Bags and Luggage Product Reviews Travel

Tom Bihn Western Flyer in 400d Dyneema Nylon – The Travelite FAQ

Tom Bihn Western Flyer in 400d Dyneema Nylon – The Travelite FAQ

Seattle-based bag producer Tom Bihn has been promoting his widespread Western Flyer carry-on bag (in the basic hideaway backpack straps model in addition to the newer rolling baggage deal with model) for a number of years now. The medium-sized bag, a smaller sibling to the bigger Tri-Star, has been well-liked with mild vacationers as a essential carry-on bag, with these in search of a hefty laptop computer/briefcase overnighter, and with these on the lookout for a generously sized carry-on to enrich their check-in baggage.

The Tom Bihn Western Flyer in Nordic blue Dyneema. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

The start of a thicker material

Tom Bihn labored extensively together with his material producer in Japan to provide you with a heftier model of the light-weight, slash-proof Dyneema nylon material he used as a liner for his journey luggage. Wanting to supply a heavier model of the material that he might use as an exterior material on his carry-on luggage, the result’s a 400-denier weight model that’s twice as thick because the 200-denier weight Dyneema (which Tom Bihn makes use of as a liner material and for lighter-weight gadgets just like the buying luggage).

The entrance pocket can it an iPad or small journal. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

The new material was introduced by means of the web site earlier this fall and was provided in two colours—the acquainted darkish grey “steel” and a brand new “Nordic” blue—Tom Bihn, for the primary time, launched 400d Dyneema nylon carry-on luggage in his three fundamental fashions: The Aeronaut, the Tri-Star, and the Western Flyer (in addition to in a few of his smaller merchandise, incuding the Synapse backpack and Small Cafe Bag shoulder bag).

The foremost promoting level on the Dyneema model of those luggage is lighter weight. A lot of the 400d Dyneema fashions are roughly 20 % lighter than their ballistic nylon counterparts. This may increasingly not appear to be an enormous deal for some, however these on the Tom Bihn boards needing to attenuate their carry-on weight in order to satisfy the extra stringent necessities of European air carriers welcomed this announcement with nice cheer.

The Western Flyer

Of the three principal carry-on luggage Tom Bihn sells, the Western Flyer is the smallest. Formed just like the Tri-Star, the Western Flyer is smaller. Solely 18″ by 12″ by 7″, it’s considerably smaller than the utmost allowable carry-on measurement for many airways (which is usually 21″ x 14″ x 7″), and when not absolutely packed, can simply cross as a bigger laptop computer case.

The backpack model of the Western Flyer has hideaway backpack straps that zip up right into a compartment in the again of the bag. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

The hideaway backpack straps are nothing to sneeze at. They’re sturdy, padded, and contoured so you possibly can put on the bag comfortably. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

The Western Flyer has two foremost compartments, in addition to smaller pockets in the entrance. The principal compartments open utterly, permitting you to pack garments in one compartment and digital gear in the second, for instance. Once I pack my Western Flyer, I sometimes pack garments in the again compartment, and use the entrance compartment to pack additional footwear, toiletry bag, make-up bag, and different extras in organizer pouches. This leaves the entrance zippered pockets for stashing smaller gadgets I’d want for the flight, like iPod, earphones, boarding passes, and pockets.

The principal compartment unzips utterly and lies flat, making packing a lot simpler. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

A take a look at the Dyneema model of the Western Flyer

I’ve been touring recurrently with a Western Flyer for quite a lot of years. I think about it my go-to carry-on, and though I flip to the larger Tri-Star for dual-purpose journeys (two totally different climates, two several types of journeys rolled into one, and so forth—my subsequent one will probably be a week-long cruise in February adopted by a half-marathon, on the identical journey) and have traveled with smaller luggage, I’m most acquainted with the Western Flyer. I’m acquainted with the dimensions of the compartments. I do know what I can match into them. I do know what I sometimes pack into the segments.

The entrance compartment additionally opens up absolutely, nevertheless it has a middle divider that allows you to separate the area into two segments. To open the compartment utterly or to not use the divider, merely unzip it. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

So once I obtained my palms on the Dyneema model of the Western Flyer, there weren’t plenty of surprises. For Western Flyer followers, you possibly can relaxation assured understanding that the Dyneema model is equivalent to the ballistic nylon model. All of the zippers work the identical approach, the insides are nonetheless lined with (the lighter 200d) Dyneema, all the interior seams are coated. The bag is lighter, however there’s nothing right here that feels cheaper concerning the new material.

Small touches, like a key strap in one of many entrance pockets, and little plastic rings on which to clip your keys, are hallmarks of a well-made bag from Tom Bihn. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

Whereas I knew the Dyneema model of the bag can be lighter, I used to be pleasantly stunned by some further issues I observed throughout a current check run on a Thanksgiving weekend journey:

  • Lighter – it’s one factor to learn that the Dyneema model weighs 20 % much less, and one other to truly stroll round with a packed bag. I’m brief (5-feet three inches in thick socks), and the lighter weight of the bag was fairly noticeable once I was strolling round carrying the bag with the backpack straps.
  • Much more forgivingwhen packing – I hadn’t actually thought-about this, however it made sense as soon as I gave it some thought. You possibly can actually cram stuff into the interior organizer cubes Tom Bihn sells, they usually’re created from Dyneema, as nicely. Dyneema is thinner and really versatile—so it’s straightforward to squish it down if you zip it up. A superb comparability is the entrance pockets on the Western Flyer. I’ve sometimes saved my iPad in one among them, nevertheless it’s all the time been a really tight match, and with the ballistic nylon model, I’ve needed to shimmy the iPad in and tug and pull on the corners of the pocket to get issues to seat proper. No such problem with the Dyneema model; the material “stretches” and has extra give, making stashing the iPad a lot simpler.

    The bottle pocket is an effective instance to check out the material’s give. Attempt to match a large bottle in the pocket and zip it up. It feels a lot simpler with the Dyneema model. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

  • Folds down flat– this was a  issue I didn’t even take into consideration. However once I obtained to the lodge, I unpacked all the things into the closet and dresser. I often hold my bag on the valet stand as a result of I don’t need to simply sit it down, empty, on the ground. However I found that once I emptied the bag, it lay as flat as a pancake. So I wound up placing the emptied Western Flyer in a dresser drawer and stashed it out the best way. This might come in actually useful whenever you’re staying in a tiny lodge room the place actual property is at a premium, or if you’re on a cruise ship. Because it’s so mild when empty, you can even zip every thing again up and cling it up on a hanger in the closet.

    The Dyneema Western Flyer folds down very flat when empty. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

  • Tremendous smooth floor– for those who’re a fan of Dyneema like I’m, you understand that the material is super-smooth. Nothing snags on this material. And in case you get any filth on it, you’ll be able to simply wipe it off and it comes off instantly, and smaller bits of dust gained’t get caught in the weave of the material. The Dyneema feels slicker than the ballistic nylon, and despite the fact that the Western Flyer is identical measurement no matter which material you get, the Dyneema model appears a lot simpler to slip in and out from the underseat space on the aircraft. I discovered it very easy to tug the Dyneema Western Flyer out from the world with the aspect deal with in the course of the flight as properly.

    The padded aspect deal with makes it very straightforward to tug the bag out from beneath the seat in entrance of you on a aircraft. Photograph by Lani Teshima.

  • Trendy – I didn’t assume I’d hear myself say this as a result of I’m extra into the sensible, however the Nordic Dyneema is sort of trendy. It’s an excellent shade; a deeper indigo hue that leans somewhat in the direction of violet. It’s an incredible unisex shade, and an actual standout towards the ocean of bland, boring black luggage everyone carries.

Drawbacks of Dyneema

Though a lighter bag is usually an excellent factor, the brand new Dyneema model will not be for everybody. For those who’re not making an attempt to shave ounces off of your carry-on otherwise you plan to do some touring by means of tough circumstances, the normal ballistic nylon continues to be a greater choice for you. In reality, the Tom Bihn web site even gives this warning:

“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.”

Additionally, these utilizing a Western Flyer as their briefcase might not need to use a bag with checkered material, as an alternative sticking with the extra conventional black ballistic nylon.

Lani’s suggestion

As an enormous fan of Dyneema as a cloth, I feel the Dyneema model of the Western Flyer is an excellent addition to the Tom Bihn line-up. However for those who already personal a Western Flyer in ballistic nylon, do you have to purchase the Dyneema model? The reply relies upon. For those who use the Western Flyer for principally automotive journey otherwise you fly domestically on airways that don’t have strict weight limits on carry-ons, or for those who already actually like your ballistic nylon Western Flyer and also you’re proud of the colour you have already got, I don’t know that you simply essentially should swap out luggage. The Dyneema model is perhaps lighter, nevertheless it’s not lighter in your pocketbook; it nonetheless prices $210—which continues to be a ding on most individuals’s wallets.

When you’re a fan of Dyneema or actually just like the Nordic blue, you’ll be able to recuperate a variety of the fee for those who promote your ballistic nylon Western Flyer (say on eBay), particularly in case your bag makes use of a retired shade (for instance, with the yellow Photo voltaic inside), since there all the time appears to be individuals eyeing the marketplace for such gadgets. Or perhaps you don’t want a second Western Flyer, however you might have an in depth pal or member of the family who’d recognize your ballistic nylon Western Flyer. You may even have the ability to use it as an excuse to assist persuade somebody to attempt carry-on-only journey.

For those who don’t but have a Western Flyer, think about getting the Dyneema over the ballistic nylon if you need a lighter bag that makes use of a smoother material, and stands out a bit extra.

In case you’re an enormous fan of Dyneema already and also you don’t personal a Western Flyer but, what are you ready for? Get your bag now!

One further word: When you like your purse (or “personal item” or ECD/”on a regular basis carry”) to match your carry-on, contemplate getting the Dyneema Western Flyer and mix it with the Small Cafe Bag. Tom Bihn has launched the favored unisex ECD bag in 400d Dyneema as properly.

Product at a look

  • Product identify: Western Flyer
  • Producer: Tom Bihn (made in the USA in his manufacturing unit in Seattle)
  • Out there Dyneema nylon colours: Nordic Dyneema (blue) exterior with Metal (gray) inside; Metal 400d Dyneema with Metal inside. Additionally out there in conventional ballistic nylon colours.
  • Types: Backpack type out there in Nordic and Metal; rolling upright deal with fashion out there in Metal
  • Quantity: 1600 cubic inches
  • Worth: $210 plus delivery
  • The place to purchase: web site or at their manufacturing unit retailer in Seattle.
  • Further notes: The bag doesn’t include a shoulder strap; the web site provides an elective $30 padded “Absolute Strap” however if you need a plain strap that you must buy the “Simple Shoulder Strap” ($12) from their Equipment web page (trace: the Absolute Strap is rather more snug).