I love my Aeronaut but it's too much for a short trip, so I recently gave in to my craving and got a Western Flyer. I was hoping for some new WF fabric/color offerings but just could not hold off any longer. The Aubergine/Steel WF arrived in time for my short 3-day business trip this week. Just got home and want to share some photos (taken before I unpacked) and impressions.
First, photos...starting with the WF still packed with stuff after my trip. It was my only bag and I was very grateful since the flight back was completely full. I boarded late and had to squeeze into a middle seat but the WF slipped easily under the seat before me. Very nice. Could have been my imagination, but I felt a few envious glances casted at the WF : )
I got the rolling handle version of the WF and used the large left back pocket for a file folder with receipts and the few documents I picked up during my trip (I try to be paperless as much as possible). In the right smaller pocket, I slipped my iPhone for easy access. Once boarded, I slip my iPhone into my jacket's pocket before sliding the WF under the seat before me.
In the large back compartment is an Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Packing Folder 18 with all my clothes (except for the outfit and coat that I was wearing). This includes my PJs, one slack, 2 Icebreaker wool long-sleeved shirts, 1 light jacket, 1 corduroy long-sleeve shirt, socks and underthings. By the way, notice the non-TB luggage tag? I'm still waiting to purchase some TB tags (hint!).
In the front, divided compartment, I stored on the left a Clear Quarter Packing Cube with non-fluid toiletries on one side and, on the other side, a night light and various cords to recharge my electronics. On top of the CQPC is a 3D Clear Organizer Cube with fluids, attached to an o-ring with a 16-inch key strap. Using the strap, I pulled out the 3DCOC and placed on top of the WF when going through Airport Security. I squeezed in an apple left over from lunch in case I needed a snack during the flight. In the right compartment, I placed my iPad Air in Cork sleeve, a water bottle, and a Side Effect that served as my purse and contained 2 Clear Organizer Wallets (one for credit cards and IDs, and one for business cards and trip receipts), and various Organizer Pouches to store money, coins, cosmetics, medication and cough drops.
In the front of the WF, I put in the lower left pocket my keys (attached to a key chain, of course) and various wet wipes and cleaning cloths. In the top left pocket, I attach to the o-ring using a Utility Strap, a neoprene case containing my sunglasses (I wish TB would make a glasses case!), a small Clear Organizer Pouch with a cleaning cloth and Bluetooth phone earpiece, and my most cherished small Cork Organizer Pouch with a Verizon Hotspot device. In the right front pocket is a small Padded Organizer Pouch with my iPod and noise canceling earbuds.
And the BEST thing about my new Western Flyer? I scored one with the old "Portable Culture" slogan on the label! I tried to post a photo of the label but have exceeded my 5-photo limit.
Now, impressions... Gorgeous as would be expected from a TB bag. Aubergine is one of my favorite TB colors... if only the Aubergine/Wasabi combo was offered (sigh). The Absolute Shoulder Strap is a must since I do not have the backpack straps. Fully packed, the WF was slightly heavy but not uncomfortable to carry and I did not regret not getting the backpack straps. The main reason I did not is that I will most likely use this WF for business trips and do not envision using the backpack straps. The two (3 if you use the front dividers) compartments and pockets (front and back) are well designed and I was able to put them all to good use. I could have easily packed more into the WF, but think any more and I would really want the backpack version. In all, I'm very happy with this purchase and look forward to toting it around on all future business or other short-term trips.
My only regret, which has nothing to do with the Western Flyer, was that I left my Travel Tray at home and packed what I usually have in there into one side of the Clear Quarter Packing Cube. I had forgotten that the TT does double duty in my hotel room to store my keys, earrings, and other knick knacks that I usually have on me. So I had those things just spread out on one of the cabinets and really, really missed the TT. It's amazing how quickly I got used to having one with me on travels and will definitely bring it next time. Hmm... maybe I need to get a second tray for the Western Flyer : )