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This post is in partnership with TOM BIHN, a company I have loved for almost a decade.
If it weren’t for this blog and a blog reader, I never would have learned about the backpack and luggage company TOM BIHN. A Seattle-based Certified B Corporation, TOM BIHN designs, manufactures, ships, services customers, photographs, and has their web team all in the same 16,000 square foot location. Everything is made in the USA. This is a company that cares for its employees, its customers, and the world around it. All that and TOM BIHN makes some impressive bags.
When Tom (yes, Tom Bihn is a real person) was 10, he asked his parents for camping and hiking gear. They told him to either get a job or figure out how to make it himself. He chose the latter, and with his grandmother’s sewing machine and his family’s support started a 40-year design journey. Tom designed his first bag in 1972 and started TOM BIHN in 1982.
All TOM BIHN products are made in the USA and each piece they create has a lifetime guarantee.
How I Became a TOM BIHN Fan
Several years ago, a reader emailed me asking for a capsule wardrobe that would fit in her TOM BIHN Aeronaut bag. I had never heard of this bag brand and did some research. Made in America, highly rated, ethical company, happy employees, does good for the community, I became a fan. And for reference, here is my capsule wardrobe for two weeks in one carry-on bag (that bag being the TOM BIHN Aeronaut).
TOM BIHN found my blog post and loved it and in thanks sent me and my husband TOM BIHN Aeronaut 45 bags for our own use. And so began my love affair with this amazing company.
TOM BIHN Aeronaut Travel Bag
The TOM BIHN Aeronaut is a convertible travel bag – it’s a duffle, it’s a shoulder bag, it’s a crossbody, it’s a backpack. It comes in two sizes, the 30 and the 45. My husband and I have the 45 which is the bigger of the two but still small enough to be acceptable carry-on luggage for domestic flights and comfortable enough for my 5’3” self to carry it or wear it on my back.
The TOM BIHN Aeronaut bags are designed with three main compartments; the side compartments are large enough to hold a size 12 running shoe, the main compartment can as I shared in my capsule wardrobe, hold up to two weeks worth of clothing.
The compartments have sturdy double zippers that in all my years have never gotten snagged or off track; they unzip to make it easy to retrieve items and even live out of your bag being able to access everything without making a mess or removing all the contents.
After six years of travel, shoved in overhead compartments on flights and surviving the luggage carousel at airports, stuffed in car trunks, carted out to the woods and to four-star hotels, carried to sleepovers and on our backs as we’ve walked miles across cities, our TOM BIHN Aeronauts still look and perform like new and are still our favorite luggage for most any occasion.
The Best Packing Cubes
We also have TOM BIHN’s packing cubes. They have versions that perfectly fit in the Aeronaut bags. I’ve bought cheaper packing cubes and over time the zippers or seams have failed me. I am able to stuff my TOM BIHN packing cubes to the gills and they are still looking and performing like the first day I got them.
TOM BIHN Crossbody bags
I have the TOM BIHN Small Café Bag, which is the perfect travel bag. A strap long enough to be a comfortable crossbody even over curves which can also adjust to a shoulder bag, the TOM BIHN Café bag has the organization and security you desire for sightseeing or for everyday.
My Café Bag is six years old and still looks great. I used it as my purse for a cross-country road trip and have taken it to many a festival. We’ve used it as a toiletries bag when camping, I’ve used it to cart things to the beach, and it’s my go-to bag when we go kayaking and canoeing as it’s water-resistant.
TOM BIHN recently came out with their Everyday Cubelet and it’s a pretty perfect bag for our new normal. It’s small but mighty. The main zipper compartment has interior pouches for your smartphone and a writing utensil and an O-ring to which a key strap is attached.
The front zipper pocket is on the diagonal (for additional space as well as style) and also has an O-Ring. The strap is adjustable and removable making this a bag you can use as a pouch or even an organizer in a larger bag.
TOM BIHN Face Masks
TOM BIHN, like many companies, began creating face masks in 2020 to help the community but to also keep their employees on the payroll. For each mask purchased they donate one. TOM BIHN has donated over 158,000 masks to underserved communities, healthcare clinics, tribal nations, homeless shelters, social workers, essential workers, low-income communities and veteran's health services.
You can see the number of masks donated and where they were donated at this public Google Doc.
TOM BIHN has four styles of cloth face masks that vary in regard to weight; each mask is available in two sizes. Their masks have a customizable nose piece, it comes open so you can use the nose bridge offered or switch it out for another item that will give your unique face shape a better fit. Each mask comes with soft stretchy non-elastic ear loops and a lanyard so you can take your mask off temporarily with ease.
TOM BIHN even offers their face mask patterns for free so you at home can make the same style of mask if you so desire.
I love their V4 mask. Made of flannel, it’s warm while still being breathable. The flannel is also OEKO-TEX Certified. The shape is quite comfortable, even if you’re an animated speaker like me. It also is designed so your glasses are less likely to fog up.
If you are unsure which mask is best for you, read the hundreds of honest and detailed customer reviews. Also TOM BIHN guarantees their masks just like their bags!
TOM BIHN is a Member of 1% for the Planet
1% for the Planet was started by two businessmen and their shared love for the outdoors. Realizing their responsibility to protect our planet, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies decided to give 1% of their sales back to the environment—whether or not they were profitable.
This concept resonated with several other companies and individuals across the globe who decided to join 1% for the Planet, and one of those companies is TOM BIHN.
Currently, in the United States, only 3% of total philanthropy goes to environmental causes. On top of that, government funding for the environment is variable even in the best of times. Since 2002, 1% for the Planet has certified more than $250 million in support to approved environmental nonprofits.
I really enjoyed scrolling through some of the 1% for the Planet stories and learning how companies have made a major impact on their communities or the environment as a whole. It makes sense that TOM BIHN is a member of 1% for the Planet, it fits with the ethos of the company and its founder.
Thank you to TOM BIHN for partnering with me on this post. And thank you to that blog reader many years ago who mentioned the Aeronaut. TOM BIHN and I have kept in touch ever since, it has been great seeing the company grow while still being true to their beliefs, and I appreciate them supporting Wardrobe Oxygen by letting me write any kind of content I wanted to about their business and their fantastic bags!
I’ve really been on an Alison-inspired spending spree … the large carry-on version of this bag, Printfresh jammies, and the Universal Standard shorts. I’ll blame full-family vaccination status and getting to TRAVEL again. Your recommendations are so welcome. Thanks for hanging in there during a rough time and continuing to publish great content.
Alison Gary says
Thank you so much Susie!
Thanks for the link to the mask pattern! I’m doing holiday prints this weekend.
It’s a good move on their part to give the pattern away. Comparing it to other mask patterns it’s got more structure, and uses more fabric. Looking over the pattern and seeing the material it requires I think the higher price of what they offer is justified.
I like your green jacket — looks warm for fall/mild winters. Where is it from?
Alison Gary says
It’s from MICHAEL Michael Kors but is about seven years old. This one at Zappos looks awfully familiar and comes in four colors: https://shopstyle.it/l/boZ5w This one at Nordstrom Rack is also familiar and comes in 9 colors https://shopstyle.it/l/boZ4A
Shoot, I was trying to do a thank you emoji, but it clearly didn’t come through. THANKS, Alison!
The small cafe bag looks like something I’ve been looking for.
But where are the fun colors they show in the pics/video? The current choices are only blah neutrals
Alison Gary says
Due to COVID TOM BIHN stopped all bag production until recently. Their selection has been affected but they hope to get back to normal production soon!
Thanks for the explanation