First Impressions

Pockets, pockets and more pockets. That’s the Tom Bihn Ego messenger bag.

Tom Bihn – for those that haven’t read my earlier review of the Cache iPad sleeve – builds super-customizable luggage and travel gear in Seattle. One of the best examples of this super-customizability is the Ego. It arrived in basic black with a brilliant white accent stripe, and a number of other accessories that adapted it to the chosen laptop for this test, the Lenovo Thinkpad T420.


The Tom Bihn Ego can be customized in any number of ways, but before we get into those options, let’s start with the standard features. Every Tom Bihn Ego boasts over 13 pockets, more than any other in our test. Tom Bihn locates three on the exterior including one large sleeve on the rear of the Ego and two for water bottles on either end. Under the large front flap, there are 10 additional. There’s a large pocket big enough for a range of random gear and within which are five smaller pockets for pens, pencils, business cards and other items. Four additional pockets – two open and two zippered – are located outside the main pocket. Additionally, there are O-rings strategically placed throughout the Ego for attaching keys and other items.

Construction is very high quality as are the materials including 1050 denier ballistic nylon, water-resistant zippers and webbing.

Materials: 1050 denier ballistic nylon
Weight: 3 lb 11 oz
Main compartment capacity: 336 cu in

Now onto customization. The main compartment can be customized in two ways. First, you can add a Brain Cell sized specifically for your laptop. Second, you can choose a Freudian Slip organizer for even more pockets and storage. There are three different carrying straps to pick from. And even that stripe on the exterior pocket (ours was a reflective white) can be replaced with any of 15 colors.


The Ego with the installed Brain Cell carried our Lenovo laptop with ease. The computer slipped easily into the rigged case within the case and was well protected. With all its pockets, the Ego swallowed all kinds of other gear, chargers, cables, batteries and just about everything we could throw at it. And the standard shoulder strap distributed the weight well for easy carrying. We were able to handle the Ego fully loaded for several hours – from one end of the City to the other – on a recent trip to San Francisco.

Final Verdict

Dynamite bag. The Tom Bihn Ego delivers unique looks and an unheard-of level of customization. That customization comes at a price of course. As tested, the Ego topped out at more than $100 over the next closest bag. But, man do you get what you pay for – top fabrics, top components, top construction quality and a completely unique bag that stands out from the crowd.

Find the Tom Bihn Ego at

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Tom Bihn for providing product for this review.