets on the underside of the top hatch: keys, phone, wallet, etc.

— And in the top hatch pocket itself: first aid kit, flashlight, other EDC items, pouch of cords and dongles.

New: Nik’s Minimalist Wallets, Road Buddy Duffels, Shadow Guide + Tom’s Firewood Carrier


A true test of patience: the dogs wait for green beans as patiently as we’ve been waiting to share these new designs with you. In this photo: the Road Buddy 36 (along with a Yeoman Duffel).

Meet our latest designs….

Click the name to go directly to the pages for the new designs to see all the details: photos, specifications, full descriptions and more. Click “Full Summary” or keep scrolling to read on below for a summary of each of the new designs. You can also sign up on the individual pages for each new design to be notified the moment they’re made available for order.
 

Nik’s Minimalist Wallets
1 elastic strap, 2 halves, 3 wallet designs: everything you need and nothing you don’t.
(Full Summary)
 

Road Buddy Duffel 36 & Road Buddy Duffel 60
An ever-evolving duffel design; successor to the Skookum Dog Road Duffel and heir to the Road Buddy throne. A good amount of built-in organization.
(See also: the optional additional Road Buddy Lash Straps)
(Full Summary)
 

Shadow Guide
If the original Guide’s Pack is a fully realized sketch, the limited edition Shadow Guide is the version of the sketch with several brush strokes removed — what the sketch conveys remains clear, but with an end experience of true simplicity.
(See also: the optional Shadow Guide Padded Hip Belt)
(Full Summary)
 

Tom’s Firewood Carrier
The firewood carrier Tom made for his dad and his friends in the mid-1970’s.
(Full Summary)
 

All of these new designs are in production at our Seattle, Washington, USA factory. They will be available for order on Monday, November 26th around 8:00am-ish PT and will ship the same day if ordered before 12:30pm PT (as long as they’re still in stock).
 

Nik’s Minimalist Wallets

Nik's Minimalist Wallet

Not so long ago, Nik realized he wasn’t satisfied with his old leather wallet. Its exposed stitching was failing and, as Nik repaired the wallet, he realized he could design a new, more minimalist wallet that he’d be happier with overall.

In designing and making his new wallet, Nik’s main design criteria were to keep the design as simple as possible with as little bulk as possible so that the wallet could comfortably be carried in one’s back or front pants pocket (in addition, of course, to being carried in one’s bag).

Nik also wanted to keep the design clean, and to him that meant hiding as much of the typically exposed stitching as possible. He imagined and made real a series of internal folds that — after the final action of turning the wallet inside out post-construction process — created pockets for cards/cash and achieved that seamless look he was after.

Nik made three four versions of his wallets based on the feedback from the crew here at TOM BIHN and the Forums:

Wallet #1
Nik’s original wallet and the most minimalist of them all. Two interior fabric pockets. No exterior pockets.

Wallet #2
Two interior pockets — one pocket is fabric, the other pocket is clear urethane for your ID or any other card you might want to show off. No exterior pockets. 

Wallet #3
Two interior pockets: one is fabric, the other is clear urethane. And this time, there’s one exterior pocket. 

Wallet #4
Nik and Fong worked together on the day the wallets debuted to make this version in response to feedback from members of the TOM BIHN Forums. Wallet #4 is exactly the same as Wallet #3 except for one key (ha ha… meh) difference: a small webbing loop through which gives you the ability to securely and conveniently tether your Wallet #4 to any TOM BIHN bag with O-rings. You’ll need a Key Strap to do this, but given that all of our larger bags come with one 8″ Key Strap in Black, you probably already have one. If you don’t: see our various styles, lengths, and colors of Key Straps here

Status
In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 26th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Colors
Black, Viridian, Dawn, Grass, Cloud, Coyote, Island (210d ballistic) and Nordic, Black (400d Halcyon)

 

Road Buddy Duffel 36 and Road Buddy Duffel 60

Tried and proved true over 20 years (with a few updates along the way), the Road Buddy Duffel is our take on the go everywhere, go anywhere duffel bag: tough as nails, easy on the eyes, all with a good amount of built-in organization.

Three main compartments. Seven organizational pockets. Lash straps for securing a tripod, yoga mat, or Camp Mat to the outside of the duffel. Carry by hand or over the shoulder.

Available in two different sizes:
Road Buddy Duffel 36 Liters
Road Buddy Duffel 60 Liters

Status
In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 26th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Colors
Black, Navy, Verde, Steel Burnt Orange, and Aubergine 1050d ballistic nylon.

Also Available:
Road Buddy Lash Straps

 

Shadow Guide

Shadow Guide - a backpack with an internal frame

If the original Guide’s Pack is a fully realized sketch, the limited edition Shadow Guide is the version of the sketch with several brush strokes removed — what the sketch conveys remains clear, but with an end experience of true simplicity.

Two minor additions of webbing serve to add major functionality: first, interior loops to which you can secure the optional Cache laptop sleeve. (Note: all existing sizes of our Cache sleeve fit in the Shadow Guide — even the Cache 17B for the Razer Blade Pro.) And second, an unobtrusive webbing loop on the bottom to which one can affix a Guardian Light if biking or walking.

Status
In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 26th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Colors
Black 525d ballistic nylon / 1050d ballistic nylon

Also available:
Shadow Guide Padded Hip Belt

 

Tom’s Firewood Carrier

Tom's Firewood Carrier

Back in the mid 1970’s, I made a firewood carrier for my father and a couple extras for friends. The design was nothing new or revolutionary, but it did its job: schlepping 3-5 firewood logs from the woodshed to the hearth. When my father passed away in 2016, I inherited the original carrier I had made all those years before. Now, over 40 years later, I use the thing almost daily in the winter months.

Darcy posted a photo of the original firewood carrier on Instagram and a few people asked us if we’d offer it someday — so here it is. Just like the original version it’s made of heavy cotton canvas — a material I’ve been re-learning recently.

— Tom

Status
In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 26th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Colors
Forest/Brown Heavy duty #8 Cotton Canvas

New: Freudian Slips in Grass, Island, Cloud

The Synapse 19 Freudian Slip in Grass
The Synapse 19 Freudian Slip in Grass.

Previously available in Black only, our Freudian Slip organizational insert will soon be available in three new colors: Grass, Cloud, and Island*

The new colors make it even easier to see the contents of the Freudian Slip inside your bag and offer you a chance to either match or contrast the lining color of your bag. Keep it neutral with Cloud or go primary with Grass or Island.

You can sign up now on the Freudian Slip page to be notified the moment we add them to the website for order (that’ll be around 10:00am Pacific Time this Friday, October 26th.)

*You may be wondering: why not also offer the Freudian Slip in 210 ballistic colors Dawn and Viridian? We’re saving our Dawn and Viridian fabric to make sure we can make enough of the bags those two colors are most popular in. It’s possible we might offer Freudian Slips in those two colors someday, but no guarantees.

TOM BIHN Freudian Slip in Grass


The Small Cafe Bag Freudian Slip in Cloud.

The Freudian Slip in Island
The Medium Cafe Bag Freudian Slip in Island.

The Freudian Slip in Island

News Briefs

We’ve created a new page that invites you to “order” free materials that we can’t make use of but maybe you can:
Free Materials for DIY Projects

We’re retiring Iberian and Wasabi 200d Halcyon, as well as Nordic 400d Halcyon. More here.

Restocked this week: our Brain Bag and Synapse 25 backpacks and the Side Kick sling/waist/shoulder pack.

Subscribe: Blog Posts

You’ll receive an email every time we publish a new blog post. That’s about 3-4 times a week.

Recommended Posts