David’s field radio kit makes use of Tom Bihn packs and pouches

Being the hopeless pack geek I am, when David (AG7SM) shared photos of his many Tom Bihn bags and how he packed for a recent radio outing, I asked if he’d mind if I shared them here on QRPer.com. He very kindly agreed!

The comments below are my own, but I’ve put David’s descriptions in each image caption:

Brain Bag

The Tom Bihn Brain Bag.

I’ve often considered grabbing a Tom Bihn Brain Bag in the past for one-bag travel, but frankly it’s a little roomier than I needed so overlooked it. I never thought about using it for field radio, but it makes so much sense

“The writing implements and log I’ve stuffed into the Brain Bag.”

I have used a Tom Bihn Synapse 25 for both one-bag travel and as a field radio bag.  It also has side pockets for field notes/logbooks and pens/pencils, but I think the Brain Bag accommodates them even better.


“HLT2 open”

I’m a big fan of the (admittedly much more affordable) Maxpedition Fatty Pouch, but the HLT2 is obviously another brilliant choice to hold the Elecraft AX1 and much more.

“The AX1 counterpoises and a Signal Stick.”

I love it!

I’ve become a massive fan of the Tom Bihn HLT2. As I mentioned in a previous post, I purchased one to become a dedicated field radio kit for my MTR-3B, and recently purchased a second HLT2 for my KX1 and SW-3B to share. In total, I’ve purchased three HLT2s and two HLT1s. Don’t judge me! 🙂

Large Travel Tray

“Travel Tray 1 contents: Par EndFedz trail friendly EFHW, Packtenna 9:1, Elecraft T1, 705 mic, assorted cables”

I use my large travel trays the same way.

Since they design and manufacture all of their gear in the US, Tom Bihn packs seem pricey when compared with stuff you’d find on Amazon or in big box stores. That said, I believe their Large Travel Tray is a deal at $25. I own at least eight of these, and have purchased a number for friends and family as gifts. In my Discovery TX-500 kit, for example, one Large Travel Tray holds its antenna, all of its accessories/cables, and battery.

“Travel Tray 2 contents: cables, mic for a Kenwood HT, spare 9V for the T1, gaffer’s tape wound around a hotel keycard. Gaffer’s tape is awesome.”

Gaffer’s Tape! Thank you for the reminder. I need to order some more. You’re right–incredibly useful.

Elecraft ES60 KX2 Carry Case

“Elecraft KX2 shack-in-the-box”

I have an early version of this same case when it was made only by Lowe Pro. It’s incredibly durable. As I understand it, demand was so high for this case, Elecraft worked with Lowe Pro to manufacture them specifically as a KX2 accessory.

I’ve often thought about getting the KX2 Side KX panels but wasn’t certain if it would fit in my Lowe Pro case. Your photo answers that question!

“Elecraft SITB contents — yes, I like my Field Notes. I’m sure you can recognize everything in this picture.”

Wow! The ES60 holds a lot of gear!

I like those Field Notes notebooks. I recently purchased a three-pack of Moleskine notebooks for my HLT2 field radio kits. I’m going to give them a go, too. I love my Muji A6 notebooks, but thought I might try a different notebook style for fun.

By the way: there are much cheaper alternatives for notebooks, but I don’t know…to me each activation is a moment in time I like to remember. I feel like my logbooks are a bit of a field diary, so I’m willing to invest.

Thanks again, David, for allowing me to share your photos here. I love seeing how others pack their field radio kits.

10 thoughts on “David’s field radio kit makes use of Tom Bihn packs and pouches”

  1. Thomas, thank you for sharing David’s post.
    The ES60 does come with the shack in a box, for the KX2. I’m looking forward to receiving the case along with the other accessories that come with the package deal, though I did also order the paddle with the setup.

    Again thank you both for sharing.

  2. My SideKX end panels arrived before the actual KX2 did, I considered them to be necessary.

    I am a naturally clumsy person, and have found it cheaper to pay for protective gear than for repairs ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

    I put the equivalent rails on my 7300 and knew I would add the Peovi cage to my 705.

  3. I use a shoulder bag for my antennas. But for my radios I prefer a hard case, I dont like taking a $1000 radio in a bag that can allow damage to the rig. But this is me for I dont do hiking events.

    I do like to have a log book. Made my own, small enough for my bag I carry accessories. Call, time, date, freq, RST reports, mode and comments. I have a note book, good to keep a ledger of the notes of stations and their transmissions.

    73, ron, n9ee/r

  4. I now have a challenge.

    I am on a mission to duplicate your bag/pack setups as closely as possible but with less expensive components. I like your choices but I just can’t spend that much on a pack. I treat my stuff well and I can get a good life span out of a cheaper bag. The added benefit is that I will have more money to spend on radios.

    1. You’ll have no issue at all duplicating my pack setups for a fraction of the price. All of my packs (well, save the Maxpedition pouch) are made in the USA so are more costly than others.

      Will be very interested to see your field kits as you build them, OM!


      1. I’ll email you pics when I’m done. Still experimenting and waiting while Amazon gets their act together. Already sent two packs back because they shipped the wrong item.

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