We just love Tom Bihn’s story and how his travel gear company got started. Tom Bihn was ten years old when he asked his parents for some equipment he wanted for his budding outdoor adventures. They told him to either get an after school job and make some money or learn how to make it himself. Armed with his grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine, he chose the latter option. 40 years later, he’s still working at engineering the best backpacks, bags, and travel gear.
Backpacks are a very personal item. Whether you use it day-to-day or when you travel, it’s one of the few things that will be with you the entire journey. We’re always looking for the elusive perfect bag. Something that looks great, organizes well, and still has the functionality we need. We recently discovered Tom Bihn, and we were intrigued. The best way to know what travelers and outdoors enthusiasts need is through experience, and he definitely has experience.
First up is the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30. This convertible bag can be carried like a backpack, briefcase, or a messenger bag. This versatility makes it easy on the go and even better to navigate crowds or uneven terrain. We took a bunch of photos of us using it in New York but ended up losing our camera and photos. We’ll have to take more and post them soon! We also decided to go with the 30 over the 45, because Esther is petite (5’0), and we wanted a bag that both of us could share.
Unlike most duffel bags, this bag compartmentalizes beautifully. The main section is broken up into three partitions, one large center and two smaller end units. If you find yourself needing the entire length, the partitions unzip so that you can still utilize the full bag. Just to give you an idea of the sizing, the end units can fit a pair of size 12 men’s shoes.
To further help you stay organized; they have packing cubes that are made to custom fit in each section. The End Pocket Packing Cubes come in handy so you can pull the entire piece out, and they even have a Travel Laundry Stuff Sack that fits perfectly into the end. This piece helps you keep your clean and dirty clothes separate without taking up an additional space. Esther can be a huge germaphobe, so it’s good that we have something that keeps the dirty separate from the clean.
The one downside to this bag is that there is no dedicated space for your laptop or camera. We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect travel laptop camera bag with no luck so far. You can easily put them into the main compartment, but you’ll probably want a sleeve for your laptop and a crumpler bag for your camera to keep them protected.
Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 Specs:
Dimensions: 19.7“ x 12.6” x 7.9”
Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
Volume: 30 liters
To feed our love for the outdoors, we also checked out The Guide’s Pack. This daypack for hiking and mountaineering is a beautiful tribute to classic bags but bringing you the comfort and functionality of present-day bags.
It’s a top-loading backpack with a top flap pocket. The top flap has two mesh compartments; one that is sized for an iPhone and another that can fit a GPS unit or something around that size. Then there is a larger pocket that runs the full size of the flap where you can put anything else you need handy. The main compartment is one large area that you can fill with whatever you need. The exterior has tons of accessory strap holders, which leads to my favorite part about this pack.
To give you as much versatility as possible, they’ve made a few optional pockets so that you can configure the bag for each individual trip. There are two Side Pockets that give you extra space for your small items. If you need additional organization they also have their Lead’s Pockets so that you can keep everything you need in their place. They also have optional Lash Straps and Ice Axe Strap for anything you want to carry on the outside of the bag.
For anyone looking to use this for travel, you’ll need a sleeve for your laptop since it doesn’t have a dedicated space. And in case you have camera gear, you’ll want to pick up an insert (this is our favorite camera insert).
Tom Bihn Guide Pack Specs:
Dimensions: 21.5” x 12.5” x 9.5”
Weight: 2 lb 8 oz
Volume: 31 liters
We also now have his and her 3D Clear Organizer Bags. They’re designed to meet the TSA 3-1-1 requirements and are now our perfect toiletry companions. Yes! No more ziplock bags! I used to tear through them so easily trying to stuff everything in. You can easily see everything you have and also hang it up with the built-in hook when you need to save on counter space. I think this is the first toiletry bag this size I’ve seen with a hook. They think of everything!
Here’s how Esther’s is organized:
You can really tell that they’ve put a lot of thought and love into their design and products. We’re excited to be adding these into our travel arsenal and will keep you updated if we have any more feedback! Check out their videos. They made me want everything.
Some fun facts about Tom Bihn Bags & Products:
- Tom Bihn designs all of the bags.
- These use top quality materials and when they can’t find it, they have it made.
- Everything is constructed in Seattle, WA.
- Many of their seamstresses have been sewing backpacks and bags for over 30 years.