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  1. #1
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Just how much more durable is Tom Bihn's nylon vs lower grade nylon?

    Can one of you fabric geeks enlighten me?

    I'm a near-constant traveler, and I'm thinking of replacing my Samsonite roller bag (which only lasted about 4 years) with something I can use as a backpack. I'm really torn here though, because I sure do like wheels. The look of the Osprey Ozone, which converts from rolling to backpack, is interesting. But it's 210 denier nylon for the whole bag.

    Tom Bihn uses 1050 denier nylon.

    So, obviously, the Tom Bihn stuff is much heavier. Noticing how the Samsonite bag has frayed so much from being dragged around on every side has me wondering whether the Osprey will hold up.

    Can anyone tell me what that really will equate to in terms of how the bag wears? Or does anyone have any thoughts that might help my decision?

  2. #2
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    I'm sure TB send out fabric samples if you request them? Get some 1050d, cut some 210d fromm your old bag and go full Myth Busters- create some awesome DIY durability tests and get stuck in.
    Share your results here. Wink

  3. #3
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    I have a 1050d A45 and it seems pretty bomb proof.

  4. #4
    Forum Member LilAve's Avatar
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    There's also the materials testing video found at this link: https://www.tombihn.com/pages/videos

    It doesn't show testing versus other brands, but gives you an idea of how each grade of nylon that TB uses will hold up.
    Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @moongooseryan

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    I look at it in 3 ways (Warning: Engineering geek comments to follow Smilie):

    1) Ultimate Durability - Though I do not have any definitive testing, I will say this - Tom Bihn uses their 200d Halyon as an INTERIOR lining while the other bag uses a similar 210d fabric for its EXTERIOR. This says something IMHO about the equivalent durability and how each company feels about its use.
    That being said, Tom Bihn has used 200d as an exterior material in earlier bags like the Synapse but had discontinued this when the stronger 420d Halcyon was made available. Note that the PCBP and PCSB are 200d normally as well so they can be good for exterior material for daypacks while travelling - just not up to the constant use on a daily basis (e.g. work) unless carried a bit more carefully.

    2) How it looks over time - Even if the bag is still usable, you may not want to use the bag as it looks banged up, unprofessional or shabby (frayed edges, small holes, discoloration, stains, etc). In my experience, TB bags still look almost new even after 10+ years of hard use. This is why even 10+ year old bags still retain their value. For the 1050d Ballistic Nyon, note the HT in the description as well. HT stands for High Tenacity which means that it has been made in such a way as to resist heat damage more (Heat / Friction is what "burns" your bag when it is rubbed against something causing the damage you see).

    3) How light it is - Based on the bags you are looking at, even the TB 1050d A45 is at least 1 lb lighter with the Halcyon version almost 1/2 the weight (I estimate that the wheels have something to do with this). To me, this explains the use of the lighter fabric - to keep weight down at the sacrifice of overall durability (I am only assuming which bag model you are looking at based on volume so if I am wrong, I apologize).

    In short, I would say the 210d of the other bag is equivalent in strength to Tom Bihn's 200d PCBP or PCSB (not to confuse you but they also made/make 400d versions). But, even the TB 200d Halycon has a grid of super strong (stronger than steel and almost unbreakable) threads (the Halcyon / Dyneema part) which puts it above other similar denier materials. The 1050d ballistic and 400d Halcyon would be a lot stronger (and in this case also lighter) than the bag you are looking at.

    In the end, it is still about striking a balance between lightness (material), convenience (wheels / backpack, etc) and durability (material). I would not presume what your balance is but mine is for durability before lightness and convenience.

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 01-17-2017 at 03:19 PM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  6. #6
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    The older I get, the more I like the wheels......

  7. #7
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpnl View Post
    I look at it in 3 ways (Warning: Engineering geek comments to follow Smilie):

    1) Ultimate Durability - Though I do not have any definitive testing, I will say this - Tom Bihn uses their 200d Halyon as an INTERIOR lining while the other bag uses a similar 210d fabric for its EXTERIOR. This says something IMHO about the equivalent durability and how each company feels about its use.
    That being said, Tom Bihn has used 200d as an exterior material in earlier bags like the Synapse but had discontinued this when the stronger 420d Halcyon was made available. Note that the PCBP and PCSB are 200d normally as well so they can be good for exterior material for daypacks while travelling - just not up to the constant use on a daily basis (e.g. work) unless carried a bit more carefully.

    2) How it looks over time - Even if the bag is still usable, you may not want to use the bag as it looks banged up, unprofessional or shabby (frayed edges, small holes, discoloration, stains, etc). In my experience, TB bags still look almost new even after 10+ years of hard use. This is why even 10+ year old bags still retain their value. For the 1050d Ballistic Nyon, note the HT in the description as well. HT stands for High Tenacity which means that it has been made in such a way as to resist heat damage more (Heat / Friction is what "burns" your bag when it is rubbed against something causing the damage you see).

    3) How light it is - Based on the bags you are looking at, even the TB 1050d A45 is at least 1 lb lighter with the Halcyon version almost 1/2 the weight (I estimate that the wheels have something to do with this). To me, this explains the use of the lighter fabric - to keep weight down at the sacrifice of overall durability (I am only assuming which bag model you are looking at based on volume so if I am wrong, I apologize).

    In short, I would say the 210d of the other bag is equivalent in strength to Tom Bihn's 200d PCBP or PCSB (not to confuse you but they also made/make 400d versions). But, even the TB 200d Halycon has a grid of super strong (stronger than steel and almost unbreakable) threads (the Halcyon / Dyneema part) which puts it above other similar denier materials. The 1050d ballistic and 400d Halcyon would be a lot stronger (and in this case also lighter) than the bag you are looking at.

    In the end, it is still about striking a balance between lightness (material), convenience (wheels / backpack, etc) and durability (material). I would not presume what your balance is but mine is for durability before lightness and convenience.

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Thanks, tpnl! That's amazingly thorough and very helpful. I had also considered the tenacity. So far in my traveling experience, it's always the zippers or telescoping handles that seem to go for me.

    I decided to give the Osprey a try, mostly because they have a lifetime guarantee. The zippers aren't as big as TB, and the fabric is noticeably thin, but at less than 7lbs for wheeled convertible luggage, it's hard to beat.

    I also got a Tom Bihn Cadet and Aeronaut 30, so I'll see how they compare over time. The Aeronaut will see a lot of developing world travel, which in my experience is more wear on bags. Smilie

  8. #8
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    Just thought I'd point out to anyone who might interpret your post as comparing the Osprey lifetime guarantee with the Tom Bihn guarantee, that of course TB products also come with a lifetime guarantee. Smilie

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