Gear Reviews: Tom Bihn 400d Dyneema/420d Nylon Travel Bags

A couple of months ago, we announced that Tom Bihn would begin making their travel bags out of a new lightweight material.—400d Dyneema/420d ripstop nylon—in addition to its regular 1050d ballistic nylon.

The manufacturing has begun and two of their most popular bags, the Aeronaut and Tri-Star, made of the new material, have found their way to OBOW Global Headquarters. You might want to get yourself a cup of coffee—this is a long review.

Previously, I’ve reviewed both the Aeronaut and the Tri-Star.  Since the design,  workmanship and quality of each bag hasn’t changed, rather than go through another complete review, I’m going to focus in on the differences between the two materials. For lack of better terms, I’ll refer to the newer Dyneema/Nylon bags as the “newer” model and the ballistic nylon as the “older” one.

(From l. to r.—Tri-Star in Steel, Tri-Star in Steel Dyneema, Aeronaut in Black, Aeronaut in Steel Dyneema)

The first thing I noticed about the  newer bags when I unboxed them was of course, the color and the checkerboard pattern. Both of my new bags are Steel/Steel. (They’re also available in Nordic/Steel.) When I looked at the bags online, they seemed much lighter in color than the steel Tri-Star I currently have. However, once put side by side, the steel in the newer bag is the same as the steel in the older bag—much darker than onscreen. What makes them seem lighter in color is the white Dyneema material.

(As a reminder, the reason the newer bags are not solid color is that they are a blend of Dyneema and Ripstop nylons. While the ripstop nylon will accept dye, the dyneema won’t and it stays its natural white color.)

The next thing I noticed was the weight. The newer bags  are much lighter. Each bag is 10 ounces lighter than its older sibling. (The Aeronauts weigh in at 3 lbs vs. 2 lbs 6 oz. The Tri-Stars are 3 lbs 6 oz vs. 2 lbs 12 oz. ) While 10 ounces may not  sound like much, we onebaggers know better, don’t we?

Next came the feel. The newer bags are smoother and slightly thinner than the older bags but no slouch. Don’t confuse this newer Dyneema/Nylon material with the lighter, thinner Dyneema/Nylon currently being used as lining in many Tom Bihn bags. This is definitely tougher.

What I believe concerns some people is the following statement on the Tom Bihn website:

It must be noted that while our new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is a very durable fabric, there is a compromise in choosing it over 1050 ballistic or Cordura® nylon: your bag will be lighter, but it won’t stand up to the all-out abuse these heavier fabrics can handle. You will need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat a bag made from 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. It’s a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it’s a compromise to consider.

I want to address that. Yes, the newer material is not as tough or abrasive resistant as the older material. The reason is simple: 1050d ballistic nylon is a double weave and therefore a much stronger material that can take more abuse. The Dyneema/Ripstop combination is a single weave. But don’t think this new bag is a wallflower, it will be able to handle quite a bit as long as the bag is not abused. (The ripstop nylon is very tear resistant. After all, the material was developed during World War II to prevent tears from growing in parachutes.)

What do I mean by abused? If your travels include taking the Congo Railway from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville, or three days in a hammock on a ferry along the Amazon from Tabatinga to Manaus, then you’re probably going to want to get the  ballistic nylon bag.

But if your biggest adventure is taking the RER from CDG airport to central Paris or a cab from LGA to midtown Manhattan, then the newer, lighter, Dyneema/Ripstop bag will do just fine.

And that takes us to the big question: which bag to get?

This is a tough one. You really need to think about how you travel. If, as I mentioned above, you’re a true adventure traveler  where the bag may get extra rough handling, then go with the ballistic nylon. But if you’re basically an urban adventurer where you go from plane to taxi to hotel, or something similar, then the newer bag will be fine.

Consequently, ask yourself what methods of travel you use. If weight and size are a factor due to carry-on restrictions for the airlines you take most often, then the newer bags would win.

You have to also decide if you prefer a three compartment bag like the Tri-Star or a one compartment bag like the Aeronaut. There are pros and cons to both and it is strictly a personal preference—one is not better than the other.

I’ll give you an example of how I see myself using the newer bags. I’m planning a trip for sometime in 2013 to an area near the Arctic Circle. It will be cold. I want to, of course, take only one bag but the airline I’m flying—the only airline to fly where I’m going—has a limit on both size and weight of carry-on bags. I was able to figure out a way to do this with my older Aeronaut. But with the newer, lighter one, I can now pack an extra microfiber sweater and still stay under the weight limit. I might even be able to take the newer Tri-Star. I like having a choice.

Let’s talk about packing for a moment. I was concerned that the newer bags would bulge more than their stiffer siblings. But I’m happy to say each model, regardless of the material, held about the same and was prone to the same amount of bulging if overpacked.(Sorry, I forgot to take photos of each bag when packed and I was too lazy to redo them all.) Of course, no regular OBOW reader packs their bags to the gills. As we say, just because you CAN take more doesn’t mean you HAVE to.

Empty, the newer bags seem to keep their shape as well as the older ones. Not too much floppiness. (In the following photos, the older bags seem to sag more. They’ve both been used and sadly, were stacked underneath some other bags for awhile so they got “compressed” down.)

A better structured bag is also more comfortable when carrying it on your back. I found all the bags to be comfortable while wearing although the lighter bags made me happier. As I get older, lighter is better.

 Personally, I was skeptical about the look of the newer bag. I have a severe allergy to non-dark color bags. I like to blend in. I thought the Dyneema bag would be too flashy for my taste. But I was surprised to find myself actually liking it. Yes, I’ll be using the new bags.

And if I can change, anyone can.

If you’re really not sure about the color, contact Tom Bihn. If they have some available, they’ll send you a swatch of the material. That should help you see their real color and not just a “monitor” color.

Have I answered your questions on which bag to buy? No? I’m not surprised. Every one of you has different criteria for bags. Some will be weight, others will be durability, and for many it will come down to color. Whichever way you go, you’ll get a well built, well designed bag. Go with the bag that speaks to  you, the one that fits your needs, the one that excites you. Or better yet, if you can’t decide which material to get, buy one of each. You know you want to. (Bag acquisition syndrome?)

A side note….I just received these bags in the last couple of days. I was fortunate enough to get some of the first ones to come off the line.  I haven’t had a chance to actually travel with them. I wanted to get these reviews up in case anyone here is thinking about getting any of these bags for the holidays and wanted to make the shipping deadlines in place for Christmas arrival. I think I’ve tested enough bags over time to give them a good review without taking them on the road. If I find, in the future, that something is different, I’ll note that in a separate posting. But I doubt there will be a problem.

I can honestly say I like both of these new bags and the continuing trend of using lighter material. In all of my reviews, I try to find things I don’t like. Except for the fact that I can’t get the lighter material in a solid color, there really isn’t anything I don’t like about these bags.

Because of the material’s popularity, Tom Bihn has announced it will not only make bags in the new Dyneema material, but many accessories as well. A review of a couple of new ones will be up in a few days.

If you have any specific questions about the new bags and material, let me know and I’ll answer them if I can.

The Aeronaut is listed at $250 and the Tri-Star is $280. Both are available directly from Tom Bihn.

All Tom Bihn bags are made in the USA.

If you see a “d” after a number referring to a type of material, the “d” stand for “denier” which is a unit of weight used for different types of material. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a measurement of strength.

Tom Bihn supplied the Aeronaut and Tri-Star in 400d Dyneema/420d Ripstop Nylon for review. The Aeronaut and Tri-Star in 1050d ballistic nylon were purchased with my own hard earned money.


Gear Review: Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Packing Solutions

I am a fan of packing cubes and folders. For years, Eagle Creek has the been the product line is use. They are well made, versatile, and hold up nicely. But, the weight can build up.

Now, Eagle Creek has come out with a new line, the Specter line of packing products.

Sized the same as many of their popular products, the Specter  line is made of Silnylon Ripstop, an ultra-lightweight material. This brings the weight down tremendously.

(The photo above shows (clockwise from the left), an 18 inch packing folder, a sac, a  set of full, half and quarter sized cubes, and a Quick Trip toiletry bag. A 15 inch folder and full set of sacs are also available.)

The folder weighs just 8 ounces and the cubes/sacs/toiletry bag weigh anywhere from 0.6 ounces to 1 ounce.

.The line is translucent and semi-seethrough so you, or anyone looking, like airport security, can see inside without having to open them up. (Think more Victoria Secret than Playboy—you can see most but not everything.)

The Specter line is available in white with strobe green trim, white with red trim and all strobe green. A line of tangerine colored products is available, and I believe exclusively, at REI.

Except for the folders that come with a plastic “packing board,” the remaining products don’t hold their shape like the standard line of cubes. If you want to use them in a “floppy” type bag, and hope they will give shape to that bag, you’ll have to pack them tight.

I like the line. I’m able to save about a pound in weight yet still keep organized. They cost more than their heavier cousins and the lack of a mesh top doesn’t really make them easier to look into. But if you’re truly looking to save weight, yet get the benefits of cubes and folders, then you might want to consider this line of product.

One note—Eagle Creek rarely has sales but if you’re patient they do come around. I bought all of the above at 20-25% off full retail during sales at Ebags and REI.


Japan Airlines To Serve KFC

I have been flying long enough to have see just about everything the airlines have to offer. From cheerful service and lots of perks to sullenness and extra fees for everything.

Food has always been a contentious area. Sure, we’ve made fun of it, but it was something we could rely on. Granted, we’ve gone from china and real silverware to plastic utensils on paper plates to well, individually wrapped sandwiches and salads at a la carte (ridiculous) pricing. 

But one thing that has remained constant is the knowledge that almost all airlines serve a chef created meal on international flights. Well, at least until now.

For a limited time, Japan Airlines will be serving Kentucky Fried Chicken on select flights.

I kid you not.


Gear Review: Zaggkeys Flex Bluetooth Keyboard

I no longer take a computer with me when I travel. My Nexus 7 does just about everything I need including the use of a very good on-screen keyboard.

But for serious typing, I have to take a separate one. I already had a Verbatim folding wireless bluetooth keyboard but wasn’t satisfied with it. It was clunky, laid out poorly and a pain to type on. I needed to find something else.

After much searching, I came across the Zaggkeys Flex Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. I’m glad I did.

The Flex measures 9.4 x 5.0 x .75 inches and weighs 6.3 oz/128g (11.3 oz/320g with case.)

It has a  rechargeable battery that supposedly lasts for weeks.  (I haven’t had to recharge yet.)

The keyboard contains island style/chiclet keys and there is also a row of special function keys for both audio control and word processing.

The front panel has (L to R) an on/off switch, Android/ios switch to choose between the two types of devices, the pairing button and the micro usb charging port.


The cover folds up into a stand for your tablet. No need to carry an extra one.

When in it’s case, the Flex keyboard keeps a very slim profile.

Pairing was easy on both Android and Apple devices and took a matter of seconds for each one. The keyboard is easy to use and I was quickly up to speed. It is slightly smaller than full size but I’m able to do modified touch typing with no problem. I’m very satisfied with this product.

The Zaggkeys Flex keyboard sells for $79 but it’s available at Amazon.com for less. (If you’re not in a rush, you might want to monitor the price. As the time I’m writing this review, it’s selling for $64. Three weeks ago I paid $52. If you do decide to order from Amazon, please use the link in this paragraph as we get a small commission that goes towards the operation of this website. There’s no additional charge to you.)



Gear Review: Waterfield Designs Travel Express

A few weeks ago, I received a press release from a company I had heard of, Waterfield Designs, but didn’t know much about. They were announcing their new line of cases for the Ipad mini and Macbooks. I perused their website and saw they made cases for all types of electronics and some for specific items. Since I recently got a Nexus 7, I was intrigued to see they carried numerous cases specifically for that tablet.

The Travel Express for Nexus 7 caught my eye for a few reasons: It was meant for travel, the design was available in numerous sizes besides just for my tablet, and since this was a travel website, it seemed the perfect model for my readers.

So, I contacted Waterfield Design and asked if they would be willing to send one for review. They were and one soon came winging to OBOW World Headquarters.


The Travel Express comes in your basic black with a choice of seven accent colors. I chose copper. The case measures approximately 11 x 7 x 2 inches and weighs 8.6 oz/244 grams. (I’m sure this varies depending on the size ordered.)

The outside of the bag is made of 1050d ballistic nylon and the inside is nylon with a black foam lining. This soft lining protects your devices from scratching. Each of the outer walls of the case have a stiff plastic insert sewn in to help keep its shape and protect the items inside. The other side of the tablet pocket has a gold lined panel with yet another stiff plastic insert making the tablet truly protected.

The case comes with a self-locking YKK zipper meaning when the zipper pull is down, it won’t move. No worries about the zipper opening by itself and the contents falling out. The zipper opens on two sides making for easy packing and unpacking.

Besides the tablet pocket, there are five additional smaller pockets inside. Since this case was made for the Nexus 7, the tablet pockets fits the device perfectly. I’m guessing it’s the same on all of the other models.

The inside holds a ton of stuff.

Besides the tablet, I carry my Zapp Flex bluetooth keyboard (review forthcoming), dual usb power plug, backup battery power supply, retractable USB/micro usb cable, headphones, OTC cable, SD card reader and Ipod Touch. The case for the keyboard turns into a tablet stand but I could easily add my mini-tablet stand if needed.

The case was snug when closed but I have faith the YKK zipper will hold.

Optional “D” rings are available as is a shoulder strap. There is also a small loop on the outside of the bag which I found useful.

As many of you know, I’m very security conscious and was concerned that a thief could easily pick up this case and walk away with it—especially at airport security. So, I put a carabiner with a key ring through the loop and can now easily attach it to my Aeronaut via a key strap and the Aeronaut’s built in “o” rings.


I’ve been using this case for a few weeks. It easily and safely transports all I need in one package. No more separate cases for everything. No more chance of leaving something behind.

As soon as I first picked this bag up, I knew it was something special. It felt sturdy. It felt well made. I checked it over carefully. The material is excellent, the workmanship impeccable, the attention to detail was obvious.  And, it looks classy.

I get quite a few products to review. Some get sold because I’m never going to use them, some get stored in my travel goods closet for possible future use, and others get put into daily use. This case is being used daily.

If this case is indicative of what Waterfield Designs has to offer, I look forward to reviewing more of their products in the future. This is a winner.

Oh, and did I mention the case, as is all this company’s products, is made in the USA at their headquarters in San Francisco?

The Travel Express for Nexus 7 and Ipad Mini is $59. For the Ipad and Nexus 10 it’s $69. $10 more if you want the accent stripe in brown leather. “D” Rings and shoulder strap additional as well.




Black Friday Online Deals

I found a few travel related product deals this holiday shopping weekend:


L.L. Bean has 10% off everything, a $10 gift card for purchases over $50, and free shipping. Use promo code “Thanks10” at checkout. Good thru 11/27


Ebags also has a sale going on. 30% off sale prices and free shipping over $75. Use promo code “EMBFP.” Offer good through 11/25

Some Ebags examples are:

TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible—$59.99

TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible Junior—$62.99

(BTW—no need to put the parenthesis in when applying promo codes.)

If you find any other travel bag/travel product related sales, add to this thread.


New Packing List

Reader “The Foot” has submitted a new packing list for a three day business trip:


Here’s a pack list from a summer business trip.  This was a 3-day, 3-night business trip where business casual attire was acceptable.  Travel was on direct flights, in the summer, from the East Coast to the Mid-West.  The itinerary had me flying early morning and going straight to the office on day one.  The return flight was early morning the fourth day.

This was before I added the Tom Bihn Western Flyer to my quiver, so the only bag carried was the Eagle Creek Dane.  It’s a convertible laptop bag measuring 17” x 12.5” x 6”.  Due to its structure and padded laptop pocket, it’s a tight fit.  I didn’t weigh the bag this time, but from past experience, I’d estimate it was apx. 14lbs.  For business trips, I usually use TB’s Absolute Strap.  I misplaced it prior to packing.  So, I just hand carried, and used the backpack straps on the return trip.

My clothes for this trip were from my standard wardrobe for this sort of thing.  The shirts were J.Crew button-ups (cotton Super 120 or 80) folded in the packing cube.  The creases came out simply by hanging overnight.  The trousers I usually pack shed wrinkles nicely overnight, as well (They’re the Banana Republic Signature line made of fine wool or wool/silk fabrics).  I’ve tried sox from Icebreaker, Smartwool and REI, and have settled on the Smartwool hiking liners.  They are thin black sox that wash and dry in a snap.  They look good in a business casual outfit, and are slightly less refined than something I would wear with a suit.  For briefs I prefer the C9 performance-whatever from Target.  I do think the ExOfficio fabric is great, but the cut is pretty bad for me.  The C9s perform very well and are only slightly less durable.  The REI Power Dry t-shirts have been in my kit for a couple years.  Not only are they a plain white quick dry shirt (difficult to find), but I find them quite comfortable.

I’m a washer.  I don’t have a problem spending a little time each evening washing clothes while on trips like this.  Unless there is an unusual travel requirement, I will carry a max of 3 dress shirts, and have them laundered as needed.  I would send my shirts out at home, as well.  Therefore, I see the premium the hotel charges for laundry as a small upcharge for keeping my bag lighter, smaller, and never out of my sight.  I have tried this with only 2 dress shirts, but the risk of not getting a shirt back in time is too great.  
So, there’s the itinerary, the bag, the clothes, and my thoughts on washing.  Below is the specific packing list for this trip, and it fairly representative of similar trips.  Regardless of length, the packing list would only adjust slightly to accommodate different weather or activities.

Earbud headset
Access tokens
Power brick
iPhone cable
Broadband aircard
Computer (HP 2560p, 12.5”)
White board marker
Pen (or two, or three)
Notebook (mini soft cover)
House keys
Etymotic hf3 earphones
iPod Classic
Airplane adapter

Beard Trimmer (Wahl 9854-600)
Deodorant crystal
Nail clippers (small)
Tweezers (small)
Imodium pills
Benadryl pills
Ibuprofen pills

Complete List:
Base Layer (2 of each, wash nightly)
    Sox (Smartwool Hiking Liners)
    Briefs (ExOffico or C9)
    Undershirts (white REI Power Dry)
1    T-shirt
1    Polo shirt 
3    Button up shirts
1pr  Chinos
1pr  wool trousers
1pr  Shoes (Loafers)
1    Belt
Rain Jacket (Marmot Aegis)
Running Shorts


I’ve also posted it in our packing list section.


Spirit's $100 Carry-On Fee Starts Today

If you’re planning to fly Spirit Airlines and, like a good one-bagger, are only taking a carry-on bag, make sure you pre-pay for the privilege. If you decide to do so at the gate, it will not cost you $100 instead of the $35 advance fee.

Spirit claims they hope flyer’s never have to pay the fee by getting passengers to pre-pay it.



Customers of Size Chart

A couple of years ago, Actor/Director Kevin Smith was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too large for one seat. A war of words began on Twitter and other social media, and the story was eventually picked up by most mainstream media outlets.

It also brought attention to a growing problem in the airline industry: customers too big for the seats. What to do? Sadly, there isn’t one policy to fit all, but each airline handles love handles a bit differently.

Our friends at Airfare Watchdog have put together a chart of Customer of Size Policies of the larger airlines.

BTW, no puns were injured in putting together this posting.

I will allow the comment section to stay open on this but please stay on subject. Any derogatory remarks about people of size will be removed.


More Storm Aftermath Photos

Water receding from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Yes, those are fish on the taxiway.


Aftermath of the Storm

This is a photo from this morning of Gate 34C at LaGuardia Airport:



Temporarily Going Offline Due to Storm

Temporarily Offline Due To Storm

I’ve just been informed by Squarespace, the people who operate our server, that they will  have to go offline due to hurricane Sandy.

Their servers are located in southern Manhattan and as many of you know, that area was hit hard by the storm. They’ve been operating on emergency power and are basically running out of fuel.

How long we’ll be out is unknown. I’ll try to keep people up to date on Twitter and Facebook:

Twitter: @1bag1world

Facebook: 1bag1world

There is really nothing I can do about this and I appreciate your understanding.

9:00 PM ET Update:  Squarespace is somehow keeping their servers going. I’m not sure how long it can continue. Should the servers actually shut down, I will send out a tweet once I’m aware of it and post a note on our Facebook account.



Airlines Waiving Fees For East Coast Travel

It looks like the much of the eastern coast of the U.S. is going to get hit by a big storm in the next few days. Because of this, most airlines are waiving fees in case you need to change your plans.

Here is a list of weather waivers offered by numerous airlines.

Travel safely.


Gear Review: Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender Bag

Earlier this year, Eagle Creek came out with a new smaller than MLC bag, the Adventure Weekender Bag. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so many people wanting a review of a particular bag. And since I want to keep my OBOW readers happy, I picked one up.


Let’s start with the specs: The Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender Bag (ECAWB) measures 20 x 13 x 8 in/51 x 33 x 20 cm. It weighs 2 lbs, 9 oz/1.16kg and holds 2500 cu in/41L of stuff.  It’s mostly made of 600d ripstop polyester.

There are two external pockets on the front of the bag and a luggage tag held in place by an elastic band.

The smaller of the two external pockets has an organizer panel and another full length zippered pocket that contains a key ring.


The second external pocket is larger and designed for a laptop although there really isn’t much padding. The back wall isn’t rigid and can expand to let larger items fit in this pocket. Be aware, however, that the more space used here, the less you’ll have in the upper internal section. They share that floating panel.


The main compartment opens wardrobe style and has two equal sized halves. This is unusual as most bags have a fairly thin lid. The upper section has a full zipper closure and is partially meshed. It is meant to be used with the Eagle Creek Pack-It system. The other section has two compression straps.


The back has the compartment holding the hide-away backpack straps as well as a pass through should you wish to carry it on the handles of a wheeled bag. (None of you would do that, right?)

The hidden backpack straps area easily clipped into place. They do not have either a sternum or waist strap. The backpack straps are comfortable and fine for short treks.

All external zippers are fully lockable and come with large, reflective zipper pulls. There is a double main handle that can be clipped together. There is also one small side handle.

It comes with a padded, removable shoulder strap and the “D” ring attachments are off-set for better balance while carrying it that way. 

When I first got the bag, it seemed a lot smaller than my full sized carry-ons. In the following picture, it’s side by side with the Ebags Weekender on the left and the Tom Bihn Tri-Star on the right:

Although it looks smaller than the Tri-Star, it is slightly longer. And in real life, the ECAWB looks a lot smaller than the Ebags Weekender.

My first impression of the material used was not very favorable. The polyester didn’t feel as smooth or strong as similar weight nylons. But after awhile, the material grew on me and I could see it was stronger than I initially thought. It’s doubtful that this bag would ever have to be checked so I doubt much harm  would come to it. And if it does, Eagle Creek does offer a lifetime warranty. The workmanship on the bag is good.

Its briefcase style looks means it could pass as an oversized laptop bag should you need to take it into a meeting. I was actually surprised they made this bag part of their “Adventure” series.

Even with my few issues such as size and feel of material, it’s a well designed bag that would make a good choice for those looking for a slightly smaller than MLC, mid-priced bag.

The ECAWB is available in black, rust and olive. $150 U.S. Made in Vietnam.


Is This The End For the London Black Cab?

London’s Black Cab’s are probably the best known cabs in the world. Their distinct style, comfort and notoriety make them as synonymous with London as Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and Harrod’s.


But those famous cabs may soon disappear.   The company that makes those popular vehicles has gone into insolvency and stopped both sales and manufacturing.

Let’s hope someone steps in and gets the company rolling again.


TSA Removes X-Ray Machines 

The TSA has started  to remove x-ray machines, known as Backscatters, from some larger U.S. airports. They will be replaced by millimeter wave machines.

The x-ray machines came under fire because they not only emitted radiation, which at high doses can cause health problems, but also because they displayed a “nude” image of the passenger being screened.

The newer machines are deemed safer than the x-ray and produce a cartoon like image of the passenger rather than a nude photo.

The TSA says the reason the change is occurring is that the newer machines can process people faster and that will shorten wait time.

The x-ray machines removed from the larger airports are being redeployed to smaller ones.

Don’t think the TSA is ruling out x-ray backscatter technology. Recently, it awarded three new contracts for newer model machines, one of which uses the backscatter technology.

Did I mention that the European Union has banned this type of machine because of health concerns?


Tom Bihn Introduces Ultralight Bags

As most regulars to this blog are well aware, I am a fan of bags manufactured by Tom Bihn. They are extremely well made, durable, sewn right here in the USA and as a company offers great customer service. They’ve also been great friends to this website.

It was big news today that Tom Bihn announced a new 400d dyneema/420d ripstop nylon fabric for its three main travel bags as well as a few every day carry’s.

While I don’t have all the new weights, we can expect the new fabric to be about 20% lighter. That is a big difference.



Wrong Abbey Road?

Chances are, if you’re a Beatles fan and have visited London, you’ve trekked up to St. Johns Wood and visited Abbey Road studios just to get a photo of you in the same crosswalk made famous on the Abbey Road album cover.

Yes, even I’ve done it.

But about a year ago, a new railway station called Abbey Road has opened and is drawing numerous unsuspecting tourists looking for the famous crosswalk. Too bad it’s about 10 miles away from the original.

The new station is in an area not normally visited by tourists. Local business owners aren’t complaining because it is bringing people into the area who are spending money. There is even a crosswalk (zebra crossing) nearby that some are thinking is the “real deal.”

Businesses at the real location are complaining they’re losing customers and want the name of the new station changed. Don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.


Are Travel Fees Getting Ridiculous?

Everyone is familiar with airlines now trying to  charge for everything except a seat—and even that is some cases. But now hotels and rental car companies are getting into the act.

Are there any fees you’ve encountered that were not mentioned in the article?


Airline To Test Reserving Meals Prior To Flight

Starting next month, American Airlines will allow passengers to reserve meals on specific routes.

Unlike requesting a special type of “special” meal, this new program will allow first and business class passengers to know what foods are available ahead of time and reserve an exact meal. High level frequent flyers traveling in economy would be able to reserve “food for purchase” sandwiches ahead of time.

If the program is successful, it will be rolled out throughout all routes during 2013.

I guess this is better than a USAir cross country flight I was on a few years ago where the only entree loaded  was filet of sole. Not too many happy passengers. Since then I always carry a couple of energy bars on all flights.