The Hats Knitted for the TOM BIHN Crew

Hats knitted by the TOM BIHN Ravelry group for the TOM BIHN Crew

Every year, the TOM BIHN Ravelry group knits wearable gifts for our crew. Some years the wearables have been scarves or gloves, and this year it was hats. We know a thing or two about materials and quality craftsmanship, and we’re in awe of what the group makes for us. See for yourself below; we’ve photographed each and every hat that was sent to us.

From all of us here at TOM BIHN to the TB Ravelry Group: thank you! The wearables you make for us are a big part of our annual holiday party, and everyone looks forward to choosing an item. Special thanks goes to Annie, a knitter and Ravelry member local to Seattle who coordinates the whole effort and delivers the knitted items. (Annie is also the person who knitted G.I. Joe’s hat — see below.)

Hand-knitted hats for the TOM BIHN crew made by the TOM BIHN Ravelry Group

Hand-knitted hats for the TOM BIHN crew made by the TOM BIHN Ravelry Group
Even the replica of Tom’s first G.I. Joe got his very own hat.

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

TOM BIHN Bags Holiday Party 2017

Want to see previous years knitted wearables?


The Not Very Successful Holiday Photo Shoot

We thought it’d be fun to get a photo of Ichiro and Fiona (two of the dogs on staff here at TOM BIHN) wearing festive holiday antlers while lounging on a Camp Mat, but they had a different idea…

Last Week in Photos

Just a few of the great photos you shared with us last week (thank you!)


“I spent the day at the hospital yesterday because my daughter was having surgery. She’s now home and comfortably resting. I switched all of my things out of my Pop Tote and into my Luminary because I suspected I would need to be hands free as much as possible. I was right, too. I had to carry my daughter’s things and help her maneuver to the wheel chair and into the vehicle.
I never cease to be amazed at how much this little bag can tote. I put in my Travel Cubelet, a 16 oz. water bottle, my knitting in the bag (embroidered by a friend), my Hobonichi A6 planner, my iPad, several documents, a large sunglasses case, reading glasses, and two or three TOM BIHN Small and Mini Organizer Pouches.

While my daughter was in surgery, I managed to knit quite a bit on her sock that I’m hoping to finish in time for Christmas.”

Posted in the Forums by Mausermama


“Multi-tasking: working on epp while watching football (thanks for the tv JetBlue!) at thirty thousand feet cross country.”

Photo by @spinster.revival


“Back on the road again with my Steel collection.
Tri-Star, Cadet and Ristretto (car travel so didn’t need to pack light). Now if I could just find that elusive Steel Western Flyer…. “

Posted in the Forums by Perseffect


“At Hangzhou for a weekend. I brought the Synapse 25 with the Side Kick inside. Hubby had his backpack and SCB. The LSB carried our shopping. I used the 1-inch padded waist strap to help distribute the load to the hips. Wore it under my T-shirt and jacket so it didn’t look obvious. The Synapse 25 looked like a regular backpack then.
We had checked out of the hotel and was still sightseeing before catching the high speed rail back to Shanghai.”

Posted in the Forums by panda2mama


“My Hero’s Journey and Ristretto accompanied me to Norway earlier this year.”

Posted in the Forums by ottermatic


Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland with the Maker’s Bag
Photo submitted by Mary


“Loving these bags by Tom Bihn in Alphaviolet 525 denier Ballistic Nylon! Clockwise from top left: Pop Tote, Luminary, Cubelet, Travel Cubelet“>Travel Cubelet.”

Photo by @instachickengram


“Standing by the lake with frozen face.”

Photo by @shouraisan_kaguya


“I became a band “parent” this year when my DD joined the 300 member high school marching band. The Alphaviolet Travel Cubelet was perfect for carrying around my wallet and keys, iPhone, Band parent badge, gloves and hand warmers, flashlight, hand lotion, OPs with snacks, etc.”

Posted in the Forums by gochicken


“My S19 helps me carry only the bare essentials. Nothing expect the most vital items for my day to day life.”

Posted in the Forums by edward.dennihy


“My Guide’s Pack on the way back home from a business trip. The vertical Freudian Slip helped me to organize the laptop and other office stuff. I absolutely love the style of this bag: clear lines, wonderful colors, distinguished materials and finish but still a down-to-earth appearance. And most important: it carries great!”

Posted in the Forums by bartleby


Synapse 25 classin’ up the joint at the Charles Hotel, Boston.”

Posted in the Forums by AmyMo


allen with his Synapse 25 at Ayers Rock in Australia
Photo submitted by allen


Last Week in Photos

Here’s a few photos you’ve shared with us this past week! Thank you!

Cynthia’s pup on the Skookum Dog Camp Mat
Photo submitted by Cynthia


“Two bags for the three-month journey in Japan.”
Photo by @houraisan_kaguya


Jennifer and her Small Cafe Bag with what looks like a lovely morning.
Photo submitted by Jennifer


“Note taking by the river.”
Photo by @jennifermcmahonwrites


“With my little princess.”
Photo by @kinglamleehk


 “Part Where and part Wow…
My small travel tray had been biding its time as a drawer organizer until recently being granted wings. I’d read the words and seen the snaps but now I say on my own — What a simple and super helpful TB item! Love love love it. Bits and bobs were gathered together in my backpack while enroute and now it sits on my desk with charger hooha, vitamins, meds, lip balm, a nano pouch with earphones, and a stack of temporary tattoos that I brought to give away. Awesome…”
Photo posted to the forums by KmK


“Instead of me carrying the Sidekick and him the SCB, my hubby used the S25 for all our stuff including space for some shopping. On the streets in Shanghai. Waiting for Xinjiang lamb skewers. Buying pomegranate juice at a roadside stall (I did not drink any, not going to risk my life for this) at Fuzhou Rd.”
Photos posted to the forums by panda2mama


“A sunny day at the capital with my new travel cubelet.”
Photo posted to the forums by sboussios


psvenndex and his Synapse 19 at the Grand Canyon
Photo submitted by psvenndex


“S25 arrives in Innere Stadt Vienna …”
Photo posted to the forums by GrussGott


Hiking Mt. Charleston with a Synapse 19.
Photo by @curt_nova


“My a href=””>Small Cafe Bag at a café (okay, Starbucks, but still…)”
Photo posted to the forums by chaimonkey

Last Week In Photos

Here are a few of the photos you’ve shared with us last week! Thanks!


“Working on YingYang Kitty socks with the kitty.”

Photo by @whiskey__chick


“First snow of Autumn 2017 on my hill. Captured during the “sunrise” walk at Pleasant Pine Plantation. It started snowing immediately after I got up. I usually carry my Tom Bihn “Brain Bag” backpack when I go on these early morning hikes. I bought this pack off of eBay several weeks ago. Bihn, based in Seattle, produces high-quality, high-durability, thoughtfully designed premium luggage.”

Photo by @walt.atwood


“I probably could have fit a few more skeins of yarn than the 8 I bought. They did stay nice and dry while walking to and from bus stops in the rain.”

Posted in the forums by Senua


“Loving this merino yarn in methanol blue from Mad Tosh purchased at Uncommon Threads.”

Photo by @ryanludman


“It’s going to be another good weekend with Timmy and The Nics.”

Photo by @meggrollstation


“Morning latte with the Mars Red Travel Cubelet. :)”

Posted in the forums by maverick


“A beautiful day for a dog park with my pups. Travel cubelet for my personal stuff like a wallet, phone and keys, and packing cube shoulder bag for my doggies.”

Photo by @lifeisshort_liveitup


“Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.”

Photo by @kinglamleehk


“When your friends think like you do – travel light.”

Photo by @hatmaker4


“Yes, I really did fit all this into the Luminary.”

Photo by @brendabethman


“Ready for a super-duper chill B-Roll session.”

Photo by @wigideaboxoc


Hike on the north island of New Zealand in Tongariro National Park.

Photo by @bettierides


Alexander and his Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack in Prague.

Photo submitted by Alexander

Last Week In Photos

“Here’s my fully packed A30 on the Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Karuizawa. It fits very neatly in the luggage rack.”

Posted in the forums by Denises


“My Luminary arrived just in time for the Bitter and Twisted beer festival in the old Maitland Gaol, with a photo opportunity at the new Newcastle Interchange train station. The slim profile of the bag is great for getting around festivals and was the perfect size for the day. The only problem I have with the Luminary is that I now want it in 20L.”

Posted in the forums by gregcswanson


“I took my son for a walk today with my wife, he is only 10 weeks old and we found a rainbow.

My Side Effect was great for all I needed on this little adventure.“

Posted in the forums by JonC


“My family (3 adults, 3 teens) is heading off for an 8-day trip today, and the attached pic is the luggage we brought. We look like a Tom Bihn annex store, haha. I am Team New Nordic, my niece is Team Navy,etc…
(Looking at the pic, it’s amazing to think it all started with me and my sister ordering a Co-pilot for me and an S19 for her. What can I say? We LOVE the thought and care your company provides, from design to manufacturing to customer service!)”

Photo by TB customer dot and kiko


“Here’s my new SA on the way to work. Love the color.”

Posted in the forums by louisvilledanahys


“Got my first shipment today, it’s all fabulous. Here’s my three year old son demonstrating some new uses for the travel tray.”

Photo by TB customer Meera from Brisbane and Sebastian (age 3)


“Shop bag at the beach.”

Posted in the forums by NWhikergal


“DLBPs took a friend and I to the Kongobuji Temple complex in Koyasan, the Nembutsu-ji Temple at Adashino and a host of other places in Japan last month.”

Posted in the forums by Walker


“At Lujiazui in Shanghai, facing the Huangpu river. It was a blue sky sunny day.”

Posted in the forums by panda2mama


“Took my new S25 through the new Singapore Changi Terminal 4. It contains all my stuff for my 15-day trip to Shanghai. The SK containing my EDC stuff. The LSB contains a cake, gift for a friend. Hubby is carrying the SCB. He likes the size.

Once I got to the hotel, I took out most of the stuff from the S25, keeping my water bottle and other stuff I want to bring with me. Hooked the SK inside the S25 using 2 carabiners.

The bags transiting in Hong Kong.”

Posted in the forums by panda2mama


“Monarch PCSB with SE inside, waiting at the clinic on Saturday for the boys’ flu shot :)”

Posted in the forums by RDR3


Week in Photos – Nov. 3, 2017

Here are a few photos you’ve shared with us this recently! Thank you!

“Oh yeah. New TOM BIHN travel cubelet fits perfectly on the side of my Parental Unit. It now has all my personal effects so I can easily take just that little bag when I go out sans kiddos. Bliss!”

Photo by @sparrowlight


“My husband and I are massive fans and own the Aeronaut 45 and the Synapse backpack.

My gorgeous family added to my TB collection with your new Makers Bag, yarn stuff sacks, tool wrap and some clear pouches for my recent birthday. I LOVE THEM!!! The Makers Bag is outstanding, so many pockets, wide self supporting base, and I love the grab handle on the bag. Thank you so much for creating such a brilliant craft bag.

Better than that though, my Makers Bag has doubled as my travel hand bag for the 5-day work trip I’m on. Between that and my Aeronaut, I’m all set. All conference material fits in the full width pocket inside, my purse and phone are tucked in pockets, drink bottle in a pocket. Lap top and note paper in the main compartment.”

Photo by TB customer Skye in Australia


“Thanks for the corgi pin @tracertron.”

Photo by @sethygrams


“Island and grass travel cubelets arrived today. I’m looking forward to discovering all the possibilities.”

Photo by @purple_sage66


“After lots of business travel this year, in Thailand for a break.

We checked one large wheeled suitcase but carried on a Black Halcyon/Iberian S25 and Navy Cordura Ristretto 11. The Ristretto in particular is the perfect day bag for either touristy bits and pieces or for the occasional laptop and iPad carry to do a bit of ‘online stuff’.”

Posted in the forums by Perseffect


“A month-old S19 in the lab before workday starts. The red is muted, not too bright, yet easy to see when I’m on my bike.”

Posted in the forums by nuin27


“My daughter is carrying a small Shop Bag with her swim gear backpack style.”

Posted in the forums by Ilkyway


“On the way home, one navy Yeoman is missing in this picture.”

Posted in the forums by Ilkyway


“The ultimate Dad bag even has a balloon holder.”

Posted in the forums by GoVols


“Using my Packing Cube backpack during my walk in Tokyo, Japan. Picture was taken at Blue Bottle Coffee, Aoyama. I have many other pictures, stay tuned for my upcoming review about the TriStar combined with the Packing Cube Backpack :)”

Posted in the forums by fatih


“Lakeside, with Breezee, Bihn & pals, on a gorgeous Autumn day.”

Photo by @cjh_ny54


“Every six weeks I spend 5 days in Silicon Valley to visit my employer’s mothership (Google). The Pilot / TriStar combo is the best ever, going strong for over a year now! Lots of TB sub-organizers inside of course. :-)”

Posted in the forums by bcollsuss


A South Island Sojourn

Jenny and Joe are the photographers behind some of the (awesome) photos of our bags. We asked them to write about a trip they took to New Zealand in a guest post for our blog. – Darcy

The gentle lapping of the waves was lulling me to sleep. Joe was outside, manning a camera that was pointed out towards the water, shutter wide open, capturing a nighttime scene of Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand’s south island. The stars twinkled brightly and left arcs of light as proof of their existence inside the camera. The International Space Station and a satellite floated past, leaving long straight trails. Lights from the small commercial harbor glittered and reflected their power off the surface of the water. The white painted pier which had been balancing on rickety, spindly legs twenty feet above the water when we had finished dinner hours earlier was now at the exact correct height. The pull of the moon had played its trick and it stuck out magnificently into the still, dark water, the white of its rails reflecting the dark of the sky.

It was our third night of what would be two weeks of sleeping in a van and driving around New Zealand. So far, so good. We hadn’t wrecked the van nor driven, too much, on the wrong side of the road. New Zealanders insist on driving on the opposite side of the road and in order to, well, not die, we had to do the same. That part wasn’t too hard, but let’s not talk about the roundabout I took on the wrong side. The real challenging part was shifting the old manual transmission van with your left hand as the driver’s seat was on the right. That and not turning on the windshield wipers when you meant to hit the turn signal, those controls on the steering column were opposite. Let’s just say it was a learning process.

The author and her husband, Joe, with their van “Vince” at Meatworks Beach campground, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Our van had come with a name, Vince to be exact. Named after Vincent van Gogh, the sides, front and back were all covered in murals paying homage to the Dutch master’s paintings: tulips and sunflowers on one side, starry night on the other. We knew what we were getting into, driving a mural around the countryside. After extensive camper van research we settled on this company because their vans would fit Joe, who is a tall 6 foot 4 and likes to sleep taller. Would it have just been easier to sleep in a tent for two weeks? Yes and no. We could have been more fuel efficient in a smaller vehicle and there is nothing like a sleeping under the stars with only a thin layer of nylon between you and the heavens, but the majority of campsites in NZ don’t allow tents, camper vans only. And some don’t even allow the type of camper van we had because it wasn’t tricked-out with an onboard toilet. It’s all about being self-contained. So we settled on the middle ground and were extremely glad we did. We soon felt at home in Vince, our trusty steed for over 2,000 km.

Here are some photos from our trip:

Joe celebrates our own private beach after a very enjoyable three-mile hike on the Archer Track just past Elaine Bay. The beach and bay, ironically called Deep Bay because it was very shallow, was a very relaxing place to spend the afternoon swimming and watching the tide go out. We were the only people there. Some skinny-dipping may have been involved.

Mmmmm, New Zealand green mussels! Fresh off a boat that tied up at the commercial dock about ¼ mile from our campsite. The captain couldn’t take any money; his catch was going to a big processor, not small retail, so they were free! (And absolutely gigantic!)

Wharariki Beach. Holy cow, amazing. Similar to the Oregon coast but much more rugged and more extreme. The Archway Islands, seen here, stand at the far northern end of the beach. The beach extends for about a mile further south of here. We went at mid-tide and were still able to scamper through archways and explore caves that are filled with water at high tide. Too cool.

From the Wharariki Beach, we cut up a bluff on the far east side and continued on to hike the Cape Farewell/Pillar Point Lighthouse Track. It’s about a 10km loop but since there is no “trail” per se, just colored posts marking where the headlands are, it’s rugged and challenging. But oh the views! The track cuts across sheep pastures and tickles the very edges of deep cliffs and inlets.

The impossibly blue water rushes into the ravines hundreds of feet below your hiking boots making a thundering noise in its urgency. Baby seals ride the waves like no human surfer was ever able to do. Farewell Spit, the longggg jutting and curved beach that stretches 26km off the far northern part of the island can be seen from the viewpoint once you reach the lighthouse. Lunch from this track was lovely.

Next up, the most unusual beach we have ever been to; Paturau Beach. In short, you just must go here. I could spend hours trying to describe the rock formations on this beach, but ultimately, I would fall short. I could show you pictures, like this one of me wandering about the beach but again, it wouldn’t be enough. Just do yourself a favor and go. The limestone rock on the beach has been channeled, fissured, eroded, scoured and tortured by the tides and waves to make the most dramatic rock features. Then the limestone ends and the mud and sandstone appear, forming arches and caves that dot the beach. Just make sure you go at low tide to see all you can.

Ready for another NZ “hike”? This time up to Rawhiti Cave. The hike is short but it gains an amazing amount of elevation in the last little stretch up to the cave. My watch said about 500 feet in the last km. That’s a lot. Bring water. Well worth the breath, the trail ends at the yawning mouth of the cave. Giant stalactites hang down from the roof and sides. There is ample sunlight that enters the cave causing the front, sunlit side of the stalactites to grow moss and algae. The plant matter is then incorporated into the stalactites by the ever-flowing calcium carbonate forming CURVED pinnacles called phytokarsts! (SCIENCE!)

Now here is where it gets interesting. We went for a little bit of a “tramp.” We were warned that it was hard. We were warned that it was steep. We were warned but still we persisted. Holy moly, was it hard and, holy moly, was it the BEST HIKE EVER. On a stunning mountain road connecting the west and east coasts of the south island at Arthur’s Pass, stands Avalanche Peak and home to what is commonly known as the island’s most challenging hike. As native NW’ers, we’ve done our fair share of hiking, but this was hiking at a whole other level. It lives up to it’s billing and gains over 3,400 feet in just over 3 miles. And we’re not talking nice stone stairs built into the trail. Picture roots as hand holds, loose scree under foot and boulders the size of vans standing in your way. At points the trail isn’t a so much a trail as it is steel rods bent and twisted by the constant movement of the rock giving you “guidelines” as to where the trail might have been before the latest winter avalanche.

But oh, the view on the way to the summit is delightful. Snow capped mountains, lush green valleys. Everything you want in an alpine hike. Including leg busting grades and colorful birds, such as these keas pictured here, that would eat you if they were only bigger. Going down was much harder than going up and we deserved ice cream, LOTS of ice cream when we finally made it to the valley floor.

And no trip to New Zealand would be complete without doing something “Lord of the Rings” related. And so we went to Edoras, home of the horse lords. Here, Joe is standing pretty much where the Golden Hall stood when they filmed the second movie. As with everything in NZ, it was absolutely stunning, if not a tad bit windy.

Finally, we made it further south and decided we couldn’t miss Mount Cook/Aoraki. The Hooker Valley Track makes up in scenery what it lacks in vertical elevation gain and quad busting strain. Not to say that it doesn’t steadily rise up a river valley, but it’s very slight and almost gentle for NZ. And, oh, the views. Both sides of the track are surrounded by towering alpine peaks, snow capped even at the end of a long, hot summer. Glaciers hang as if magically suspended from the canyons between the mountains, forming tiny streams that become rushing rivers as they merge and hit the valley below. The track ends at a glacier moraine formed lake, icebergs bob up and down in the milky water as they are steadily calved off at the head of the lake. Perfect spot for lunch and a nap in the sun.


Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that en route to New Zealand we stopped over in Tasmania, Australia. A close family friend is studying there and since we were in the relative neighborhood, we figured we should see her too!


A dinghy sails into the mouth of River Derwent at the Port of Hobart, the second deepest natural harbor in the world.

Walking along a Lake Dobson in Mount Field National Park, Tasmania.

Dolerite cliffs of the Cape Hauy track in Tasman National Park.

We’re Joe and Jenny. Among the many hats (& bags!) that we wear are those of photographers for TOM BIHN. Pacific Northwest natives, we both moved to Seattle for college and never left — except for traveling, of course! When we’re not behind the camera, we have a lot of fun outdoors hiking, skiing and gardening. You can see more of our work at and Joe’s Instagram handle is @jnichpix.



Part Two: Jenn’s Road Trip on Highway 1

Jenn's Road Trip on Highway 1

Be sure to read Part One of Jenn’s trip report, which details how and what she packed.

After finding out my husband would be in southern California for work, we decided to take advantage of having a paid flight and make it our vacation for the year. We did a cross-country road trip to the Pacific Northwest last year and fell in love with the Pacific Coast, so driving Highway 1 seemed like the best way to take in as much as possible in our 10 days. Normally, I would have planned our stops better but some unforeseen house problems at home (that nearly cancelled our trip) tied up all of my free time until the night before I was scheduled to fly out. Let’s just say, thank goodness for the chatty gent sitting next to me on the plane, who happened to have a fierce love for his home state!

First Stop: San Diego, California
Drinks: Champagne cocktails at Cody’s La Jolla.
Eats: The Cottage in La Jolla and Bistro D’Asia in Coronado.
Sights: We spent the better part of a day walking around Coronado. The homes are stunning and the Hotel del Coronado should not be missed—its architecture and beachfront make it a beautiful setting!

Second Stop: Ojai, California
Stay: There are some amazing Airbnbs here; however, Ojai Rancho Inn is fantastic with its own bar and pool with a relaxed vibe.
Eats: Everything at Hip Vegan Café was amazing, and being able to order anything on the menu doesn’t happen often for me.
Drinks: The Ojai Beverage Co. is a triple threat of bar, liquor store, and restaurant. Chris loved their fish tacos, which were highly recommended.
Sights/Activities: Bart’s Books, an open-air bookshop. The Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market on Sundays is potentially the best market I’ve ever been to—you can’t beat the variety! Last but not least, all the thrift stores!!!

Bart's Books of Ojai » The World's Greatest Outdoor Bookstore

Third Stop: Morro Bay, California
Drinks: Presqu’ile Winery is actually half way between Ojai and Morro Bay. My knowledge of anything wine-related is pretty much non-existent (craft beer is another story) but I loved their Sauvignon Blanc. The view was pretty lovely as well!
Coffee: Top Dog Coffee Bar. Can’t go wrong with a coffee shop that also has beer on tap! It’s inland a few blocks from the bay, which is probably why it felt more like a local spot.
Eats: Shine Café, another vegan spot, with kombucha on tap! Fish and chips from Giovanni’s was a recommendation from our Airbnb host that Chris was pretty happy with.
Sights/Activities: Morro Rock is the main draw of this fishing town turned vacation spot. We took a morning stroll through the Elfin Forest; the views of the bay here were some of my favorite at this stop. Once again, thrifting scene!


Fourth(ish) Stop: Big Sur, California
We didn’t actually spend the night anywhere in Big Sur but it highly deserves its own mention. We stretched a 3-hour drive into an 8-hour day with all our stopping to take in the views.

Big Sur Road Trip | TOM BIHN

Fifth Stop: Monterey, California
Eats: Crêpes of Brittany has delicious food but for me it was their almond milk chai—the best I’ve ever had!
Drinks: Alvarado Street Brewery—Chris liked their Citraveza so much he flew home a 4-pack. Their rotational sour didn’t disappoint either!


Sixth Stop: San Francisco, California
Drinks: 21st Amendment Brewing Co. is among my top favorite breweries and they serve their Hell or High Watermelon with a slice of watermelon. It’s perfection, especially after hoofing it around the city. Hi Dive is a fun hole in the wall if you’re on your way to AT&T Park for a game. And last but not least, margaritas from Mijita’s in the Ferry Building Marketplace.
Eats: We went to an Eat Drink SF event our first night in the city. You’ll pay a fee to get in and then have unlimited food, wine, and mixed drinks. The restaurants showcased some of their most popular dishes; unfortunately for me, that meant a lot of meat…so I ate some of the produce displayed throughout the venue and got my money’s worth from the beverages. It was still a blast and Chris was able to sample some of the best places and dishes from around the city. Sausalito Bakery and Café was a great brunch stop after taking the ferry across the bay.
Sights/Attractions: Pier 39 for the sea lions! I was a sucker for those guys the whole trip! We also took ferry rides around the bay. We weren’t able to do an Alcatraz tour so that was as close as we got. We’ll definitely be doing a tour during our next visit.


Part One: How Jenn Packed For Her Road Trip

Jenn's Road Trip With The Aeronaut 45 Travel Bag Packing List | TOM BIHN

Light packing has always been a bit of a stretch or wishful thinking for me. I used to lean towards a “more = better prepared” philosophy instead of “planning = better prepared.” However, in the last couple of years we’ve begun to pare down our belongings and expenses and concentrate on things that really make us happy. The freedom to travel and experience as much as we can started to make its way up our priority list.

With a 10-day trip up Highway 1 on the horizon, I knew I wanted an Aeronaut, but I was extremely unsure which of the two sizes I needed. I was flying by myself for the first time in nearly 15 years…and I’m not a fan of flying, not to mention the hassle and cost of checking a bag, or the risk of losing said bag. I wanted to be able to pack for the whole trip in a carry-on. Ideally, I hoped to fit everything in the Aeronaut 30 but I ordered an Aeronaut 45 too as a potential contender in case my newfound packing skills didn’t turn out to be so good.

A couple of weeks before the trip, I started to check the weather for each of our stops and plan my packing accordingly. The day the bags showed up, I pulled out the items on my packing list and put them in a pile. I wasn’t at all confident that I could make everything fit in just a carry-on. However, I had read that multiple other travelers had had the same doubts until they tried organizing all their stuff in packing cubes. Before I threw in the towel, I had to see for myself if cubes could work for me. I’m happy to say they do! The only things I ended up not packing were things I never had on my list to begin with, the things I grabbed in a panic “just in case.”

Jenn's Road Trip With The Aeronaut 45 Travel Bag Packing List | TOM BIHN

My entire packing list for a 10-day trip up the Pacific Coast Highway included:

  • 6 bottoms: 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of chinos, 2 pairs of shorts, and 1 pair of leggings
  • 3 dresses
  • 9 tops: 4 tees, 3 button ups, 2 tanks
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 jacket
  • 3 pairs of shoes: sandals, clogs, and Keds (I did end up buying a pair of Sanuks on the trip)
  • 2 sleep shirts
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 3 bras
  • 1 bikini
  • Toiletries: deodorant, toothbrush, concealer, blush, razor, face oil, and a hair tie
  • Other: sunglasses, phone charger, canteen, 2 stainless sporks, a cloth napkin, 2 cloth bags, headphones, camera and lens, Turkish towel, watch, iPad and charger, a foldable purse, and 3 books

Jenn's Road Trip With The Aeronaut 45 Travel Bag Packing List | TOM BIHN

I was able to fit everything above in the Aeronaut 30 and the Night Flight Travel Duffel. I wore my bulkiest items on the days that I flew to save space and I carried my jacket. I also found it helpful to clip my Klean Kanteen to the Aeronaut’s sternum strap when I carried it as a backpack.

Jenn's Road Trip With The Aeronaut 45 Travel Bag Packing List | TOM BIHN


Packing lessons learned on this trip:

Don’t do any wishful thinking with regards to weather. Being from the Midwest, I felt like even coastal California would be warm. With the exception of the first four nights of the trip in San Diego and Ojai, I was cooler than I would have preferred. I could have done without one or two of those dresses, a pair of shorts, and sleep shirts in exchange for another sweater and a pair of sweatpants.

Pack everything in the same order. I used three packing cubes for the Aeronaut: one for bottoms, another for tops and dresses, and one of the smaller ones for sleepwear and underwear. Early on, I got in the habit of putting the cube with bottoms in the main compartment first, and then the cube with my tops. It took the guesswork out of which cube I needed when reaching for something.

Keep toiletries to a minimum. I used one 3D Organizer Cube for everything I needed. I also tried to forego as much as possible, meaning no toothpaste (sorry if that’s gross, but 10 days of brushing with water only won’t kill anyone), nothing for hair styling, and bare bones for makeup (frees up time to do other things, plus we could all stand to love ourselves a little bit more these days sans face paint).

Use a duffel as a personal item. I used the Night Flight as my personal item on flight days and packed my regular purse in the Aeronaut. I used one of the end pockets of the duffel to hold my regular purse items. Once I reached my final destination I transferred my wallet, phone, and canteen back into my purse. This was the best way for me to take my regular purse—along with everything else—while sticking to the 2 bag carry-on rule.

Be sure to read the rest of Jenn’s trip report here!

News Briefs

Now available for the first time in 525d ballistic nylon: Aeronaut 30 and Maker’s Bag. Coming soon: Aeronaut 45.

We’re retiring our Road Buddy Duffel 36 and Road Buddy Duffel 60 to make way for new designs. If you’ve been thinking about a Road Buddy, you may want to order soon, as we won’t be making further production runs.

We’ve updated our Planet page with additional efforts: we’re operationally carbon neutral, members of 1% For The Planet, we offer a vegetarian company lunch, and over 80% of our materials are bluesign® and/or OEKO-TEX® certified.

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