Tom Bihn Bags - Made in Seattle
You can't have as many computers as I do and not care about how you transport them. I'm constantly on the look out for new bags I can use for various modes of transportation. I keep coming back to one company that's based here in Seattle, WA about a mile from my office. The quality is outstanding and the company is constantly innovating to make their bags just a little bit better with each cycle.
I first discovered Tom Bihn around the time of the first Mind Camp in Seattle and have been a huge fan ever since. They were a sponsor of my trip to DEMO China in 2006 and provided bags for one of the frequent giveaways I do for newsletter subscribers. But the real reason I'm a fan is because they make fabulous bags. Read on for more details and a video demo.
To me, the key elements of a great bag are: How long will it last? How well will it protect my stuff? How much stuff can it hold? And how comfortable is it to carry?
I've owned plenty of bags that fall apart over time, so far I've had my original Tom Bihn bags for about 3 years and they are still in amazing condition. None of the ripping and tearing common to other bags I've owned. Not sure the bags will last forever, but I see no reason I won't get several more years out of the ones I currently own.
Protection is a key focus in the Tom Bihn design. They have something called the Brain Cell that suspends your notebook computer inside a protective shell, making it safe from most kinds of potential damage. If you poke around on TomBihn.com you can find a story about a Brain Cell protecting a laptop during an explosion. I don't plan to be near any explosions, but it's nice to know my computer might survive.
Tom Bihn taught me an important lesson about packing more stuff into a bag - compartmentalize your gear. Pack up cables and other stuff into smaller pouches that neatly stack in your bag and you'll use less space, allowing you to carry more without getting a bulky bag.
Comfort is a big part of the Tom Bihn experience. In addition to great padding on the carrying straps, they've continued to evolve additional straps on the bags, making waist straps and chest straps that are now removable, so you can use them as needed or take them off so you don't have extra parts in your way. That's the kind of innovation and attention to detail that keeps me drooling over their updated bags, making me think I should be buying a new bag when the ones I currently own are fully functional.
This video doesn't really do the bags justice, but it should give you an idea of the attention to detail.