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Question for multiple bag users

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    Question for multiple bag users


    I just got a Synapse19 delivered on Friday and it’s such a great and beautiful bag. I did the usual playing around with compartments, packing my stuff then unpacking and rearranging. I just have a couple of questions/comments.

    I’ve been carrying an original Luminary almost from the time they first came out and the new backpack feels huge compared to the Luminary. It’s not a large bag by any means, but it is by comparison and I hope I can get used to the bulkier carry of the Synapse. Especially since the reason I got it was because I occasionally need more room than the Luminary can provide and I liked the idea of having more compartments.

    My question is for people who use multiple bags and how they are used. How do you decide which bag will be your main go to bag? Do you have a core stash of belongings that you switch between bags as needed? Is that the purpose of all the TB pouches and accessories that are available. Is it bothersome to do this?

    I usually carry one beloved bag until it is worn out and I have to get another. I’ve used the Luminary every single day since I got it and it looks brand new. I expect the Synapse will be the same. It seems weird to be mildly stressed out about how I’m going to use and appreciate both of these great bags.

    I have an original Luminary 12, a new Luminary 15, and a Synapse 19.... and several cross body bags. Which one I pick to carry depends partly on what I need to bring that day and what my mood is.

    The L12 I tend to use mostly when I'm walking around an urban area for the day and want a slim low profile hands free option... usually it trades off with the Side Kick and sometimes the Daylight Briefcase for that type of use case.

    The L15 and S19 can carry my work laptop (tho not the L12), so one of those tend to be my EDC for work days. I keep a bunch of 'what if' stuff in a 3DOC that moves from bag to bag... some random things (pen, pencil, tissue pack, etc) I keep in every bag, all the time, so they're always ready to go.

    When I travel, my A30 goes on my back, so my other bag is usually a Zip Top Shop Bag or the Daylight Briefcase or the Pilot if it's a work trip.

    My suggestion is that you stick with the Luminary that you love unless you have a day when you know you need to carry more - and switch to the S19 that day.
    Keep common inexpensive items duplicated in both bags... for the stuff that's more rare/expensive/whatever, see if you can consolidate to one or two accessories that are easy to swap back and forth.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...


      That stress of having more than one beloved bag is a feeling I can totally identify with! In my life before Tom Bihn, I too used to carry a single bag until it wore out. My last one was a BBP messenger bag that I used as a daily carry for several years. It was a good bag, not always an ideal one for every need, but it was the one I had.

      After I got my first Bihn bag (Side Effect) and then my second (Synapse 19), I entered into a new phase of bag obsession. It was so cool discovering how adaptable these bags were to all sorts of different carrying needs. The Side effect became my only purse, and the Synapse 19 became my new daily carry and also my new travel bag. But then I took a trip where I needed to bring more than the S19 could hold, so I added an A30 to my collection. From there, it became easy to justify an assortment of other bags—Smart Alec for carrying large bulky things, pop tote for gym and shopping, copilot for a super compact work bag or personal item, a western flyer for single bag work travel with electronics and clothes, and an array of smaller bags that fit inside all my bigger ones to organize.

      I have so many Tom Bihn bags in my stable now, that I feel like there is almost no carry scenario that I can’t solve elegantly. when I change from one bag to another, there is a whole lotta zipping going on as I transfer sub pouches. It is a weird hobby to have, but it is satisfying and rewarding to have everything I need just a couple of zippers away. And I like the security of knowing that my bags will never be the weak link in my travels.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
      Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful. — Shaker Philosophy


        My daily work bag is a Luminary 12. I use my Synapse 19 for travel and days when I need to carry something bulky to or from work. Before a gym opened near my house, it was my daily work bag because I could also fit my gym clothes in it.

        On weekends and days off, I use a Travel Cubelet, Side Kick, or Side Effect, depending on what I have planned. If it's a jaunt to a nearby city and I would like to bring a water bottle and my Kindle, it's the SK. If it's just errands around town, I'll use a smaller bag.

        To keep things organized, I use a small Ghost Whale that corralls the rest of my essentials beyond phone, wallet, and keys. That includes a tiny first aid kit, backup phone battery, charger and charging cable, and earbuds.

        The GW moves from bag to bag as needed.

        I hope this helps! Good luck finding a system that works for you!


          Each of my bags has a the inexpensive stuff duplicated and already in the bag (tissues, dental floss, Flip & Tumble 24x7 tote in case of emergency shopping, a pen, etc.). The only thing I swap from bag to bag is my wallet, keys and phone.


            I put all my essentials in my side effect and then if I need to carry more, I put the side effect into whichever larger bag seems most appropriate.
            The SE fits perfectly in the bottom pocket of the S19.

            Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk


              Oh, how I appreciate this community of bag-obsessed people...

              Only suggestion I’d add to all the above is to have a basic pouch in each bag dedicated to what you’ll usually use the bag for. In my case, I use my original Luminary all the time, but tend to use the DLBP for babysitting days. So in that pack I keep my snake charmer loaded with small games, lollipops, and other kid essentials.

              If you expect to use your S19 for travel, keep your toiletry bag in it, as well as a packing cube.
              Synik 22, Truck, Luminary 12 with a MCB Freudian Slip, Daylight Backpack, EDC HLT2, Side Effect or Side Effect, zippered Large and Small Shopbags, Co-Pilot, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer


                I started my TB journey with a DLBC. I needed a bag to replace a old leather messenger style bag that I had that got a lot of years, but ultimately failed me when the stitching came out. The DLBC was supposed to be my first stop on a journey to replace my Briggs & Riley "bag-in-a-bag" one bag travel solution with something lighter. The plan was eventually, when I needed to travel again, to get a Tri-Star to put the DLBC in. Instead, while perusing these forums, I realized that my usual travel arsenal could pull off true "one bag" travel with a Pilot, which also let me deal with the fact that after working a local client for 2 years, I didn't have status with the airlines anymore and needed to have a carry-on bag that fit under the seat comfortably. Once the Pilot arrived though, I found it would also make a great EDC bag for local clients (kind of what it was designed for anyways). So, it became the perfect hybrid for me, great for travel, great for daily use. Then, as I traveled more, I found coming into the winter months that the Pilot was kind of pushing it for those needs, and I needed something just a touch bigger. Enter the Western Flyer. And now, before I knew it, I was a Multi-bag user.

                So now, my decision on which bag to use tends to be driven by my whims. For an EDC, if I'm heading to a local client site, I'll swap back and forth between the DLBC and the Pilot, depending on if I feel like being more sleek (DLBC) or being more organized (Pilot). The big difference seems to be whether or not I want to put my coffee/water in the bag (Pilot), or will carry it by hand (DLBC).

                For travel, I swap back and forth between the Pilot and the Western Flyer. This is driven more by what I think I need to bring for that trip. If I can swing the Pilot, I usually prefer to go that way due to it's compactness (and admittedly, a bit of "That's your only bag?" shock factor). If I need room (hats, gloves, thicker shirts, long sleeved shirts, suit, etc....) then I'll go with the Western Flyer. I tend to find with the WF though, because it has so much most space, that I end up bringing more than I actually need. It's easier to justify those extra adapter cords, or that set of PJs, when there's such a huge, cavernous unused space.


                  For me it all started with the Smart Alec which continues to be my workhorse to date. By the time I got the SA I was using messenger bags but wanted to switch to backpacks for greater carrying comfort because I am commuting with my bike. I use a Freudian Slip to organize my stuff (MacBook Air, cables and accessories, papers, pens, etc.) which is great because when I take the FS out, the bag is empty and ready to be used for something else. The great thing about the SA is that it can easily swallow my gym clothes in addition to my office stuff.
                  When I am travelling I usually switch to the Synapse 25 as my personal bag (I rarely use the backpack mode of my A45 or Tristar and thus, I can use a backpack) because I love the additional organization of the exterior pockets for that purpose. Furthermore, the S25 is slimmer than the SA making the handling on the train or plane easier. I also switch my stuff from one FS to the other as I always need different things depending on the purpose of the trip. However, I have some small OPs that are always packed for travelling, containing the things I tend to forget (e.g. nail clipper, ear plugs, painkiller, tissues).
                  In addition to the two large backpacks I very recently started using the Luminary 15 and the DLBP. The L15 is great for going out when I only need a few things such as phone, wallet, some additional clothes etc. while the DLBP is a fantastic light bag that can easily be stowed away when you don't need it.
                  With regard to the big bags I have the following preferences: Tristar - business trips (better for formal shirts and jackets) / A45 or RB36 - casual trips / Yeoman - too lazy to pack properly, just cram everything in...
                  ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!)
                  current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces


                    Originally posted by kad View Post
                    My question is for people who use multiple bags and how they are used. How do you decide which bag will be your main go to bag? Do you have a core stash of belongings that you switch between bags as needed? Is that the purpose of all the TB pouches and accessories that are available. Is it bothersome to do this?
                    I'll speak to this specifically.

                    On an EDC, I actually carry a non-TB to and from work. In it, I have:
                    • A work gear organizer pouch. This isn't a Tom Bihn one, but the idea is the same. It has my mouse, various dongles/adapters, USB keys, etc.
                    • Some personal care essentials, like wipes for eyeglasses, battery for phone, ibuprofen, wipes, etc. I put these in a Tom Bihn clear organizer pouch. These are things I would take for a full day out, to work or to museum hopping or whatever. If I'm just going out to dinner, I won't bring a bag at all.

                    In addition to that, I'll throw my true EDC items either in a quick access pocket or my jean pockets. Phone, wallet, keys, etc.

                    So then when I'm traveling short to medium-term (3 days to 6 weeks, say), I'll probably bring an Aeronaut 30 and optionally a Pilot, depending on whether I'm working. If I'm only bringing the Aeronaut, the work pouch will stay behind and the personal care pouch goes in the hand pocket of the Aeronaut with my passport and 3-1-1 bag.

                    If I'm working on the trip I'm taking, both pouches along with my wallet, keys, etc go in the Pilot. My phone always stays in my pocket.

                    So basically, yes, I move pouches between bags. With the work pouch in particular, I don't really want to think about it; if I have the pouch and a charger, I have the basics of what I need to be productive.

                    If I'm going to be away from home/hotel/whatever for more than 4 hours, the personal care pouch is all I need to have. I don't have to think about it.


                      Oh, I also have a Tom Bihn organizer pouch with a few in-flight essentials. I just throw it in my bag when I leave for the airport. It's pre-packed with disinfecting wipes (to use on my tray table, armrest, etc), lip balm, moisturizing wipes (like lotion, but aren't considered liquids), breath mints, brush-ups, a pen, ear plugs, USB cable, 2-prong headphone adapter for old planes, and other goodies for the air. I put it in my seatback pocket and it makes the flight more pleasant to have a little kit of goodies to use. I based it off those in-flight business class amenity kits you get on long-haul routes. Sometimes I'll throw my Kindle in there too, when I'm packing.


                        I move stuff between most of my bags.
                        I have a co-pilot that is my dedicated DSLR bag and all that camera stuff stays put.
                        I have a pilot that is my EDC for work days and each morning I put my lunch and purse in there, the other stuff just stays in it.
                        But depending on the trip I am taking I will use my A45 or WF, and I also have an eagle creek rolling carry on where I keep all of my packing cubes and stuff sacks. I will often pull out two or all 3 or these larger bags when I pack and decide what will fit my travel need best. Other items like the SE, travel cubelet and various TB organizer pouches come along on every trip but I might put different accessories in them depending.


                          I switch between bags depending on what I need to bring, how long I'll be out, whether I need to be hands-free, and the organizational features of the bag I use. I tried the modular approach, i.e. having a number of pouches with progressively more essential items in each one, but I found that - for me - the OP route did not take advantage of the built-in details of TB bags, and added weight.

                          I think there are three main categories of occasions where I switch bags:

                          1) seasonal - winter to summer, or summer to winter. Basically I carry more layers in winter and want to stash them, so I have to have enough room in my bag to catch my hat, gloves, and even jacket. This usually means I switch from a Little Swift (cooler not to have a bag on my back in warm weather) to a backpack. Also if it's icy out, it's good to have both hands free in case I need to balance or catch myself in the event of a slip. I love my Synapse for cold-weather carry - I always keep lip balm in the tiny front pocket, for example, and I can stash a light layer, rain jacket, umbrella, or shawl in the bottom front pocket.

                          - The advantage (to me) of the exterior pockets in the S19 is that I can find things without even having to look - like grabbing a pen if I'm in line, or lip balm when I'm in the car and at a stoplight. When I was using multiple OPs I would have to haul them all out by their keystraps and dig into each one to find what I needed. Now I have one or two OPs, for items I don't access as often (e.g. Band-Aids).

                          2) EDC to travel - I don't always size up when I travel. Sometimes I size down my next-to-me carry and put non-essentials in my carry-on. So I might go from the S19 to a Medium Cafe Bag or a Maker's Bag, as my personal item, and then bring the A30 as my carry-on. (Because if I carry the A30 as a backpack, I need a cross-body style for my other bag.) Alternately, on our most recent trip last month, we were on a budget airline and so we each carried only an S19, so I didn't have to switch anything out.

                          - Or conversely, I may size up from the S19 to my Smart Alec, so that I can carry my hoody, computer, snacks, and entertainment for a long-haul flight all in one bag. (I'm too short to reach the overhead bin easily in those big jets!! Must have all my stuff by my feet!)

                          3) Hands-free vs. no big deal - If I am: chaperoning a field trip; going to a march; going to the grocery and carrying lots of Shop Bags - then I don't want to have to think about my bag slipping off my shoulder. In that case it may be worth it for me to move things out of my Swift/Little Swift and into a backpack.

                          - Or, in the other direction - if I'm going out and want to look slightly fancier, or meeting with someone from work/school - I move all the things into a Swift/LS.
                          Last edited by haraya; 03-18-2019, 05:23 PM.


                            Thanks for all of the replies and great ideas. And for taking the time to reply. There are a lot of options I hadn’t thought of. I’m also grateful to be able to share with a group of like minded, bag obsessed people.

                            I don’t travel nearly as much as the forum members who replied and my work bag is an Eagle Creek backpack. I’m a nurse and there’s no way I’m letting my precious TB bags near my work gear.

                            In other news, I am thinking of naming my backpacks - is that weird?
                            Last edited by kad; 03-18-2019, 02:17 PM.


                              Originally posted by kad View Post
                              Thanks for all of the replies and great ideas. And for taking the time to reply. There are a lot of options I hadn’t thought of. I’m also grateful to be able to share with a group of like minded, bag obsessed people.
                              Isn't it great?!

                              I don’t travel nearly as much as the forum members who replied and my work bag is an Eagle Creek backpack. I’m a nurse and there’s no way I’m letting my precious TB bags near my work gear.
                              I totally get that feeling. I even have a couple of bags that I think of as my backups - if I am going someplace grungy, say, and don't want to muck up my first-tier TB bags... in come the ground troops! (They are also TB bags, just in different colorways or configurations.)

                              In other news, I am thinking of naming my backpacks - is that weird?
                              Go for it! Certainly it will make it easier to know which one you're speaking to. But getting them to come when called - that's the trick!!