Tom Bihn Guide's Pack

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A huge, comfortable, and versatile backpack.

My Review

The Guide’s Pack is one of the more esoteric backpack offerings from Tom Bihn. It doesn’t really fit in as an EDC by aesthetics alone – it looks like it fits in more on the trail… which works because that’s what it was really designed for. It’s “old school trail” look is a nice one though, and I mainly use it as an EDC bag – it’s turned a few heads with its unique look.

Unlike the Synapse and (retired) Smart Alec, the Guide’s Pack doesn’t have a ton of built-in organization. What it lacks in organization it makes up in room – it’s 31 liters of awesome. In a way, this makes it more versatile since you can opt-in to as much organization as you think you need. The built-in (and removable) internal frame makes the bag that much more comfortable to carry, especially with a heavy load. I’ve used the internal frame on both this and the Synapse and even with a relatively light-medium EDC load, the internal frame makes it a much more comfortable carry.

The pack is unique in the TB line in that it does not zip closed. Instead, there’s a drawstring on top to close the main compartment. The top flap (which also doubles as a zipper pocket) covers the drawstring main compartment nicely. There are two straps at the bottom that clip to the top pocket to hold it closed.

The bag is very modular – there are places to add pockets to the top and sides. You can even get a strap to hold an ice axe to the Guide’s Pack if that’s your thing. I don’t own any of that stuff so I can’t tell you what I think about it. :)

I recently took this as my one bag on a ten day trip to Norway and it worked really well as a travel bag. Overall, it had my 15” MacBook Pro, my 12.9” iPad, lots of socks and underwear, shirts, pants, an extra pair of shoes, and toiletries. Admittedly it was too heavy to comfortably carry for a long time, but it was very comfortable for walks through the airport. The internal frame really helps the bag carry well.

What I Like 👍
  • It's got a huge amount of space for your stuff.
  • The modularity/additional pockets give you a ton of choice and versatility. (I carry it without the extra pockets personally!)
  • Super waterproof since the top of the pack is drawstring and covered by a big flap.
What I Don't Like 👎
  • The campy "guide" look takes some getting used to, but once you're there, it looks pretty darn cool IMO!
  • No cache loops! Ugh! (See video - I find a way to make my own :)
Use This If
  • You want a very waterproof bag.
  • You don't need a ton of organization.
  • You want a bag that looks very unique - kind of an old look, but welcome!

What others have to say... Add a review!

Different look but awesome bag

I prefer a “camp” look and this bag fits the bill for me. As stated above the main compartment is Huge and one big pocket. It’s nice that there are no zippers to fail and accidentally spill your bag’s contents. The lid has good organization for smaller items which is helpful. At additional cost you can also add more external pockets to really personalize your bag

Used primarily for: Travel

Yes, I would recommend this product!