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  1. #1
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    My Journey to Tom Bihn

    TLDR: Been looking for the perfect backpack for a few years. It’s been fun, yet exhausting. Finally gave Tom Bihn a chance and I am in love with the ecosystem and this community.



    I’ve been on a bag journey now for almost 3 years and it’s been both fun and exhausting from all the research and the trial and error. Backpacks used to just be a utility to carry my laptop from my house to the car to the office and back. Sometimes they were used for the occasional trip. I never thought much about them and I was never really one to care about the aesthetic or organization features.

    That all changed after I decided to pare down the things I owned and really started to be mindful of what was around me. I realized I had too many bags that I didn’t care about. It made much more sense for me to just have two bags that were really good at their job: one bag for the occasional vacation and one backpack for work. So I kept my Amazon Basics backpack and I pre-ordered the Pakt One on Indiegogo.

    Fast forward to about a year ago, the Amazon basics backpack was fine but that’s all it was - fine. I had taken a few trips with the Pakt and liked the organization and space it offered but it was heavy and I hated lugging it around on a shoulder strap. I guess duffles are just not for me.
    Sidenote: I did end up buying a TB Absolute Strap to remedy this a few months ago; my first ever foray into the world of TB. But I still hate duffles.

    My Journey to Tom Bihn-foto_no_exif-jpg

    So I did some research and it dawned on me: I need a backpack for traveling. I researched different backpacks (including Tom Bihn but I was unsure of the way they looked) and settled on Evergoods. I recently purchased a CHZ22 for my EDC and a MQD24 for times that I need a little more space for travel/hiking. The Pakt was kept around for longer trips where I need the extra space. I like the aesthetic of the Evergoods bags but they are a little on the smaller side and have minimal organization. This is where Tom Bihn comes in to play.


    Over the last few weeks I have purchased many pouches and accessories - a couple of TT, TLSS, multiple TSS, TC, 3DMOC, a couple of GWOP, and a FS (so many acronyms). The plan was to use these TB accessories to make my life easier with my Evergoods bags. It failed. The pouches are great but they just do not work very well in conjunction with the Evergoods bags because there just isn’t great space for the pouches in them. I had to think of another solution.

    My Journey to Tom Bihn-foto_no_exif-3-jpg

    More research and I finally came to the conclusion last week - a Synik 30 should solve these issues. The TB aesthetic is not my favorite but I am warming to it with every day. Yes, it’s a big backpack but the organization is insane and all of my pouches have a place to live in this bag and I love it. You just feel better knowing everything you take with you has a proper place. I just received this bag but within a couple of weeks I should have a good idea of just how much it can handle and what it can do for me. My ultimate dream is to sell the Evergoods bags and the Pakt and just use the Synik for EDC and travel.

    For now, I am just happy to finally have a backpack that should work well for me for the forseeable future and beyond. Thanks Tom Bihn and thank you to this awesome community. Without this forum, I don't think I could have learned all that I did and make this decision. You guys are incredible and I'm happy to be here.

    Obligatory box art pic, thanks to whoever drew this!
    My Journey to Tom Bihn-foto_no_exif-2-jpg
    Last edited by azbandit; 01-31-2020 at 12:10 PM.
    Synik 30 | Western Flyer | Daylight Briefcase | Yeoman Duffel

  2. #2
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    I am in a similar spot but I have multiple bags. My biggest problem is that I have a large photography kit that I travel with (take lots of gear on the trip and take a smaller amount with me each day based on where Iím going) I now have a Luminary 15 that I pack inside of a larger travel backpack and several organizers. I will be getting a Synik to use as a travel backpack and EDC bag if Iím not carrying my photography gear.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    I had the same initial response to the TB aesthetic. Too much like my junior high backpacks, maybe?

    But you know how you can fall in love with the really thoughtful, smart, funny person even though they didn't catch your eye the first time you saw them? The value they bring to your life makes you see them gorgeous without regard to any external ideal.

    That's how I feel about my TB bags now. They work so well, and that function is a direct result of their design, so: yum!

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    An excellent report, describing your methodical thought process to finally arrive at a great solution. Whenever we try to pare back our belongings, I think it results in a really useful thought process. You start asking yourself things like "I never use this; why do I still have it?" Or "why do I have all this junk cluttering up my home, closets, etc.?" Or even "I'm actually fighting this bag all the time. It has to go."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Go Navy View Post
    An excellent report, describing your methodical thought process to finally arrive at a great solution. Whenever we try to pare back our belongings, I think it results in a really useful thought process. You start asking yourself things like "I never use this; why do I still have it?" Or "why do I have all this junk cluttering up my home, closets, etc.?" Or even "I'm actually fighting this bag all the time. It has to go."
    Exactly! So far this Synik is working for me, I’m not working for it.
    Synik 30 | Western Flyer | Daylight Briefcase | Yeoman Duffel

  6. #6
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    Great post and mirrors my own experience!

    I became bag obsessed after a trip to India where I went from a 5 star hotel in Delhi to a rustic government house in the mountains, using a roller carry on suitcase. Seemed like there had to be something better to transition between those extremes, preferably with some hideaway shoulder straps, but without all the extra straps of a backpack. It needed to not look out of place in a hotel, be laptop friendly, but still be lighter and more practical for more rustic travel. When I first started looking, the TB Aeronaut 45 was one of only a handful of options in that travel bag category, but it had no laptop compartment or roller bag pass through, and while conservative enough looking and obviously functional, definitely did not have a "designer" aesthetic.

    Fast forward a few years, and kickstarter travel bags are all the rage, minimalist travel is in, traveling with a laptop no longer seems important (with the advent of tablets and larger phones), and backpacks no longer seem out of place in more formal settings, like offices and hotels. There are now dozens of travel style bags and options out there. After researching an endless stream of travel bag reviews for 3 to 4 years, and buying and returning other "cooler" bags from companies like Peak Design and Evergoods, I still wound up buying and using an A45 for my most recent India trip, along with some TB and PD packing cubes, a rollable frameless pack for hiking, and my Waterfield Designs Air Porter. I also just ordered the Guides Edition of the Synik 30, to use as a smaller 1 bag travel option.

    Like you, I ultimately decided having simple, functional and well built bags, with very robust but light materials, beats the cooler looks and over designed features on the other bags I've looked at. However, I still have my eye on Paktbag's upcoming backpack!
    Last edited by ayazgood; 02-01-2020 at 07:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    My journey to Tom Bihn:

    Three years ago I'd never heard of Tom Bihn.

    I'd never even seen a "Bihn" bag. At the time, I was still enamored with my Jack Spade bags. And let me tell you, I'm a loyal person. Once I find something I like, I adopt an almost slavish devotion to it, and it practically takes an Act of Congress to get me to even look at something else.

    But one day, I did. Quite accidentally, when I wasn't even really looking.

    I hadn't boarded an airplane since the '90s, and over the years I'd rediscovered my beloved 1967 Samsonite Silhouette luggage for my train/car travel. But three years ago I almost needed to take a flight to Florida (don't worry I ended up taking Amtrak!). As a strictly carry-on person, I was acutely aware that my 1967 luggage would never fit in the overhead bins of 21st Century airplanes, so I did what everyone does in the 21st Century: Google "best carryon luggage" ... and then start clicking on the roughly 1.75 million YouTube videos from "regular" people like myself.

    And then I stumbled upon THIS video by a "regular" guy.

    And my life changed forever! LOL.


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