When I (Adrienne) travel for work, I usually carry a Tom Bihn bag, and the Synik 22 clamshell is my favourite. He has a plot of pockets, and they are all designed with care. For example, the zippered water bottle pocket is located in the middle of the backpack rather than the side, so it won’t throw you off balance. Pen pockets are located in flaps on the side rather than in the middle of the top, for convenient access. The exterior is Bluesign certified 400 denier ballistic nylon with premium YKK water repellent zippers. Each bag has a lifetime warranty.
Because the bag is so small, the passage in the back is only 7 inches wide, too narrow to fit over a carry-on handle. And the dense fabric and abundant hardware – zippers, O-rings and buckles – make it a little heavy. But in the 22 liter size, I didn’t notice the extra weight. It’s the perfect, organized conference companion, but it’s at the higher end of what we think is worth spending on a bag.
★ A Tom Bihn with a hood: THE Tom Bihn Addax for $294 has become one of my go-tos. Trolley bags are more versatile than zipper bags. Don’t have enough space? Unroll it and stick your bike helmet on it. Too ? Roll it up to compress space. And if you live in a rainy region, roll-tops prevent water from seeping through the top zippers.
Like all Tom Bihn bags, the pockets are metaphysical perfection, with a huge laptop pocket with two-way access that also has a tablet pocket for my Kindle, and front pockets with O-rings for hanging keys and the like miscellaneous items. It has a huge pass-through and heavy padded shoulder straps. It’s also hand-sewn in the USA from PFC-free material and backed by a lifetime warranty that’s as bombproof as ballistic nylon fabric. It’s a good thing, because at this price, you only want to buy it once.