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Thread: Tri Star - review and thoughts compared to the Aeronaut

  1. #16
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    This is a timely post for me! I'm struggling with my beloved Tri-Star-- I'm still packing too much junk in it but can't figure out what to sacrifice. I've never been hassled about it, though. I really, really, really want the smaller Aeronaut that probably won't happen, so I'm trying to decide whether to move up to an Aeronaut. I suspect this new camera insert might propel me to pull the trigger on buying the Aeronaut.

    I agree with you about the handiness of fitting the TS under the seat of a 319/320. My second flight on the recent trip to Italy was on a 319 and it was so handy to slide the TS under there and stow the Imago in the overhead bin (I had a window seat in an Air France/ Alitalia "premium" economy section.)

    I felt hugely overpacked with my bulging TS, but still felt light compared to other travelers-- and I have to say I felt a bit smug with my handy backpack in Venice and Florence, with all the other travelers pulling giant wheeled monstrosities. I think if I ever am not able to carry a backpack, I'm going to switch to carrying one extra dress, a comb, and a toothbrush in my purse. I never want to have to pull wheeled luggage around Italy!
    I love my Aeronaut, Tri-Star, Western Flyer, Cadet 15 Brain Cell, Imago, Medium Cafe Bag (daily bag), Swift, Side Effect and accessories (snake charmer, packing cubes, stuff sacks, pouches, lights, keystraps, etc.) Eagerly awaiting trays and Canine Citizens! Picture to come soon.

  2. #17
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenne View Post
    I never want to have to pull wheeled luggage around Italy!
    Amen to that. We'll be in Italy later this year and are committed to one-bagging. I still have nightmares about the last time we went, with several suitcases--two of which were holding my Dark Passenger, the dissertation research. The only good thing about checking hard-sided luggage is that we could bring back grappa and digestifs with little fear of breakage. It isn't worth it to me this time; I'll drink like a fish while I'm there and hit the duty free at the airport.

    Mrs Badger will carry our Patagonia MLC (ca. 2002 I think? at any rate, a good year because I think the fabric on the new MLC is no longer quite as durable), and I'm going to pony up for an Aeronaut.

  3. #18
    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Jenne, and Badger - looking forward to hearing about your various packings, lists, travels,...and adventures! (I live vicariously!)
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

  4. #19
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    Thought I'd update you with the conclusion of my 10 day trip with the Tri Star.

    Final thoughts:

    Appearance
    --------------------
    One of the key reasons to swop to a Tri Star from the Aeronaut was to look a bit more 'businessy' when schlepping a bag from a hotel to a meeting, to an airport, etc.

    And on this trip, it totally fulfilled that requirement, as I had several business environments I had to go to with the Tri-Star - in black, it fits right in.

    It does bulge, and it hasn't got a golden ratio, so it looks like a fat square when over packed. I probably worry about this more than I should.

    One final note on this - the budget airlines in the UK are now making lots of people fit their carryon in a sizer at the *gate*. I usually sit and wait for the queue/bunfight to subside to get on a flight (no allocated seating), and watched as a multiple people were caught out with overstuffed rucksacks or bulging carryons.

    But not me - I just walked up, carrying my bulging Tri Star and they glanced at the me/Tri Star without a comment.

    Stowing it
    --------------------
    I travelled on planes, trains and automobiles (and feet), and i was able to stuff this under seats, in smallish gaps in overhead lockers and the fairly shallow/short overhead storage on British trains.
    Not that I ever had problems with the Aeronaut (in fact, it's floppy construction meant it fitted in places very well), but the Tri Star fitted everywhere very easily.
    The Tri Star's 'stand up' design made it easy to stick under tables and generally place on a floor without it falling over.

    Central space for laptop/cables
    --------------------
    Using the central divider as laptop holder was fantastic - made it much more discreet to get out a computer without spilling my laundry all over the floor (ok, that never happened with Aeronaut, but it definitely won't with the Tri Star).

    Comfort
    --------------------
    The handles are something special - I really appreciated the foam fills whilst carrying the bag, although I get confused about the optimal position the handles should fold (over, or facing inwards?).

    I used the shoulder straps a lot more than I ever did with the Aeronaut. Not sure why. In backpack mode I was able to run through a crowded Gatwick airport and catch a train (the station is much further away than I thought). With a wheeled case, I wouldn't be so mobile, and would definitely have missed the connection.

    Can't seem to find the optimal position as a rucksack, this is probably a 'getting used to it' issue.

    I also took the absolute strap off and placed it into the bag whilst using as in rucksack mode. I never did this with the Aeronaut for some reason, but no more catching the strap on door handles etc!

    Organisation
    --------------------
    The Tri Star really encourages you to organise packing because of the the three sections. I definitely packed 'smarter' as a result, compared with my 'throw everything in' approach with the Aeronaut.
    Love the tie down straps, love the flat opening of the sections.

    Capacity
    --------------------
    The Tri Star carries less than the Aeronaut, obviously, but most of the time, I didn't find this to be an issue, because I packed in a more effective way (see above). The longer sections means less folding for clothes, so they pack flatter than in the Aeronaut.

    I keep suits and shoes at two different locations, which helps reduce packing, but I had to spend a few nights away from these locations. Here's one typical packing list:

    Suit Jacket and trousers
    Jeans
    2 x shirts
    Macbook air 11 in sfbags case
    power supply
    Jambox
    underwear, socks, t-shirts
    running shoes
    tomtom and bits in a washbag
    various cables

    On the final leg of the trip, I had to carry a replacement macbook air (boxed), so packing was:

    Front 3 horizontal pockets:
    - receipts, passport, wallet, kindle
    Water bottle pocket:
    - keys, umbrella
    Front section:
    - macbook air 11 (boxed)
    Middle section:
    - macbook air 11 in sfbags case, power supply, wash bag with electronics, jambox, socks
    Rear section:
    - 4 dress shirts, trousers, underwear, 2 x books


    Construction
    --------------------
    It's amazing. No surprises there. I think I'll snip all the metal zip pullers and replace them with the supplied plastic pulls, as the metal tends to clang a lot.

    What I'd change
    --------------------
    I know everyone has a slightly different requirement, but if I could change the Tri Star, I would:

    - replace water bottle pocket with open pocket like the old Western Flyer. I don't use this pocket as intended, and the design adds to the 'bulge' of the bag. A flat, open pocket would be perfect for travel tickets, easy access to phone etc.
    - Remove the lowest zip pocket - I did end up using it for loose receipts, but wouldn't miss this 'low' pocket and it would give the front of the bag a 'cleaner' more minimalist appearance.
    - an inch wider, an inch shorter - to balance out the visual ratio a bit (I'm almost certainly an audience of one on this opinion

    Photos
    --------------------
    I took some quick shots of the Tri Star in another marvel of compartmentalised packing - the Yotel 'capsule' hotel in Gatwick. Weird purple lights meant terrible quality photos, but you can get a sense of the general 'room' layout, I hope.

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    That's it. Here's to the next trip!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    What I'd change
    --------------------
    - an inch wider, an inch shorter - to balance out the visual ratio a bit (I'm almost certainly an audience of one on this opinion

    --------------------
    Here is a second vote for one inch wider, one inch shorter!

    I do wish TB travel and backpacks have short versions for SHORT people like me. I am not quite 5 ft tall (or is that short - ). Backpacks over 17" vertical length are just too long for my back.

    So perhaps Santa Tom would be willing to design backpacks for short people also.

    Happy travels!

  6. #21
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    Nice review! Am I the only one who wants to hear more about the Yotel?

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbot View Post
    Am I the only one who wants to hear more about the Yotel?
    Yotel was set up as a venture by Simon Woodroffe (the chap behind a popular UK Sushi chain called 'Yo Sushi') and partners.

    There's a little bit of bumph on the website (and Wikipedia): Our story

    Conceptually, they're inspired by Japanese capsule hotels - tiny bed/loo/shower 'units', crammed into small space, that are rented on an per-hour basis - perfect for a stopover, or early flight departure.

    The reality is a bit different, at least in my Gatwick Airport experience (they're built on-site at Airports (Amsterdam Schiphol, London Heathrow, London Gatwick).

    At Gatwick, they're accessed from a lift directly off from the main departures hall, so it's super convenient.

    The 'rooms' (cubes) occupy a single floor - there are a couple of corridors divided into 'cubes', which are all identical (there are some 'premium' cubes that feature a wider area and foldout bed/sofa, aimed at couples).

    The design is pretty neat - soundproof, with a raised bed (great mattress+linen), a foldout table, a tiny place to stand/get dressed, and a glass wall, that has a 2ftx8ft shower/toilet area.

    So they're more spacious than just a bed, but it's not somewhere you can really kick back and relax in - they're perfect for a late arrival, straight to sleep and off earl in the morning...maybe a short bit of work or reading...

    Although they emphasise an hourly booking, the rate doesn't seem to change from 4hrs to 8hrs, so they make a cheap and *very* convenient place to stay for a full overnight if you're on an early flight.

    They've just opened a more traditional hotel in New York (Times Square?).

    I love the Yotel - gives me exactly what I need (great bed, decent free wifi, roll out directly into Departure Lounge), none of what I don't, at a fairly cheap rate.

    And the design appeals to my minimalist packing nerd aesthetic as well :-)
    Last edited by guydickins; 10-27-2011 at 04:26 AM.

  8. #23
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    Thanks guydickins. Now I'm almost looking for an excuse for a Heathrow layover.

  9. #24
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    My first "luggage" bag from Tom Bihn was the aeronaut and I loved it. I thought I could use something a little smaller, so I got a Tri-Star, and I really tried to make it work, but I couldn't. I have read many of your packing lists for your Tri-Stars, and I could never pack as much as I wanted. I think it is because the Tri-Star is not an open compartment like the Aeronaut is, it is three separate sections. I prefer the open compartment I guess. I would like an Aeronaut that is the size of a Tri-Star.

  10. #25
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    Final thought - bag under seat has hugely improved my plane travel

    I've used my Tri Star for a good few flights on various short haul flights, and the one 'feature' that I love, above all others, is the ability to place this bag under the seat.

    As I'm sure it is in the States, short haul EU flights are packed to the gills with people's max-sized (usually had sided) cabin bags.

    This causes several problems; waiting till last to get on the (unallocated seating) plane, risks having to stuff a bag in a locker several seats behind you and the resultant battle through the aisle on landing, or worse, getting your bag checked because the overheads are full (see this happen several times).

    The Tri-Star is *perfectly* sized to slip under every seat I've sat in so far (Airbus 320s, smaller regional jets, etc).

    This may seem like a small 'feature', and yet it has made a huge improvement to my flying experience; less stress, more time - now I can board when I like, and not have to fight for space in the overhead bins.

    Having the Tri-Star in black is probably a help here - less visible under a seat to any over-zealous cabin staff.

  11. #26
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    I have a question about the bag under seat thing?
    If I place the bag under the seat then where does the part of my body go that is designed to go under the seat?

    I am not kidding.
    I have long legs and huge feat and have always wondered how this would work for me?
    It is not as though there is lots of extra room in any aircraft I have flown on.

    So I try to get an isle seat and arrive early enough to get overhead bin space,so far I have never had a bag checked after boarding and I wonder why I would if mine are legal sized and already on board?

    Ed

  12. #27
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    My vintage North Face carry on fits fine under the seat in front of me. My feet, size 12 fit and I can shuffle my feet and the bag to get a little variety.

    Maybe I'm not too bright but I find overhead space is less and less available. Also having the bag at my feet provides ready access. It is a nice option to have.

    If you haven't tried it, are you by chance putting two bags in the overhead?

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmscs View Post
    My vintage North Face carry on fits fine under the seat in front of me. My feet, size 12 fit and I can shuffle my feet and the bag to get a little variety.

    Maybe I'm not too bright but I find overhead space is less and less available. Also having the bag at my feet provides ready access. It is a nice option to have.

    If you haven't tried it, are you by chance putting two bags in the overhead?
    Sometimes.

    If I have the Synapse with me I can stick it under the seat with some fidgeting but if I have a carry on and briefcase I will usually stick them both up top.

    Oh and Welcome Aboard here.

    Ed

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    I have a question about the bag under seat thing?
    If I place the bag under the seat then where does the part of my body go that is designed to go under the seat?
    Good point. I have short legs (and take short flights) - mostly I aim for the aisle, but I'v slipped feet under/either side when forced to take a middle seat.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    Good point. I have short legs (and take short flights) - mostly I aim for the aisle, but I'v slipped feet under/either side when forced to take a middle seat.
    Thanks

    Can you give a little description of the "Yotel" I have an undying curiosity about these?

    Ed

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