Yet another Tri Star Review
I took my Tri Star on a short business trip to Cameroon recently consisting of 1 night in Europe and 4 nights in Cameroon, plus 6 flights between 5 and 9 hours each. I have lightweight travel clothes that look professional enough for my job so I didn't have to take fancy work clothes. Everything I took could be rinsed out and was dry within 12 or 36 hours. I didn't know exactly where we would be spending the nights so I had to bring some extras like mosquito netting, power bars, and plastic trash bags. The Tri Star worked very well for what I needed.
Here's what I packed in the Tri Star:
Front 3 pouches:
- Maps, some extra currency/coins, pens
Front Compartment (with zippered divider in place)
- Smaller side perfectly fits a toiletries kit I bought previously
- Larger side held 15 power bars in a plastic grocery bag, sunglasses, a box of mosquito wipes, and a small pouch with electrical adapters, an ethernet cable, usb cables, iphone cable, and a clothes line made of surgical tubing.
- Lightweight rain jacket stuffed into its storage sack
- Mosquito net (had to be prepared for the worst!)
- Large Totes Umbrella (not sure why I took this)
- Netbook sized laptop and charger
- TSA 1L ziplock with liquids (completely full)
- Medium sized pouch with iPhone, Blackberry, noise canceling headphones, pen (I pull this out when I get on the plane and put it in the seat back pouch before I stow the bag overhead).
- Passport folio with passport, paper airline tickets (yes, they do still exist), frequent flier cards, pen, extra passport photos
- Large packing cube with 1 pair of pants, 2 shirts, hat, 3 socks, 2 underwear, belt, some extra ziplock bags, a kitchen sized trash bag in case I needed to cover the bag in rain, and a soft plastic sink stopper
- 2 manila file folders with work materials and trip receipts (about 1 cm thick)
Backpack Strap Compartment:
- 6 magazines that I read and discarded on the first 2 flights. You might be able to use this compartment for other flat items like a pair of sandals or snacks you plan to consume during the trip.
A few observations:
- The front and back compartments are designed to bulge both outward and inward as they are filled, so that there is less space in the center compartment. I felt this helped cushion my laptop and didn't feel the laptop needed any special protection.
- The custom Tri Star large packing cube can hold about two changes of clothing (2 lightweight pants, 1 polo shirt, 1 button down shirt, 2 socks, and 2 underwear). If you wear large size clothing you may get less in, and if you are petite you might be able to get a little more in. This resulted in a packing cube that was quite full and bulged quite a bit into the center compartment when placed in the back compartment.
- The 3 front pouches are best used for flat items like maps when the front compartment is full. Bulging became very noticeable even when I put something small like my Blackberry in the front middle zippered pouch.
- The water bottle pouch likewise works best when the front compartment is not full. I like that the bag has the internal flexibility to accommodate different packing needs, but just be aware that when you fully fill one compartment or pouch you will lose space from an adjacent compartment. I had the bag loosely filled and carefully packed to minimize wasted space -- it was not stuffed.