24 Hours with Tom Bihn

Loving my new daypack, the Tom Bihn Luminary. It’s small, 10 L in volume but, with some thought and Bihn’s legendary organization system, adapts to most of my everyday activities. The sleek design and profile of the bag make it suitable for a 60+ year old’s everyday carry. And honestly, my back and shoulders appreciate me leaving the larger backpacks at home.

What I most appreciate about Tom Bihn is the ability you have to make the bag what you want when you want it. Other bags have great pockets for laptops,etc. but when you are carrying without the laptop the pocket (and its weight and bulk) remain. So much more efficient to only carry what you need! The Luminary features a padded side slip pocket which spans the whole size of the bag. A zipper appears to extend around the around three sides of the bag but in fact it’s divided into an opening for the primary compartment and two small sleeves on the bottom sides of the bag. These side pockets are very small but are perfect for small items. On the right side I keep rarely used items – a reusable shopping bag and a pouch with eyeglass wipes, backup lipstick, etc. On the left side I keep my most often needed item – my iPhone. I love how I can reach this pocket while still wearing the backpack.

Library with luminary


I’ve recently retired from my library but can’t seem to keep away. So most days I load up my Luminary to take the short walk to the library and spend a few minutes reviewing my plans for the day. I slip my iPad and journal into the padded side pocket, and my iPhone into the secret stash pocket. Books to be returned go in the main part of the bag along with my purse, the Bihn Side Effect. I keep my Freudian Slip (Bihn’s two sided bag organizer) in this compartment as well and have it loaded with pens, pencils, headphones, etc. And of course I attach a wallet with my library card using one of the handy o-rings Tom Bihn sews into each compartment.

Grandbaby Time

My newest bosses are all under 4 feet tall. The pay is lousy and the bosses can be demanding, but the benefit package is amazing!!

For my babysitting gig, I pull out the Freudian Slip again and load it with supplies to entertain the kids. Books, markers and paper, toys to entertain, and a few nature guides to share on our walks.

I use two more Bihn accessories in my bag – a double sided bag called the Snake Charmer into which I put diapers and wipes on one side, and snacks on the other, and a small red pouch for first aid supplies.

Plenty of room left for jackets and gear.

Off to the airport

Flight bag luminaryThe Luminary shines as a personal item for air travel. i leave the Freudian Slip at home to leave room for more travel gear. This trip I fit a medium sized packing cube on the bottom of the bag, and had plenty of room for my purse (the side effect), a pencil case, snack pouch and technology pouch for chargers, headphones, etc. Ipad, kindle and journal all fit easily in the side pocket. The luminary features a built in sleeve for a water bottle which I used unzipped when I got to the airport.(when zipped the bottle pocket essentially divides the bag into thirds. You 3-1-1 bag would fit easily into one side and various pouches in the other. Side effect could still fit horizontally above this arrangement)

Bonus points for realizing I could cinch the waist belt and slide it over the handle of my spinner carry-on for ease in navigating the airport.

At my destination

One last conversion and the Luminary becomes a camera bag. Unzip the water bottle wall and a small camera insert an fit in the bottom of the bag. I’m using a Crumpler medium haven which will hold one camera body with small lens and another accessory – I add binoculars. There’s room left for a purse on the side of the bag.

tom bihn luminary

Now I innovative by adding a Tom Bihn cache to the top of the bag. It can be attached to the o-rings but I sewed my own version of the TB rail system so I can suspend this cache from the top of my bag. I use this spot for my primary camera. It’s not a super secure housing but works for my needs. After (a lot of) experimentation, I realized that I like to carry my camera when I’m in the field, using the bag spot for only transportation or when the other camera or binos are coming out.

Tom Bihn is a Seattle based company producing Made In The USA bags and packs for a variety of lifestyles. The challenge is limiting yourself to just a few bags, especially once you begin interacting with other Bihnions on the company forum…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s