Shop Tom Bihn
1-800-729-9607
emailus@tombihn.com
Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
Like Tree4Likes

Thread: Middle Compartment Tri-Star--what else besides a laptop?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    7

    Middle Compartment Tri-Star--what else besides a laptop?

    I'm waffling between a Tri-Star and an Aeronaut for a 3 week leisure trip to China. The Aeronaut just seems too big and I fear it will lead to overpacking and be too heavy for me. And I like the Tri-Star's organization better and ability to hold contents in place without everything in packing cubes. That said, I don't need a Tri-Star for my laptop or business. I don't travel for business. My husband and I share a netback; he usually carries it in his pack.

    Sooo...what to do with the middle compartment? Does it open up fully like the front and back sections or do you have to access it more like a compartment of a traditional briefcase. Is there enough room for a couple pairs of shoes and some sundry items (toiletries, laundry stuff, or knitting (haven't checked if knitting needles are allowed)? How wide is it? Or would stuffing other things beside a laptop create bulge into the other compartments.

    Interested in hearing if others use the bag without a laptop and how you've utilized the middle compartment.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    31
    I rarely use my Tri-Star with a laptop. That's what the Buzz or Super Ego are for!

    The middle compartment does not open fully; the zippers go about 3 or 4 inches down the sides. I often use the middle compartment to hold an 18" Eagle Creek Pack-It folder, plus some of my non-liquid toiletries (Electric Toothbrush, comb, etc).

    Sometimes I just fold up a couple of pairs of pants and slip them in there.

    My shoes (male, size 11.5) would not fit well in the middle compartment ... maybe a pair of flip-flops. If you have shoes that are not structured they may fit in there but I find the front compartment a better fit for shoes.

    I definitely agree about the size of the Tri-Star vs the Aeronaut. The Tri-Star is more than big enough for my needs. In fact, I sometimes have to be careful not to over-fill it because even the Tri-Star can get really heavy. I fear that my packing would get out of control with the Aeronaut.
    ~Adam
    ~~~~~~~~
    Bags: Aeronaut, Tri-Star, Super Ego, Buzz, Brain Cell Size 4Z & 6X, {Small Cafe & Synapse - Controlled by Wife!}
    Accessories: Backpack packing cubes (aeronaut, tri-star), Various Packing Cubes, Passport Pouch, Absolute Straps, QAM, Various Other Pouches, Freudian Slip

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    432
    I just took the Tristar to Europe for 8 days and while I did put my laptop in there I also put a Side Effect with my toiletries and a small organizer pouch and a small power strip. The space does flex a bit but you are adding pressure onto the outside pockets if you stuff this section full.

    Having said that, a small and a medium TB packing cube fit in there perfectly and will keep you from over stuffing that section.

  4. #4
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Downeast Maine
    Posts
    894
    HI jeffmac,
    Would it be possible to put two medium packing cubes in the center section without taking up a lot of space in the two larger outside sections? I'm wondering if you use the small and medium cubes because that's what you have available or because that's what fits best.
    Thank you,
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  5. #5
    Registered User blackfungi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    toronto, ontario, canada.
    Posts
    222
    the middle compartment does not zip out like the two outer compartment on the tri star i.e.: 3/4 of the way. it indeed only zips 4 to 5 inches down the side of the bag. maybe you plan to buy some gifts or mementos while traveling for 3 weeks through china? the middle section would be perfect for this. or stuff other clothing items in there.

    there are great photos on the tristar on the tom bihn flickr page too for you to check out.
    aeronaut[black/solar]tristar[black/red iberian]western flyer[black/steel]synapse[black/steel]side effect[black/wasabi]medium cafe bag[black/wasabi]large cafe bag[black/wasabi]shopping bag[steel].

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Boulder, Colorado
    Posts
    182
    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    HI jeffmac,
    Would it be possible to put two medium packing cubes in the center section without taking up a lot of space in the two larger outside sections? I'm wondering if you use the small and medium cubes because that's what you have available or because that's what fits best.
    Thank you,
    Moose
    Moose - A medium packing cube takes up about 2/3 of the space available in the center section, so you'd have to underpack two mediums in order to fit them in side by side. One large or one medium & one small work as the best configurations. (This assumes we're talking about Tri-Star packing cubes, of course.)

    The other consideration is the depth of the cubes once packed and their impact on the outer sections. The dyneema lining is very flexible, so overpacking one section will cause it to bulge into the adjacent section. The center section maxes out at about 3" before the dyneema starts being pushed into the front and rear sections. Packing cubes can be overpacked, and will fit into any of the sections, but the Tri-Star isn't the TARDIS and you have a finite amount of space. I have overpacked my Tri-Star and instead of being a rectangle it has turned into an unlovely shape with lovehandles. As a rule of thumb, I pack any of my cubes to no more than 90% of capacity if I want to keep the bag slender looking.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    The Rome of Texas
    Posts
    186
    I recently took my Tri-Star on a non-laptop trip. In the center section, I carried my toiletries in the 3-1-1 cube, my swimsuit bag, and my iPad. On the way back, I tucked in a few magazines and a poster.

    I agree with Lotuseater-- the Tri-Star is much more beautiful when it's not overpacked.
    I love my Aeronaut, Tri-Star, Western Flyer, Cadet 15 Brain Cell, Imago, Medium Cafe Bag (daily bag), Swift, Side Effect and accessories (snake charmer, packing cubes, stuff sacks, pouches, lights, keystraps, etc.) Eagerly awaiting trays and Canine Citizens! Picture to come soon.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    225
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenne View Post
    I agree with Lotuseater-- the Tri-Star is much more beautiful when it's not overpacked.
    And I agree with you both. Actually, if I don't need to carry a laptop I just leave the center section empty except for my 3D Clear Organizer Cube for (3-1-1), and whatever else I may want to toss in: newspapers (great for those), magazines, etc.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks everyone for your input. I definitely think I'll get the Tri-Star!
    Jenne likes this.

  10. #10
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    743
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input. I definitely think I'll get the Tri-Star!
    Not to mention, the Tri-Star is a very smart-looking bag. Nothing against the Aeronaut, of course, but in my view its utilitarianness far surpasses its looks. The Tri-Star, in my opinion, has both looks and utility. Have a great trip!
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    432
    Susan, another option on the Tristar middle section would be to get one of the large packing cubes. It won't make you be quite as careful about what you pack, but if you did the combination Packing cube backpack you would get one packing cube that should fit in the center section which could also double as a daypack when you got there....

  12. #12
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Downeast Maine
    Posts
    894
    Hi lotuseater,
    Thanks for the information. I REALLY want at Tri-Star. Its next on my list. I've decided on the steel and ultraviolet. I've got an ultraviolet Synapse and love it.
    Happy travels,
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  13. #13
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    2,699
    If I'm carrying my Synapse as a personal item, my laptop usually goes into that bag instead. Then, in the middle section of the Tristar I might pack my Little Swift (mostly empty), along with some other packing cubes (good for separating clothes that need to be washed as the trip progresses). I also might find it useful to take along a large Shop Bag. These are so useful that I keep a small Shop Bag packed in one of the outer side pockets of my Synapse. Some people take along their laptop packed in an Imago or Ristretto in the center section, and use that bag (with or without the laptop) at their destination.

    moriond

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    4
    Bump for this old thread....

    A 13" Macbook unibody in a cache will fit vertically in the center, with room for a small packing cube or a pair of jeans on the side. The mac isn't all that well padded on the bottom that way, and I wouldn't want to try any kind of rough travel, but it works for much of what I do, and the unibody is fairly rugged and resistant to impacts from the side. This leaves room for an eagle creek packer in the back, and a pair of shoes and packing cubes in the front.

    The center section is a little narrower than the front and back, so if you have an ipad, netbook, etc, this is a great place for it.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    551
    I actually have a piece of 1/2 foam that I cut to go into the Tri-Star center section.
    It goes on the bottom and up both sides and is scored where the turns are so that it fits like it is made for it.
    Using this foam I have carried electronics and computers without worrying about the cushioning not there in the compartment otherwise.
    It didn't cost anything and greatly enhances the use of the bag for me.

    Ed
    jeffmac and Walker like this.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0