A Week in London with the A45 and Pilot
Just back from a week in London with my new A45/Pilot combination. Thought I'd write up some impressions and that you'd enjoy this photo of the bags stacked up in the cabin of the Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train between Glasgow and London.
The Aeronaut 45
The A45 was a star. Honestly, I was really surprised that it was as comfortable to wear as it was and that I didn't even come close to overpacking it. I carried:
- Pair of dress shoes
- Three shirts
- Two T-Shirts
- Underwear (in the TLSS)
- Eagle Creek quarter packing cube with misc items
- Size 2 Travel Stuff Sack as my wash bag
I mostly wore the A45 in backpack mode and was delighted at how un-bulky it was when moving through the London Underground. It wasn't obtrusive at all. The way it rode on my back, there was a section of the bag that sat above my shoulders. Initially, this gave it a bit of a "Ghostbusters Proton Pack" feel but I quickly got used to it.
My only serious functional complaint about the A45 is that the compression straps were a bit too short overall. Secondly, the fact that the "socket" end (or short end) of the compression straps are so short meant that the process of packing the bag always pulled the straps down into the bag, requiring a dig-around for them.
This is my newest TB bag and I was delighted with it. As I've said before, the Pilot isn't big enough for my EDC to and from school (that's the S25) but it does a great job as a travel tech bag. In particular, it was a great bag for these kind of active days where you're in and out your bag twenty times a day while moving around - a mode of use very unlike a day's work at school.
Here's my packing list:
- 13" MacBook Air in Cache (the vertical one from my S25)
- iPad Air 2
- Size 1 TSS with iPad charger
- Small dyneema pouch with MacBook adapter
- Small dyneema pouch with medical kit
- Size 2 TSS with charging cables
- Medium Double Organiser Pouch with Apple adapters
My first thoughts on the Pilot are really bullet point observations:
- The front side pockets are cavernous. I was able to roll a fleece vest or scarf and pack it right in there easily.
- The rear pocket is not as big as I had anticipated, particularly when the 13" MBA+Cache is in there. I didn't really carry anything in the back compartment except the laptop, iPad and a few cables.
- The overall size was very pleasant. It discouraged over-packing and never got in the way when I had to stow it somewhere.
- I think, in future, I'll think very carefully about taking the MacBook Air or not. I imagine the Pilot to be a much more adaptable bag when the rear section isn't rammed full.
- The Absolute Shoulder Strap is quite fantastic and does a good job of keeping the bag in place when wearing it messenger-style with the bag against your back.
- I kind of wish that the front two pockets could accept an iPad Air, rather than just a mini. I think what I'm really saying is I want a Pilot that's just 2-3 inches bigger in each dimension.
The Pilot has already become my "weekend EDC". For now, I'm still transferring things between the Synapse 25 and the Pilot as needed but I'm planning to rebalance them a little so that I have a duplicate kit of some of the basics (e.g. medical kit, pens and a couple of cables) in each bag.
Terrific post! Thanks for the photo and great reviews!
@fraserspeirs, I suspect that overall the Pilot will be more to your liking in terms of size and capacity, but I just wanted to point out that the Daylight Briefcase will hold both your 13" MacBook Air and carry an iPad Air in the front diagonally zippered pocket. Take a look at @milpool's pictures in the
Originally Posted by fraserspeirs
Tri-Star and DLBCase thread (post #2 has the picture with the iPad Air). Both the Pilot and the Daylight briefcase were designed as small briefcases that could also fit into other luggage bags! such as the Tri-Star, with the daylight briefcase being the minimalist version (where you could even roll up the empty bag). Allowing space for a centrally placed water bottle compartment is what reduces the size of the two side front compartments. There are more pictures and links to other threads that describe the Daylight Briefcase in @milpool's thread. I have both the Daylight Briefcase and the Pilit, and I use these two bags in different ways. (I also have a Tri-Star as well as both Aeronauts).
Thanks, @moriond. I had not appreciated that the DLBC front pocket was big enough for the Air. I had assumed it was only sized for the iPad mini.
I agree that, overall, the Pilot will be a great bag for general size and capacity. As we know, it's important to "get used to" a bag.