Nomad Manager • Coming Home to Tom Bihn After 77 days of…

Coming Home to Tom Bihn

After 77 days of traveling, on the day of my return, which I scheduled on my father’s birthday, I felt a lot like it was my own birthday too. I had never seen my Tom Bihn in person but was really excited to meet him. I had known in the early days of my trip that upon my return, my Tom Bihn would be waiting for me at home. 

Lo and behold, I received a big box from Tom Bihn (a Seattle-based company specializing in travel bags and briefcases), waiting to be hastily ripped / cut / broken open; I would be like a child on Christmas morning.

Introducing the Tom Bihn Tri-Star.

*Gah! It’s bee-yoo-ti-ful!*
My speech is then rendered into primitive caveman / baby gibberish.

The moment I saw the bag’s features and functionality on the Tom Bihn website, I had lusted after it. I really like the fact that they seem to have put a lot of thought into the functionality, particularly with all the handles and pockets in place. I also really loved the easily concealable backpack straps.

What I love the most about it is that it looks like it can function really well for backpacker types, while staying presentable enough for the aesthetics-conscious or the business travelers. A perfect hybrid for a Nomad Manager!

It also looks a great size for this no check-in baggager, as it will probably fit in most baggage compartments (so long as you don’t overstuff), but allows very ample space to pack your things. (And you can easily unpack your things here too, without digging out all your other stuff, like you would with a backpack.)

One of my initial reactions though is the weight of the bag itself. At 1.55kg, I knew it wouldn’t be the lightest bag, and I now somehow wonder how its lighter but smaller counterpart, the Western Flyer, would compare.

I’ve yet to try the bag out, but I’m definitely looking forward to road testing it on my trips to Dumaguete and Bacolod, and India, in October.

BUT WAIT, there’s more!

I only really expected to get the Tri-Star alone, and I was already elated to receive just that, but when I opened up the bag, more surprises came!

I found out that the awesome people at Tom Bihn had also sent me an RFID blocking passport pouch, a padded organizer pouch, and a clear organizer pouch.

The pouches come with hooks you can easily latch onto the various Tom Bihn bags. But the RFID-blocking feature of the passport pouch was of particular interest to me because not every traveler is aware of the importance of keeping one’s passport and other sensitive cards or documents from being scanned (by identity thieves or other such messed up individuals).

As a fan of the whole packing process and managing to pack in the most efficient way possible, I was also thrilled to receive some packing cubes.

These come in a range of sizes to suit your various packing needs. It also comes into fabric/fabric or fabric/mesh combinations so you have the option to keep things either fully covered/protected or easily visible, depending on your preferences.

But the coolest packing cube I got from them was the packing cube backpack.

I’m all for multi-function items (because it means you can do with packing less), and this packing cube functions as, well, a packing cube, and also as a daytime backpack! It’s made with Tom Bihn’s Dyneema®/nylon ultralight ripstop fabric, which the tag claim is the lightest yet strongest fiber in the world, (the same material used on a lot of their products — including the other pouches and packing cubes).

And last but not least is the Tom Bihn shop bag, made with the same light and sturdy Dyneema®/nylon ultralight ripstop fabric.

I’m such a sucker for oversized amorphous bags, so I was able to use this immediately. And while there are raves about the handles/shoulder straps, adding more weight will certainly strain your hands and shoulders. Though that may be a problem with you (or me) overloading the bag vs. a shortcoming of the product.

That being said, I was surprised to find myself even more excited to use the packing cube backpack and shop bag than the rockstar Tri-Star, and I won’t be surprised if those two bags will be my favorites among my Tom Bihn loot.

I’d also like to point out that the packing cube backpack and shop bag are results of customer requests, proof that Tom Bihn really pays attention to customer comments and feedback, and that to a certain extent, this organic sort of market research can be very helpful to product development.

Oh, I also love that their part of one my idols Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100 Startup. 🙂

So excited for my next trip so I can use these babies!

Check out Tom Bihn’s Travel Bags & Briefcases here.

Still ecstatic,
Jen

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