First Impressions of the Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack

Tom Bihn makes some of the best backpacks on the market. I’ve recently covered their Synik 30, which I was thoroughly impressed with, so when I was offered the chance to check out the new Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack, I was eager to do so.

If you’re a fan of bags that offer form and function regardless of whether you’re using them for everyday carry or on a hiking trip, the Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack might be a great option for you.

Tom Bihn Guide's Edition Paragon Backpack

Available for order now for $170, I received the Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack in “Wilderness 525 Ballistic/210d Coyote today; it looks amazing!

Now, these are just my first impressions, and I fully intend on putting it through my normal stress test and filling it to the brim with all of the tech you can imagine I carry with me daily. So far, the Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack appears to be simplistic and slim, but I can’t wait to see all the uses I find for it. Coming from the Synik 30, I wanted something a bit more minimal but could still hold my essential gear; I think this might do the trick.

A few things I’ve noticed:

Tom Bihn Guide's Edition Paragon Backpack

1. The bottom of the inside of the bag is significantly thinner than the Synik and does not offer much padding (the laptop portion does, however). I’m a fan.

2. The Green color is a bit darker than online photos, which I enjoy. I actually feel like Kevin McCallister with this bag on my back for some reason. Glad I didn’t go with my typical black bag.

3. Padding on the straps is sensational; Not too bulky, not too thin.

4. I usually do away with the waist straps unless I’m traveling (which I haven’t done in a while), but I appreciate the option of having them.

5. Internally, the bag fits my MacBook Pro 15″ without a case on it. I will take photos of it with and without the case

6. I would’ve loved a little pocket for my pen/Apple Pencil in the front compartment, but I can always just toss that in with my Freudian Slip.

7. I’m one of the few people who isn’t truly a fan of clamshells because I always manage to forget to zip them down/up all the way, so the fact this bag goes 3/4ths of the way down means I won’t forget, and loose items won’t fall out.

8. Currently attaching the pulls to the zippers because they ARE needed. With the rain flap on the bag, the zippers are covered completely.

Tom Bihn Guide's Edition Paragon Backpack

Here are a few details from the Tom Bihn website:

The Paragon is an updated version of a pack design I made myself back in the 70’s. Named the Simplex(one main compartment, like the Paragon) or Duplex (two main compartments) these basic packs are likely the ones etched into our consciousness when we think of the word “daypack”. Classic rectilinear shape with radius corners; diagonal zippered front pocket (more on that below); flapped zippers; and, well, not a whole lot else going on, which is what some folks love about this design.

Materials used in the Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack:

bluesign® certified 525 denier Ballistic exterior fabric
bluesign® certified 210 denier Ballistic lining fabric
Closed-cell foam back
.25″ / 6 mm thick foam padding laminated between coyote, heavy-duty polyester knit, and brushed tricot for the laptop pocket
Edgeless EV50 1/2” / 12mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)
#8 YKK coil zipper with metal sliders
#5 YKK coil zipper with plastic sliders
Tough Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components

Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack Specifications:

Dimensions: 13.4″ (w) x 17.9″ (h) x 6.8″ (d) / 340 (w) x 455 (h) x 175 (d) mm
Weight: 1 lb 7.7 oz / 672 grams
Volume: 1200 cubic inches / 19.8 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Maximum device dimensions for the laptop compartment:
14.09″ x 9.68″ x 0.64″ / 357.9mm x 245.9mm x 16.2 mm
What’s Included:
1x 8-inch Coyote Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
1x Coyote 8-inch Cord-Only Zipper Pulls (8-Pack)
1x Removable 1″ / 25 mm waist strap
1x Removable .75″ / 20 mm sternum strap
Total O-rings: 4 (2 in the main compartment, 1 in the interior pocket, 1 in the front pocket)

Right now, I’m pleased with the Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack and my color choice, and I look forward to giving my full review soon! This is easily the best color I’ve had on a bag, and hopefully, others buy this one as well, so I don’t feel alone.

The Tom Bihn Guide’s Edition Paragon Backpack is currently in production in a multitude of different colors. It is currently in production with an estimated stocking date of April or May 2021; you can sign up for notifications on the Tom Bihn site.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.