"I'm not sure I will do the one bag thing again after I head home. I do like having stuff easily reachable in a messenger bag rather than having to think about the things I want to take out of the bag to have with me before I sit. It is however nice to know it can be done easily when it needs to be done."
I like the idea of one bag travel, but even on rather short flights I like to be able to have handy enough small things (snack, book, pen / notepaper at the least) that a 2d, smaller bag is hard to give up. It's also convenient to have a bag I can keep in front of me / in sight / sometimes locked up by itself with the most valuable things in it.
I have two problems with one bag. First is similar to what timothy said above. I like to have a bag close by for tickets, books, etc.
My major problem occurs when I have no one to watch my bag, and I have to lug a heavy bag around to the restroom, the gift shop, etc.
I love having just one bag on travel days....only have to watch one thing.
I also like to have certain things with me during my trip that are within easy reach.
What I do is put those things--books, ipods, notepads, snacks, whatever-- in my messenger bag that fits in the Tri-Star. When I get to my seat, the messenger bag comes out, the Tri-Star then goes into the overhead luggage bin.
No hassles, everything I want at my fingertips. The messenger bag hardly takes up any room since it is a vehicle for the items I want during my flight or traiin trip.
If I have to leave the Tri-Star, it's zippers are locked and then it is locked to a stationary object (say to a train's overhead.) My messenger bag, with all my valuable things, goes with me.
One bag travel means traveling with one bag. It doesn't mean you can't take a second smaller day bag with you INSIDE the "one bag."
I just finished a 6 day, 5 night 1 bag trip with my new Tri-Star. Because everyone else's thoughts have been so helpful to me, I thought I'd add a few comments on areas others haven't covered so far.
In my bag I carried: pair of jeans, pair of long pants, shorts, 6 t-shirts, windbreaker, underwear, socks, large toiletries case, MacBook Pro in 4Z Braincell (+power adapter), a couple of clear organizer pouches, paperback book, pair of chaco z/1s and a bunch of food - I'd say that the bag weighed over 20 pounds (not ideal, but ok for me).
The 4Z Braincell takes up most of the middle section of the bag. If you clip it into the annex clips, there's no room on either side for much else. I ended up not clipping it in so that there was room on one side for a power adapter. The Braincell might be overkill for this bag if you have clothes on either side - a thinner laptop sleeve is probably enough.
I walked 1.2 miles to the train station using the backpack straps. The straps are pretty comfortable but they're on the thin side. Also, the bag doesn't have stays so it doesn't carry particularly well on the hips. That being said, I'd recommend the waist strap to distribute some weight to the hips. And I'd recommend that you pack less weight than I did. :-) For shorter jaunts, using one backpack strap was pretty comfortable - at least as much as using the Absolute Strap I had attached.
The Indigo/Solar combo looks awesome. But if I were purely using the Tri-Star for business, I might consider Black or Steel. On the other hand, the whole business travel thing is more casual these days it seems. With the backpack straps tucked away, the Tri-Star looks professional regardless of color.
The bottle holder is really ingenious. With the front compartment packed, the fabric flexes out to hold a bottle outside of the bag.
The carry handles are really comfortable and I ended up using the end-handles a lot more than I thought I would.
The Tri-Star fit under the seat in front of me for both my longer-haul 737 and 767 flights (I was in United Economy Plus). And it fit (barely) in the overhead compartment of a small regional jet I was on.
Finally, I can't say enough about Tom Bihn's customer service. I called the customer service line and Tom picked up the phone! We chatted for a while about this new bag. Then I put in a late order and specified a near-term travel date and the Tom Bihn team still got me the bag I wanted in time for my travel date. I'm a really happy customer - thanks guys!
At the risk of being a "me too", I just finished my first trip with the TriStar and I have to say I am impressed with this bag. It's capacity is great. The organization possible with the bag and 3 compartments makes it a breeze to pack for both business and casual wear. I like the compression straps in the back compartment. On this trip I had both business and casual clothing. I was able to separate the clothing while packing so I could get one type of clothing choice without disturbing the other - especially nice for the brief hotel stay where you really don't want to completely unpack if you can avoid it.
The bag is very comfortable to carry both with the main carry handle and using an absolute strap. I was able to move quickly from the ends of Atlanta airport concourses to the train to the end of a different concourse (why do they always park the planes as far as possible from the concourse entrance when you have the least amount of time to get from one flight to the next?) As I noted in an earlier post, the bag (about 3/4 full) easily slid into the overhead bins on small regional jets - if stuffed, it would take a bit of effort to get the bag in, but it would fit as long as there is a bit of give in whatever you have packed.
After having said earlier that I doubted I would ever use just one bag much, I may be changing my mind after the full trip with the bag. It was so nice just to have just the one bag to manage - although I may try the suggestions of those who talk about packing a bag in the TriStar to pull out when boarding - since I just emptied out a portion of my bag collection, what better time to fill it up again!! I think the TriStar will become a permanent replacement for my Western Flyer as the TriStar will work nicely as a WF-type bag. Alas, my WF will be seeking a new home I suspect.
Overall, the TriStar is a winner and if, like me, you find the Aeronaut to have just too much carry capacity, the TriStar may be an ideal size and bag.
Back in Seattle now after five weeks living out of the Tristar along with a medium cafe bag. I can unequivocally say that this is a perfect bag for the way I travel. It turned out to get a bit heavier over the course of the trip--collecting conference materials and a few souvenirs added a couple of pounds to the total weight. So, I would estimate that I was packing close to 20 pounds by the end. I ended up stashing the backpack straps for the last few days and just using the Absolute shoulder strap since I was in and out of busses, metro, and trains for those days and found it easier not to get it on and off my back repetitively.
The bag swallows up a remarkable amount of stuff, as attested by my packing list earlier in this thread. It looks neat enough with the backpack straps stowed to blend in when staying at a business hotel but is compact enough to be convenient to live out of in tiny European B and B rooms, too. Being tidy and compact had some other advantages, too. My husband and I were staying at one small hotel and wanted to stash our bags for a few hours after checkout. The owner was just explaining to another couple why they didn't have room for bag storage when we came down to ask for the same favor. Looking at our Tristars, he said it would be no problem. Sweet...
The organization of the bag--which I emphasized by using two packing cubes in two of the compartments--meant that it was easy to find what I wanted and return the rest for storage into the Tristar. When we were staying several days in one place, I tended to unpack it, but when we were in a town only for a day or two, it was nice to have the option to leave the bag packed and use it as a "dresser."
I noticed that the outside zippered pockets turned out to be useless for anything thicker than a thin calendar as a result of my penchant for stuffing the main compartments. If I had less stuff in the compartment facing the zippered pockets, they would have been more versatile. As it was, I used them primarily for keeping track of train/plane tickets while traveling and for organizing receipts into reimburseable business ones and non-reimburseable vacation ones. The bottle holder is not just a gimmick--I used it a lot while waiting for trains and planes.
Is it waterproof? I can't say for sure, but I walked about twenty miserable minutes from a train station in a torrential thunderstorm and everything inside was perfectly dry when I finally arrived at my hotel looking like a drowned rat.
Like all Tom Bihn bags, it's built to last forever, with attention to all the little details that you don't notice at first till you start to put the bag through its paces.
One final note--both the Tristar and my cafe bag are in steel, but the colors of the two fabrics are quite different. The Tristar's steel is a cool, medium charcoal color whereas the cafe bag's take on steel is a greenish tinged warmer grey. Both are attractive, but they don't match. If you care about coordinating your bags, you'd be better off picking a contrasting color than thinking that the two bags will match. I think the navy-cayenne cafe bag looks particularly nice with the steel Tristar and I bet plum-wasabi would rock, too. And speaking of rocking, the Indigo Tristar that I got my husband for this trip turned quite a few heads. I just may borrow it sometimes when traveling by myself...
flitcraft: Hi! You said in your first post "The Tristar swallowed it all with room to spare" about your first attempt at packing (before trimming to about 15-lbs). Do you think your Wester Flyer could've made it?
I've got an Aeronaut, but was looking for something smaller. Not only for shorter trips, but also for flying in size-limited airlines. And I'm torn between the Western Flyer and the Tri-Star..
Also, I remember reading a while back that Tom is designing another duffel bag, smaller than the Aeronaut. If so, that'll become my third option (oh, geez :D)
It's possible that the Western Flyer could have taken the load that I packed, but I don't think so. Having the third, central compartment also makes a big difference in how the bag works logistically. It's nice to be able to have a dedicated place for electronics and the hated liquids-and-gels bag when going through airports.
I'm planning a short ten day trip in September to China. I was planning on using the Western Flyer but I think the organizational superiority of the Tristar might be worth its extra weight, even though it holds only a marginal amount more stuff.
Originally Posted by fbrown627
Where do you stash the messenger bag in the Tri-Star so you can pull it out easily?
And which messenger bag do you use on trips?