A ghost whale goes minimalist with a truck: 3 Tom Bihn products reviewed

My Tom Bihn collection grew in June. I know that my review posts are popular and I wanted to be able to provide helpful feedback. Also, while it’s one thing to foster kittens, we’d forgotten how much energy a forever kitten possesses. Here are three short reviews of the products that have become an every day part of my life. No, I have no idea about the blog post title either. It’s been a long day!

The Truck

This 25L capacity bag is an evolution of the Moveable Feast grocery tote. Earlier this year, Darcy sent me one to help me with transporting food for the foster kittens … the pair of kittens before Dot adopted us. Its role has changed while Dot settles into her life as a resident cat and we take a brief hiatus from fostering.

This is a versatile bag. It is comfortable to carry, and I find the sections of the main part of the bag helpful. This bag stands up and stays open. While I love my Swift, this has made the Truck super useful around my house. The shoulder straps fit easily over my shoulder and as both the kitten room and my studio are in the basement, this is a feature I appreciate.

Since Dot’s joined us, its primary role has been as a project bag transporter and a way to hide yarn from her. I should take it to the library — but try to limit myself to 3-5 books at a time (though I may have 15 checked out total). Local laws banning plastic bags are beginning to go into effect, so I should make it available for errands — I know it will transport rice as well as cat food!

My goal was to stuff it full of hand made cat toys to bring to the Humane Society for Shadow’s 10th adoptiversary back in early November. I’m still working on that and want to make it happen! I expect we’ll be settled and open to fostering again soon. This week Dot’s taken to snuggling us in the morning, and sharing the couch with Shadow in the evening.

Until recently, The Truck was the only size available for this style. It is now joined by the 11L Pick-up Truck and the 38L Monster Truck. I’m thinking that the Monster Truck would be useful for laundry! Our current laundry basket is tall and I find it difficult to navigate the stairs. The Pick-Up Truck would definitely be helpful when I go to the library!


While I know where to turn for my bags, until June, I’ve struggled to find a wallet.

About fifteen years ago I bought my husband a new leather wallet. He’s used it ever since and still looks pretty good. While I know manufacturing processes can change over time, I confidently bought a different style in the same brand two years ago after another “good” wallet had lasted a brief six months. Mine new leather one didn’t hold up at all and it didn’t even suffer abuse from my pocket, it was cozy in the front zip pouch of my little swift or the internal pocket of my side kick.

So began a debate of what did I need to carry in my wallet every day? How did I need to carry it? How much cash did I need to manage?

In late early June after going through three wallets in two years, I purchased the #5 version of Nik’s Minimalist Wallet in Black 400 Halcyon. It’s nice to have a way to quickly “show my ID” … I haven’t needed to do so in over a decade. Why get the clear urethane if I didn’t need it? It has two interior pockets — one side holds the personal stuff: license, bank card, and main health insurance card and the other side keeps my credit cards in check. At least that’s the theory. In reality things move around and every so often I have to rebalance it. The outside pocket? There you find the two cards I use the most — my library cards!
I keep shopping membership and the auxiliary health insurance cards in a separate pouch. They’re rarely used so it’s not a challenge at all to keep them elsewhere.

If I want to grab my wallet and put it in my front pocket and go — I can … and I do.

So … what about cash? If I know I’m going to use cash frequently for a set period of time, I’ll add a bobby pin at the fold and make a quick money clip. I rarely do more than routine shopping and only need cash for a few select stores so I can plan ahead and for that trip manage the bills as needed. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I next travel to Europe — I have a change purse somewhere. (Though I really should work to get pins for my cards).

I took the photos of the wallet tonight while I was drafting this post. I’ve used it every day since it arrived in June. It’s been in various bags, jacket pockets, and my jeans.

Super Mini Ghost Whale Organizer Pouch

This is a silent ghost in my bag. It holds the things I don’t use (hope I don’t need) often … but life is easier if I have them. Band-aids, pain remedies and antihistamines, and cough suppressants. There’s also an eraser, a blunt tapestry needle, a few stamps, and a paper tape measure.

I love this pouch! When I purchased it, I thought I’d put a mini tin of watercolours inside, but then realized how nice it was to finally keep these items tidy. Mine is in Dawn 210 Ballistic. I love that this is made with scrap fabric. What’s quite wonderful is they realized they had lots of scrap black — so the Color Zipper Ghost Whale Organizers were developed.

I love the mini size, but am thinking of how I could use the others variants. This is a versatile little pouch! I also think it’s a great way to try different TB fabrics and colours. There’s also a new 50% Recycled Nylon (!!) and some of its scraps can be found in a pouch.

Hopefully this post helps you learn about Tom Bihn products I use and love. I have a few more reviews (and followups) to write and will try to get to them soon.

Again, thank you Darcy, Tom, and the entire Tom Bihn crew for supporting my foster kitten efforts and sending us a Truck (and letting me use two of the product photos)! While they sent me the Truck, I purchased the Ghost Whale Pouch and Wallet on my own. They don’t ask me to write any review posts. I know I find others’ reviews helpful so I try to pay it forward to share my experiences with the products. ♥

My Tom Bihn posts, by product reviewed

an unexpected new assistant

I found a new assistant a few months ago. At the time I never expected how essential it would become as my constant companion.

I initially made this choice to solve a specific problem I experience.

Not all of my clothing has pockets.

Yes, I have a sewing machine. However, there are functional and practical considerations that keep me from adding pockets to everything.

Proportionately, a pocket that could hold what I deem as my essentials (phone, ID+cards/cash) isn’t comfortable for me to wear. I generally need to empty my pockets when driving, so the stuff has to go somewhere and stay organized.

While I adore my little swift, it sometimes feels too big for a run to the humane society and feels silly at the hardware store. I didn’t think I was going to replace my every day bag, but I was open to possibilities. My needs have changed. Most of the time I work at home and I run out for quick errands here and there. When I spend a few hours at the library or a coffee shop I often have enough extras I end up bringing my copilot anyway.

Side Kick at Bow Lake, Banff National ParkAfter excessive deliberation, I chose a Side Kick. The decision was to err on too large instead of the possibility of too small. I wanted to be able to have my A5 notebook with me if I needed. I tried a Small Cafe bag years ago, but the format didn’t work for me. I took it for a trial run to Banff National Park, not anticipating (who could?!) what was about to happen at home and how my life would change.

Three things I love about the Side Kick

  • Size. While it is big, it holds both my logbook and tablet with ease.
  • Organization. I haven’t had internal organizing pockets in a long time. I’m surprised how much I love them.
  • Cross body. Sometimes the little swift jumps off my shoulder. The cross body is amazing when I need both hands free.

It proved priceless as I deal with all of my mother’s needs throughout July, August, and September. I didn’t have time for more than my notebook full of information about her medications and appointments. Knowing where my phone and keys were and being able to spot quickly if something was missing proved invaluable especially when I was short on sleep and extra stressed. Being able to sling the bag across my back as I focused on the management of oxygen tanks and a walker and a fragile yet healing parent was key to helping me get through that difficult time.

Tom Bihn Side Kick, inside

Tom Bihn Side Kick, keys!

A few weeks ago I tried to switch back to my little swift. After a day of feeling odd, I returned to this new assistant. While my house and days are starting to return to a new normal (and my mother adjusts to her new abode, a local assisted living facility), in time I expect my bag needs will evolve again. Perhaps soon I’ll return to the little swift, or maybe I’ll look into a different Tom Bihn bag. Time will tell.

Tom Bihn Side Kick, detail

my favourite travel tips

For today, I decided to gather together my three most favourite travel tips. This weekend is the opening of travel season here in the States. While I don’t travel as much as I used to, this June I am again heading to Columbus, Ohio. Why? It’s the summer trade show for The National NeedleArts Association .

After this trip, I will write up my thoughts about the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 bag.

Can’t wait to hear what I think? Here’s a preview: it’s the perfect travel bag for me and I love it.

Tip 1:

Add safety pins and binder clips in a few different sizes to your carryon.

They are versatile multi-functional tools. My safety pin of choice is the coil-less type, they are my default stitch marker for crochet and knitting. I like to bring a few different sized binder clips with me, while the largest ones stay at home on my office chair, the smaller sizes find service.

Tip 2:

A large shawl (I have a $5 acrylic one I love) and/or a sweater will likely be used no matter the season. I prefer black as it’s a colour that stands up to most travel stains and can still attend most events. You can plan and pack for expected weather, however, one thing I’ve learned about travel, unexpected happens! I find them helpful on a freezing airplane and I can roll up a sweater and turn it pillow (with a nice looking pillowcase). E thought I was nuts last summer for packing a sweater, but we spent a few hours at the Pálvölgyi cave and it was very nice to have.

Tip 3:

Plan, but please, don’t over schedule. If you are sight seeing in a place you’ve never visited before, leave time for the unexpected. Even if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you don’t know if you’ll ever see x,y,z enjoy where you are. Don’t view it all through your phone lens.

I also wrote up a bit about notebooks and travel at little acorn creations. Next week at PennyWise Consulting I hope to write up some thoughts on traveling and technology.

What’s your favourite travel tip?

adventures big and small

I’m home from a few adventures big and small with many things to write about, and lists of work to catch up on.

A preview of things to come, with a huge thank you to the amazing generosity of Tom Bihn.

Tom Bihn's Little Swift & Aeronaut 30 fit beautifully under the seat of a regional jet between Budapest and Munich.

Tom Bihn‘s Little Swift & Aeronaut 30 fit beautifully under the seat of a regional jet between Budapest and Munich.

quick tool organization upgrade

I love my needle organization, however, it doesn’t work well when I’m out and about. A few years ago, Tom Bihn released knitting tool pouches.