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  1. #1
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    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.

  2. #2
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    hi MsMoon!

    i've also learned that i have to pack an amount of weight that i can carry comfortably in the aeronaut, specially if i'm going to be walking for some time. whether the bag can carry the weight and whether i can carry the weight are two different questions with two different answers for me .

    i actually prefer the backpack straps over the absolute shoulder strap when carrying the aeronaut for an extended period of time because the weight is distributed across both shoulders.

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    i actually prefer the backpack straps over the absolute shoulder strap when carrying the aeronaut for an extended period of time because the weight is distributed across both shoulders.
    I agree with this. In fact, when I pack my Aeronaut really to-the-max full, the backpack straps are the only way I like to carry the bag. I'm about 5'5" and have a somewhat small frame.

    We don't put a waist belt on the Aeronaut for two reasons:
    1) It would be a further extraneous piece of strap that the customer would need to tuck away inside of the bag.
    2) Furthermore, a waist belt really only helps distribute the weight if a bag has some kind of internal frame. And if we added an internal frame and padded waist belt to the Aeronaut, it would make the bag heavier, bulkier, and a different kind of bag entirely.

    Have you considered the Western Flyer instead of the Aeronaut? I might suggest thinking of it this way: Even though you could use the Aeronaut and carry more stuff when you travel, use the Western Flyer because you don't like as heavy a load as the Aeronaut allows. The Western Flyer would force you to be more selective about what you take with you: take less stuff and the bag isn't as heavy, making it a more enjoyable experience. If that's not an option, maybe another type of bag would work better for you than the Aeronaut. (I don't really want to carry less stuff, and usually pack my Aeronaut to the max, but the backpack straps work for me.)
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  4. #4
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    I did carry the Aeronaut by the backpack straps almost exclusively. Really, I just need to get the weight down a little and pack better. If I thought I might use it, I brought it! Don't get me wrong, I really love my Aeronaut!

    I understand the issues with the waist belt. Any plans to make a bag or travelpack with the suspension mentioned above? If so, I may have another investment to make!

  5. #5
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    One of the benifits of being a larger guy is that the rule of thumb that a bag shouldn't be more than 10% of your body weight means I get to carry more stuff.

    I regularly load my Aeronaut to 25 lbs or so; I can carry that much weight rather easily. I do find that the backpack straps are better at the heavier wieght. I am still on the lookout for reducing some of my load, but the Aeronaut holds it well.

    I love using the packing cubes (1 large, 2 small). They make it very easy to pack and repack at a moments notice.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuke View Post
    One of the benifits of being a larger guy is that the rule of thumb that a bag shouldn't be more than 10% of your body weight means I get to carry more stuff.
    Oh wow. Following that rule, I should only carry 10.5 pounds of stuff. That's not much. I do have to admit that might be part of the reason backpacks and I don't get along so well. I load them up too heavy.
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  7. #7
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    on my 4-week trip to Europe last summer, my Aeronaut weighted exactly 10 kg (I believe that's 22lb). I'm tall but I have a very small frame and I carried the Aeronaut exclusively with the backpack straps. It was heavy but comfortable once I had it on... my main problem was the second bag, which was VERY heavy with a laptop, books, and the like and wasn't very comfortable to carry on one shoulder on top of the Aeronaut.
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  8. #8
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    I have that problem too. If one bag goes on my back with backpack straps, it's almost always the other bag that is the source of discomfort. Even if the second bag is light, I still find it annoying if I try to use a shoulder strap because the second bag always seems to fall off. The alternative then is to hand hold the second bag which I suppose is fine but I like to keep my hands free.

    Recently I took a quick trip with the Aeronaut and the Brain Bag. I put the BB on my back and alternated with the Aeronaut from shoulder to hands.

  9. #9
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    Peregrina, I'm probably about the same size as you. I agree with the problem of the personal item. I used a cheap messenger-style bag from a Central American market, and it definitely added to the discomfort.

    I just put in an order for a large cafe bag/absolute strap, so I'm hoping that will fix that problem.

  10. #10
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    on my recent trip, i had a similar problem. my back/shoulder has been acting up (and was really bad right before the trip), so i've been trying to avoid dangling anything off my shoulder on a long strap (i.e., phasing out messenger bags), but i travelled with both an aeronaut and a smart alec. i didn't even want the temptation of hanging the aeronaut off my shoulder with the absolute strap, so i didn't even attach it.

    the majority of time, i wore the smart alec and carried my aeronaut with the short duffel handles (just switching off from hand to hand). at one point, we had to walk a lot in an airport, and i switched to put the aeronaut on as a backpack. it was really awkward to carry the smart alec in my hand (by the loop), so i just slung it over my right shoulder on top of the right aeronaut strap. i'm sure i looked silly, but it worked fairly well. i wouldn't want to do it for ages, but it got me through the airport.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    Recently I took a quick trip with the Aeronaut and the Brain Bag. I put the BB on my back and alternated with the Aeronaut from shoulder to hands.
    wow! that is a lot of load to carry!

    i found that the aeronaut on my back coupled with a medium cafe bag across my body in the front worked quite well.

    i've also carried the large cafe bag in the same way along with the aeronaut, but i wouldn't want to carry much more than that.

  12. #12
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    I weigh about 185lbs. The heaviest load I ever put in my Aeronaut was for a trip to Cozumel. I packed a week's worth of clothes, toiletries, my paper dive log, my scuba regulators, and a hardback book. The load was almost 30 lbs. I could only manage about 5 minutes at a time on one shoulder, but in backpack mode the load was tolerable. Not comfortable, but tolerable.

    Most trips I end up around 20 lb, but I'd like to trim that back to about 15 lb.
    There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

    Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mruseless View Post
    Most trips I end up around 20 lb, but I'd like to trim that back to about 15 lb.
    i say almost the same thing about myself rather than my aeronaut, but with another zero at the end of each number.

  14. #14
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    LOL
    There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

    Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

  15. #15
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    Traveling again at April's end. Can't decide between taking Aeronaut or Super Ego. Will probably take Aeronaut since it's a tad bigger. I'm getting a bit tired of the 'Red' , Anyone wanna trade for Green or Black?

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