Hi all TB lovers!
I've been lurking for a couple months, and I'm very glad to say that after a very long and protracted wait, my Navy/Iberian Aeronaut have been united!
Over the past couple of years, I have spent a lot of time working in the US. At the peak of my current project, I was flying down 4 weeks out of every 5, but the more normal travel rate has been 1 or 2 weeks a month. Typically flights down are on little CRJ200's where everyone gate checks their rollaboard carry on. I've been generally fine with the whole routine of it with a cheap but reliable London Fog rolling luggage for most of these week-long short haul trips, but I know that rolling luggage just isn't going to cut it for all of the fun places my wife and I like to travel on vacation. We are thinking of India/Nepal or South Africa this year for our 5-year anniversary.
Last year we flew down to Columbia and Peru in part to hike up to Machu Picchu, and even though they weren't going to hit the trail with us (weight limit on the trail, so the bags and some stuff stayed at our hotel), we packed our rather large backpacking packs (me an Osprey Aether 75, her a Gregory Diva 60 or 65). These bags got misrouted in Lima and we quite nearly didn't have any of our clothes before the hike began; thankfully they were delivered to our hotel later the next day. My cousin and his wife who were on the trip with us were not so lucky with their checked bag, and had to buy new boots and some new clothes to wear for the next three days at nearly 15000 feet. After that experience, I can really see the appeal of keeping baggage close at hand and packing as light as one can, even for a Frequent Flyer such as myself with priority baggage handling.
So anyway... I had ordered an Aeronaut and packing cubes towards the end of May - as well as some competitors bags for comparison - and sent them to my hotel in North Carolina like I do many of my online purchases as I had two business trips planned for June. Well, Murphy's Law being what it is, just days away from project go-live we uncover a rather interesting bug which delays launch and cancels the trip. "Ok, I've still got the other trip in a couple of weeks" I thought. Wrong again! Stakeholders on that project couldn't get organized for the week we had planned, so that one is pushed back as well. Well now I'm in trouble; some of what I had ordered needed to be returned within 30 days if I didn't want it, and no way was I going to hold on to an extra $500 worth of bags I didn't want. Solution: 13-hour road trip!!
My wife had never been down to Charlotte and I had always wanted to take her to where I had spent half a year, so this past weekend we hopped in my little MINI and booted it 1250 km each way, with a couple 3 hour long stops in tax-free Pennsylvania outlet malls to break up some of the monotony. Word to the wise: that's a long haul in three days as the only driver. But, I did finally get to rendezvous with my Aeronaut! Really quite a lovely bag; I can see the appeal, the thought, and the quality work that's gone into this bag. Here are a couple of pictures. Such lovely colours!
P6152507-20130615 by everythingsablur, on Flickr
P6152505-20130615 by everythingsablur, on Flickr
I think I'll give it a go next week on my flight back down into the US to give it a real run through. I intend to write a full review on the bag as well for my blog. I'm so far liking the bag and TB so much that I've even placed another order for some more accessories (travel tray, 3D clear organizer cube, key straps, organizer wallet, etc.), and am looking at/fighting myself over a Co-Pilot, Synapse, and wondering how I can get my wife to let me buy her a new travel bag too!! TBAS... Terrible... ;)