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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Is the Zephyr right for me? Help and advice please?

    Hi all,

    I need a briefcase for the back and forth to work--mostly for carrying paperwork. I want something relatively small and simple--room for a few books, a dozen fairly small files, my notebook, the normal detritus of business-life (pens, post-it notes, usb drives, notepad, ID badge, business cards) and the usual EDC stuff: small knife, flashlight, band-aids and misc. medicines, etc.

    The problem with my current briefcase, an Osprey packs Astro, is that it has so little shape that it looks, to me, kind of sloppy, and, more problematically, papers slide around inside and get dinged up. I want something more functional and elegant---more business, less grad school.

    I am, like most everyone I imagine who posts here, a bit of a bag-snob. I want really high quality, clever design, and the simplicity that comes from a careful assessment of actual functionality.

    The Zephyr seems like it might be a good fit. I'd like the Co-pilot if it were more specifically designed to take standard letter-sized files easily.

    Is anyone using the Zephyr or Co-Pilot for similar, mostly paper-based, needs?

    Your suggestions and advice?--including other Tom Bihn's or even another company if you think it better for my needs.

    Thanks--I've enjoyed reading the posts on these forums.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    The Zephyr is a terrific briefcase, but I wouldn't call it small. True, it is smaller than the Empire Builder, but it isn't one of those slim-line briefcases. I use mine when I need to carry my officially-supplied laptop (a 15 incher and too darn heavy!) along with a three ring binder and maybe a book or two and some legal sized pads and files. It holds all that stuff, keeps me organized, and holds all my daily miscellany as well. And, since I have it in all black, it looks more professional than my Imago or Ristretto.

    Do I love it the way I do my other Tom Bihn bags? Nope. Is that a flaw in the bag or in my attitude towards having to be a no-nonsense professional sometimes? Well, maybe it is me...

    (OK, probably...)
    Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Colorado, I struggled over my purchase of Tom Bihn bag for months. I couldn't decide between the Empire Builder and the Zephyr. In the end, I purchased a Zephyr and I'm really pleased. I plan to do a full write up, but I wanted a full year of use first - that will be next month.

    I carry basically what you mentioned, several files, a binder or two on occasion, books, plus the every day carry stuff. The bag holds a lot and even when it is stuffed it looks good. More importantly, when it isn't stuffed it holds it shape and looks good. I can't imagine it looks as professional as a slim leather case, but it looks good. I was in DC all of last week for work - suit and tie the whole time. I was surrounded by Hill staffers and government officials and I never felt out of place. I got black on the outside and gray inside.

    Right now, my bag is carrying a MacBook Air, a leather portfolio, several files, chargers, EDC stuff, and it looks good. Also, it can hold legal size paper which is nice.

    I think you will be pleased with you bag. Contrary to popular belief, they aren't perfect, but they better than most anything else. Like I said, I plan a more in-depth review soon.

    Let me know if you have specific questions.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    suburbs of Washington DC
    Here's my recent Zephyr post with photos:

    Maybe a New Zephyr

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Seattle, WA (home of Tom Bihn)
    Colorado, if you're planning on packing a Laptop within a Brain cell along with a few additional books, then the Zephyr may be too small for your needs. I used to have an Empire Builder and even with that I was pretty much maxed out with a Brain Cell and two text books in the main compartment.

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