New Designs

New Packing Cubes

Our new Packing Cubes combine two of our light fabrics—Mesh and Aether—to achieve our goals of a Packing Cube design that doesn’t weigh much, allows one to see the contents of the Packing Cube without revealing too much and provides enough body and structure to make packing the cube easier. 

They’re available — in-stock and ready to ship — in sizes designed specifically to maximize the space and packing efficiency of our Aeronaut 45, Aeronaut 30, Tri-Star, and Western Flyer travel bags.

Wondering about the differences between our various Packing Cube options? Check out our Packing Cube Guide + Frequently Asked Questions.


Our high-quality U.S.-made Mesh fabric offers two main benefits: first off, it allows you to see what’s inside the Packing Cube, but doesn’t make the contents so visible that the person behind you in line at the TSA checkpoint will know if you prefer boxers or briefs. Secondly, it is a fabric that is, like our Aether, light-in-weight.


Aether is an ultra-light, 100% nylon fabric from Japan. It has a unique and complex construction, combining 30 denier monofilament (warp and weft) with both 100 denier and 200 denier yarns in a micro-ripstop weave to further increase its tear strength. Aether is very light in weight yet provides an almost paper-like structure that we find helps to add some body to our Packing Cubes—which, in turn, makes them easier to pack.

New: Aeronaut 30 and 45 Laundry Packing Cubes
You asked for a Packing Cube version of Tom’s Laundry Stuff Sack, and here it is in two varieties: Small (fits t-shirts, socks, underwear, swimwear) and Large (fits pants, dresses, skirts and shirts). Basically, it’s a Packing Cube with two zippered compartments: one side is Mesh, one side is Aether, and between the two sides is an Aether divider. Clean clothes go in the Mesh side and dirty clothes go in the Aether side.

New: Island Aether
When the color swatches for our Aether fabric in Island came in, we knew we had a winner: not too dark, not too light, yet as vivid and inviting as tropical lagoon. It’s a perfect, utopian blue, and an excellent match to our 200d Halcyon in Island (though it’s worth noting that the Aether Island lacks the white grid of the 200d Halcyon and hence might be perceived as a bit darker). Island Aether joins our other colors of Aether: Wasabi, Violet, and Carbon.

New Packing Cubes: Full List of Colors, Sizes, and Varieties

Tri-Star, Large, Island
Tri-Star, Large, Violet
Tri-Star, Large, Wasabi

Tri-Star, Medium, Island
Tri-Star, Medium, Violet
Tri-Star, Medium, Wasabi

Tri-Star, Small, Island
Tri-Star, Small, Violet
Tri-Star, Small, Wasabi

Western Flyer, Large, Island
Western Flyer, Large, Violet
Western Flyer, Large, Wasabi

Western Flyer, Small, Island
Western Flyer, Small, Violet
Western Flyer, Small, Wasabi

Aeronaut 30, Large Laundry, Island
Aeronaut 30, Large Laundry, Wasabi

Aeronaut 30, Large, Island
Aeronaut 30, Large, Violet
Aeronaut 30, Large, Wasabi
Aeronaut 30, Large, Carbon

Aeronaut 30, End Pocket, Island
Aeronaut 30, End Pocket, Violet
Aeronaut 30, End Pocket, Wasabi
Aeronaut 30, End Pocket, Carbon

Aeronaut 30, Small Laundry, Island
Aeronaut 30, Small Laundry, Wasabi

Aeronaut 30, Small, Island
Aeronaut 30, Small, Violet
Aeronaut 30, Small, Wasabi
Aeronaut 30, Small, Carbon

Aeronaut 45, Large Laundry, Island
Aeronaut 45, Large Laundry, Wasabi

Aeronaut 45, Large, Island
Aeronaut 45, Large, Violet
Aeronaut 45, Large, Wasabi
Aeronaut 45, Large, Carbon

Aeronaut 45, End Pocket, Island
Aeronaut 45, End Pocket, Violet
Aeronaut 45, End Pocket, Wasabi
Aeronaut 45, End Pocket, Carbon

Aeronaut 45, Small Laundry, Island
Aeronaut 45, Small Laundry, Wasabi

Aeronaut 45, Small, Island
Aeronaut 45, Small, Violet
Aeronaut 45, Small, Wasabi
Aeronaut 45, Small, Carbon

New: Guide’s Edition Synapse 25, Pop Tote, and Synapse Internal Frames

Meet our three latest designs…

The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25

The Pop Tote

Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame

Click the above links to go directly to the pages for the new designs to see all the details: photos, videos, specifications, full descriptions and more. Or, read on below for a summary of each of the new designs.

All three new designs are in production at our Seattle, Washington, USA factory. They will be available for order on Monday, November 27th at 8:00am PT and will ship the same day if ordered before 12:30pm PT (as long as they’re still in stock).

The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25

In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 27th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Mars Red, Deep Blue, or Black (all with coyote trim and lining)

Sign Up To Be Notified When The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 Ships
Go to the Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 page, click on any In Production color combination, and add your email address to the input field that appears below.

The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 takes all of the same clever features, bountiful organization, and top-shelf build of the original Synapse 25 and walks it all a bit further up into the mountains, a bit deeper into the woods.

Rather than the all-too-common black zippers, hardware and webbing, the Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 has gone terrestrial: it’s trimmed and lined in Coyote brown. The resulting aesthetic might be taken as an homage to another time, but to our sensibilities, bags trimmed in Coyote seem to be a little more at home in the great outdoors. Brown blends in more readily with natural surroundings and doesn’t show dirt as much. When it does get a bit dusty or dirty, it looks like it’s supposed to. You might also find that the Guide’s Edition S25’s rugged good looks solicit more than a few smiles of appreciation when you’re back wandering the canyons of Gotham.

And it’s not just about the practical and handsome coyote trim–we’ve added several features to the Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 that allow you to carry gear specific to slightly more adventurous outdoor adventures:

— Included Removable/Adjustable Internal Frame with Pre-Bent Aluminum Stay

— Ice Axe Loop

— Accessory Strap Holders

See the Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 for more on these new features.

The Pop Tote

In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 27th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Mars Red, Black, Olive, Cloud, Deep Blue, or Alphaviolet

Sign Up To Be Notified When The Pop Tote Ships
Go to the Pop Tote page, click on any In Production color combination, and add your email address to the input field that appears below.

People have been requesting that Tom design a zip-top tote bag since, well, since before the turn of the century. He always thought it was a good idea, but none of his prototypes were substantially better than all the other zip totes out there—there were plenty of those, and if folks wanted them, there they were.

But in the spring of 2017, Tom again applied himself to the task. The challenge of making a open-top bag that can zip securely shut is not perhaps self-evident, as Tom explains:

“The zipper and surrounding fabric—that is, all the material that allows the thing to shut up, also gets in the way when you desire a bag with a big, wide opening. Somewhat of a Catch-22. But sitting at my sewing machine with some scrap fabric and scissors, and finally a bit of time on my hands, I was able to create what I think is a successful compromise.”

By the end of summer Tom was satisfied. More than satisfied, he was stoked. Pop!

Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame

In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Monday, November 27th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Sign Up To Be Notified When The Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame Ships
Go to the Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame page, choose the Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame in the drop-down selection menu, and add your email address to the input field that appears below.

We present for your use these optional, removable internal frames with aluminum stays for the Synapse 19 and Synapse 25 backpacks. They’re designed to work with any generation of Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 that has rail loops.

The frames are made of die-cut .055” thick High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), with a nylon webbing sleeve sewn down the center that encases a 1” / 25mm wide 6061 aluminum stay that’s pre-bent to a generic spinal curve.

See also: our Guide To Backpack Frames.

Introducing The Travel Cubelet

The Travel Cubelet

In Production in Seattle, Washington, USA

Ready To Order / Ships On…
Friday, October 27th at 8:00am Pacific Time

Island Halcyon, Northwest Sky Halcyon, Viridian, Mars Red, Grass, Black, Alphaviolet, Dawn

Sign Up To Be Notified When The Travel Cubelet Ships
Go to the Travel Cubelet page, click on any In Production color combination, and add your email address to the input field that appears below.

Shipping Options
U.S. — UPS Ground ($10) or USPS First Class or Priority Mail for orders under $49 ($7)
International — UPS Expedited ($30) or USPS First Class International for orders under $49 ($14)

Meet the Travel Cubelet—we humbly present it to you as the elusively perfect mini travel purse (maybe not so humbly after all…). ​It’s not too big…and not too small. It has ​lots of pockets—four, to be exact, including the main compartment—but not so many pockets that they would confound in use.

But wait, let’s go back to the beginning of the story! This summer, we introduced the Cubelet, a new style of Organizer Pouch. You guys liked it as much as we did, and gave us some feedback too: “The Cubelet is great. I’d like one that’s slightly bigger to fit my phablet” and “maybe with a little more organization” and “can you make it fit my 15-inch MacBook Pro?”

When we heard all that (well, except for the last one), a lightbulb went off: perhaps a larger Cubelet, with more organization, could be our elusive mini-travel-unicorn-bag?

Prototypes were made. Prototypes were tested. And we found our answer: yes.

It’s amazing how much can fit in the Travel Cubelet. In the photo above, it’s packed as an in-flight amenities bag.

The flight is over, you’ve reached your destination, and a few items are swapped out to make the Travel Cubelet your main carry.

The Travel Cubelet needn’t be stored away waiting for its next trip: it can also be used as an every day carry.

Summer 2017 Debut Guide

June 2017 Debut - TOM BIHN

Today’s Debuts
Stowaway Personal Carry-on Convertible Travel Briefcase / Backpack
Stowaway Packing Cubes
Luminary Backpack
Yeoman Duffel Packing Cubes
Airplane Baseball Cap, Cotton or Wool
Updated (O-ring placement was changed to accommodate the new Pouchkins) First/Second Aid Pouches with optional new First/Second Aid Pouchkins

And last but not at all least… two new fabrics in many new colors!
525d HT ballistic nylon
210 HT ballistic nylon

525 colors: Mars Red, Deep Blue, Black, Cloud, Alphaviolet, Olive
210 colors: Viridian, Dawn, Canyon, Grass, Cloud, Black

Debut Items That Are Ready to Ship…
Yeoman Duffel Packing Cubes
Airplane Baseball Cap, Cotton or Wool
First/Second Aid Pouch
First/Second Aid Pouchkins

Debut Items That Are In Production…
The Stowaway (Estimated Shipping Date: Early August)
Stowaway Packing Cubes (Estimated Shipping Date: Early August)
The Luminary (Late July)
Synapse 19 in 525 / 210 HT ballistic nylon (Late August)
Synapse 25 in 525 / 210 HT ballistic nylon (Mid-August)
Shop Bag in 210 HT ballistic nylon (Early September)
Small Cafe Bag in 525 / 210 HT ballistic nylon (Late July – Mid-August)
Medium Cafe Bag in 525 / 210 HT ballistic nylon (Late July – Mid-August)

New Videos
maverick’s Stowaway video
Stowaway Features
Luminary Features
First/Second Aid Pouch + Pouchkins
Small and Medium Cafe Bag Features
525d HT Ballistic Nylon video for our Materials Glossary
210d HT Ballistic Nylon video for our Materials Glossary

The Debut In Photos


The Stowaway | TOM BIHN


The Luminary | TOM BIHN


The Cubelet | TOM BIHN

Small Cafe Bag in 525 / 210 ballistic nylon

Small Cafe Bag in 525 ballistic nylon | TOM BIHN

Medium Cafe Bag in 525 / 210 ballistic nylon

Medium Cafe Bag | TOM BIHN

First Aid Pouch with Pouchkins

First Aid Kit | TOM BIHN

Second Aid Pouch with Pouchkins

Second Aid Kit | TOM BIHN

Airplane Baseball Cap, Cotton

TOM BIHN Cotton Baseball Cap

Airplane Baseball Cap, Wool

TOM BIHN Wool Baseball Cap

Yeoman Duffel Packing Cubes

Yeoman Duffel Packing Cubes

Design Update: Aeronaut 45

TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45 Design Updates

You know us: we can’t leave good enough alone. Our Aeronaut 45 maximum carry-on travel bag has been updated with a couple of new features and a few materials updates.

All Aeronaut 45s available for order have these new features.

#10 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers with Lockable Sliders

We’ve changed the #10 zipper sliders on the main compartment and both end compartments of the Aeronauts to be the same #10 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers with lockable sliders found on the Hero’s Journey — you can now easily add a luggage lock to any or all of these compartments. You might want to do this to add some security when your Aeronaut is unattended or out of sight. For example: leaving it with a concierge, walking with it on your back in crowds, or checking it with the airline. We recommend any of the commonly available TSA certified luggage locks. Don’t ever lock your bag? Es bueno — simply don’t use this feature.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45 with Locking Luggage Zippers

#8 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers

The diagonal end pocket zippers now feature #8 zippers, which are a bit easier to open and close than the #10 zippers. Nice when you’re trying to access those pockets when your Aeronaut is wedged into an overhead bin or under a seat. They’re still water repellant AquaGuard zippers, so we’ve got you covered.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45 #8 YKK Zipper

Interior Grab Handles

We added two simple webbing loop handles that are accessible only when the main hatch is unzipped. Tom noticed he wanted grab handles when he needed to move his Aeronaut in the middle of packing/unpacking it, like from the bed to the bureau. They drop to the inside and are only there when you need them.

TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45 Interior Grab Handle

3/8″ / 10mm Thick Removable Back Panel Foam Padding

The back panel foam padding is now 3/8″ / 10mm thick (it was originally 1/4″ / 6mm): this will provide you a bit more comfort if you’ve any pokey items in your Aeronaut. The additional thickness also translates into a tad more vertical stability/rigidity — it’s not an internal frame, but will provide a more comfortable carry when carried as a backpack. The foam wraps around the bottom a bit more as well, which yet again adds a bit more comfort when it’s on your back. It also is removable/swappable (thanks to a zipper hidden inside the lining) so you can replace it if it ever gets creased or crushed (unlikely, but foam can age over time with lots of heavy use), and/or remove it entirely if you don’t find you need it and want to save the weight/bulk.

Aeronaut 45 Padded Back Panel

#5 YKK Vislon® Molded Tooth Zippers

Finally, the short zippers that create and define the interior compartments are now molded tooth Vislon rather than coil. You’ll find they are a bit easier to zip and unzip, in case you do that sort of thing much.

#5 YKK Vislon® Molded Tooth Zipper TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45

The new Aeronaut 45 is also the first bag to mark the return of our Portable Culture logo label; more on that here.

Design Update: Parental Unit

TOM BIHN Parental Unit Design Updates

Tom has made several design updates to our Parental Unit diaper bag inspired by feedback posted on our Forums, shared with us by friends and family who use the P.U., and Tom’s observations of it in use.

All Parental Units available for order include these new features and updates.

We’ve also introduced a new accessory — Wheelchair or Stroller Straps — that allows one to hang the Parental Unit on the back of a stroller. As the name indicates, the Wheelchair or Stroller Straps can also be used to hang a bag on the back of a wheelchair. The straps work with any of our bags that have 1-1/2″ d-ring shoulder strap attachment points; see the Wheelchair or Stroller Straps page for a complete list of those bags. We’re working on photos and videos that demonstrate this new accessory in use with both strollers and wheelchairs: stay tuned!

Interior Handles
The updated P.U. has two simple 1” / 25mm webbing handles, just inside the zipper of the main compartment. These two handles give you an easy way to grab and move or carry the P.U. while its main compartment is zipped open. This is mostly to use while loading/unloading the Parental Unit, moving it from kitchen to nursery for example. Because the handles are sewn inside, they politely disappear when you zip the bag shut; they give you a nice way to hang the P.U. up on a coat hook as well. (New Aeronauts have similar handle loops to facilitate moving while packing.)

TOM BIHN Parental Unit Design Updates: Interior Grab Handles

Longer Main Compartment Zipper
Tom has extended the length of the main compartment zipper by over 4” / 100mm. This will not only make packing and unpacking your stuff easier, but allows a better view as you down into the depths of the bag. That main zipper now has two sliders as well.

TOM BIHN Parental Unit Design Updates: Longer Main Compartment Zipper

Snap Divider Becomes Zipper Divider
The main compartment divider has changed from a snap closure to a zipper closure, much like the one in the front compartments of the Western Flyer and Tri-Star. This closure, as you may recall, joins the two interior pouches together to form a divider: if you choose to use it, the main compartment of the Parental Unit goes from one big expanse to four smaller divisions – depending on your packing style, it can be an nice option. It’s a #5 YKK Vislon® molded tooth zipper, in case you were taking notes.

TOM BIHN Parental Unit Design Updates: Snap Divider Becomes Zipper Divider

A Little Wider, A bit More Volume
The bottom of the original P.U. was about ~7.1” / 180mm thick; we pushed that out to ~7.9” / 200mm. This of course gives you a tiny bit more room (13.5 liters / 825 as opposed to 13 liters / 795, and depending on what you pack and how you pack your P.U., it will now tend to stand upright better on its own.

TOM BIHN Parental Unit Design Updates: More Volume

Debut! Side Kick, Little Swift, Snake Charmers, Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack

November 28th Debut | TOM BIHN

Side Kick
The Side Kick is a larger version of our Side Effect, a bag that evolved directly from user feedback (mostly from folks on our Forums). Though twice the volume, the Side Kick is still of modest size, and is overall a highly useful little bag. We’ve added more internal pockets for further organization, and we’ve nudged the O-ring placement around a bit to better match the design of our Organizer Pouches.

Little Swift: Encore, Encore!
The Little Swift is the smaller version of our Swift knitting bag—a shoulder bag specifically for knitters and crafty types, designed by Tom in collaboration with the readers of Knitty® magazine. Though it was officially retired in 2014, we’ve decided to bring it back for one more production run. To make this encore extra fun, we’re offering the Little Swift in a ton of special color combinations

Snake Charmer: Design Update and New Sizes
Originally intended to organize small electronic accessories, our handy two-compartment Snake Charmer can be used in umpteen other ways: ad-hoc toiletries kit, tool bag, or even as a nifty lunch kit. We’re now offering the Snake Charmer in two sizes—Small and Large—and have updated its design: we tweaked the shape, swapped the #8 zippers with metal sliders with #5 zippers with plastic sliders, and added an extra O-ring to each compartment and a triangle snap-hook on one end.

Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack
The Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack is a lightweight pack that can be used in-transit as a Packing Cube inside of our Aeronaut 30 convertible travel bag. Once you’ve reached your destination, it can be unpacked, turned right side out, and carried as a backpack, sling bag or waist pack.

Three New Sizes of Yeoman Duffel
The Yeoman Duffel is about to get even more useful now that we’ve introduced it in three new sizes: Mini, Small, and Medium. The Yeomen nest together perfectly when they’re not in use; when you’re ready to embark on your next adventure, they will be at the ready to cheerfully schlep all the necessary gear.

What can’t this size be used for?! It’s a great bag for stowing car gear: first aid kit, snacks, chargers, sunscreen, water bottles. Or use it as a basic needs overnight bag with a change of clothes, a few toiletries, and a phone charger. It’s also the perfect size for hauling kid treasures—and because it’s made of tough 1050d Ballistic nylon, it can withstand being dragged around.

We know folks who use the Yeoman Duffel, Size Small as a golf bag or a small gym bag. We’ve used ours to pack food supplies for trips to the cabin. It’s also great as a family day trip bag: pack your sunscreen, jackets, hats, binoculars, tablets, coloring books/art supplies, snacks, and be on your way.

You can fit a surprising amount of gear into the Yeoman Duffel, Size Medium. And, honestly, one of the great things about it is that you can unceremoniously toss stuff into it when you’re in a rush. There’s no small compartments or pockets on the inside to get in your way. Toss in your gear and go! The Medium is a great size for two people to share as a travel bag: let your stuff co-mingle, or use color-coded Packing Cubes to keep “mine” separate from “yours.”

We used our Yeoman Duffel, Size Large to pack and check on our flight (those lockable luggage sliders came in handy!) a three-person tent, four sleeping bags, four sleeping pads and a first-aid-kit for a trip to Yellowstone National Park. It can also hold enough linens for a queen sized bed: sheets, duvet/comforter, and two pillows—perfect for toting to family reunions or holiday gatherings when you know there won’t be enough bedding to go around.

Travel Tray, Small
The Travel Tray, Small joins our original size of Travel Tray (now named size Large). This was a last minute addition to the items debuting today: we designed, made, and tested this new size of Travel Tray in under two weeks. It was inspired by Saltgirl of the TB Forums, who kindly agreed to swing by our Seattle Factory Showroom and test the prototype that we had made. With her approval and that of Tom, Nik, and the rest of the crew here at the factory, the Travel Tray, Small was made.

Bags in Island Halcyon 200d
Back in early 2016, members of our Forum voted to make Island Halcyon 200d a regular offering. We’re excited to re-introduce Island, which will join the existing Halcyon 200d lineup: Iberian, Wasabi, Ultraviolet, and Northwest Sky. Starting today, look for Island as a bag lining and color option for accessories—click here for a list of specific items.

Bags in Sitka, Monarch, and Fjord Halcyon 200d
We thought we had used up all of these three Limited Edition fabrics in early spring. Imagine our surprise when we found some of each tucked away in a corner! This happy discovery led us to make some bags and accessories in Sitka (emerald green), Monarch (dark orange), and Fjord (dark teal). A detailed list of which bags and accessories are available in Sitka, Monarch, and Fjord can be found here.

New: Padded Hip Belt for Smart Alec and Synapse Backpacks


Due to popular request, we’ve come up with a 1” Padded Hip Belt designed to work with the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, and Smart Alec backpacks — three of our most popular backpacks used for travel, every day carry, and day-hiking.

If you already use the included 1” Webbing Gatekeeper Waist Strap on your Synapse 19, Synapse 25, or Smart Alec and it works for you but you’d like to upgrade to a padded version, then the 1” Padded Hip Belt is likely to make your day.

Sold as a matching left and right pair, the pads attach via Gatekeeper clips to the 1″ webbing loops which normally accept the simple webbing waist belt (the one that comes standard with the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, and Smart Alec). Made of .375″ / 10mm EVA closed cell foam with a protective laminated cover of heavy duty polyester knit, the set of two pads joins front and center with a sturdy, dual adjust side release buckle. The pads are contoured and, when attached to the above mentioned backpacks, form a slight conical shape, encouraging the belt to ride on top of your hip bones.

The 1” Padded Hip Belt is available in one size that adjusts to fits hips measuring between 33″ / 84cm and 50″ / 125cm. Want a different size? We’d be glad to see what we can come up with in the factory:

The 1″ Padded Hip Belt is available for purchase here. It can also be ordered with the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, or Smart Alec.

Good things to know:

The benefits of utilizing webbing or padded hip belts or even a sternum strap, especially in smaller packs, are subjective. Some folks swear by it and others don’t find that it makes much of a difference for them. Our goal is to give you as many options as we can (within the confines of good design) so that you can create the best carrying experience and set-up for yourself.

Using a pack like the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, or Smart Alec with a padded hip belt isn’t an invitation to carry more weight than is reasonable. Think of it instead as a way to potentially shift a bit of the weight of the bag onto your hips to make your carrying experience that much more comfortable. Taller people (those 6’2″ and taller) in particular may find that the overall length of these three bags do not predispose them to fully utilizing the weight carrying abilities of a padded hip belt. If you make good use of the webbing waist belt included with your Synapse or Smart Alec want a more comfortable version better capable to offset the weight of your pack, the 1″ Padded Hip Belt could be a great option for you.

The Synapse 19, Synapse 25, and Smart Alec do not have internal frame sheets with aluminum stays like The Guide’s Pack and Hero’s Journey do. (A frame sheet without a stay? It’ll keep pointy objects from poking you, but doesn’t provide significant vertical rigidity, but that’s for another time.) Because of that, the efficacy of the 1″ Padded Hip Belt may be limited for some depending on the weight they carry, how they pack, and their height. Will we add frame sheets with stays to these three bags? Unlikely. Oftentimes, frame sheets/internal frames are used in smaller bags because of two things: they allow you to overstuff a backpack without experiencing the back of the overstuffed backpack barreling or curving out against the spine and they allow you to toss your gear inside without as much consideration for comfort (it’s okay if the pokey water bottle is against your back.) The trade-offs, however, are these: frame sheets/internal frames add weight and they make bags stiff, which can make it more difficult to squeeze them into an already-full overhead bin, under the seat in front of you, or in other tight spaces. Frame sheets can also let us get away without truly feeling our packing list and meditating on what we’re carrying and where we’re packing it: for some folks, this works, and for others, it removes the part of the process in which we exercise discernment in what we carry and how we carry it (which can totally be part of the fun!) In short, frame sheets would make these bags very different than what they are, and we might love them less because of that.

Our Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, and Western Flyer travel bags all have 1” webbing loops that can accept the 1” Padded Hip Belt. If you’ve been hoping for a Padded Hip Belt for your TB travel bag, then this may be your best option. We’re not officially recommending the 1” Padded Hip Belt as an option for these bags because the aforementioned travel bags are larger and do not have internal frames, and because the attachment point for a waist belt is somewhat high, the 1” Padded Hip Belt can end up riding high on some folks, especially those who are taller. Same advice we gave earlier applies here: if you already use the included 1” Webbing Gatekeeper Waist Strap on your travel bag it works for you but you’d like to upgrade to a padded version, then feel free to give the 1” Padded Hip Belt a whirl, and let us know how it works for you (maybe you’ll change our minds!)

Padded Hip Belt for the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, and Smart Alec | TOM BIHN
1″ Padded Hip Belt attached to the Synapse 25 backpack.

Synapse 19 Padded Hip Belt | TOM BIHN
1″ Padded Hip Belt attached to the Synapse 19 backpack.

Synapse 19 Padded Hip Belt | TOM BIHN
1″ Padded Hip Belt attached to the Synapse 19 backpack.

Smart Alec w/the Padded Hip Belt | TOM BIHN Bags
1″ Padded Hip Belt attached to the Smart Alec backpack.

smart-hip-blog1″ Padded Hip Belt attached to the Smart Alec backpack.

Introducing The Hero’s Journey Travel Backpack

Introducing The Hero's Journey Travel Backpack

It’s here! The Hero’s Journey is in-stock and ready to ship in colors Black Halcyon/Northwest Sky and Nordic Halcyon/Northwest Sky. Colors Black Halcyon/Iberian and Nordic Halcyon/Wasabi are in production with an estimated shipping date of mid-November.

Our new Hero’s Journey is convertible travel luggage that allows you to fly to your destination, and then backpack or hut hop, all without checking baggage. If you are familiar with our Aeronaut 30 and 45 travel bags, you’re already aware of the advantages of a carry-on bag that can be worn as a backpack: unlike wheeled bags, a backpack frees you from the smooth sidewalk and the paved path, allowing you move adroitly over any surface your feet can handle. The Hero’s Journey takes this mobility even further, encouraging you to realize the dream of a fast and light escape to wide exotic mountain vistas and windswept highlands.

The Hero’s Journey is actually two bags that work both together and alone: when properly configured and reasonably packed, the main bag meets the maximum FAA recommended dimensions for carry-on luggage, and the smaller Top Pack easily qualifies as a “personal carry-on item.” Upon reaching your destination airport or the beginning of your hike, zip the two components together, attach the hip belt (and optional Side Pockets if desired), and you’ve got a 55 liter internal frame pack, suitable for short-to-medium range backpacking trips or hut hopping.

More Photos
NWHikergal’s Hero’s Journey test trip report
gochicken’s photos in the Forums
Ilkyway’s photos in the Forums
mrbrown’s photos in the Forums

More Videos
How To Configure Your Hero’s Journey
Tom’s Backcountry Pasta
An Interview With Tom About The Design Process

Introducing The Pocket Travel Pillow

Our new Pocket Travel Pillow | TOM BIHN

Travel pillows can be so very comfortable, but they can also be so very bulky. Our new Pocket Travel Pillow, on the other hand, lets you make use of the clothing you’re already packing to create a cozy rest for your head whether you’re on a plane or train, in your tent, or under the stars.

The Pocket Travel Pillow is a simple case made of ultralight sleeping bag fabric. Stuff in your jacket, sweater, or extra layers and you can enjoy the comforts of home. If you’ve been making due wadding up your jacket into a pillow, we promise: this is much more comfortable.

When you’re not using it as a pillow, the Pocket Travel Pillow tucks away into its own little pocket, complete with a small loop to secure it to a Key Strap so it’s easy to find. And it weighs almost nothing, so why not bring it along?

Here’s a quick video we made that demonstrates how the Pocket Travel Pillow works:

News Briefs

Early reviews of the Luminary 12 / 15 from the Forum community are in. See L15 reviews by logan_g, G42, Lia, anna2222, Quiltmama, and L12 reviews by marbenais, awurrlu and L12/L15 comparison reviews by Cristina, aedifica, bartleby.

The new Luminary 12 and Luminary 15 backpacks + bags in 210d ballistic nylon will be up for pre-order on 02/26. Details here.

We posted a very early heads-up on our March 5th, 2019 (roughly 6%) price increase in the Forums along with news of Shop Bags in 210d ballistic nylon.

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