Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere Review: It’s Not a Man Purse, It’s a Carrier for My Essentials

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The Lowdown

I am a fan of the Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere, and its become my everyday bag for commuting to work. On the cooler days when I bike to the office, this is ideal for me because I can bring along my essentials and know they are secure on my back.

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • As a cross-body, this bag is fantastic, and there are multiple ways to carry it
  • Well made with quality materials and YKK zippers
  • You can pack it to the brim with so much
  • Multiple color options available to fit your personality and needs

Cons

  • Separated area (where I carry my iPad) in the main compartment does not offer much padding
Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere Review: It's Not a Man Purse, It's a Carrier for My Essentials Listen to this article

I’ve reviewed many bags over the years, but Tom Bihn’s minimalist approach while also looking “adult” has always struck me as stunning. So when I had the opportunity to check out the Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere bag, it was a no-brainer. 

Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere

The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere, or LGD for short, is a reissue of a hip bag designed early in the ’90s. Over the past few years, you may have seen people using messenger bags or shoulder bags to carry their items with them on a day-to-day basis. Many people might take one look at the LGD and consider it a “fanny pack,” and sure, you could wear it that way if you wanted to.

But the Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere is much, much more. I carry this versatile bag as a sling on one shoulder rather than wearing it around my waist. Not only is the LGD comfortable to carry that way, I like the overall aesthetic it gives, and I love that there are enough color options available that you can get something that really matches your personality, or you can keep it neutral if you have to carry it to a more conservative workplace.

According to Tom Bihn’s website:

“The Le Grand Derriere (LGD) is a vintage reissue of a TOM BIHN design from the early 1990’s. It’s, make no mistake, a large pack. Inside the main compartment, there’s an open-top pocket along the back panel that’ll fit an 11″ iPad Pro, iPad mini, Kindle, or similarly-sized smaller tablet — or a notebook or paperback, if you’re working to minimize screen time.

The rest of the main compartment is spacious and ready to fit a jacket, water bottle, and bento box. There’s four — yes, four — O-rings in the main compartment: two against the back panel and two against the front panel. That main compartment zipper is protected from the elements by a flap; some folks love flapped zippers as-is, and others find that adding the included Cord Zipper Pulls to the metal zipper pulls will make the main compartment easier to open and close.”

Tom Bihn nailed it in their description, as it perfectly fits what I need for my days when I have to be at the office in person. I tote my 11-inch iPad Pro along with Magic Keyboard in it with ease. I played with the idea of upgrading my iPad Pro to the 12.9-inch model, but after discovering that it would not fit in this particular bag, I voted against that.

The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere has taught me that I may have been carrying too much in my shouldered backpacks throughout the years. Compared to what I used to carry to work in 2019, like my MacBook Pro, chargers, cables, battery packs, I’ve settled in a “less is more” approach because of this bag. 

Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere

The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere has two pockets on the front. On the right, there is what they describe as an asymmetrical buckle pocket that almost exclusively houses two items for me: Mints and my Apple Pencil.

This readily accessible pocket puts the items you need quickly right there for you in a securely fastened setup. The Apple Pencil does stick out a little, but it’s been secure so far. If I bike into work, I may toss it into the larger compartment, but I’m comfortable knowing this bag houses things I’ll need quickly, and all I have to do is wrap the bag over my shoulder to get them quickly.

There’s also a zippered pocket to the left, which in my experience, only fits my keys and smaller items. It comes complete with its own O-ring, so your keys won’t mysteriously get lost. 

Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere

Although I enjoy using it as a cross-body sling, it can be worn in various ways. If you are a fan of hip bags, there’s always that method of wear. As depicted on Tom Bihn’s site, you can even use it as a one-armed shoulder bag, great for walks, or in my mom’s case, when she is out and about and needs to grab her camera quickly.

I’ve even seen some people on Tom Bihn’s site wear it as a frontal sling bag, giving them access to their phone using the front pocket, which is genius. I can absolutely see myself using this on day trips with my daughter, carrying her snacks, the car keys, possible a water bottle or two, and other knick-knacks for when we are out as they sit directly in front of me on my chest, as opposed to lugging around a backpack. 

Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere

On the inside of the bag, I was surprised at how much I could actually fit inside. Starting with the functional YKK zippers, you can easily open and close the bag with one hand. A flap covering the zipper protects it from the elements and further aging or breakage from rust.

The total dimensions of the bag hover at 12.6″ long by 8.2″ tall by 6.2″ deep, so it’s just right internally for the 11-inch iPad Pro. But if you need to toss in a sweater, maybe a spare shirt on a bike ride, some snacks, and a 12-ounce water bottle, they will all fit without making the bag look overly heavy. Its empty weight sits at 15.2 ounces, but after packing it with all of your favorite things, it can definitely get a lot heavier.

Internally there is one open pocket on the inside that is perfect for keeping my iPad away from everything else. There’s not much padding there, which is a bit of an issue for me since I tend to toss my keys into the large compartment. I don’t want the iPads screen (if I’m not using the magic keyboard case) to get dinged up with keys moving around. 

Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere

No matter how you opt to carry it, the weight of the bag and everything in it is evenly distributed along the strap belt. The belt can tuck away when you’re not using it, and it is supported by a padded panel that can wick moisture away from you on those hot days, which is perfect to avoid sweat outlines when you take the bag off your waist or back.

There is also an optional waist belt extender, or you can look at additional parts like a cache or shoulder straps that can be purchased directly from Tom Bihn. 

I am a fan of the Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere, and its become my everyday bag for commuting to work. On the cooler days when I bike to the office, this is ideal for me because I can bring along my essentials and know they are secure on my back, unlike wearing a backpack that can move around and bounce depending on my movements.

The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere is the only sling pack I’ve ever enjoyed that looks stylish while also being fully functional; I highly recommend you check it out!

The Tom Bihn Le Grand Derriere sells for $130; it is available in many color options directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: As a cross-body, this bag is fantastic, and there are multiple ways to carry it; Well made with quality materials with YKK zippers; You can pack it to the brim with so much; Multiple color options available to fit your personality and needs

What Needs Improvement: Open pocket (where I carry my iPad) in the main compartment does not offer much padding

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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.