The Tri-Star rocks!
First off, thanks for getting everything delivered in two days- just in time for my 6 day trip. This was my first Tom Bihn purchase and in addition to the steel/solar Tri-Star, I also ordered the absolute strap, packing cubes, and a Brain Cell for a Macbook. I have to say this is the highest quality travel bag I've ever owned. The design and attention to detail are brilliant. No matter the circumstances, there was always a handle or zipper right where I needed one. At times, it almost seemed an extension of myself. I never found myself 'hunting' for anything.
This trip took me from Chicago to Phoenix, Albuquerque, and back again. I bundle packed all my clothes into a large cube which easily fit into the back compartment. The middle held the Brain Cell for the macbook, chargers/cable, kindle, and a cradlepoint EVDO router. The divided front compartment held an extra pair of shoes in the smaller side and toiletries plus a few odds and ends in the larger.
It came out on the heavy side (21.5 pounds), thanks in large part to the nearly 7 pounds of electronics I chose to bring. I packed too many clothes as well. But the Tri-Star held everything without obvious bulging and I was able to manage the load just fine using all three carry options- shoulder strap, handles, and backpack. Navigating the airports using the Tri-Star was a breeze. I will never willingly use a 'wheelie' ever again. Maybe it was the particular flights, or just bad luck, but all the flights (three total) were more painful than usual. All three were oversold, late departing, and confirming the sign of the times, everybody brought carry-on's. The overheads were filled and many of those who boarded in the last third were forced to give up their carry-on, me included, twice. Painful indeed.
I never had an opportunity to test this, but as packed as the bag was, underseat storage was likely not an option. However, without the laptop and electronics, it probably would have fit under the seats I had, including an aisle seat in a small Embraer Jet.
Overall I love the Tri-Star. The high quality, thoughtful & efficient design make it a joy to use and fits my travel needs well. The only quibble I can come up with is the suspension clips for the Brain Cell. The clip on one of the sides just doesn't want to release when squeezed and tends to pop off. Maybe a bum clip, or perhaps I just don't have it down yet. Unless my packing needs change, this will be the bag I use for trips of any duration. But I have to watch myself before I develop a case of Tom Bihn bag buying addiction- I've just ordered a matching steel/solar Western Flyer for what I figure will be used for <3 day trips. Can't wait!
Thanks for making such a great product!