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  • 4 Post By cllapham
  • 1 Post By Pocketz
  • 1 Post By monkeylady
  • 1 Post By Pocketz

Thread: Tri-Star advantages

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Thumbs up Tri-Star advantages

    After months of dreaming of a Tom Bihn backpack suitcase -- and hours of agonizing over which size to buy -- I finally bought a Tri-Star in September for a two-week business trip to Europe that included a weekend trip to Stuttgart for Volksfest. I was concerned my 21" rolling suitcase might not fit carry-on requirements for Europe, so that justified buying the Tri-Star. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

    My bag arrived early -- two days before I left for my trip -- so I had time to pack and repack several times. My requirements were for something that would work as a clothing carry-on with enough clothing for 7 days of business meetings, plus casual clothing for the weekend trip and travel days. And on the weekend, I would be leaving business clothing behind at my UK hotel, but carrying all my electronics in the Tri-Star. I was concerned about weight, since I'm a middle-aged 5'5" woman. Fully packed the bag was between 17 and 20 pounds.

    Everything worked well and I returned from the trip with only one shirt that I didn't wear and a lot of good exercise from carrying my world on my back. What I had not considered was that I had undergone 3 months of physical therapy for a frozen shoulder early in 2013, and perhaps carrying a 20 pound backpack would aggravate that. It did, but it was managable as long as I wore both shoulder straps, not carrying it by the handles or with the shoulder strap.

    I traveled with 2 or 3 bags (a small purse, an Eagle Creek travel gateway tote as my laptop bag, and the Tri-Star). I flew through all of the airline check-ins without any complaints about my carry-on sizes or numbers. An unexpected bonus was that since I carried my luggage on from the UK, I was able to use Houston's new One-Stop immigration/customs line, where there were only 6 people ahead of me instead of 600. I'm not sure I'll take this with me on every trip, but I will whenever I plan European side trips on small planes.

    Overall, a great bag. Worth the price, but packing takes thought.

  2. #2
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Great trip report, cllapham!

    I typically just travel with a Western Flyer, but I will likely need to use a Tri-Star for my upcoming 2-week trip to Europe. I'm in the throes of marathon training, and even with some flexibility, I will need to carry two sets of running gear with me that includes planning for VERY cold weather and even some rain or snow (eek! What's that? The only "snow" I'm familiar with comes in a cone!). I was testing out traveling with just the Western Flyer but I would invariably wind up needing to pack a Packing Cube Backpack separately as well, so I think going with a Tri-Star for dual/triple-purpose trips is a really good idea.

    And I know what you mean about the weight; I'm only 5;2"! I will look like the Galapagos totoise, but as long as I can carry the bag and it fits in the carryon luggage sizer I'll be happy. This time I even bought our own little portable luggage scale so we can test the weight of the bags without taking them to the post office (where you can weigh down to the fraction of an ounce at their self-service machines).

    My only druther would be if the new black Dyneema Tri-Star would be ready before our trip. Alas, I don't think it'll be ready in time. Poop!
    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

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Beau's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums, cllapham! Glad to hear that the Tri-Star worked out well for you on your trip and that you got a chance to hit up Volksfest in Stuttgart-- I'm sure that was a bunch of fun. Any pictures?

  4. #4
    Registered User Pocketz's Avatar
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    I just did a full review on the Tri-Star and I love the bag. One thing I will say, which is alluded to in this thread, is packing can be a challenge for longer trips - especially if you're tall and not well under 6' like the previous posters. The organization is great for business travel but you pay a price in carry capacity. Of course, the obvious solution is to roll with the larger and more open Aeronaut so thank goodness Tom Bihn makes different size options.

    Anyway, I thought I would chime in with that. I had read many reviews that claimed you could pack for long business trips using the Tri-Star and I supposed you could with a lot of laundering on the road but it also realistically depends on the size of clothes you wear and whether the season requires multiple layers.

  5. #5
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Being "well upholstered, tall, AND with big feet (size 11), it is helpful to me to hear your perspective on packing larger, longer clothes in the Tristar. I have been eying it for some time, mulling over a purchase. It doesn't sound like the bag of choice for someone like me. My primary use would be for multiple destinations for shortish periods of time. Frankly, I don't want to give a lot of thought to repacking on the road. So I await the Aeronaut Junior....if ever it gets produced.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  6. #6
    Registered User Pocketz's Avatar
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    If you don't like spending a lot of time thinking about how you're going to pack and occasionally just want to throw things in a bag then you might want to skip waiting on the Junior and go for the full size Aeronaut. It's not THAT much larger than the Tri-Star. Plus, the one advantage we larger than average sized humans have is that we can carry large bags and get away with it because proportionally they don't seem that large to us and we don't look ridiculous carrying them.

  7. #7
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    monkeylady, I feel your pain. I wear a women's 12. I took a Tristar to Uganda a couple years ago, but I'd probably opt for an Aeronaut when I can.

  8. #8
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    I blew past a size 12 a looong time ago; I had thought about getting a TriStar but am glad I chose the Aeronaut instead. And @Pocketz is right in that being larger, bigger bags don't look so big on us after all.

  9. #9
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukediver View Post
    And @Pocketz is right in that being larger, bigger bags don't look so big on us after all.
    On a recent trip, my 5'2" 90lb grad student had her legitimately-sized roll-aboard carry-on confiscated and checked while my 5'10" colleague's over-packed roll-aboard was spared.

  10. #10
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Go figure.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  11. #11
    Registered User Pocketz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbot View Post
    On a recent trip, my 5'2" 90lb grad student had her legitimately-sized roll-aboard carry-on confiscated and checked while my 5'10" colleague's over-packed roll-aboard was spared.
    Tall people also live in the "bubble".
    Last edited by Pocketz; 11-13-2013 at 04:38 PM.

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