As I write this in 2021, it should be abundantly clear that the ’90s is currently the “in” retro decade. From web design to fashion and everything in between, you’ll see that nostalgic sheen that may or may not evoke strong memories for you. As someone who was born in the ’80s but grew up in the ’90s, I find myself enjoying this resurgence of my youth. Tom Bihn set out to capture a piece of that decade by digging into their archive and revisiting their past.
Though retro is decidedly cool (depending on who you ask), it should be no surprise that slings, hip packs and shoulder bags are currently a desirable form of carry. Our need to bring “just a little more” is owed in part to the global pandemic that we’re enduring. Masks, sanitizer, vaccination cards…all things we need to keep on our person. And these types of bags make it that much easier.
The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere is available in a variety of colors and materials to suit multiple tastes which make it neither overtly feminine nor masculine. In sling terms, it’s on the larger side at 8L capacity. But given the multiple ways to carry, the size ultimately suits the flexibility. Aesthetically speaking, the LGD is distinctly a Tom Bihn product. Meaning you’ll see design touches that echo throughout their product lines. The asymmetrical flap pocket on the exterior is a good example that echoes the primary flap of their line of Cafe Bags.
The silhouette of the bag is clean and I appreciate the external compression straps to slim the bag down when you’re carrying less. Depending on your material choice the LGD can take on a more technical appearance in their Halcyon options, a neutral or even playful appearance in the Ballistic Nylon or Cordura choices and if you’re looking for something with more of an outdoors look, well there’s even an option for M81 Woodland Camo. Bases covered.
I would like to call out one design choice as a slight negative, which you may or may not feel the same about, and that is the rain flap. Material choice notwithstanding, the flap has a tendency to make it difficult to operate the zippers to the main compartment. This can be mitigated to a degree by installing the zipper pulls that are included with the bag. But without, I found the main compartment difficult to open quickly. Due to their length they also somewhat limit visibility into the main compartment as well.
As with the vast majority of Tom Bihn’s product library (and archive) construction is high quality without a stitch out of place; their entire catalog is produced locally in Seattle, Washington and carries with it a lifetime warranty. In my months of use, the LGD has held up with no signs of wear and tear. But I appreciate knowing they’ll stand by their product should something arise in the future. Though the bag isn’t overly complex, every element felt intentional and well-constructed.
Materials & Hardware
The LGD is currently available in four different material choices (as of September 2021). Depending on which material you choose, it will have varying weights and levels of rigidity.
- 630D Recycled Ballistic Nylon
- 1000D Cordura Nylon
- 525D HT Ballistic Nylon
- 400D Halcyon / 420D UHMWPE Ripstop
Despite these differences, know that all of your options are high quality, and there isn’t a “wrong” choice among them.