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  1. #1
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    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK: A Star Is Born!

    The LUMINARY 15 (L15) was a delightful bag to test and I thank Tom Bihn (TB) for their generosity and willingness to let forum members review it!

    In this review, I focused on:

    1. LOTS of PHOTO descriptions

    2. Comparing the L15 to the Synapse 19 (S19), my current EDC

    3. My TB pouches/packing cubes that could work with the L15.

    4. The fit of all the devices/computers I could scrounge up

    ONE CLARIFICATION: I named the right front pocket of the L15 “LARGE” and the left front pocket “MEDIUM”. That represents ZIPPER OPENING SIZE, not pocket size. The pockets are the same size.


    The Nebulous Grey/Cloud Luminary 15! This bag can stand up on its own and has a sleek, commuter-worthy profile.
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-1-luminary-15-jpg


    Front and side view of a 5’ 10” male and a 5’ 6” female wearing the L15 (shoulder straps not cinched down all the way, but comfortable for easy on/off
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-2-luminary-15-jpg


    Size comparison to other TB backpacks
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-3-luminary-15-jpg


    Freudian slip fit with 26 oz water bottle.
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-4-luminary-15-jpg


    The Tech: 15” MBP 2018 fits!!!
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-5-luminary-15-jpg


    Misc other bags and packing cubes
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-6-luminary-15-jpg


    That cute little inside zip pocket…
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-7-luminary-15-jpg


    The outside side pockets with 3DOC & 2018 forum gift
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-8-luminary-15-jpg


    Mini Halcyon Organizer Pouch and Clear Organizer Wallet in the outside pockets, a good view of zipper length
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-9-luminary-15-jpg


    Having some fun with those looooong front pockets!
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-10-luminary-15-jpg


    REVIEW:


    A LITTLE ABOUT ME: I am a 50+, 5’ 6” female, and I work in elder care. My job requires a lot of carrying my own supplies to and from the client’s home. I also like to ride my bike in the warmer months and snowshoe in winter, take walks with my dogs, read and dabble in various forms of crafting.

    WHAT’s IN MY BAG: My SK, a pair of inside work shoes (packed in the WF SPC), a 26 oz water bottle and 2 or more 3DOC’s that, based on my day, serve as my grab bags for: snacks, cutlery, toiletries, first aid kit, chargers, and art kit. Before I received the L15, I was using a S19 for work, and my L10 for bike rides, dog walks and snow shoeing.

    THE FIT: I filled the L15 with my EDC items and used it for 3 days, comparing it to the S19. I wear my backpacks loose, but when cinched down, the L15 rode just above my hips (no hip rub), even though it is a long backpack. If you are shorter than 5’ 6” (specs: for people 5’ 6” and up), it could touch the top of your hips, even when cinched down. It does fit everything I was carrying in my S19, which was a nice surprise.

    WHAT I LIKED:

    1. Balance: Even without the water bottle, the L15 can stand up on its own, fully stuffed. The favorite position of my stuffed S19 is flat on its face, rocking softly in the wind. The L15’s gravitational pull is toward the bottom of the bag. The S19, toward the front of the bag. During short jaunts to and from the car/home/work/shopping, I leave the top zipper partially open for quick access to my phone, and I use only one shoulder strap on one shoulder. Contents stay put if the L15 bag slips, and it has not tipped over yet in the car. The only way to position my S19 in the car is to lay it face down. The balance is better for urban carry in the L15 than in the S19, because of its taller, more shallow profile when full. It would perform superbly in a crowded city transit situation.

    2. The long profile FITS A MacBook Pro 15” (2018)! My tank of a computer FITS in this very sleek and stylish smaller backpack.

    3. Those front pockets are so versatile! The pocket length is invaluable for those long, skinny things I never know where to store. Iphones in these pockets are a no-brainer, they all will fit. I don’t mind that the zippers on each side of these pockets are different lengths, it actually helps me assign my items so that I remember where they are. The right has an 8.5” opening, the left, 7”. I use the right larger one for a long metal straw and spork, and the left for a squat, flat snack container. Both have o-rings, so you can use a key strap to keep pouches/wallets from tumbling out. The width comfortably accommodates the Mini Halcyon Pouch & the Clear Organizer Wallet. The pockets would be perfect for Nik’s Minimalist Wallet. These pockets are perfect also for the 2018 TB forum gift, which it is rumored, could come into production in the future! And if that wasn’t enough, they fit my favorite organizer cube, the ALL FABRIC 3DOC (understuffed)!

    4. The angled top zipper. The angle of the main compartment zippers makes it easier to get things in and out of the bag and it feels like the opening is larger than it actually is.

    5. Fits a TC with the inside water bottle zipper zipped!

    6. The style! The L15 just radiates COOLNESS: the slick 525 fabric that has a slight sheen to it, the minimalistic design, the aerodynamic profile, and the way it lays flat against the back when full.


    SOME IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS BAG:

    1. INSIDE POCKET: The inside pocket is quite small, I am not sure what to do with it. Most of my small things are already held in my SK, stored in the bottom of the L15. The only things I carry in hand are my keys and my phone. I clip my keys on the top carry handle of the L15, and my iphone XR won’t fit in the pocket. I value backpack storage located at the top for my phone. I would love to have an additional long pocket on the BACK INSIDE of the bag that I could easily slide my iPhone in and out of while on the move. What I DO appreciate about the little pocket is the attention to detail: When the zippers are completely unzipped and the front is folded down, the whole pocket is designed to fold down with it, so the pocket contents will not bend. The sides of the pocket are also secured to the inside wall so the pocket stays put when turned upside down.

    2. O-RINGS: Something I wanted on my old L10, I want here too: 2 o-rings at the top inside back of the bag instead of at the zipper stopping points. Pouches attached to my 8” long key straps would be easier and quicker to locate if attached at the top of the bag rather than in the middle, covered by stuff. The Pouchkins that hold quick access items like my eyeglass cloth and cough drops/gum/mints, would fit well on higher o-rings as well.

    3. Add back the padded top carrying handle, the L15 has the old version of the top carry handle, which is a single strip of nylon webbing.

    IN SUMMARY: I love this bag, it will replace my S19 as my EDC. I like the design of the L15 and I also value a backpack that will “help me” get stuff in and out of it by staying in an upright position. While the S19 has more pockets and demonstrated value for hikes in the woods and long walking treks, I prefer the L15 more for my urban needs. I am so glad this option is available now; the L15 definitely is in it’s own category and serves a specific need that has not been met yet by other TB backpacks, all of which I have tried. BRAVO to Tom Bihn and to the designers of this bag. I have found it to be very well thought out and highly useful to me in my daily life. It was WORTH the wait!
    Last edited by anna2222; 02-19-2019 at 08:39 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the great review! I really appreciated the comparison between it and the S19- the S19 is truly the bag I love the most (so much, in fact, that I own a few).

    I really want the Luminary 15 but I am struggling to see where it fits for me between the S19 and DLBP (which I have surrendered to my SO). I love the sleek looks of the new L15 and the fact that it has a lot of organization while leaving the main compartment simple.

  3. #3
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    Awesome review! Loved all the pictures you included. Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Wow, @Anna2222 great review! So amazingly thorough.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the review! It's great seeing all the cubes and things, as well as the comparison to other TB bags. And I hadn't even thought of trying to put a 3DOC in one of the side pockets, that could be really useful!
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  6. #6
    Forum Member K9TB's Avatar
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    I love all the pics & labels! Thanks!

    It looks like the 3D organizer cubes could be stuffed full in the main compartment. What about the Side Effect? How full could that be and still put a water bottle in the center compartment?
    What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9TB View Post
    I love all the pics & labels! Thanks!

    It looks like the 3D organizer cubes could be stuffed full in the main compartment. What about the Side Effect? How full could that be and still put a water bottle in the center compartment?
    You can fit a fully stuffed SE AND a fully stuffed TC AND a 26 oz water bottle in there, although it is a tight fit. I don't have 2 SE's to try next to each other, but I think it would be fine, as the TC is a bit wider than the SE.

    Also, most people probably don't carry a water bottle that big, so even more room if your water bottle is smaller or you don't carry one and want to put something else in the water bottle slot.

    OH! and just an added bonus, I found out my SK will FIT on top of the SE/TC like it was meant to be there. So awesome!

    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-img_1083-jpg


    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-img_1084-jpg

  8. #8
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    Awesome review @anna2222 and an important supplement as it points out at least one solution on how to exploit the upper space of the L15 a bit better!
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post

    Mini Halcyon Organizer Pouch and Clear Organizer Wallet in the outside pockets, a good view of zipper length
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-9-luminary-15-jpg


    Having some fun with those looooong front pockets!
    THE LUMINARY 15 BACKPACK:  A Star Is Born!-10-luminary-15-jpg

    Anna, Great review! I am intrigued with your picture of long things that fit in the side pockets. Do you think you could fit a Hobonichi Weeks in one of those pockets? It's approx. 4" x 7".

    Thanks!
    Luminary 15, Luminary 12 with a MCB Freudian Slip, Daylight Backpack, EDC Side Effect or Side Effect, zippered Large and Small Shopbags, Co-Pilot, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveltech View Post
    Anna, Great review! I am intrigued with your picture of long things that fit in the side pockets. Do you think you could fit a Hobonichi Weeks in one of those pockets? It's approx. 4" x 7".

    Thanks!
    I don't have one of those, but the bottom of the front pocket is 4" wide and it tapers as it goes up, so based on the measurements you gave, it would not.

  11. #11
    Forum Member sageeyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    OH! and just an added bonus, I found out my SK will FIT on top of the SE/TC like it was meant to be there.
    This answers ALL my bag Tetris questions and now I am just all kinds of impatient for order day! Thank you so much for all the photos and review - they have been super helpful!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Longing for the return of Forest/Conifer...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveltech View Post
    Anna, Great review! I am intrigued with your picture of long things that fit in the side pockets. Do you think you could fit a Hobonichi Weeks in one of those pockets? It's approx. 4" x 7".

    Thanks!
    @Traveltech,

    The Hononichi Weeks will fit into the L15 side pocket. On the left side, it’s a tight fit, but doable if you have no cover on. What’s awkward is that the height goes all the way up to the zipper stop, and also when you manage to swing it in, by inserting the top end first, then swinging the bottom to just clear the zipper head at the bottom left corner of the L15, the top right corner of the Weeks is going to hit the inside O-ring for the Pocket — that’s sewn at a height just below the zipper stop at the left opening. Net result is that it’s awkward to get this in and out when you have other contents in the bag, because this is just slightly too tall for this to work well for the left pocket.

    This will work OK for the right pocket, and I can leave the clear cover with design on. Pop this behind the O-ring tab and you can use a Ghost Whale Pouch in front with iPhone, too (mine is an SE).

    HTH

    moriond

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