New: Strap Keepers

Our Strap Keepers are designed to be the lowest-profile and easiest to use solution out there for bundling and securing excess backpack shoulder strap webbing. They can be used with any brand of backpack that uses 1″ webbing; of course, they’ll work perfectly with all TOM BIHN packs.

It’s one of those to-may-to or to-mah-to kind of things: some folks don’t like the excess webbing from our backpack shoulder straps or waist straps and some of folks don’t even notice it.

Those of you who aren’t into the excess webbing have been asking us if we could offer a solution to wrangle it. We’ve been experimenting with different parts and options for a while now, and our Strap Keepers are by far the best option we’ve used. But that’s us: to make sure the design we came up with would work for a majority of people, we sent a complimentary pair of Strap Keepers to a variety of customers (through our Forums; and also to those who pre-ordered a Synik 22 / Synik 30 and received a pre-production batch bag) and asked for feedback. The feedback came back to us via email and in this thread in our Forums; overall, people liked the Strap Keepers enough that we’ve decided to offer them as an official design.

Strap Keepers. $5 for a pair of two.

NOTE: If you pre-ordered a Synik, don’t order a pair of Strap Keepers! Why? Because we’re going to include a pair at no charge with your bag when it ships.


Synik 22/30 Pre-Production Batch Notes

Up close with the Synik

The Synik 22 and Synik 30 pre-order opened on 08/13 and it sold out less than 12 hours later. We opened a second pre-order on 08/15 and it sold out this Monday 08/19. Pre-order is now officially closed and our factory crew has already started making the pre-ordered Syniks. Several weeks from now, after the pre-order bags are nearly completed, we will begin an additional production run of Syniks for stock; we expect those to be ready for order sometime early-mid December.

Thank you to everyone who placed a pre-order for the Synik. We’ve all been working hard on the Synik project and it means a lot to us that it was appreciated.

As we did with the Luminary, we’d like to share our notes on the pre-production batches of the Synik. A pre-production batch (PPB) of any new design is ordered and completed by our production department prior to the new design being offered for pre-order.

The PPB is intended to:

  • Serve as the first large-scale test of the efficiency of manufacturing the new design.
  • Provide photo, review and employee loaner sample bags.
  • Ship a small quantity of bags to a randomized selection of customers who place pre-orders. This will allow folks to post reviews and first thoughts and photos of a new design, which in turn may help other people decide whether a bag is right for them or not.

Please note that the design itself is tested and every detail finalized and approved by Tom, Nik, Lisa, and Fong long before the PPB is ordered. PPB bags are in no way “beta” or incomplete.

Notes From Our Synik 22 and Synik 30 Pre-Production Meetings

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

PPB Launch Meeting

Meeting Questions:

  • Any questions or issues with Bill of Materials?
  • Open discussion with Irma
  • Open discussion with Lisa/Fong
  • Insights or instructions from designer + production engineers (Tom, Nik)

Action Item(s):

  • Check Spacer Mesh cutting — should these parts be die cut or not?
  • Ask Lisa and Fong how the cut pieces are working.
  • Ben to modify the drill hole positions on the shoulder strap die.
  • A few marker notches / drill holes need to be added, a few removed.
  • Double-check the consumption is looking accurate for the shoulder strap build.

Mike’s notes from the meeting. Includes feedback from Irma, Tom, Lisa, Fong, Mike, and Nik:

  • Irma noted that the markers are laid out well for cutting — no changes needed.
  • Lisa is going to provide the laptop compartment zipper length for the Synik 22 (she’s already done this for the 30.)
  • This needs to be a cut zipper on both size bags.
  • Note the special way the piping is folding at the bottom of the bag.
  • Angle of the shoulder strap bartacks is 11°.
  • 30mm webbing consumption will go up — that is the material used to attach the stay to the frame. (Mike has already told Ben.)
  • Interior Lash Straps will be same length as Tri-Star.

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Interim PPB Check-Ins

Meeting Questions:

  • Notches: any to add, subtract, or move?
  • Any issues with materials?
  • Adjustments or corrections to BOM needed?
  • Any problems with machines or tools?
  • Any issues with ergonomics/ease of assembly?
  • Any problems overall?
  • Any feedback from the crew?

Action Item(s):

  • Further discussion on the bartacks — Lisa asked if they could all be the same length to improve efficiency. Nik confirms yes.
  • Watch for Gatekeeper Waist Strap attachment on Synik 22 in QA — that attachment webbing was lengthened but we need to check to confirm there is enough wiggle-room for entry and removal.

Meeting Notes:

  • Lisa is still working on whether and what changes she’d like to see.
  • Synik 22 side notches may need a bit of nudging.
  • All of the materials are good.
  • Need to keep an eye on initial hand-cut foam parts.
  • BOM is good. Note change to the cut length on the Gatekeeper waist strap attachment for the Synik 22.
  • Machines and tools are working fine. No issues. Yay!
  • The front panel is the same as Synapse so no issues on Fong’s side. Extra time required in joining and binding on Lisa’s side.
  • Bartacks are all good.
  • Tom and Nik met with Matt to go over kitting and packaging of the Syniks in the shipping department; all good.

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

PPB Final QA Review

Meeting Questions:

  • How did the bags go through QA?
  • What questions did we ask and answer?
  • Any final thoughts?

Action Items:

  • Reminder from Lisa to double check the bartacks at the bottom of the bag — one over the wing and one over the Gatekeeper attachment/frame opening.


  • At final inspection: the bags all looked great.
  • On the next batches give the label placement one final inspection. To be sure, to be sure.
  • Velia and Lulu confirm QA went well. No questions.
  • We shared that everyone who has received a Synik so far has been impressed by the quality of the work.

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory

Synik Pre-Production Batch Meeting at the TOM BIHN factory


2nd Synik Pre-Order Opens 08/15

Stand up meeting to discuss Synik Pre-order
Above: Lisa, Nik, Mike, Fong, and Ben meeting to discuss the production schedule, materials inventory, and other considerations related to offering a second pre-order for the Synik.

Our new Synik 22 and Synik 30 backpacks sold out in less than 12 hours — that’s much sooner than we expected. It made for a very exciting day here at the factory: we’ve all been working hard on the project of the Synik (see our Credits) and that all of you liked what we were putting out there enough to order it means a lot to us.

At the same time, it was understandably a bummer for those who wanted to place a pre-order but didn’t get the chance.

We’ve determined we can offer a second pre-order for the Synik 22 / Synik 30 tomorrow, Thursday, August 15th. In an effort to better acknowledge that people are in different time zones and have different work schedules, we will split the offering of this second pre-order:

6:30am Pacific Time: we’ll add the first 1/2 of the pre-order quantity to the website for order.
1:00pm Pacific Time: we’ll add the second 1/2 of the pre-order quantity to the website for order.

It’s possible that the first 1/2 of the pre-order won’t sell out before 1:00pm. If that’s the case, we will still add the remaining pre-order quantity and pre-order can remain open until 08/20 or until it does eventually sell out. It is also possible that the entire second pre-order will sell out. Like you, we will see what happens when it does.

Note that the ship date for the second pre-order Syniks is one month later than the first pre-order — late November instead of late October. We know late November probably seems forever away -— we’re going to make every effort we can to make and ship those bags sooner, but can’t make any promises at this point because we’re working our production schedule to the max.

Looking ahead, our production capacity is such that we don’t envision we will be able to offer a third pre-order. Our goal after this second pre-order will be to focus on building enough Syniks over the coming months that we can put them in-stock and do our best to keep them in-stock.

We welcome your feedback, thoughts, questions, or anything you’ve got to share; respond here in the comments or


News Briefs

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.

Mark your calendars! Our Seattle Factory Showroom will be open the following Saturdays: Dec. 14th 2019 and, in 2020, March 21st, June 20th, and September 19th.

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