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  1. #1
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    Advice on laptop/overnight bag

    Hello!

    I'm interested in purchasing my first Tom Bihn bag!

    I currently have a Booq Boa 3 bag which I love, but it looks like I'm going to need some more space.

    I travel frequently to HK/China, but now it looks like I may be living in HK for a couple of months and will be traveling back and forth from China very frequently. And I will be staying overnight 2-3 times a week as well.

    As a result, I'm looking for a bag that can hold my 15" Macbook Pro, mouse, power adapter, and a change of clothes and toiletries. Maybe even shoes and umbrella, and my 32 oz Nalgene would be nice as well.

    I'm thinking Brain Bag or Western Flyer + Brain Cell + Freudian Slip (too bad Brain Bag won't fit 4Z horizontal Brain Cell, I'm not a fan of the vertical orientation Brain Cell but could deal with it), but am open to anything really. I prefer bookbag vs. shoulder style, shoulder bags always kill my shoulder. Maybe I'll throw a Snake Charmer and a couple of accessory pouches as well.

    Would also like it to fit under the seat for flights if possible.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    hi vks3,

    welcome to the forum!

    i think you'll do well for the requirements you describe with both the western flyer and brain bag. in addition to a braincell for your laptop, you may also want to add a packing cube for your clothes and another for the shoes - the packing cubes make it easy to separate these things and also to quickly identify and grab them.

  3. #3
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    The Brain Bag can hold quite a bit. A 15" laptop does take up a bit of room though. The Brain Cell is tough as nails - I wouldn't worry about vertical orientation if protection is worrying you. The Brain Bag also has an external loop and strap to hold a small umbrella.

    I used to bring my Brain Bag on trips very often, but not as much lately. If the Brain Bag is stuffed full, it does fit under the airplane seat in front for middle or large jets, but on small prop planes, it's a very tight fit or not at all. So, the irony is while you can hold a lot, too much may make it difficult to use it everywhere that you want.

    It's a great bag though: I use it everyday for going to work, just not as much for business travel as I used to.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the comments.

    I went ahead to get a Western Flyer, but now I'm having doubts - i'm wondering if I should have gone with the Tri Star....

    Ahhh!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vks3 View Post
    Thanks for all the comments.

    I went ahead to get a Western Flyer, but now I'm having doubts - i'm wondering if I should have gone with the Tri Star....

    Ahhh!
    hi vks3,

    if your western flyer hasn't shipped yet, it may not be too late to have the folks at tom bihn switch your order to the tri-star. is this going to hk/china?

    i know shipping to hk/china must not be inexpensive, but tom bihn does have a friendly return policy. you have sixty days for a return / exchange provided you don't use the bag. you can try it out, see how it fits, and so forth, in the comfort of your home.

    see the faq for more details:

    http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/CTGY/_FAQ

  6. #6
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    FYI: The Tri-Star will ship two weeks or so before before the Western Flyer does.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vks3 View Post
    Thanks for all the comments.

    I went ahead to get a Western Flyer, but now I'm having doubts - i'm wondering if I should have gone with the Tri Star....

    Ahhh!
    I don't have either but one nice thing about having the smaller WF over the Tristar is that if you decided to take two bags you can use the WF as your smaller item. All flights are different but I would think the WF has a decent chance as being counted as a personal carry on, or at least a better one than the Tristar.

    Both are tempting though. I've toyed with the idea of the WF for my daily briefcase. If I didn't have the Aeronaut I might look at the Tristar.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Thanks for everyone's comments.

    I'm returning to USA on Sep 9, and then I'm leaving for China again on Oct. 15. The WF is shipping a little late, but I got 2 day shipping so I assume I'll be OK. I also got a Clear Quarter Packing Cube that is shipping late, but I should be OK there as well if it ships by late Sep. as the website says.

    As I will be moving around on trains, etc. and using it as my laptop bag w/Brain Cell, Freudian Slip, etc. (as well as my overnight bag for the nights I spend in China) visiting various factories, etc., I'm thinking that the Tristar would be a bit large. Would you all agree?

    The reason I'm considering the Tristar as well is because after I get back, it'd be nice to have a good weekend bag if I visit a friend for a weekend trip, etc. I wasn't sure if the WF would be too small for this purpose with a laptop included.

    Any last thoughts?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vks3 View Post
    As I will be moving around on trains, etc. and using it as my laptop bag w/Brain Cell, Freudian Slip, etc. (as well as my overnight bag for the nights I spend in China) visiting various factories, etc., I'm thinking that the Tristar would be a bit large. Would you all agree?
    hi vks3,

    actually, the tri-star very nicely becomes an extension of your back and you forget that it's there. and it isn't that big if you don't stuff it. what i mean is that it has one extra compartment that the western flyer doesn't. you can choose to pack less in it, but you also have more space if you pick up something you want to bring back or occasionally need to carry more.

    either way, you can't go wrong. they are both beautifully made and very functional.

  10. #10
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    Interesting! I did neglect the fact that the size is kind of dictated by how much I put in it. Now I'm really torn....

    What the heck, I'm going to order both and return the one I don't want. :-)

  11. #11
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    Hello vks3,

    Quote Originally Posted by vks3 View Post
    Interesting! I did neglect the fact that the size is kind of dictated by how much I put in it. Now I'm really torn....

    What the heck, I'm going to order both and return the one I don't want. :-)
    Your original post gave quite a range of sizes in going between the Western Flyer (26 liters) to the Brain Bag (36 liters). The Tri-Star size is in between (33 liters). It might help you to look at the following reviews from Practical Hacks and One Bag, One World:


    I have both bags, and I prefer the Tri-Star to the Western Flyer for all-around flexibility, but the Western Flyer may be a more practical choice for you. I also recommend getting the Absolute Strap and packing cubes. If you order a Horizontal Freudian slip, the back pocket of the Western Flyer (where a Brain Cell would clip in) is the obvious place to carry it -- since you can tuck one corner under the corner flaps that protect the regions where the backpack or sling straps connect on the other side. (Take a look at the pictures in the second post of this Tri-Star thread to see what I mean about the corner flaps; there's a similar arrangement for the Western Flyer's back pocket, only on the opposite side of the back compartment, there are the clips for holding a Brain Cell instead of the tie-down straps).

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 09-04-2009 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Added link to picture showing where to secure Horizontal Freudian Slip in Tri-Star or Western Flyer

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vks3 View Post
    Interesting! I did neglect the fact that the size is kind of dictated by how much I put in it. Now I'm really torn....

    What the heck, I'm going to order both and return the one I don't want. :-)
    Careful, you may end up keeping both (not that that's a bad thing!)

    Personally, I'd say that the Western Flyer is the right size as far as China goes, but the TriStar would be the right size as far as the amount of room you'd need, especially since you'd be traveling with a laptop (and its various accoutrements)

  13. #13
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    I have to agree with moriond. I have both the Western Flyer and the Tri-Star. For all around utility, I do prefer the Tri-Star - holds enough for 2-4 days (longer if you are not lazy like me and do some of your own laundry in the sink). I used it for my very first true one bag trip (did not carry a second bag for my laptop) as well as subsequent one bag travel.

    The Western Flyer is fine for an overnight trip. I have used it as a personal item along with another carry-on bag - It easily fits in overheads as well as under seats, even on small regional jets and prop planes. Either bag will serve you well.

  14. #14
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    Hello vks3,

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    I have both bags, and I prefer the Tri-Star to the Western Flyer for all-around flexibility, but the Western Flyer may be a more practical choice for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    Personally, I'd say that the Western Flyer is the right size as far as China goes, but the TriStar would be the right size as far as the amount of room you'd need, especially since you'd be traveling with a laptop (and its various accoutrements)
    Quote Originally Posted by rabergnc View Post
    I have to agree with moriond. I have both the Western Flyer and the Tri-Star. For all around utility, I do prefer the Tri-Star - holds enough for 2-4 days (longer if you are not lazy like me and do some of your own laundry in the sink). I used it for my very first true one bag trip (did not carry a second bag for my laptop) as well as subsequent one bag travel.

    The Western Flyer is fine for an overnight trip. I have used it as a personal item along with another carry-on bag - It easily fits in overheads as well as under seats, even on small regional jets and prop planes. Either bag will serve you well.
    I think all these comments are in agreement. To put the remarks in context, consider also that most international flight luggage allowances are more likely to be restrictive in weight, rather than size. With Western Flyer, the bag is about 2.5 lbs, your 15" MacBook Pro alone is 5.5 lbs, and adding a Brain Cell, cables, and power cords will probably take you up another 1.5-2 lbs. That's 9.5-10 lbs already, where some airlines cap the weight at 15 lbs.

    For maximum flexibility on overnight trips, you might want to use the smaller Western Flyer. From the link to the Tri-Star thread that was used to illustrate the back pocket and corner flaps, you can read that this bag was easily loaded with 22 lbs worth of stuff. The Tri-Star is margninally over the maximum width dimension of the most restrictive airlines: easyJet and Ryanair (55cm x 40cm x 20cm vs. the Tri-Star's 48 x 33 x 20.5cm -- 0.5cm over); the Western Flyer is within all current size limits for international carry-on luggage, and is about 0.9 lbs lighter. While I suspect that even the Tri-Star could match the easyJet and Ryanair size limits if you don't overpack (the specified width is less than a fifth of an inch over their maximum width, and the width will be smaller if the case is not completely filled), you won't be able to stuff much more into the Western Flyer.

    I'll just close by adding to rabergnc's comments about the Tri-Star and mention that I like the center compartment's convenience of use both with a laptop (and without); it's a very flexible design.

    moriond


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