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  1. #1
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    Stowaway first thoughts

    So, my new Stowaway arrived this week and I figured I would post some quick thoughts and pics...because that is what you do, right?

    Construction quality is the normal Tom Bihn excessive to the nth degree of perfection. Great zips, material feels awesome, not a flaw in sight.

    Size- I cannot remember a bag from TB (other than my Aero45) that wasn't surprisingly small when it came out of the box. This is a pic next to my Co-Pilot for reference. The Stowaway is completely packed and the Co-Pilot is empty...but it gets the idea across.

    Stowaway first thoughts-20170810_143950-jpgStowaway first thoughts-20170810_144023-jpg

    The depth of the bag is significantly more but the height and width are very similar. Given the design brief was to keep it under an airline seat this is no real surprise.

    I practice packed it for an overnight trip and it was no problem so I decided to stretch it to two days and see how it worked. I would describe myself as a minimalist (but not ultra minimalist) traveler so your mileage may vary. I did not pack a clean pair of pants so that would impact things, but I carry a Tide stick and cross my fingers! At this point it was pretty full, but not so full that it was hard to close the zippers.

    Stowaway first thoughts-20170810_144100-jpgStowaway first thoughts-20170810_144248-jpg

    The overhead pic shows (clockwise from upper left) 9.7 inch iPad and smart keyboard in a vertical cache, Blue Pocketable parka in stuff bag, noise cancelling in ear phones in padded pouch above a battery, Nexus 6P phone, 3D organizer cube with toiletries, eagle creek small compression cube with 2 tee shirts, two pairs of socks and two pairs of undies (tees and undies are Uniqlo airism), cubelet with iPad charger and cables, the Stowaway and two shirts.

    Winter weather would make packing in the Stowaway a bit more challenging as bulkier clothes take up more space. A second pair of shoes is probably not going to happen in this bag unless you have really small feet. The small eagle creek cube fit perfectly in half of either big pocket.

    I can't decide on the backpack mode until I actually travel with the bag, but it is a bit odd and may take some getting used to. Time will tell. The way the two pieces hinge is a bit strange on my back, but it may come down to figuring out how high, or low to wear it and once I get the straps set they should stay at that length.

    Stowaway first thoughts-img_1556-copy-jpg

    Generally I REALLY like the Stowaway for short trip packing and I am glad I waited for this rather than springing for the WF. The general organization works well for segmenting stuff into sections and the iPad slot even fit my MacBook Air11 in a BookBook case. A MacBook 13 will fit as well in a minimal case or cache and given that stuff is packed around it, even an uncased computer is protected well except on the very bottom of the bag. I would be very careful setting the Stowaway down on the ground if you had an unprotected computer inside of it.

    I do wish that one of the large pockets zipped all the way down to allow you to pack that compartment flat, but that is a fairly minor quibble with the bag. A packing cube sized for that whole compartment would solve that issue nicely.
    Attached Images Attached Images Stowaway first thoughts-20170810_143950-jpg  Stowaway first thoughts-20170810_144023-jpg 

  2. #2
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    I have a two day business trip nest week that I am planning on using the Stowaway for and I will post real life impressions when I get back.

  3. #3
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    A quick question on the colours? Has anyone tried the blue colour in Stowaway? I am just wondering whether this colour will go well with a formal attire or a business formal meeting. If I do not want to buy a black bag again, I would go with Blue but

  4. #4
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    I don't have a Stowaway but just received a SCB and Luminary in Deep Blue. My first thought was how professional the blue looks. It is a very rich dark color and just lovely. In my opinion, it would be very appropriate in a formal/business situation.

  5. #5
    Forum Member weirdguy's Avatar
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    I'm too not getting another Black bag. I'm waiting for S19 in 525 Deep Blue with Halcyon to come up as an option. Not sure exactly when though but don't mind waiting until Christmas!
    Solar/Yellow: A45 Navy, CP Black, SA Black, SCB, OP/S, PP Navy
    Steel/Grey: UMP Steel 400d, PU Coyote, DLBC, PCSB, FBPW, OP/L
    Olive/Green: A30NWS, SCB, SC, DOP/M, COP/M

    BrainCell Size1 M4800, Cache 13"MBPR E7240

    ~Live Long & Prosper by Vulcan

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivk View Post
    A quick question on the colours? Has anyone tried the blue colour in Stowaway? I am just wondering whether this colour will go well with a formal attire or a business formal meeting. If I do not want to buy a black bag again, I would go with Blue but
    I went through the same thought process. Love my (Parapack!) S25, but wanted a side-slinger for work. Pulled the trigger on the SAY after seeing that it can fit my ipad, my computer, my water bottle, mouse, chargers, etc- everything I need for a day of work. It's good that I can convert it to backpack for more comfort, too.

    Anyway I was thinking about colours (aren't we all), and Cloud is boring. Olive looks nice with that blue suit but I don't wear blue suits so that's out. It was down to Mars Red, which I love but that's not really for work, then saw the Deep Blue review, and bonus points, I like that the inside is beautiful Grass. I love really bright and exciting colours inside. If the option was Deep Blue/ Cloud I would probably have passed and just waited. Black is out.

    The bag gets delivered on Saturday. I'll let you know what I think then. :)

  7. #7
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    Thanks for your comments. I think I will go ahead and buy the blue Stowaway. I have got Black ( Co-pilot), Olive ( LCB), Brown or Light brown ( DLB), Aubergine (ID), Steel/Grey Dyneema ( Packing Cube shoulder carry) and Black again ( Overnight Duffle). Except one in Olive and another in Brown or Tan, my 15 plus Tumi bags collection is all in Black! So time to go for a deep blue I guess!

  8. #8
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    I just got the deep blue. It's perfect. It's not bright. It's like a deep blue navy suit, as opposed to a black one. Still formal imho. In fact, very classy.

  9. #9
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    So I am curious, I have seen the Stowaway however I am not so sure I am convinced I need the backpack feature. Anyone have both the Pilot and the stowaway? I am curious what people's thoughts were on the two. (i know that the volumes are different) I have been using my Synapse 25 however I am thinking about trying to perhaps combine my Aeronaut 45 with something smaller. I really like the organization of the Stowaway but I am not sure if I will miss all the space? The Pilot is a great looking bag and seems as though I could stuff a lot of stuff in there too. Ahhh decisions! Any advice is appreciated!

  10. #10
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    My setup has been working great:
    * Black Halcyon Pilot is my professional office shoulder bag at home and away
    * WF is my go-to work travel bag, once optimized it is the best bag in the Bihn line-up
    * Synapse does duty as overflow for air travel

    Here's what I do for business trips:

    Trips of 2-3 days:
    * Pilot gets the laptop, wears shoulder during travel, goes under the airline seat, WF wears in backpack mode, goes into the overhead.

    Trips of 3-4 days:
    * Pilot takes some business pack, is folded in half, goes into the bottom of the S25 which takes the rest of the business gear (laptop, etc) and overflow clothes
    * S25 wears as backpack, goes under the seat
    * WF wears as a shoulder bag, goes into the overhead

    I'm 6'2" and I can get 2 full suits and all the fixings into the WF! Wearing is a 3rd suit, and a 4th (jacket / pants only) can go into the S25. I also don't travel "light": I use full size B&W headphones, carry two 20,000 maH batteries, etc.

    So basically a Black halcyon S25, Pilot, and WF can get you anywhere, past any security, onto any airplane, anywhere in World full carry-on. I have an A45 but it's been demoted ... I may get a 2nd WF as two would be like having a travel trunk that fits into an airline over-head ...

    For casual/personal trips I've switched to Mission Workshop stuff as it's fits my needs better, but for business travel a WF and Pilot is all you need if you know how to pack a suit.

  11. #11
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    Wow! Thanks so much for the advice. I am impressed that you are able to get 2 full suits into your WF! Do you roll your suit or fold it? It is helpful to hear how you packed your bags. My Aeronaut usually has most of my clothing in there and my synapse carries the bulk of my electronics including ipad, chargers, SLR etc. Usually I am also carrying some of my son's stuff in my bag too to keep him occupied on a flight. Still going back and forth between the two bags lol. But this really helps :)!

    I kind of wish the Pilot came in that deep blue the Stowaway comes in.

    One question @jeffmac do you think you could put a camera insert into the Stowaway? I am not sure how much it expands out. Also if you were not going to use the backpack feature would you use that section as another storage space?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by ytmlee; 09-24-2017 at 07:39 AM.

  12. #12
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    Yes, I kind of do a roll-fold, and I use an eagle creek folder which fits perfectly in the back pocket of the WF (or you can use 2 folders, one for suits, one for everything else, I've done that too and it's a bit easier but takes a bit more room). Black Halcyon is much more forgiving if you're going to stuff full.

    (1.) Use this technique to fold the jackets. Then lay one into the folder with the shoulder pads to the left and one with shoulders to the right

    (2.) Roll the suit pants from the cuffs up to the top - I will also usually put two ties in one of the pants. So hold the pants by the cuff lengthwise so the waist by the floor - now get the creases all set. Then hold the ties by the small end on the cuff so they run the length of the pants, then tightly roll up taking care to keep the creases aligned and always as the edge. The two pants rolls will fit in between the shoulder pads.

    (3.) Pack the shirts on top or around the suits. I have iron free cotton white shirts that I just fold using the folder template ... but you can also put the shirts down first, put the suits and pants on top, and then fold the shirts around the bundle. If you wear undershirts (I do), they go on top too. Then compress and use the folder's compression to lock 'er up tight.

    (4.) Undies and socks stuff into the shoes, one on each side of the front pocket - I'm a size 12.5 so they have to lean in. I use resort newspaper door bags as shoe bads :) Dobb kit goes next to one shoe and then I carry a full size bluetooth speaker next to the other shoe (it's my white noise machine)

    (5.) Once you get to your hotel just unpack and hang everything up and any wrinkles fall out. It's actually pretty amazing.

    Then I wear a 3rd suit and if I need other clothes (like gym clothes, sweater, casual stuff) they go into my synapse 25 along with my Pilot that gets folded in half and put in the bottom (Once i did a 4th suit in there!). In the bottom S25 pocket I have a pretty big electronics kit in an SC that has batteries, a router, a thousand cables, power adapters, etc. I also carry a PCSB inside of the S25 with my full size B&W bluetooth headphones and an in-flight ditty kit (SC-mini: food, batteries, cables, med kit, wipes, etc) which I clip onto the seat back. If I need a 4th day of business casual plus all the other then I clip the PCSB to the outside of the WF.

    I've never been stopped anywhere, even with the PCSB on the outside because the whole package is so small. A few times during standby horrors I've taken out my water bottle and a sweater or coat to make the S25 as small and as flat as possible. You can even let out the S25's shoulder straps and wrap it around the outside of the WF, and then wear both shoulder straps so it all looks like one bag! All kinds of tricks :)

    Seriously, the WF is the best travel bag Bihn makes.

    It took me awhile to figure it out, but now that i'm dialed I can get more business stuff in there than I can in my A45 simply because of the great design.
    Last edited by GrussGott; 09-24-2017 at 07:46 PM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member fredlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmac View Post
    I can't decide on the backpack mode until I actually travel with the bag, but it is a bit odd and may take some getting used to. Time will tell. The way the two pieces hinge is a bit strange on my back, but it may come down to figuring out how high, or low to wear it and once I get the straps set they should stay at that length.
    I want to love the Stowaway, but the way it flexes bugs me for some reason. I wonder if adding clips to hold it so it doesn’t bow out would work.
    Thoughts?


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  14. #14
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    The Stowaway is definitely an interesting design. I would love to here more about people's real world experience with the bag. Agree with @fedlet on the way it might carry in backpack mode. Also, I just noticed that there seem to be an abundance of zippers on this bag. Good for squeezing items in, but the zipper pulls really give the bag a very busy appearance. A lot of that is probably the angle of the last photo from @jeffmac

  15. #15
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    Maybe I don't understand the design, but my biggest reason to backpack carry is because I've got the bag stuffed full, it's heavy, and I have a long walk (through terminals, to a train station, across town) - a shoulder bag in these scenarios is really terrible. But if my bag is full, what do I do with the stuff that was in the backpack strap compartment? And, for me, it's kind of a small bag so I'd definitely be using that center compartment.

    A second smaller reason is that if I have a second shoulder bag or duffle like the WF, on a long walk I'll usually wear my, say, S25 up high and wear the WF over-the-shoulder / cross-body and then on my lumbar so it's not banging around on a long walk ... but the stowaway is so long opened and I don't think I could do that.

    It seems like a nice briefcase but I don't get the backpack thing at all - maybe if I saw it in person.

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