Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 39
Like Tree16Likes

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

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16

    Tri Star - review and thoughts compared to the Aeronaut

    Hi everyone.

    My first 'proper' post, so thought I'd do a review of my just purchased TriStar and compare it with my much loved Aeronaut.

    I live and travel in the UK/EU, and I've been a Tom Bihn customer since late 2001 - first purchase was a Brain Bag (donated to a colleague), an Empire Builder (sold on, as I move to smaller and smaller computers), several Brain Cells (why oh why no 11" Air Brain Cell?), an Aeronaut, and now, the latest, a Tri-Star.

    I've travelled a lot with my bags - especially the Aeronaut, and I thought I'd try and contribute a bit to the fantastic reviews and resources that have helped me in the past.


    The Aeronaut
    ----------------


    I've used an Aeronaut for travelling on planes the last few years and loved it - it's been pretty much perfect here in strict hand baggage Europe - I can squish down the ends if need be, for the stricter airlines (looking at you, RyanAir).

    I've never been asked to weigh the bag (and I've taken it with weight waaay over the allowed hand baggage limit) - it's longer shape and body moulding (and shoulder carry) means it looks like a underpacked, or at least not heavy bag.

    On balance, I've found it's 'unstructured' design to have plus and minuses.

    Good
    For packing on non business trips, or where I needed to take a bunch of stuff, the design and size is perfect. A bit of discipline in packing, and there's an amazing amount you can comfortably carry.

    Backpack straps - brilliant when you need them (running through Airports, banging through crowds, waiting in passport queues) and not there when you don't.
    Love the shape and size of end pockets - perfect for all sorts of stuff.

    Not so good
    Packing half empty leaves it a bit 'floppy. Not a major problem, I suppose, more aesthetic.
    I find myself in more business meetings where I'm en-route from hotels etc, and the Aeronaut is obviously a travel bag - to mitigate that, I decided to go with a Tri-Star.
    When I had a Brain Cell for my macbook, all was good just shoving it into the Aeronaut. But since I've got an Air (and have the very good, but not bombproof, Waterfield Case), I've wanted to stick the computer between clothes for additional protection, and that's been a minor hassle when at security, or repeatedly taking the computer out for usage.


    TriStar
    ----------


    Interesting bag - just used used it for a plane ride on a budget EU flight, and in and out of cars, and a train.

    I like it. It's not felt as revolutionary as my Aeronaut, but that's because I'm used to one bag travel, I think.

    Definitely evolutionary though - both for my travelling style, and seeing the improvements in areas like the strap attachment points, and the new type of padding in the handles.

    In fact, it's a testament to the Tristar that I just packed it, jumped on a plane and it felt just as normal and easy as the Aeronaut. I've not had to compromise on anything at all.

    Pluses and minuses for me, being half way through my first week long business trip with it:

    Good
    Structured packing is great. For my newish need to carry a suit, shoes, 5 days of clothes and grab a laptop to use a bunch, the divided 'top' access design has been great.
    Looks like a fat laptop case (a bit), so I can carry this into customers without looking like what I'm actually doing - living out of a suitcase!
    Build quality - wow, as ever, absolutely awesome.
    Front pockets for passport etc work as well as Aeronaut's side pocket.
    Backpack straps - brilliant. Little more fiddly than Aeronaut (suspect I'm not used to location yet).
    Fold flat sections - easy packing/unpacking - didn't appreciate how good this would be.
    Fully loaded, this went straight under an Airbus 319 seat - packed flight, no messing around with the overheads for me!

    Not so good

    It packs 'fat' - it looks, when fully packed, quite wide, due to squarer design and 'busyness' of multiple zips and handles etc. and I'm wondering whether I'm going to be asked to weigh it by the budget airlines here.
    Bottom horizontal pocket is superflous to my needs and the bag would have a 'cleaner front' appearance (like Western Flyer) with just two pockets.

    Water bottle pocket - don't use it, and it's design means it bulges a bit to add to the illusion of width. Would prefer the old Western Flyer open pocket, so I could store easy access tickets and phone etc.

    I crave the 'clean' design of the Western Flyer - looks more 'stealthy' (I can only go by photos of course).


    Absolute Strap

    The new design is fab - loved the old one, the curve and slightly thinner (therefore lighter) pad is great.
    If you're in the US (and so not paying $$$ import), Definitely spend the $30 to get the new Absolute Strap.
    Give the old one away - you'll love the new one, and you'll make someone's shoulder very happy with the old one.

    What I've got in the TriStar

    Obligatory packing list :-)

    1st trip (20 lbs / 9kg):
    Rear: 4 formal shirts, 3 tshirts, underwear, jambox speaker, book in a hasty bundle wrap
    middle: 11" Air in sleeve, power brick, 3 x pouches, satnav and mount, someone else's kindle, handbag, purse, bunch of cables
    Front: an Aeronaut, packing cubes and backpacks!
    Pockets: passport, kindle, wallet, keys, pen etc.

    Backpacked for 20 min walk, breezed into Airport, stright under seat of an Airbus A319 (Easyjet) as it was a packed flight.
    Felt pretty heavy by end of night, but Absolute Strap was brilliant - good balance.
    Handles were very comfy as well.


    2nd trip (not weighed, but photos):
    Rear: Suit, 3 formal shirts, jambox speaker, bundle wrap
    Middle: 11" Air in sleeve, power brick, 3 x pouches, satnav and mount, bunch of cables
    Front: 3 tshirts, underwear, pair of 43/US10.5 mens shoes
    Pockets: passport, kindle, wallet, keys, pen etc.

    Lighter, slimmer, more like it. Had to run through a packed Gatwick Airport - backpack mode meant I caught my train!

    I took some photos (sorry, iPhone quality) - and some of the black/iberian, which I was worried would be too bright, but is in fact, very refined and looks good agains the black.

    Name:  1.JPG
Views: 4030
Size:  159.7 KB
    Name:  2.JPG
Views: 4068
Size:  171.8 KB
    Name:  3.JPG
Views: 4040
Size:  124.4 KB
    Name:  4.JPG
Views: 4115
Size:  149.2 KB
    Name:  5.JPG
Views: 4086
Size:  142.1 KB
    Last edited by guydickins; 09-25-2011 at 05:23 PM. Reason: terrible spellling

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    912
    Great review! Lots of detail. Great pictures. (Too often, people don't show what they're talking about. You did so, to great effect.)

    What is a jambox?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    What is a jambox?
    Thanks MtnMan

    Jambox is a small, dense bluetooth speaker - it's a great travel speaker (10hr battery, very small for what it is). It's a little heavy (347 grams (12oz), but is my 'treat' when I'm travelling for more than a few days (and makes a good core for a bundle

    Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Speaker | Hi-Fi, Stereo, Speakerphone & more
    MtnMan likes this.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    401
    Nicely done guydickins! I think you will find that people don't give you too much grief on the Tristar. It still looks small so i tend to get the benefit of the doubt. If the weight is iffy I take the Absolute strap off (I stuff it in the backpack strap pocket) and carry it up to the gate by hand. Makes it look lighter!

    Also right with you on the water bottle pocket, i cant come up with a good use for it. Have you accessorized yet? For me the packing cubes make life easier even though the Tristar is well "compartmented".

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmac View Post
    Have you accessorized yet? For me the packing cubes make life easier even though the Tristar is well "compartmented".
    Thanks Jeff.

    I had a full set of cubes and the backpack for the Aeronaut, and for the few times I made the effort to use them, they were great. But over time, I've packed less and just stuffed that it into one bundle in the Aeronaut, and so not used the cubes.

    The Trisstar came to me via a friend who was visiting the States, and I didn't bother to buy the cubes. Kicking myself now, because I can absolutely see how the more constrained sections would reward cube packing.

    Not going to spend the $100 shipping+taxes to get a cube or two over here, but will pick up some next time I or a friend visits the US.

    Chewing over one of those Eagle folder things I've seen - looks like it might suit my suit, so to speak.

  6. #6
    Registered User Maria's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    439
    Excellent - detail for both bags with the pros and cons of use.

    That Iberian interior looks sharp too!
    "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Watertown, SD
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmac View Post
    Also right with you on the water bottle pocket, i cant come up with a good use for it.
    I always travel with an Eagle Creek inflatable lumbar pillow. I roll that up (deflated) and stick it in the water bottle pocket.

    I agree though, that the water bottle pocket could probably be better as a flat pocket, or maybe it could open up into a large flat pocket (under/behind the existing zippered pockets) that is as large as the entire side of the bag for sliding folders or magazines into for quick access.

  8. #8
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Piedmont of the Carolinas
    Posts
    1,109
    Call me quirky, but I actually like and use the water bottle pocket as gusseted, and prefer it over the slip pocket of the previous WF design.
    Si non aptus in Peram, ego opus ad buy magis quisque.
    my bags: S, LS, KP, mg'11, S, LS, COW, MCB, LS, COW, LSB, SE, LSB, TT, SB, TSS4, PCSB, PCBP, SC, BB, BB, FoJ, RS, F.O.T., LSB, S25, K, LS, I w/AS, A, PP FJN, SE, 3-DC, MCB, PCBP, PCSB, CQPC, S19, LSB, SB, TT, WF, UT, LSB, CQPC, SE2, MCB, RiPad

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    401
    OK, here is the sign of a true TB addict. Our new buddy guydickins writes a great review of the Tristar (which I own) and details why he is selling his Aeronaut and all I can think of is...hmm, wonder if I can afford to have it shipped BACK to the US.

    Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful.

    <slaps inside of elbow (elbow pit?) repeatedly to get a vein to come up>
    Last edited by jeffmac; 09-28-2011 at 06:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    742
    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    Fold flat sections - easy packing/unpacking - didn't appreciate how good this would be.
    OK I think I'm being a dim bulb this morning. We are a two-Tri-Star household and I don't think I know what the "fold flat sections" are.

    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    Fully loaded, this went straight under an Airbus 319 seat - packed flight, no messing around with the overheads for me!
    I find that on some aircrafts, the underseat area is very small on aisle seats. Were you in a window, middle, or aisle seat?

    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    Bottom horizontal pocket is superflous to my needs and the bag would have a 'cleaner front' appearance (like Western Flyer) with just two pockets.
    The only thing I use the bottom front horizontal pocket for is keeping our souvenir magnets in one place when we travel. You might be able to stuff your extra pens there, maybe?

    Quote Originally Posted by guydickins View Post
    Give the old one away - you'll love the new one, and you'll make someone's shoulder very happy with the old one.
    We have the old Absolute Strap. Is the new one that much better? Maybe I'll have to give it a try!

    Thanks for your review. Loved it!
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16
    Hi Lani, thanks for the comments

    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    I don't think I know what the "fold flat sections" are.
    Sorry, bad English, I meant the fact that each side of the bag zips open and lies flat. After a few more days with the Tri-Star, it's fairer to say that it's just different, and a bit less flexible in some ways than the Aeronaut, in terms of the depth of objects you can carry.

    But for clothes and macbooks, which is what I'm pretty much carrying all the time, it's a more flexible way to pack than the Aeronaut.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    Were you in a window, middle, or aisle seat?
    Aisle, on an Easyjet Airbus A319 (I think almost their whole fleet are A319/320s?). the budget carriers in the UK don't have any AV equipment, if there was anything there, there's no way it would have fitted.

    And I placed it on it's back, pockets facing up, the height of the bag would prevent it going under a seat the 'right way up'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    You might be able to stuff your extra pens there, maybe?
    Ah, I'm totally paperless but yes, anything that sort of shape would work. Of course, I need to remember that Mr Bihn designs for a wider range of people than just me

    Interestingly, for a bag that conforms to the very strict EU hand luggage sizes, I think the TriStar belies it's mainly American market with the water bottle - that's a very American travel habit, imho.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    We have the old Absolute Strap. Is the new one that much better?
    Not sure it's transformative, but it's lighter and more comfortable. If you carry a lot of weight regularly, the 30 bucks and shipping would be worth it, I think.

    cheers,

    Guy.

  12. #12
    Registered User jilytibrme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    30
    The Side Effect fits perfect in the TS water bottle holder, the bottom horizontal pocket is good for zipper locks storage (just in case) loose coins and other nick-nacks.
    dorayme likes this.

  13. #13
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by jilytibrme View Post
    The Side Effect fits perfect in the TS water bottle holder, the bottom horizontal pocket is good for zipper locks storage (just in case) loose coins and other nick-nacks.
    What a great idea. Hmmm, another reason to look at the Side Effect. I didn't use that pocket at all on my last trip, thinking I'd use it for a water bottle....but I didn't. I've been wondering what would make really good use of that pocket.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3
    I'm trying to decide right now between the Tri-Star and the Aeronaut -- thanks for your very interesting post! I've looked at a friend's Tri-Star, which is beautiful, but I'm still waffling because the Aeronaut appears to hold so much more (2000 cu. in. versus 2700, or the Aeronaut is 35% larger)

    I'm curious: you seem to imply that the Tri-Star actually feels bigger than the Tri-Star when full. Is that accurate? I'm replacing a traditional roller-bag (overhead-compartment size) and just worried that I'm going to feel like I'm giving up space with the Tri-Star. I do love the incredibly intelligent design though. Anybody have any thoughts?


    (Also, is it just me or does the All About Colors window not have all current colors being used? Cardinal, Forest, and Ultraviolet -- all currently in the Tri-Star listing -- seem to be missing...)


    Thanks for your time! Can't wait for my new Tom Bihn bag, whatever it ends up being...

    Jeff
    --
    Empire Builder, Ristretto for iPad

  15. #15
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    The far west
    Posts
    4,245
    Welcome, Jeff! It's not just you -- the All About Colors window does need to be updated. We're working on a new version of our website and focusing on that + posting photos of the bags in the actual new color combinations. Everything should be nicely updated soon!
    U.S. / Canada 1-800-729-9607 / Other countries: +1-206-652-4123
    Siquid mantica non capit, domi relinquendum est.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0