2 Aeronauts, 1 Synapse 25, misc other TB items go to Italy
Obviously there are a ton of reviews on the Aeronaut so this will be no surprise. This was my husband and I's first 'light packing' trip and it was quite pleasant.
We didn't check bags on our way to Italy which means we avoided the notorious long baggage claim waits in Rome. I had a purse and my Aeronaut and my husband just had his Aeronaut. The Synapse 25 was packed into my Aeronaut. For the flight to Italy, I had packed a packing cube shoulder bag with all our in flight necessities and put it in the end of the Aeronaut. Shortly before boarding the plane, I pulled the PCSB out of the Aeronaut and we stowed the 2 Aeronauts in the smaller of the overhead bins.
Overall, the Aeronauts were comfortable to wear and carry. When we joined our tour group a few days after being in Rome, most of them had rolling bags and they were obviously difficult to carry among the various stairs we encountered and uneven pavement.
I loved the PCSB because not only did we use it as our airplane bag but after getting out of heavy pickpocket territory (Rome, Naples, although I only noticed pickpockets in Naples), I used the PCSB as my carry bag because it was lighter than my purse.
I used a small double organizer pouch as my wallet which was perfect for having euro coins in the front and euro bills in the back. I used a keystrap to attach it to either my purse or PCSB. I used a clear organizer wallet for credit cards and bank card, which were rarely used. It was also keystrapped to my purse or PCSB. I used a small clear organizer pouch for misc small items that I kept in my purse or PCSB.
We used 2 clear quarter packing cubes for 2 different purposes. 1 CQPC was used as a toiletry/medicine kit. One side had our basic toiletries and the other side had non-daily toiletries and medicine related items. The other CQPC became our picnic/food item kit. One side had various bars (Lara, Mojo, Ernest) and the other side had 2 collapsible bowls, 2 sporks and napkins. For our lunches, we mostly picked up food from the local grocery stores and had a picnic lunch. We found some great spots but my 2 favorite spots were Palatine Hill in Rome and a courtyard in the town of Revello that overlooked the Amalfi coast.
We used a small stuff sack for our laundry related items as we did our own laundry minus 1 visit to a laundromat. We used a 3d mesh organizer cube for our various cables/plugs. I used a 3d fabric organizer cube for my feminine products. We used a 3d clear organizer cube for our liquids but then transferred them to the CQPC with our toiletries after our initial flight. We did use the empty 3d clear organizer cube for other things though like carrying our bars when we weren't planning a picnic lunch.
For packing cubes, my husband used Eaglecreek spectre packing cubes and I used small aeronaut cubes. The aeronaut fabric end pocket cube was great for our spare shoes. I also used 1 regular end pocket cube and 2 small aeronaut cubes. I think both brands did well, I think I like the Tom Bihn packing cubes slightly better. I will say that I returned the large aeronaut packing cube and the aeronaut packing cube backpack because I thought they were too big. I like the smaller packing cubes and the packing cube shoulder bag much better.
I think where the packing cubes really shined was not only helping us stay organized as we moved from hotel to hotel and allowed us to pack up quickly but on the trip home, we took a ton of stuff back. We had bottles of wine, pasta, spices and lots of various trinkets. As we packed everything the night before our flight, everything fit fine into the 2 aeronauts. My husband had the Synapse 25 which only had our jackets in it. I did end up redistributing the weight a bit but I was surprised how well the aeronauts held not only everything we took but all our souvenirs.
We did end up checking the 2 aeronauts and both of them endured the journey without a mark. The only thing below either of our feet on the plane was the PCSB with our airplane items and a small purse I had purchased on the trip. The Synapse 25 was in the overhead bin with some of our more breakable/valuable souvenirs.
Overall, I was pretty impressed and look forward to future trips with our new bags.