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Thread: My new Aeronaut in Nordic

  1. #1
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    My new Aeronaut in Nordic

    After field-testing 4 different Osprey hiking backpacks from REI for an upcoming backpacking trip in Europe (their return policy LOVES me), I discovered Tom Bihn through a blog on travel bags. Immediately, I was hooked and was up into the wee hours for the following 2 nights on TomBihn.com, this forum, and other Bihn-related web pages. The following day at 10am I drove to REI, returned my latest iteration of the perfect europe-trekking bag (A green Osprey Kestrel 38 at the time) and drove up to the Tom Bihn factory/showroom in South Seattle. This is what came back with me-

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    This is an absolutely killer bag. I spent about an hour on the showroom sweating and pacing about like a rabid monkey; whether I wanted the Ballistic Nylon (Even more rugged and thick than I was imagining) or the lighter-weight Dyneema.



    The interesting part about visiting the showroom was that sometimes, they have items that are literally right off the press OR special items that aren't even listed on the website. For instance, they had a few aeronaut packing cube backpacks that were constructed from the heavier 400 denier Dyneema fabric as opposed to the thinner and lighter 200d that they normally make and sell on the website. This was a very tempting addition (as I'm still on the market for a semi-rugged daypack to go along with the adventures) but I knew that self-control had to be in peak mode before even walking into this place.

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    Back to the bag: I was almost set on walking right out and waiting for backorder on a Navy Ballistic Aeronaut, but despite the assurance of the exceptionally chill(at least compared to me at that moment) and helpful guy running the showroom that my bag would be produced on-time, I opted for the Dyneema. The biggest selling point for me was weight - I'm going to be carrying this thing around on my back for 2 months and am not really expecting it to take too much abuse as it will serve the majority of it's time in transport, getting me from city to city. The second reason was that the colors on this bag are really cool. The Nordic looks better in person. The ballistic nylon is incredible though, it's so thick that it really felt more 'padded' - and that it would protect the items inside from some serious jolts and bumps, simply by it's nature.

    I really like the spacious design. The interior removable straps are a nice touch as well. The only part I'm unsure about is the configuration of the side pockets. When the bag is in 'backpack mode', the zippered-end pocket is on the top and the unzippered pocket is on bottom, potentially allowing items in that particular pocket to fall out of the bag.

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    Granted, this pocket was never designed to be really secure, but it should be a useful pocketin all 3 configurations that this bag can be carried in, nonetheless. I'd like to see these pockets reversed so that the zippered pocket is on the bottom of the bag, keeping my papers, gummy bears, and piroshki's safe Possibly with some more weight in the bag, the pressure might compress the open pocket to the point of securing some non-essential papers and other flat items in there, but this pocket would be much more useful if there was at least an o-ring or some type of securing point within the pocket itself to attach a carabiner or some TB straps. Another idea would be to tactfully integrate some strong magnets into the ends of this pocket so that with a little force of the hand, you can access the inner contents of the pocket. Then, after removing your hand, the fabric snaps back together leaving some lightweight items totally secure in that pocket.

    Overall, I'm excited to be giving this bag a good run by living out of it for a couple of months - There was always an unsettling feeling about the idea of a traditional hiking bag for such a versatile trip where I will be in a lot of urban places. Despite having lived with several different options for a few months, the mesh exterior pockets and extraneous straps are really something I don't want to deal with on this journey. I think Tom Bihn has cured my indecisive quest for the perfect carry-on backpacking Europe bag; I can lock most of the zippers, it's cool-looking, tough, secure, and more spacious than anything else out there.

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    Thanks Dr. Bihn!

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  2. #2
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Very nice pictures. Thanks for posting them again. I am glad that this particular Bag is not longer availble. After these pictures I might have bought a nordic one even so I have a perfectly beautyfull aubergine one. And I DO NOT NEED TWO Aeronouts (just shouting at myself do not worry).

    On thought about this side pocket you are writing about: I hate magnets as bag-shutter. You have to be carfull with your debit-carts, they are never as secure as one hopes and sometimes the "collect" unwanted objects. That said: I totally think a O-Ring would be nice in there but as this bag gives so many good options to secure thinks I see that pocket as a magazine-pocket and am fine with it. You could (if need be) clip long keystrap to on of the sidepocked zippers and but an attached pouch in that open side pocket. You would have to leave that zipper in the upper corner of the sidepocket but I see no harm in that. And on the go you could even connect both zippers and have a safety for pickpockets.

    Have fun in Europe and if time allows write about your experience and how the bag holds up.

  3. #3
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    I took some photos of what I mean:

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    Hope this gives some ideas.

    Ilkyway

    Sorry for the quality its just a phone that took the pictures.

  4. #4
    Registered User kkintea's Avatar
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    Neat idea! Will have to try on my next trip. I also talked myself out of the Nordic Aeronaut for the very same reason (I have Steel Dyneema).


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    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Oh how I would love to pull up my car into the parking slot of this place!!!!! I have to visit America in my lifetime just to visit Tom Bihn.

  6. #6
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    vivelly lets meet there.

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    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivelly View Post
    Oh how I would love to pull up my car into the parking slot of this place!!!!! I have to visit America in my lifetime just to visit Tom Bihn.
    If all the items I wanted were available without a chance of being on backorder, I would to go to Seattle just for TB bag shopping!

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    On our recent trip to Italy, I packed a Synapse 25 in the bottom of my Aeronaut and proved to be a great day bag on the trip. So I recommend the Synapse 25 for a day bag solution

  9. #9
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    vivelly lets meet there.
    Great idea Ilkyway! :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leena View Post
    On our recent trip to Italy, I packed a Synapse 25 in the bottom of my Aeronaut and proved to be a great day bag on the trip. So I recommend the Synapse 25 for a day bag solution
    I have been admiring the Synapse 25 as an EDC for school and carrying some mobile everyday items but thought that even the dyneema would sacrifice to much space in the Aeronaut for other stuff. How much space does it actually take up? Considering the Synapse 19 as a daypack as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kollarc View Post
    I have been admiring the Synapse 25 as an EDC for school and carrying some mobile everyday items but thought that even the dyneema would sacrifice to much space in the Aeronaut for other stuff. How much space does it actually take up? Considering the Synapse 19 as a daypack as well.
    It packed pretty flat into the bottom and really didn't take much space. Mine is dyneema as well. I had tried a smart alec (not dyneema) and I thought it took too much space. It worked out really well.

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    I have a small hunch about the placement of the pockets, but will need current owners to chime in as I'm not an Aeronaut owner.
    Question for Aeronaut owners who use it in backpack mode: do you guys sit down with the backpack on? And how do you usually set it down after taking it off? And what do you usually put in the zippered pocket? Would you still put it in the zippered pocket knowing it might have to bear the weight of the bag?

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    Registered User Hollie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eWalker View Post
    If all the items I wanted were available without a chance of being on backorder, I would to go to Seattle just for TB bag shopping!

    Yeah, it's dangerous living 27 minutes from the Tom Bihn store. Ask me how I know.
    Seriously, like, so much Nordic Dyneema I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. They will bury me in it. "Where's Mom's urn? WHERE DID YOU GUYS PUT THE SYNAPSE 19 WITH MOM'S ASHES?"

  14. #14
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Oh Hollie...!!! How do you cope??!!
    Hollie likes this.

  15. #15
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollie View Post
    Yeah, it's dangerous living 27 minutes from the Tom Bihn store. Ask me how I know.
    You are the lucky one!

    For every $15 I invest (I see as investment! ) in TB products, I am punished with $10 in taxes!

    That hurts!!

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