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Bring Back the Stowaway!

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    Bring Back the Stowaway!

    I’m going to go out on a limb and hope we can put together enough collective interest that Tom Bihn would consider putting the Stowaway back into production.

    They’ve been keen to dust off some vintage designs as well as some more recent popular items, too (like the Smart Alec and Pickup Truck, etc.).

    Half the subreddit for Tom Bihn is literally “want to buy” or “in search of”
    posts asking about Stowaways.

    And if it’s too much a risk to make them
    on speculation, heck, open up a preorder! I think you’d be surprised just how many people would be willing to buy one.

    I bought and returned the Cloud and Mars Red, owned the Olive, and later sold that. I don’t regret much, but I do regret selling my Stowaway (as well as my Coyote Co-Pilot!).

    Stowaway fans, feel free to chime in!
    I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
    Everyday Carry: Cambiata
    Hiking Daypack: ADX31

    Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

    #2
    Chicagoan It seemed to be a bit polarizing when it came out... what did you like about it, what drove you to sell it, and now in retrospect, what do you miss about it? Inquiring minds want to know (details)!
    “Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
    “Sir?”
    “It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
    “Sir?”
    “That’s practically zen.”
    -Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

    Comment


      #3
      Please, please, please, let’s have a clear product vision, with a routine stock of a good range of bags that cover a good breadth of use cases. And if some bags are genuinely superceded (and yes I appreciate that will always be subjective) then fair warning but that’s it, and instead focus on current and new bags. Limited re-releases and preorders are not the way for gaining new customers. As much as I love my TB bags I struggle to recommend the restrictive buying process to friends and family.

      Comment


        #4
        You had an exterior zippered compartment with three sewn-in sections, a convertible first compartment that could fit a water bottle (but unzip and also fold flat out of the way to use the full volume), a second full size compartment, a third compartment sized for a laptop but also full size, AND the backpack strap compartment that could also serve as storage if you didn’t need to use it in backpack mode.

        It had a TON of built-in organization while remaining small enough to fit under an airline line AND maintaining a profile that rode comfortably as a crossbody, too.

        My favorite bag and the one I use most often is a Co-Pilot but the Stowaway added a few extra compartments that made the bag feasible as an overnight bag.

        And no, I don’t like the Pilot! It’s a different size and profile, and it annoys the heck out of me that the main compartment has the pockets sewn against the front side (and not the back, like the CP).

        Hope that sheds some light on my sentiment, G42!
        I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
        Everyday Carry: Cambiata
        Hiking Daypack: ADX31

        Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
          Hope that sheds some light on my sentiment, G42!
          Thank you, that is useful (for me at least) to hear how you think about the bag.
          I looked at it when I visited the mother ship in 2017 and thought it was clever, obviously well built, but couldn't come up with enough occasions that I'd use it for to justify buying it. Now I'd probably buy one just to play with it for a while, see what ah-ha moments come up.
          “Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
          “Sir?”
          “It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
          “Sir?”
          “That’s practically zen.”
          -Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

          Comment


            #6
            I’m one of those wanting a Stowaway and have asked about it on various other sites.

            If they offered one, I think I’d jump at it.

            But: I also can’t reconcile why I wouldn’t just want to get a Pilot. If I think about “guaranteed bag that fits under any seat, fits a night or two of clothes, laptop, accessories”… it’s the Pilot? My Co-Pilot could do it too in a pinch. Sure the Stowaway has the backpack straps but they look weird and many said they didn’t use them: some even cut them out of the back to use that pocket for thin papers and things.

            I’d also ideally want a minor update for the Stowaway to have the convertible pocket/unzip to put on rolling luggage.

            I would likely buy one if they were offered, I just can’t shake what I’d use it for that a Pilot couldn’t do as well.

            Comment


              #7
              The Pilot is problematic for me personally because the pockets sewn into the main compartment are sewn onto the front side.

              I always carry a large point-and-shoot camera in my Co-Pilot, but those pockets are sewn against the back.

              Since I want quick and easy access to the camera, I tend to carry the bag with the main compartment unzipped.

              I can get away with this on the CP because the weight rests against my body.

              On the Pilot, the weight of the camera tends to pull the bag forward and away from me.

              I liked the Stowaway because it had multiple larger compartments (in addition to the compartments made for smaller items) you could pack clothes inside without requiring the use of packing cubes. The Pilot relies on one large main compartment for packing things the size of clothes.

              For me, the Stowaway and Pilot don’t quite work the same, or organize items similarly, and I prefer the former over the latter - I’ve bought and returned the Pilot a couple times, and while the Co-Pilot is my favorite bag for everyday carry, it’s just not quite big enough to use as a weekend bag.

              This is all entirely my personal use case and opinion, but I still see enough difference between the Stowaway and Pilot (or any other bag in the line) to justify reviving the bag.

              Additionally, I’ve had no issue whatsoever with the open window preorders (where you have a calendar week to place an order and the number of bags made is equal to the number of orders placed). Currently I’m waiting (patiently!) for an Ursa Cambiata ordered this way.

              I do think the LQR events were a clusterf*** and am glad to see those go. Even if restocked items are added as available and quietly now, it doesn’t allow the opportunity for anyone to swoop in and hoard bags - I understand that once a bag is sold, the buyer can do whatever they like with the item, but there are certain sellers on eBay buying these bags and marking them up sky high and well above the original selling price. I do think one of the positive outcomes of moving away from LQRs is limiting opportunity for resellers to come in and poach rare merchandise.
              Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-04-2022, 08:37 AM.
              I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
              Everyday Carry: Cambiata
              Hiking Daypack: ADX31

              Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

              Comment


                #8
                Yeah I don’t understand this kind of subculture within the TB world of collecting different colours of the same item, seemingly for the sake of it, collecting rare bags… etc. For me TB bags are just tools; they serve a specific purpose. And I have different bags for different specific use cases.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
                  For me, the Stowaway and Pilot don’t quite work the same, or organize items similarly, and I prefer the former over the latter
                  Yeah I totally get that. Kind of why I want to get the Stowaway just to try it really. From comparison videos I’ve seen on YouTube, it seems very chunky once packed, and doesn’t carry as flat to the body as a Pilot. Almost looks like a miniature duffel.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I assume, too, that the Trinity is or was, going to be their equivalent three-way carry bag… I guess like a smaller western flyer, or newer stowaway.

                    Competitors might be the Topo 3 Day Global Briefcase, Aer Flight Pack, or Mystery Ranch 3-way Briefcase. All seem to target the messenger style side bag that has tuck-away backpack straps, or can take a shoulder strap. Seems like the Stowaway fits that mould, as a smaller WF or TS almost. The Pilot does not, having no backpack straps.

                    (I ended up getting a Minaal Daily as my “should look OK in a business setting, can be used as a backpack for an overnight or two, or held as a briefcase / messenger or with a shoulder strap” bag.)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Once I’ve used a bag long and often enough to prove as a favorite, I’ll usually go and buy a second “backup” bag in either the same or a different colorway: I’ve got more than one EC, SK, L15, CP, MT, and SN22. I’m glad I did, because some bags - like the L15 - are retired before I would naturally wear a bag out and be in the market for a replacement.

                      But I’m the same - depending on where I’m going, what I’m doing, and how long I’ll be gone, I will grab a different bag depending on the circumstances.

                      The Stowaway is “chunkier” when fully packed than a Pilot, but I wouldn’t say it ever felt so wide to feel as if I was carrying a duffel.

                      I’m actually familiar with all the other bags you mentioned from different brands, but I guess I’m too well adjusted to using Tom Bihn bags and always having a good place to clip in both my keys and my [mini organizer pouch] wallet. To be honest, the bags I love and use most are the ones that provide places to store/access my keys and wallet without taking the bag off, or, at the very most, only removing one of a couple shoulder straps so I can swing the bag in front of me.

                      I feel like this thread is pulling away some from its originally intended purpose, but to reiterate, I don’t think I’ve found a bag that could so easily transition between everyday and travel uses, and if the Trinity isn’t ever going to be completed and put into production, I would like to see the trend of reviving older designs continue, and give the Stowaway at least one more production run.
                      I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
                      Everyday Carry: Cambiata
                      Hiking Daypack: ADX31

                      Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
                        They’ve been keen to dust off some vintage designs as well as some more recent popular items, too (like the Smart Alec and Pickup Truck, etc.).
                        "I’m super excited about all the stuff we’re going to be releasing for the holidays! I can’t say too much yet, but there’s at least one totally new design in there and possibly a re-issue of a retired bag that we haven’t made in a while (any guesses?!). "

                        I get the feeling Cindy's blog comment above refers to the Night Flight Travel Duffle. Could be the stowaway though ?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by bijoux View Post
                          I get the feeling Cindy's blog comment above refers to the Night Flight Travel Duffle. Could be the stowaway though ?
                          It felt like they were resisting the NFTD because of the unique foam insert but maybe it would be a redesign.
                          They also hinted and added the Imago back to the website as retired, with the sign up page. It would probably need some updates on phone sizes
                          I feel like the Moveable Feast may also be an option, though with the resurgence of travel and pivot back to emphasizing travel bags, maybe not.

                          The blog Q&A did include "For grocery shopping, I like the Monster Truck and the new bag that we’re working on"

                          We were supposed to get that wine caddy/tote that was in the background of a photo last year, but it hasn't appeared yet.
                          “Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
                          “Sir?”
                          “It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
                          “Sir?”
                          “That’s practically zen.”
                          -Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

                          Comment


                            #14
                            To be honest, I’d be happy with either (especially if they offer the bag in Coyote or Ursa) but it would be one heck of an early Christmas gift if they did re-release the Stowaway!

                            And I had the same thought myself: if they don’t have access to material for the camera insert, it might be prohibitive to a re-release of the NFTD, but on the other hand, they just made the newest version of the Aeronaut without an interior lining, and they could just as well market the new NFTD only as a personal item size duffel and not as a camera bag.

                            I hope the new bag isn’t another tote. That category already seems over represented and even more so with the introduction of the Cambiata.
                            Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-04-2022, 05:46 PM.
                            I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
                            Everyday Carry: Cambiata
                            Hiking Daypack: ADX31

                            Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by chrispoole View Post
                              Yeah I don’t understand this kind of subculture within the TB world of collecting different colours of the same item, seemingly for the sake of it, collecting rare bags… etc. For me TB bags are just tools; they serve a specific purpose. And I have different bags for different specific use cases.
                              I have more than one of several bags due to wanting more than one colour, purely as a mood thing. I could care less about most clothes, shoes, and a whole range of other discretionary purchases (to me they're tools, like in your analogy), but I delight in having options for some of my EDC and travel stuff.
                              It doesn't hurt that they're very well made, I'm not hard on them, and there's an active trading & selling secondary market.
                              “Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
                              “Sir?”
                              “It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
                              “Sir?”
                              “That’s practically zen.”
                              -Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

                              Comment

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