- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: Tom Bihn Founder’s Briefcase (Giveaway)
A whole bunch of crew are avid supporters of Seattle-based Tom Bihn; their zealous flag bearers span from frequent flyers to one baggers to road warriors, all super keen to stand up and spill about Bihn’s well-made bags and fine attention to detail.
And we can see where they’re coming from. If you wrap your digits around a Tom Bihn you’ll discover just that: great fabrics, hardware, organizing, and well-thought-out construction.
Undoubtably they make interesting stuff and the Tom Bihn Founder’s Briefcase is a perfect example, dishing out strong nods to the 70s flight bag, whilst distancing itself far enough from heritage to stay modern. And its looks are…well, signature Bihn: traditional with a pop of strong color, guaranteed to polarise the best of us – some really feeling their aesthetic, others not so much – but in this instance, we sort of dig it. This offering has a certain type of charisma that’s hard to ignore.
Who it suits
The business type. This is a day-hopper that’s all about work tool organizing – granted, you could fit a change of underwear or a shirt in here too, but it’s not ideal.
Who it doesn’t
Anyone looking for an overnighter or a daily bag that can swallow the likes of apples or roundish objects – its slimness doesn’t suit that kind of thing. Also it’s not cheap, so if you’re looking for something easy on the wallet to get you through, this isn’t it. And this teeters on the casual tip, so if your office place is that stuffy-kind-of-formal then go with something leather or a safe black.
The laptop section is really sound. It’s padded (like submerged-in-foam padded), springy and cradled off the ground, so it won’t clunk when you place it/drop it down on hard services. This is a great example of Laptop Safety 101.
Like any Tom Bihn there’s really great organizing. The internal sleeve is quite a different concept, but it works. It’s a nice secure spot for documents (and maybe a shirt or change of underwear) and it’s removable thanks to the clip system at the bottom, allowing you to pick it up and place it at your desk to get at things on the fly.
You then flip it over and there’s a lot of organizing…
The single zip across three sections is awesome. We love these. If you’ve got to get at three different things you’re not opening three different zips. Bihn supply three separate pockets, all of them gusseted and mesh, so there’s easy visibility into all of them. The only downside: they’re low down, in what is traditionally a crush zone. But because there’s so much organizing it kind of works.
There’s spots for business cards, pens, clips and most work tools you may need, all sewn onto a rigid panel, which makes placing and pocketing things nice and easy. In addition there is 38mm webbing designed to take accessories with belt clips like multitools, knives, flashlights, tape measures and pens.
Comfort? The strap is good, it’s a kind of non-prickly air mesh and there’s a bit of weight in the hardware with lovely solid metal clips. A small niggle: there’s weight and they do clang a little bit.
Its form is semi-rigid, so it’s more comfortable than the attachés that it’s competing against, but it’s not a body-wrap messenger. If you’re going to be carrying heavier loads you’d be better off with a soft messenger that wraps around your form, or a backpack.
You know we’re sticklers for sturdy zips and the Founder is pimped out with a bomber YKK 10 zip for the main entry, and the impressive thing is it’s actually a reversed waterproof zip – it’ll keep your contents pretty dry. Note: it won’t take full submersion, but when you’re skipping your way to work through a pesky downpour you’ll be fine.
The nylon has a bit of sheen to it (not everyone’s cup of tea), yet thanks to some interesting color combos it pulls it off, and high-denier nylon on the piping unifies the look.
The handles are a bit of a highlight too. There’s narrow-gauge webbing inside the larger webbing to help give it enough structure and rigidity so it stands to attention.
Its construction is rock solid, no lose threads sticking their heads out. Bihn take great care with their carry and this briefcase is made to last. The hardware is well-formed. The briefcase has nice glass reinforced custom D-rings and metal clips with the fabric a high-denier/low-denier nylon combo. It has a bit of shine, but it works for what it is.
The Not So Good
There’s not really a great deal to dislike about this briefcase. If I had to nitpick at something it would be the colorways. They’re okay, but still not a great fit for me personally, but I’m not their target user, so that’s cool. For me, if it came in all black it would be so much sweeter.
Others to consider
If you’re looking for a more formal look consider a leather attaché or leather briefcase like a DEFY Workcase or something from KILLSPENCER. The Crumpler’s Vis-à-Vis Attaché Briefcase is also an option if you’re after a larger capacity.
In closing, it’s a really interesting piece. It has its own charisma. This is the perfect briefcase for work tools, no doubt about it. It’s not a look for everyone, it’s got that 70s-retro vibe that suits a certain breed, but hey, I heard the 70s were truly awesome!
In addition, it would also make a great second carry-on. You could place your main tools to access them easily on the plane, it will fit beneath a seat, it looks discreet and won’t get in the way, and coupled with a larger wheeled carry-on it would work well.
It’s a solid offering from a company who’s really made some carry in recent times that has got our attention. We’re happy to recommend this, and what’s even better, Tom Bihn is happy to give one away!!
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