Like everything else in my life, to get a new bag is always a long running process up until the point where I make up my mind; then it goes really fast. My old Osprey Flap Jack Pack have been in slow decline for at least six months. The plastic parts started to break off, and the fabric look really worn down; especially on the back. I don’t expect more than five years of daily use out of a good backpack.
But what I need from a my daily carry bag have changed a lot since then. I carry less and less stuff.
What I wanted this time was something small, and compact that had room for just what I need, without too much else. I also wanted a configuration of different compartments where they weren’t too big or too small. Too small means that they aren’t that useful, because you can’t fit anything into them and too big have the opposite problem where you can’t find anything.
I carry my laptop, a few pens, a few notebooks, some cables, my laptop and charger and my camera. But not much else. I also carry my headphones, but they don’t need to fit in the bag because I usually use them all the time.
The way I went around it this time was to to look at all the various bags I had collected links to during the last 12 months or so, and to round it down to at 2-3 different makers. Before I looked at what they had to offer. I’m not going into who I didn’t chose. But the reason I went for Tom Bihn was partly their reputation which is hard to challenge or rival and partly because their Pilot look like an exact match for what I need.
I have used it a few weeks now. And I got to say: it is fantastic. The build quality is beyond anything I have experienced. And I can find anything without any hassle(except for my bag of cables, but that isn’t the bags fault).
Everything from the process of ordering the bag to the packing to the fast delivery and the content of the box and the bag itself was delightful.
Ordering anything from Tom Bihn is what I want it to be, not unlike Apple. You pick a product and then you are presented with only the options that are available to that product. In other words, you can’t order a strap that won’t fit your bag.
The delivery all the way from Seattle to Bergen, Norway was very fast. They shipped it the same day I put the order in. And I received it 8 days later. I ordered another package from an European company the same day and a new laptop. Tom Bihn beat all the others by 2-3 days.
The packaging was the way I wish all packing was. They proudly told me that it was carbon neutral, something they didn’t have to, but though was the right thing; both being carbon neutral and informing me about it. What I was presented with when I opened the package was the fact that this box didn’t have a spear inch. They obviously make cusstom boxes for all their products. And a delightful piece of paper on top of the bag. Telling me everything I need to know, including how to return a faulty or “not for me” product.
My next bag will without doubt be from Tom Bihn.
The reason I went for the Pilot is the configuration of the compartments, and how compact it is. I ordered it with a Tom Bhin Laptop cover; they are amazing; I have never seen anything that makes it as easy to take my laptop in and out while at the same time give me the confidence that it is secure.
You basically have four compartments, and a small one on the back, which is perfect for putting mail, paper you receive in meetings and so on. The main compartment have a large compartment and two smaller pockets on one side. I currently have my 13” MacBook Pro and two Field Notes Steno notebooks(one in each of the smaller pockets). My plan is to also carry a iPad once I order a new one.
Then you have the three compartments on the front. Two larger, one of each side and a smaller one in the middle. I use the middle one to carry a laptop charger and a pouch with all the various chargers, dongles and cables. Then I have my camera and pens in the right side pocket and my Travelers Notebook and battery bank in the right side pocket.
I’m so happy with this bag because it feels like I have more room in it than my previous bag, while at the same time being smaller and it also makes it so much easier to find anything.