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I’ve had a chance to use my new Tom Bihn Pilot as a gaming bag twice now, and I’ve made a couple additions.

I can also confirm that everything I loved about the bag when it first arrived still holds true: This is a great bag!

Carrying it around has made me noticed something else about it that I really dig, too: the strap. I’m using the standard strap (which it came with), and I’ve found that when worn cross-body, I can keep the pad on my shoulder while sliding just the bag around to the front — the pad holds its grip, and the strap slides through it. That’s awesome for getting into it without taking it off.

Paracord silencer zipper pulls

Zippers are jingly! I don’t like being jingly. But Tom Bihn uses lovely zippers, and I didn’t want to snip off the pulls and replace them (the quietest option). So I knocked together some paracord silencers:

The bag came with a baggie full of shock cord zipper pulls, but I prefer paracord to shock cord for zipper pulls.

I don’t know much about knots, so I used a simple overhand knot.[1] I trimmed the ends and melted them with a lighter to seal them up. (Folks who are into paracord crafts can do much, much cooler knots and finer sealing, but this is good enough for me.)

To add a bit of character, and to make it easy to distinguish the center pocket zipper from the two nearby front pocket zippers just by feel, I added a brass Hinderer Mount St. Helens bead to it. I love mountains, and Washington, and Mount St. Helens ticks both boxes. I chose brass because it’s one of my favorite metals, particularly because of how it patinas and takes on a life of its own through use.

By happy chance, the length that looked good to me — roughly 2.5″ — also happens to be just about perfect for keeping that center pocket pull from hitting the ground when the pocket is open:

That length is also pleasing in-hand, and makes the zippers a breeze to pull in both directions.

Hydration and tokens

I thought the Nalgene N-Gen would be a perfect fit for the dedicated water bottle pocket, and it is! The mouth of the bottle is a bit bigger than I’d like,[2] but small enough that it shouldn’t be too easy to slop water all over myself while walking around.

I’ve got a host of tokens I use for games, from clay composite poker chips to little glass beads to coins, but they tend to be heavy. Koplow mini poker chips are about the size of a penny and come in a variety of colors, and a tube of 50 weighs 1.1 oz.

Here they are together:

I’ll be bringing this bag on the road to Go Play NW this weekend, and I can’t wait to see how it does as a day bag for a convention.

[1] More accurately, I used “a knot that seemed okay,” and then looked up what it was called.

[2] In between Nalgene’s wide and narrow options, but closer in size to the wide/standard mouth.

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