Trip Report: Aeronaut and Brain Bag
Over the festive season, I took 2 trips, one overseas to San Francisco (hang baggage only) and one to my home town (by car). I got the chance to use the Aeronaut and Brain Bag on these trips.
3 days before Christmas, I stuffed everything but the kitchen sink into my Aeronaut and set off for the local airport. During my transfer at LHR, I tested the various carrying options: absolute strap, top handle, backpack straps, and found myself reverting to the backpack straps (usually just one) most of the time. In fact, the Absolute strap got in the way a little bit as I negotiated tight aircraft aisles, tending to wrap itself around armrests if left to its own devices :). No problem fitting it into the overhead bins on either the local Aer Lingus connection, or the TATL BA flight. In fact, it looked quite wee beside the monstrous wheeled atrocity my seat-mate somehow managed to squeeze up there.
At SFO, I negotiated customs, and sailed through baggage claim for the first time, and then straight out to a waiting cab with only the 65 degree weather making me uncomfortable (I'd dressed that morning in about 35 degrees).
I then bought far too much at REI and Safeway, but luckily an order from TB for a Brain Bag plus accoutrements had arrived at my sister's place, so a small reorg was necessary. The various packing cubes and sacks I'd bought made this much easier, and once the BB was stuffed with a 17" laptop (in Cache), my flight pack, several packs of Montauk cookies and a bag of Twizzlers, I just had to figure out how to carry it all. The Brain Bag went on my back first, and then I used the Aeronaut by Absolute strap, but at the airport, I reverted to Aeronaut on my back and just carrying the BB. If I could figure out a way to get the Absolute strap onto my BB without damaging either, I'd nearly swap just to have options on the BB, but for short walks, the Aeronaut on my back, and the BB by one backpack strap was just fine. Security was simplicity, laptop out in Cache (I don't think I took it out of the Cache at any security line at all), plastic baggie of liquids, everything else was already stowed in a Stuff Sack.
All in all, apart from the entanglement potential of the Absolute strap and my own inherent weakness at packing lightly, I would call this trip an unqualified success. I had no problems during the long transfer at LHR on either side, and sailed through all sorts of queuing and long walking times. A breeze, really. I just had to learn to say no to the extra fleece (especially when it's 65 degrees!).