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Paragon vs Luminary

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    Paragon vs Luminary

    I was wondering if people who have experienced both the Paragon and the Luminary 15 might be able to chime in on a comparison between these two as a lightweight EDC or hiking bag.

    I already have two luminary 15's and I find them quite nice when I find my Synik 30 maybe a bit too much bag for walking around, but with the occasional small shop or to go for a longer walk with a water bottle.

    I feel like I might end up never using the Luminary if I get the Paragon GE as it would basically do everything the Luminary can and more. What do you think, overkill with owning both? Or would the Luminary fill a niche still?

    I think of them as being for different purposes based on size, built in organization, and aesthetics. I love the Luminary (both the 12 and 15) as urban bags - so sleek and minimal in profile. I've been allowed to walk through art museums without checking my Luminary. I have also used the L15 for short day hikes.

    Since the Paragon came out during pandemic times, I've only used it for work related carry - not yet as a hiking bag or anything. It's obviously larger than the L15 - closer to the S19/SN22.
    I have the Taiga/Taiga and it's super flexible (way less structured feeling than a Luminary). It's a 'throw everything in the bag' and go type of thing for me... I toss in my work laptop, some files, and random stuff.. over the ear massive work headphones/mic in the front pocket, water bottle, whatever...and just off I go to work. Mask, sanitizer, samples, whatever - it all fits.
    With the S19/SN22, I have dedicated stuff that permanently lives in the onboard organization areas/pockets. With the Paragon, it's a minimal built-in organization that facilitates grab, dump and go.
    My pre-order includes a GE Paragon where the 525 ballistic will provide more physical structure/rigidity, but the delivery was delayed, so don't have it yet.

    I have alternated between the Paragon and S19 or Paragon and Shop Bags, but in my head, the Paragon is not a useful alt for the Luminary... I consider the Luminary to be in the same consideration set as the DLBC, Icon, SK, PCSB...

    Last edited by G42; 04-08-2021, 11:01 PM.
    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...


      The Luminary 15 was my everyday bag for quite a while, until the pandemic hit. Then I wasn't carrying a backpack at all, but now I have a Paragon and really love it. The Luminary is still in my closet. To me, they are similar in function. The Luminary has an edge on overall aesthetics. At the time I bought it, I thought those backpack straps were the most comfortable of any Tom Bihn bag I'd owned so far, but the Paragon straps have a slight edge. I also like how I can unzip the Paragon and the front basically flaps over, giving me a view of what's inside, and its wide, flat, rectangular shape is slightly easier to work with in terms of what I usually carry. Next month I'll go back to commuting by train rather than driving, and that will be the real test of which one works best for me. I do miss the dedicated water bottle pocket of the Luminary, as well as the side-access to the back compartment. Sorry that this probably isn't a super-helpful answer, but I thought I'd pen my thoughts.

      I also have a Luminary 12, which I hardly ever wear, but I'm keeping that for sure! It is so tiny and cute, and in case I ever travel again it seems like a perfect walking-around-all-day bag.
      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
      Edmund Burke


        It was helpful (from both of you) thanks. I decided to go the fomo route and grab a Paragon GE and see how things work out.

        I could see myself still using the Luminary as I do now, small walks with phone and wallet in the side pockets, with the option of picking up some small things along the way. The Paragon might be good for more of a specific hike, putting in more planned stuff like food, water and a rolled up jacket, either lashed to the bottom or placed inside the bag.

        I love my Synik and Aeronaut they have been a god send in the pandemic for grocery shopping in bulk and travelling of course when it was possible, but they aren't the best for more leisurely stuff. I think the Luminary and Paragon fit those areas better.

        I couldn't resist a Synapse 25 GE too though, which might screw up all my supposed plans when it arrives


          Full disclosure, I don't have my Paragon yet (and to be honest I seriously waffled on whether to get it), but here's my thoughts on the L15/S22/Paragon "debate".

          I love the L15 for its water bottle holder, structure, and the ability to reach back and grab my phone from a side pocket without removing either of the straps.

          I love the organization and clamshell of the S22 (although I don't love the implementation of the water bottle section as it really cramps the main compartment when I use my 32oz steel bottle; however, that's at least partly my fault/stubbornness coming through because I'm sure it would be lessened with a narrower bottle.)

          The reason I got a Paragon on top of having the other two is for carrying my DSLR. It's just too bulky/squarish for the other two bags and too heavy for something like the pop tote or DLBP. There have been several instances when I need the big open bucket style of a pop tote with the support of a backpack, and I think/hope this will fit the bill. I intend to clip my water bottle to an o-ring to keep it upright and help make up for the lack of a water bottle holder/section. (Can't do anything about the lack of a clamshell though.)

          Edit: It occurs to me that I answered basically none of your questions, but hopefully I was still helpful to somebody out there, lol.
          Last edited by Surrealle; 04-12-2021, 12:14 PM.


            I'll be the one naysayer here. Being retired I no longer carry a backpack to and from the office. However, when I did the L15 was my go-to solution - although I rarely brought home my laptop.

            Instead, I now use my various bags for travel purposes (to the extent that I can these days):

            - A45 is for multi-week trips,
            - SK22 for up to 7-10 days
            - L15 for 1-3 days

            On all of these trips I have a Co-Pilot for my personal bag.

            I got the Paragon with the idea of making it a travel bag in the range of 3-7 days and possibly longer. Maybe even replacing the SK22. However, once I received it, it was the most disappointing Tom Bihn purchase I have ever made. When fully packed the front pocket is virtually unusable for anything of significance. The small inside pocket might as well not be there as it holds next to nothing.

            Would the Paragon make a great book bag or office carry bag, absolutely! Is it a good travel bag, definitely not in my opinion. Mine immediately went back but my wife had me order a Taiga one for her on Friday to use as a book/computer bag when she starts going back to school in person in the fall.


              Just want to say thanks - i found this post super helpful. I have a luminary 15 and have had a synapse 19, DLBP in the past. I currently also own a synapse 25. I consider sometimes replacing the synapse 25 with the paragon for simplicity. But actually I think the luminary fills its purpose really well. I loved the DLBP but it wasn’t “backpack enough” for everyday. The luminary 15 is perfect for that. For urban use it’s awesome. But not commuting or travelling means i really don’t know what my needs are anymore. The synapse has therefore not had much use.


                Originally posted by TorontoSS View Post
                But not commuting or travelling means i really don’t know what my needs are anymore.
                Yup. I received my Synik 22 just before COVID hit. I’ve used it twice ... to get milk.


                  Comment for OP, get both as you mentioned you have done already. Different purposes and aesthetics. Simplicity vs complexity.

                  I have been using the DL Ballistic Paragon as an EDC for the past 2 weeks, but noticed several things. I also had a Luminary 15 at one time briefly so I will reference those. (L15 seemed small for its capacity, the pockets were different use, laptop compartment too small, and narrowness didn't fit travel well) Also a Synapse 25 user for travel as one bag backpack.

                  I have not been a regular backpack EDC user, more of a toss in any bag and go person. My EDC use is truck>office>tractor>truck. Not a lot of walking, but dump and go with some organization allowing making an workspace wherever needed. My use case, the simplicity is the Paragon wins out. Spot for Surface and clipboard in built in sleeve and then the big space of main compartment for whatever that day of lunch, water bottle, extra clothes, paperwork folder. The same use I so badly wanted the S25 to work and tried suing, but it was too bulky when empty, an egg when full, sleeve for Surface flopping around in the main compartment in the way all the time necessitating pushing it around to get anything into bag, and spend so much time on pockets while wanting get going, and carry too much because has pockets that would be empty and occupy space anyways. The Paragon has been logical and simple. Add in the point made by bchaplin that the design allows the top front of the bag to flap open allowing full view and easy access into the main compartment. (I think this feature offsets a high percent of the need for the clamshell, but a tradeoff over clamshell ofc)

                  I will be a contrarian to say I think the Paragon is near perfect for one bag travel for medium time period and I may be proven wrong, but the Paragon will be my one bag the next time I travel to Europe, hopefully late this summer. I have done one bag with the S25 there for a month and the other time I have done a month with Aeronaut 30 and Pilot with a small yeoman that was checked with a gift for one of my hosts (hindsight I would have mailed the yeoman home and packed a little light, but it worked out because a month plus 2 weeks quarantine myself with just that so was happy to have extra). I have learned I can travel a month / indefinitely with an Aeronaut 45 large cube of clothes, a PCSB lightly packed, my Surface, phone, and few toiletries (all solids). The Paragon can fit those things. I do hope to someday see a 25L-ish Paragon to stretch some dimensions like the Synapse, Luminary, Synik, Pilot, Aeronaut all have closely sized relative bags. The simplicity in the Paragon I think lends itself to one bag travel.
                  Last edited by organicfarmer; 05-09-2021, 09:02 PM.