Welcome!

We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics

Collapse

Topics: 14,581   Posts: 188,322   Members: 6,539   Active Members: 284
Welcome to our newest member, AndrewGxb0.

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A Family of Seven (plus one) Takes Tom to Boston

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • peregrina
    replied
    me too!!! the fact that I wanted it already doesn't help!

    Originally posted by misterN View Post
    Must resist temptation to purchase synapse.

    Leave a comment:


  • dmilem
    replied
    Lani, I'm not sure how to tag you in this post, but wanted to follow up and let you know that I've become a big Chatlie's Soap and Smartwool fan, largely because of your recommendations. Christmas gifts this year were Smartwool socks and Tom Bihn travel trays. Recipients loved them and so do I. As i type, I'm wearing a Smartwool tee shirt. With 5 children, I do A LOT of laundry in a front load washer. The Charlie's soap has completely removed the musty smell from the machine as well as the lingering smell in towels. I no longer have to use bleach to get towels to smell good. Also, whites seem brighter.
    Thanks again for the great input. Tom Bihn fans have great taste, are knowledgeable and are happy to share their helpful little hints that make life easier!

    Leave a comment:


  • Shiva
    replied
    Lani:
    thank you for the detailed response. Will look up Charlie's Soap. Yes: Smartwool is great; I do have their socks, and yes: they are expensive.
    Silk alternatives are great for 50s temps, but i find them not so great when it is really really cold!

    Leave a comment:


  • dmilem
    replied
    Lani,
    Thanks for all the great information. Smartwool.com is bookmarked and Charlie's soap is very intriguing. I too buy laundry soap in bulk at Sam"s Club. As you might imagine, laundry is non-stop at Camp Milem. I think my next clothing purchase will be a wool top. i've looked at them through another company, but haven't yet made that investment.
    Speaking of investments, congrats on your new Synapse! I like the Dyneema and plan to get the plum for our youngest daughter when she needs an upgrade in backpacks. I think you'll love your little bag and am looking forward to your review. Keep the fantastic info coming!

    Leave a comment:


  • Badger
    replied
    I totally second Smartwool. Also, if you're into it, they make by far the best toe socks I've tried: the toe pockets conform to each digit very well, and the midsole doesn't bunch. This is invaluable when wearing FiveFingers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lani
    replied
    Originally posted by Shiva View Post
    what brand woollen clothing were these? I have not been able to find such ultrafine merino wool that is not itchy. I did try the Patagonia undershirts, but they are sporty. Can't pass them off for dress at all.

    Also: Charlie's soap---where do you get them?
    Before I get to the wool clothes, Charlie's Soap. A friend of mine (who unfortunately passed away from a long battle with breast cancer just this month, and who left behind a wonderful husband and three teenaged boys) taught me about Charlie's Soap. You might have some luck at your local Whole Foods or hippie-dippie store, but I've usually wound up getting them directly from their website (Safe, non-toxic, biodegradable laundry powder | Charlie's Soap). Don't worry about any of their newer fancier products (I mean, you can get them, but their hallmark product is their laundry soap). Just check out their regular powder laundry soap. It has no dyes or perfumes, and all you need is one tablespoon for a full load of laundry. I kid you not; the stuff is fantastic. It's what a lot of parents use to launder baby diapers, so you know the stuff's good.

    The price is at least comparable to, if not cheaper than your regular brand laundry detergents. But it's run by a small mom-and-pop company. With all the kids in your household, if you get a big bucket of Charlie's Soap powdered laundry soap, you will have enough to last you until the last one goes off to college.

    I *LOVE* Charlie's Soap. We used to go to Costco to buy those humongous bottles of Tide, but we gave that up a few years ago and now only use Charlie's Soap at home.

    OK now onto clothing:

    I window shopped around online quite a bit (does that make it "Windows shopping"? lol). For the T-shirts, I wound up buying them directly from Smartwool.com. I've loved their thin socks, so I thought I'd give them a try. The one I got is Women's Nts Microweight Tee - Women's but I think they also have a long-sleeve version. At $65, it's NOT cheap, but I was able to just take ONE of those and it worked out great. Since I wasn't sweating, I discovered that I could wear it for a few days straight without it smelling (thanks to wool). Looks like they have a long-sleeve version for kids ($50 though -- ouch!).

    Those shirts also look sporty, but my suggestion is to get the one in black. You can't see the darts stitching, so it just looks like a fitted shirt.

    For my midlayer, I struck gold at REI.com. They have a really cute merino wool hoodie for only $85 (REI Merino Hoodie - Women's - Free Shipping at REI.com). That's like half the price of something similar from the big brands like NorthFace. This one turned out to be fantastic. It rolled into the size of a water bottle if I wanted to just stash it away but keep it handy during the day.

    If you need another layer (of plush), you might want to look at the Ascent Polartec Packaway Fleece Jacket from LL Bean (Ascent Polartec Packaway Fleece Jacket: Jackets and Parkas at L.L.Bean). On our road trip, we swung through Freeport, Maine to visit Mecca... er... I mean, the LL Bean flagship store (open 24 hours!!!! It was crazy!!!!). I generally like LL Bean stuff, but I've ordered some duds in the past, so I spent most of my time actually touching their merchandise, getting a feel for softness, thickness, etc. -- it's the one thing I can't do when I'm shopping online, so it was a real treat.

    Anyway, that fleece jacket is called a jacket but it's a great layer to wear right under your windbreaker/rain jacket etc. and it is as soft as a kitten. Plus, it scrunches down into nothing so it won't take up a look of room. And who can resist having something as soft as a purring kitten next to you?

    On the days when it got a little nippy, I wore the Smartwool undershirt/T-shirt under a regular shirt, then wore the merino wool hoodie. When going outside, I added a merino wool Buff (Merino Wool Buff - PlanetBuff.com), gloves, and a jacket, and I was all set. Now granted, it wasn't 20 below. I grew up in Hawaii and currently live in California, so anything below 50 is cold to me. lol

    Leave a comment:


  • Lani
    replied
    Originally posted by misterN View Post
    Must resist temptation to purchase synapse.
    I finally gave in, seeing as they finally got the steel Dyneema ones in stock. Mine showed up yesterday. It's so small!! But I was able to immediately stuff my gym clothes and shoes in there, and everything fits just right. Hubby and I need to head down to Anaheim this weekend so I think I will pack my clothes in the Synapse (we're driving this time).

    Leave a comment:


  • TavaPeak
    replied
    Originally posted by Shiva View Post
    what brand woollen clothing were these? I have not been able to find such ultrafine merino wool that is not itchy. I did try the Patagonia undershirts, but they are sporty. Can't pass them off for dress at all.
    I can't tolerate even the finest wool, so I pack silk long underwear from REI for my layers. I pack a silk tank for moderate weather, but for cold weather (like heading to Boston in winter) I take a long-sleeve silk top and silk longjohns to layer under tops and slacks. Super lightweight, packs teeny, and can be easily rinsed and dried. Handy at night if the room is cold, too.

    Leave a comment:


  • dmilem
    replied
    Thanks for the great advice Lani! I have the same questions as Shiva regarding the shirts and soap. Fortunately, we stayed in a house that had laundry facilities, so I washed clothes every day.
    misterN...give in to the Synapse. Even my husband, who doesn't typically notice such things commented on how good the Synapse's looked on our crew. Add to the good looks, they are light, well organized and hold plenty and...the children didn't mind carrying them one bit!

    Leave a comment:


  • misterN
    replied
    Every time I see the Synapse on the forums here I cannot help to think of what an amazing backpack it is. The pictures of it simply reek of quality. One of these days I will break down--but I'm trying to hold off until the Camera Insert gets released as well as picking up a travel piece (Aeronaut or Tri-Star) to replace this not so great REI bag I picked up last year in a pinch. (A different "premium" USA bag company failed to get me a bag I ordered with 2nd day Air on time--it went back after I returned from my trip.)

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    Originally posted by misterN View Post
    Must resist temptation to purchase synapse.
    Please don't. :)

    The best Tom Bihn bag, ever! When I wear my scrumptious UV, I feel like the little girl I used to be .
    It is fun and gorgeous. I just love it!
    Last edited by backpack; 10-25-2011, 10:15 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shiva
    replied
    question about wool clothes + charlie soap

    [QUOTE=Lani;30662]
    As for packing lightly for variable weather... it's something I did for our most recent vacation. The trick? Layering with wool. It's a little spendy but I took one wool undershirt (in black, that I could wear as a T-shirt) and one thin wool cardigan hoodie. The two combined barely made a dent in my Western Flyer.

    Lani:
    what brand woollen clothing were these? I have not been able to find such ultrafine merino wool that is not itchy. I did try the Patagonia undershirts, but they are sporty. Can't pass them off for dress at all.

    Also: Charlie's soap---where do you get them?

    Thanks so much
    s

    Leave a comment:


  • misterN
    replied
    Must resist temptation to purchase synapse.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lani
    replied
    I don't know about outgrowing them... based on the rave reviews from all the adults here, I suspect they will be able to use their Synapses for many years to come. Should the backpacks ever get too small as a carry-on travelpack, I would recommend gifting them with a full-fledged Tom Bihn carry-on, and they can use their Synapses as their day bags. :-)

    For now, even the Western Flyer might be too big for them. That said, typically when I carry two items, I tend to prefer that they use different carrying methods (so for example, not two backpacks). If the Synapse is one carry-on, your kids might want to use a shoulder bag as their second carry-on. The Cafe Bags are pretty good for carrying books, although the Co-Pilot is mighty fine, too. And actually, if Tom comes out with a larger Pilot bag, that might be sized just right as a carry-on shoulder bag for them!

    As for packing lightly for variable weather... it's something I did for our most recent vacation. The trick? Layering with wool. It's a little spendy but I took one wool undershirt (in black, that I could wear as a T-shirt) and one thin wool cardigan hoodie. The two combined barely made a dent in my Western Flyer.

    Depending on your child, you can adjust their wardrobe and still minimize what you pack for them. If they're still spilling stuff on their tops, you might want to pack some patterned tops that you can easily rinse/dry in a hotel room bathroom, etc. Every few days, you can take everybody's clothing and do a load of laundry (family-friend hotels will often have a laundry room). I highly recommend using the unscented Purex laundry sheets. They are totally flat and travel really well. If you want to do some hand rinsing, you might consider packing a bit of Charlie's Soap (they are, hands-down, my favorite laundry soap). Carry a stick of that Tide pen, too. You can catch most little spots with just that.

    Layer, layer, layer... and make sure that every article of clothing a child packs, matches with every other item they pack. When on vacation, nobody cares that you are only wearing three different tops!

    Leave a comment:


  • dmilem
    replied
    Hi Lani,
    Our three oldest children shared a couple of pieces of rolling luggage. We wound up checking them on the return flight. I used the Synapse's as the girls only bags when we went to Chicago last summer and they worked great. For this trip to Boston, the weather was all over the place as far as temperatures were concerned so I didn't get to pack as light as I would have like to have. Our oldest sons use their Synapse backpacks as their book bags. They hold an amazing amount of stuff and are balanced on their smaller frames. I have a feeling they'll outgrown them before they wear them out. I see Brain Bags in our future! They Indigo Synapse is mine but Catherine carried it for this trip. I have a feeling that in the not-so-distant future I'll be borrowing it from her.
    I'm very interested in traveling light and am seeking ways to improve, even with the five children. I want them to learn to go through life traveling light. Two years ago, before I even knew there was a Tom Bihn, my husband and I and our 2 oldest boys went carryon only when we traveled to China to meet our youngest son. How I wish I'd known Tom then as well as all the helpful sights online. I was left to fend for myself and have learned so much since then.
    Dawn

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X