I really wanted to like the Tri-Star, especially after reading so many great reviews.
The problem is the smaller front zippered pockets become almost unusable if you have something in the front main compartment (right behind the front zippered pockets).
I am not over stuffing it.
Adding some depth to the outside smaller pockets might help.
I've found exactly the same, but I regard (and use) the flatness of the front pockets as a feature, not a bug, as they're specifically for flat items - wallet, tickets, kindle...I think that's fine, personally.
Originally Posted by max888
Anything bulky goes in the main pockets, or the water bottle pocket - which I've started using for slightly bulkier items like a umbrella.
I like the flat profile, and the way the internal sections stretch into the centre.
A flat profile is useful for getting past eagle eyed airline gate staff, who don't give my Tri Star a second glance. And less 'sticking out' also means the Tri Star easily slips under airline seats - a massive hassle-saver here in the EU, where *everyone* piles onto flights and then fights over getting roll-ons etc into overhead bins.
Just this week on a flight, the bins were full, and staff were pulling latecomer's hand luggage at random (not at the gate - one the plane) and forcing them to check it into the hold...not me - my Tri Star was safely under the seat in front of me!
Still not a fan of the smallest front pocket at the bottom of the bag, though - it's not sized for anything particularly useful, imho.
For me, my keys on a key strap and receipts go in that bottom front pocket when I am on a trip.
Originally Posted by guydickins
I have no Tristar, but in my Western Flyer I use the front pockets close to how guydickens and jeffmac described them. I pack bulky items into the main two compartments. I use a combination of bundles and packing cubes to maximize the usefulness of space for the trip I am taking. I put "flattish" items into the front pockets. Flat could be a book, my 3d cube an OP with smaller items or something similarly low profile. The bottom pocket I find useful for travel papers, receipts or vouchers, keys, snacks, and freshening accessories like wet naps, hair bands, lip balm, even travel socks, etc. If I have a last minute item too bulky for the slit pockets, I utilize the water bottle pocket because in most instances I put my water bottle into my day bag or purse anyway.
I have an eBags TLS Weekender that has a very organized front pocket section, but I prefer th design of my Western Flyer because with the use of OP I can customize the space to what I need to carry. I find in my Weekender there are a lot of wasted slots and pockets that don't make sense for what I am bringing. They add weight, and diminish true interior dimensions/usefulness in most applications for me.