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  1. #1
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Question Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set

    I'm getting closer to dropping $1000+ on new bags, and still a few months away. It's been an 18 month process (really 20 years), and here's what I've decided:

    • I'm going with a US manufacturer
    • "One bag" doesn't work for me
    • I didn't think style counted, but it does a bit

    You can just skip to the end for my question, or keep reading to hear about what's worked/not worked for me so far.

    I'll get the unpopular bit out of the way:
    Historically I don't like the Tom Bihn's style much ... no offense to anyone intended, it's just a style thing. For that reason I eliminated these bags from the consideration set over a year ago until 2 things happened: (1.) I really got to know fabrics, and (2.) Black halycon!

    What do I need? A bag SET for all my types of travel, not a "one bag"
    • I don't want wheels and I use the stairs
    • I don't want to check, but if I have to I don't want a damaged bag
    • I don't care about weight; I very much care about durability and all-weather use
    • I'm a city traveler - if I go into the mountains it's for the day
    • I travel equally for work and pleasure which averages to once a month, so the bags should work for both


    So who are the usual suspects?

    • The Military Makers: GoRuck, RedOxx, Triple Aught, Mystery Ranch
    • The Bikers: Mission Workshop, Inside Line Equipment, Timbuk2, Chrome, Rickshaw
    • The Travelers: Osprey, TopoDesigns, Tortuga, Minaal, Tom Bihn


    My bag-use history
    • Started 20 years ago with a Celio Duffle bag (maybe 50L) and a generic backpack
    • Moved up to a High Sierra 20" rollaboard w/integrated backpack that also converts to a backpack (wastes a lot of internal space)
    • Began one-bag exploring, started with the Timbuk2 Wingman and Aviator, along with my trusty Deuter GigaPro


    Here's what I discovered:
    • I love the wingman's handles on every side - I carry it from all of them throughout my travels, especially the end handles
    • The wingman and the GigaPro are the perfect set except ...
    • I'm hand carrying the heavy bag (40lbs), the wingman, and backpack carrying the light bag, the Gigapro, sooo ...
    • I need a good hand-carry under-seat bag, and a backpack style heavy bag (I cut the backpack straps off of my wingman), and ...
    • I need a good grocery getter - when we city travel we grocery shop and hiking 2 miles with crappy grocery bags is not ideal (and some farmers markets don't have them)


    My first and biggest need was to solve the city / grocery problem ... and oh, boy did I solve it awesome: The Mission Workshop 44L Rambler w/ AustriAlpin COBRA buckle in black MultiCam Black 500D Cordura. It expands from ~20L to 44L and has a roll-top to carry tall items, not to mention has the best suspension system I've ever used including a killer load-bearing hip belt. This is the cargo van of city backpacks.

    But I still have a problem. How to solve for my carry-on bag set? And why am I posting all this stuff on a Tom Bihn forum?

    Well ... Tom's black halycon Aeronaut. And also Tom's stuff is made from ballistic which, I have to admit, is superior to Cordura for carry-on use ... and Halcyon might be superior to XPAC like InsideLine uses but it also looks stellar.

    So here's what I'm considering buying:

    1. Aeronaut 45 - black or blue halycon
    2. Aeronaut 30 - black halycon, but no blue??
    3. Tri-star, no black/blue halycon??
    4. Pilot, no black/blue halycon??
    5. Brain Bag or Synapse, black or blue Halycon


    This would make my go-to travel combos:
    • For Business: the Aeronaut 45 for the overhead (suits, etc) and Tri-Star for under the seat, which then doubles as a attache/backpack for the office
    • For Pleasure: the Aeronaut 45 for the overhead and the Aeronaut 30 for under the seat
    • For Town: The pilot and / or the Brain/Synapse


    So what's the problem?

    Bihn doesn't make these bags in the same fabrics/colors and doesn't customize fabrics whereas RedOxx has sets of all the same fabric/color and ILE will build me darn-near any bags I want out of any fabric I want for a reasonable price.

    So the question is, (finally, huh?) is there a secret to getting Bihn to make a set of bags in the same fabrics & colors or are you required to buy whatever they have at the time even though much of it doesn't match?

    Thanks for listening, and hopefully the long lead-in helps anyone else in a similar place.

    Finally, some bag pr0n for those looking for a city hauler, the MW Rambler:
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-backpack-cobra-buckle-1-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-backpack-cobra-buckle-4-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-backpack-cobra-buckle-5-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-backpack-cobra-buckle-18-jpg

    Also, Inside line's packs made from XPAC:
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-loadcell-7_large-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-default_grey_xpac-1_bb5fec75-320f-452b-8a37-325ff0dba870_1024x1024-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-transitxpac-1_1024x1024-jpg

    Timbuk2's 40L Wingman, handles on all sides, carries 3 suits and all the fixins (this bag is much inferior to a TB bag, though):
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-528-4-2000_front-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-528-4-2000_front2-jpg
    Continued Quest for the Perfect Bag Set-528-4-genericcolorway_model6-jpg
    Last edited by GrussGott; 05-30-2016 at 06:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    What colors are you looking for? I've noticed some are more often available than others.

  3. #3
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieri View Post
    What colors are you looking for? I've noticed some are more often available than others.
    I'd like to get all 5 bags in black or blue halycon, ideally with grey or red interiors (interior black halycon would be awesome). I'm sure there's a lot of people that spend WAY more, but it seems like if you're going to drop $1000 on bags Bihn would make them all match for you!
    Last edited by GrussGott; 05-30-2016 at 06:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    It's odd the first post was showing for me earlier and now isn't.

    The two Halcyon colors you want are new and just haven't yet come out in some of the bags you are looking at.

    But I used the Timbuk2 wingman from when it first came out and then the second iteration before switching all of my bags over to Tom Bihn. I prefer the original wingman to the one currently available The pocketing is different and the old seemed to better fit what I had. Yes there are handles all the way around but the Aeronauts have a lot of ways to grab them.

    Personally the A45/Tristar combo is overkill. The TriStar as a briefcase is huge. I have both and would never carry them together

    Finally I've had a Timbuk2 bag in Xpac and it was not nearly as nice as it looked. It's hard to explain but it was almost crinkly. Not like Halcyon.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tebnewyork View Post
    It's odd the first post was showing for me earlier and now isn't.
    That's because as a new poster, the first half dozen posts are under moderation as an anti-spam measure, which means that a moderator has to be reading the post, see that it's under moderation, and manually approve it for it to become publicly viewable. Because I approved it about the time the first post went up, he probably didn't realize that making editing changes to a post puts it back under moderation status, or physically disappearing from view again. It's fortunate that because it was visible long enough for you other forum members to read and reply to the content, that you at least knew what the post (and thread) was about.

    It's safer to reply to an original post to add details than it is to try to endlessly edit it. There are probably other mods around, but we don't read the forums full time.

    HTH

    moriond

  6. #6
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Welcome @Grussgott,

    I personally think that a aeronaut 45 paired with an aeronaut 30 is overkill for carryon. I would choose something smaller than the 30 for a personal item, like the pilot or copilot. That is a backbreaking amount of stuff to bring on a plane. I am also pretty sure the 30 is beyond the allowed size for a personal item.

    In answer to your question, I don't think there is a way to get every bag in matching colors right away without waiting for them to make it according to their schedule. They operate differently from most bag manufacturers, and while the wait can sometimes feel interminable, they always deliver on their promises, and their bags always exceed expectations. Tom Bihn has a fervent fan base for a reason. I have found myself sucked in, wanting to replace every bag I have ever had with the Bihn equivalent, and inventing reasons to order more even when I don't need another.

    I wasn't very interested in the aesthetics of the bags either when I first discovered this brand. They seemed so plain and utilitarian. But the beauty becomes apparent when you begin using them, and you realize how much attention and thought goes into each detail, from stitching to pockets to O rings. Unlike every other bag I have owned, I never get frustrated or annoyed with my Bihn bags. These bags are not commodities... They feel like individual works of art. I suppose that is why I never mind the long wait or the high cost.

    If you want to grow your Bihn collection, I would suggest signing up on the site to receive notifications when your favorite colors become available. And then wait patiently until they become available, and then don't hesitate to order. They seem to always sell out fast in the new colors.

    I started off with a side effect, which led to a Synapse 19 which I expected to be my last bag I ever needed because I loved it so much. But then I needed an Aeronaut 30 for longer trips, and then I really needed a Smart Alec. And then I needed a copilot for a trade show, and then I needed a daylight briefcase for travel. And I always need travel trays and packing cube shoulder bags. I am a vortex of need when it comes to these bags!
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  7. #7
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    What Amy said. Smilie

    But also, just wanted to clarify - you like the ballistic nylon, but you're thinking about ordering Halcyon? Those are two different materials. Halcyon (with the grid) is lighter. Ballistic will be more durable, especially if you want the option of checking your bag(s) now and then. (I haven't checked my TB bags yet, but I did lend a Halcyon stuff sack to my second-grader, and he managed to wear a little hole in it on the first day. What DO kids do with their bags, drag them along the ground for a mile? ;P)

    (I'm a little protective of my TB stuff in Halcyon so I'm not likely to check it if I can help it. But I've toyed with the idea of bringing along a cheap duffle into which I can stuff my A30 should I ever be forced to check. And if I don't need it for that purpose, it's useful for overflow (=souvenirs Smilie).
    Last edited by haraya; 05-30-2016 at 09:45 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    What Amy said. Smilie

    (I'm a little protective of my TB stuff in Halcyon so I'm not likely to check it if I can help it. But I've toyed with the idea of bringing along a cheap duffle into which I can stuff my A30 should I ever be forced to check. And if I don't need it for that purpose, it's useful for overflow (=souvenirs Smilie).

    +1 on this! I took an older cordura duffel on my last trip for souvenirs, but ended up putting my dyneema A30 in it so I could check it on the way home. Personally I would not check a dyneema bag but probably would a ballistic one. Another thing that would factor into deciding to check a bag is if I could still purchase that color combo or one I loved just as much.

  9. #9
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    The Tri-Star is technically too big to be a personal item. The Western Flyer would probably be your better bet.

    If you plan on taking the A45 for business travel, then I'd go with an A45, WF, and Synapse (19/25) to start and see how it goes from there. IMO, that combo should work for any type of travel you do.

    I started with the TS for business travel, which I think is perfect for a 1 week or less trip. I actually placed an order for an A45 and Synapse 19 yesterday for a 2 week non-business trip. I think between those 3 bags, I'll be covered. I received a Brain Bag as a gift when it looked like I would be doing business travel with a heavy laptop often, but after changing jobs, I'm not sure what I'd use it for.

  10. #10
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    I have the Aeronaut 45, Tri Star, and Brain bag. For business travel, if you can use a backpack in office I'd get the brain bag and Aeronaut. A tristar may not fit under the seat, and it probably too big to be a personal item.

  11. #11
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    One additional thought...if you are considering ballistic, you can probably find "matching" bags thru the secondary market. The bags are well made and typically hold their value well. Folks on this forum are a great resource if you are searching for a specific combination. Good luck with your quest. :-)

    BTW--I agree with those who have commented about certain combinations being "overkill". My personal experience is that Tom Bihn bags are magical when it comes to space--a true TARDIS effect...
    Lots of assorted purples, some blues, and a bit of black: 2S19, 5SE, 2WF, MCB, SCB, Imago, 2S, LS, TT, K, 2QC, 5 3D, 4WFSBPC, 2WFBPPC, FJNB, 4Wallets, 4LSB, 2SSB, DLBP, Pilot, Assorted sacks, packing cubes, organizer pouches, key straps :-)

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