Gear Review: Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase

Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase

Ever since I decided to switch my every day carry/personal item bag from a backpack to a messenger a couple of years ago, I’ve been looking for the perfect bag that fit my needs. It had to be small enough to adhere to the limits of the most restrictive airline’s personal item size; hold my tablet computer, its charger, external HD, and usb splitter; my Kobo ereader; a pair of folding headphones; iphone; backup charger; a couple of charging cables; a note-book or two; writing implements; a flashlight; and have a detachable strap. The zippers had to be lockable in some way.

I could never find this.

daylightbriefcase_18bThat was until a few weeks ago when Tom Bihn announced the new
Daylight Briefcase.

It seemed to fit my needs so well, I BOUGHT one the next day.



When it first arrived, I was concerned because it looked very small.
Designed to fit into the main compartment of the Tom Bihn Aeronaut, the bag packs flat when empty and can even be folded in half.


cacherailsI also ordered the optional computer/tablet cache—they come in various sizes up to a Macbook Air 13”—that is connected to a rail system making the bag checkpoint friendly. (Even with the cache, the bag can still be folded and packs fairly flat.)



Measuring, 13.4” x 9.8” x 6.5”/34 x 25 x 16.5 cm, the Cordura version weighs 12.5 oz/354 g and the Dyneema version weighs 9.2 oz/260 g. The caches add a few ounces.



front vertical zipperThe front of the bag has two pockets. The vertical zippered pocket is designed to hold a 7” tablet. (That’s where I put my e-reader, in its case, for easy access.)
The other front pocket is split in two. Each side can hold an ereader, phone, chargers, and other small items. I use Tom Bihn small organizer pouches in each side to hold pens, pencils, backup battery, cables, adapter. I’ve also fit a couple of Tom Bihn 3D cubes in these pockets as well.
The main compartment holds the cache if you order one, and has an additional open pocket.



rearThere is also a rear pocket similar to the front horizontal one but this one is not divided.
Surprisingly, as I filled the bag, each pocket expanded on its own and didn’t seem to infringe on the others. It literally went from under an inch thick to six inches. (No comments, this is a family oriented blog.)



YKK zippers throughout.

Everything I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post fit in the bag with ease—and the rear pocket was still empty and usable.
The bag  comes with a detachable simple shoulder strap and a 6″ keystrap. There are “o” rings in every pocket.

The only downside I had was in the main compartment. Because of the cache and rail system, the inside open pocket is on the other side as are the “o”rings. So, if anything hangs from those “o” rings, they have to be moved out-of-the-way to access that open pocket.

There are no organizer panels, no foam padding, and the carry handles are not padded. This was all done to save weight and are not necessary. When packed, my bag weighed about 5 pounds and the simple shoulder strap worked fine. No need for a stronger, more comfortable strap.

This is truly a dual purpose bag. I can use it for work to carry my laptop, electronics, notebook, etc. and then when I want to go out and about on my own, take all that stuff out and put in what I would need for a leisurely day out.

I have taken it on a couple of short trips and use it around town when I  need to carry “stuff.”  It is now my go-to bag for this type of carry.


The  Daylight Briefcase sells for $80. The cache is an additional $25. It comes in a multitude of colors. The cache is only available in black. Made in the USA.


Photos courtesy of Tom Bihn because followers know how bad a photographer I really am. OBOW is a Tom Bihn affiliate but the reviews are honest and my own.

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4 Responses to Gear Review: Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase

  1. gafer says:

    Great review Frank. I have a very old canvas briefcase that may be similar to this. What is the middle section of this bag like? Is it just one big compartment? I’d like to see photos of this portion of the bag. The Tom Bihn website doesn’t have any.

  2. Frank@OBOW says:

    I tried to take photos but they didn’t really come out.

    The center section is basically one big compartment. There is an open sleeve on one side big enough for some papers or a 9 x 12 spiral notebook. (If not used, this sleeve lies flat.) The other wall has the attachments for the cache.

  3. gafer says:

    Thanks Frank, this just might have to be on my after Christmas list. An inside sleeve is helpful in keeping at least some of the items apart and not all jumbled up.With a cache for my iPad this could be the ticket for my business travels.

  4. Alan B says:

    I just received MY Daylight for Christmas, courtesy of my mother-in-law. While I put it onto my gift list as a travel item, in several ways it iseems better than my Tom Bihn Co-Pilot for everyday carry, mainly that one can more easily load full size stacks of papers, as needed for various meetings.

    The Daylight readily my full-size iPad in its TB sleeve, as well as a light jacket. While there’s no place for a water bottle, that’s really not needed around town. Also the Daylight is less suited for carrying cameras and such, but that’s similarly a travel issue.

    I will look into getting a pair of the small organizer pouches.I may have a few comments once I use it for a few weeks.

    I did incidentally suggest that my ex-wife acquire the larger TB Pilot for her pending safari trip. She confirms it readily holds a small DSLR and a longer second lens, plus binoculars, travel documents, etc. After her return it will serve a general use bag.