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 (paid link) 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. 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 (paid link) 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, 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 (paid link) to little glass beads to coins, but they tend to be heavy. Koplow mini poker chips (paid link) 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.
 More accurately, I used “a knot that seemed okay,” and then looked up what it was called.
 In between Nalgene’s wide and narrow options, but closer in size to the wide/standard mouth.