More thoughts on the Aeronaut
I received my steel Aeronaut with packing cubes (one large and one small) and Absolute strap a few weeks ago and finally tested it out on it's first trip. We flew to Miami, then went on a five day cruise with carry-on only. First of all, let me say how well-built and thought-out the bag is, not to mention attractive to carry. Walking through the airport, I wondered why everyone didn't stop me and ask where they could buy a bag just like mine!
Packing: Packing the bag was a breeze with the packing cubes. And in case anyone is wondering, it is possible to over-pack the large cube. I think I could have filled up the main compartment with only my stuffed packing cube! Since this was a cruise with various attire recommendations, I most definitely brought too much stuff. I stuffed the Aeronaut with approximately 20-25 lbs, and it took it like a champ. No seam pulling, the zippers closed just fine, and it didn't bulge!
Carrying the bag: The Absolute strap does help lighten the load when carried on one shoulder. The carry handles are well-designed and comfortable. The backpack straps are moderately comfortable. This was my biggest problem with the bag - comfort. I spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how to rig my Absolute strap as a waist belt to help take some of the load off my shoulders. I'm pretty sure it was simply too heavy for me, so my husband carried it a good part of the time (and looked darn good doing it!). Next time I will have to keep the weight below 15 lbs to carry it any distance at all. Oh well, lesson learned! I guess for those heavier loads, I may be more of a wheeled-bag kind of person. But, the Aeronaut performs beautifully for what it's designed.
Despite my discomfort with carrying the bag, I am not returning it, selling it, giving it away, etc. In fact, I just placed an order for a cafe bag to replace my personal item, as well as multiple organizer pouches and other small items. Yes, I'm that impressed with my Tom Bihn bag.