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  1. #16
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    While I would love to see other fabrics and new colors and designs that lend themselves to those new fabrics I am also leery because of LL Bean. I understand why they had to change their lifetime guarantee but I definitely feel that customer service and product quality tanked along with the change. Their new policy is a year to refund and while that sounds generous it isn’t as great as it originally seems. I buy very seasonal items from them that I cannot wear for 3/4 of the year. So if I buy something towards the end of winter and only wash and wear it a couple times before I put it up for next winter I very easily might not know that it starts pilling or seams start fraying after a dozen times of wearing until it’s too late. I’ve had this happen and then felt chastised and guilty for reaching out to them after the year return period.

    To be perfectly clear, I’ve never had anything but pleasant dealings with Tom Bihn. I’ve only had one problem and one return and I don’t have any reason to expect sudden issues. Except that it happened to me before with that other company, with whom I had a very similar purchase and return history. Also similarly I often don’t use certain TB products daily. I might not catch a problem until a few trips later and at the rate I’m traveling these days that could take awhile.

    I agree that this warranty edit could damage your brand.

  2. #17
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    As a very long time high altitude mountaineer, I have gravitated to lighter weight, high quality materials and gear. Having said this, I also have chosen 1050 Ballistic as my choice for Tom Bihn bags. My three custom mountaineering packs, two from 2002... 1000 Denier and one from 2004, Dyneema. Not one tear, rip, or material issue in any of these hard used packs. Going back to 1975, I still have 1000 Denier packs that have withstood the test of time and abuse.

    In 1984, I bought an Andiamo Valoroso marine hardware and ballistic garment bag for business that has been on so many trips, one would think it would have fallen apart by now. Yet, the garment bag still is very much intact and still gets used for business and personal use.

    Yes, lighter many times is better, weight savings and potential color choices. However, based on a lot of experience, luggage and packs that are used hard, benefit more by using stronger, abrasion and tear resistant materials.

  3. #18
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    I would welcome some new materials. I buy from other manufacturers bags in other materials that I would prefer to buy from you (and I buy a lot from you!). So many lightweight options and other fabric alternatives I'd like to see.

  4. #19
    Forum Member tuskegee7294's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    All,

    We’re finding ourselves wanting to experiment with a wider range of materials: more lightweight stuff, more natural materials and other interesting avenues. These materials, especially if cared for, will last quite a while; however, they won’t last quite as long, or look quite as new and crisp for quite as long, as our ultra-tough 525d or 1050d ballistics.

    We’d have a qualified lifetime guarantee for bags made out of these other materials. Something along the lines of: “With natural or ultralight materials, some fabric wear and perhaps stains (if the fabric is a lighter color) can be expected over years of use; we see these as signs of character as opposed to issues and they are not covered under our lifetime guarantee. Remember: you can expect your TOM BIHN bag to give you years of solid service, but only true love lasts forever.”

    This isn't actually all that different from our current Lifetime Guarantee, which covers defects in materials and workmanship (almost always evident while the bag is still new). It would primarily be a way of giving folks a heads-up that if they're buying an ultralight or natural material, it will last a good long while, but not as long as 525d or 1050d.

    And to be clear: these new materials would not replace our current materials. They'd be offered as small Design Lab runs in certain designs. So, if they're not your cup of tea, you could skip 'em Smilie

    What do you guys think? Would the adjusted lifetime guarantee be worth getting to try out some new materials?
    I totally understand if the lifetime guarantee changed due to the material strength of the bag. I would hope that if the material is not as strong as say halcyon or ballistic that the price would reflect it...that would be my only real concern. Y’all have been killing it so far so no reason to think that the other bags would be anything short of amazing.


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  5. #20
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    I would love to see bags in natural or lightweight materials and would not have a problem with a qualified lifetime guarantee. As for concerns about wear and tear, the type of material used for a bag really depends on the use cases for the bag. For example, I wouldn't want a leather backpack to use for hiking but a leather Pilot to carry my laptop to work would be great. Another example: I own one of the larger Land's End heavyweight canvas tote bags and it's really durable. It's a copycat to the LL Bean canvas totes. Canvas is very durable - the canvas totes from both brands are rated to carry up to 500 lbs. And since my tote is canvas I have washed it in the washing machine.
    Last edited by Shortie; 10-23-2020 at 05:46 PM.

  6. #21
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    Since TB will keep the Lifetime warranty for regular production bags, why not use another logo for the Limited warranty bags, like the new one you created for the Lab Edition but with a more fun design.

    All the bags created under the experiment label would have a limited warranty, also make it clear in the description for each bag and target people who are more adventurous, fashion trendy, into the latest; a strong contrast to the classic designs Tom Bihn is known for.

    This way, you can try many new designs, fabric and items under the new logo to find if it has a big enough market, if not you can just drop the experiment label like you did for Skookum Dog when 1050 ballistic in custom colors was out-competed by the two Everyday Ballistic strengths for use in bags.

  7. #22
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    Not interested in major bags made with new materials. As others mentioned I shop Tom Bihn for the lifetime warranty, quality and peace of mind.

    Might be interested in smaller accessories made of natural & new materials. Fashion purchases like make up pouches, coin purses, cross body bag (handbag). Items that I would never expect to last a lifetime.

  8. #23
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Experimenting with new fabrics & your thoughts on the Lifetime Guarantee

    I would love to see some new bags in new materials even though they would carry a more limited warranty, and I don’t believe that would damage the reputation or brand. I am thinking about the cork which I wanted to order years ago but never got the chance, and then it was retired. I know that cork doesn’t last as long as other materials (I remember reading about it in your site), but it sure looked great and I was willing to accept the likelihood of eventual peeling. I have old, weathered bags of other brands and materials (leather, cotton canvas, cordura, etc), and I can only imagine that if they were sewn with Tom Bihn quality, they would be that much better.

    I believe you would find buyers for bags of new materials.

    With the pandemic, I have hardly used my bihn bags, and have shifted to working from home and going on increasingly long bike rides to combat cabin fever. I ride my trusty ‘91 Cannondale hybrid outfitted with vintage USA-made cordura Cannondale panniers and trunk. They are stained, have loose threads everywhere, and I have had to sew up a tear in one pannier. They aren’t particularly well designed and have stress points which you would never see in a Bihn bag. Every day I wish those were designed and sewn by Tom Bihn instead!

    I would love to see some bike-specific bags thrown into your experimental bag mix. Maybe a handlebar bag or a back rack bag in a waterproof, easy to clean material that looks sharp.

    In other bag news, I see that Rothys has ventured into the bag world with some totes made of their woven water bottle material. My cousin, a bike commuter convert who works at the capitol in Austin, has her eye set on one of those for her front basket, because it is rugged, yet looks professional, and can be washed. I would love to see a Bihn bag made of Rothys woven material. OMG

    Edit: just to add, I buy Bihn bags for the thoughtful design more than for the fabric. I believe they last as long as they do largely because of the design. You guys know how to design bags to reduce the chance of failure— reducing stress points, using certain materials or zippers, etc. I have no doubt that you would carry that design mindset over into other experimental materials, and for that reason I am certain you would produce long lasting, great bags in other materials as well.



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    Last edited by Amy; 10-24-2020 at 07:20 AM.
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  9. #24
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    Start a new brand/company if the culture is changing.

    The less support the company gives, the less premium it is. If related, the top end line will be dragged down.

    TB has a strong secondary used market. Now the brand diminishes if the buyer doesn't know if the bag was produced before or after 10/22/2020.

    And it is just me being frank, but there appears to be large demand for bags sold out and long "in production" status items that makes this appear the company focus is out in left field when the batter is bunting. Production has work demand backlog for current customer wants. For Aeronaut-ical expression, don't go into a tail spin.

  10. #25
    Forum Member BigBadD's Avatar
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    Its great that TB continue to review new fabrics, and I am totally confident that TB would never select an inappropriate fabric for any bag. But I am concerned and not really understanding the direction that TB seems to be going towards? Rather than more material and colour options and limited edition ranges, I really feel that it would be better to focus on core products and constant availability. I am a great fan of TB bags and keen to promote to family and friends, and why the price is still good value for the great design and quality for life. But I struggle to explain product range and why many products are not available, sold out or pending pre-order, etc.

  11. #26
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    Experimenting with new fabrics & your thoughts on the Lifetime Guarantee

    I own and use backpacks from other manufacturers who make theirs from Dyneema, which, more or less, is the same as the 400d/200d “Halcyon” fabric.

    From what it seems, other companies make bags with the same strength of material you guys use to line yours. I have yet to blow out either one of their bags or your own.

    However...

    ...could I do without the heavy waterproof coating backing the fabrics? I could. My biggest concern, over time, is not damage from normal usage, but how that coating dries out, cracks, and flakes away with usage.

    I stopped buying bags that used Halcyon (both deniers) as an exterior fabric because their pliability (compared to 1050 or 525 ballistic nylon) exasperates the breakdown of the waterproof coating.

    I’m guessing this is to pave the runway for what kind of warranty backs items like Halcyon SEs and PCSBs, etc.

    Honestly, I think this isn’t a warranty conversation, but a construction conversation.

    Does it make sense to make an entire daypack from a thinner material, including the parts which come into contact with the ground? Probably not.

    Thinner materials make sense when they won’t impact the overall durability of the bag.

    I’m sure you guys see how often I take my L15 out, and how many places it goes. I drop it in the dirt, sand, rocks, whatever. I hike through the rain with it. Tom Bihn bags hold up. The only problem I had, ever, was with a coil zipper on a Side Kick - they gave me a label to mail it back to them, repaired the bag by completely replacing the zipper, and sent it back to me no charge. When the bags don’t hold up, they’ve come through on their end with warranty support.

    I am all for new ideas and designs, so long as the company is willing to support them in the same way. More than anything, for me - again, my two cents - Tom Bihn makes some mightily durable bags. Making them anything less, and supporting them any less (in my mind) does not align with the company I have grown to love and depend on.

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    Last edited by Chicagoan; 10-24-2020 at 12:15 PM.
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  12. #27
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    I'm very rough on my bags, so I typically want new materials that can handle that.

    I love Halcyon but I have structurally damaged it twice - and the bags I have in Halcyon aren't usually the bags I'm roughest on.

    I don't really care about discoloration or fabric wear - only functionality. I mean, sure, it's nice for a new bag to look nice for at least a year or so but after that I don't expect it to keep looking pretty. I just expect it to not get ripped into shreds like my last Kelty Redwing 40 did (their 'new material' is pretty crap compared to whatever they used to use - my old Redwing lasted 10 years of abuse. The new one made it one trip!)

    So that's my view. I'd love to try new materials but I'm only going to buy a larger (25L+) bag in something sturdy. Happy to pick up smaller options in more variety, however.

  13. #28
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    I would agree in that I'd love to see new material options, no matter the warranty as long as the current options are still available, which seems like they will be. However, it does frustrate me a bit when I come to the site for a specific item in a specific material and have to wait 1-2 months for it to come back in stock. These additions seem like it would only make this issue worse, unless additional production staff is added, but correct me if I'm wrong.

  14. #29
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    I've never had a problem with the materials of any of the bags I bought (primarily 1050 and 525 Ballistic, and 420 Parapack), as well as the construction. I'd love to see what you guys can come out with in new materials, and I'm sure they would still last a long time.

    That said, I second some of the previous posters, in that I wonder if shifting production focus to such experiments would result in reduced capacity to produce bags / accessories in the current lineup that are clearly in demand and yet are still not allocated production time.

  15. #30
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    I'm going to veer off topic, my apologies. Less about materials and the lifetime guarantee, I've been feeling that there has been so many new designs in limited runs that it's difficult to decide if it's right for you and to get your hands on it. There is so much hype about new designs and only having one or two chances to get it makes it difficult. It's a little anxiety inducing trying to get that new color or new design around release day, where it could be gone forever and not made again. Things selling out just minutes after going live. The more limited items that come along, the less interested I am in trying to acquire them.

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