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Thread: Aeronaut, Tri-Star or Western Flyer? Advice needed...

  1. #1
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    Aeronaut, Tri-Star or Western Flyer? Advice needed...

    Hi folks!

    So I have an old-ish Tom Bihn travel/gym/duffle bag (I think from back when he had his store in Santa Cruz, tho' perhaps more recent); in fact, I have 2 of them - 1 Medium sized, 1 Large. Here's one of them:

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    These are fine bags for road trips, where I don't need to carry the bag around much. But I have found they are not that ideal for flights, use with laptops, etc. They are rather floppy, and have no real internal structure.

    So, I was looking at the Aeronaut, Tri-Star or Western Flyer as a replacement. I don't fly too much, and when I do it's usually long-distance backpacking trips to Europe or elsewhere, and when I do that, I pack everything up in my old Lowe Alpine internal frame pack (easier to carry things that way), and carry my everyday stuff plus laptop in my Brain Bag.

    Although I don't absolutely NEED a bag for carry-on-only travel, it would be nice to have one (or two :-) ).

    Which of the above 3 bags would you recommend for:

    1. A weekend trip (with laptop, both casual and nice clothes, and exercise clothes, plus toiletries and electronic gear)?

    2. A 1-week trip with the above

    3. A 2-week trip with the above?

    I'm guessing both 2 and 3 would be the Aeronaut, true? How about the Tri-Star?

    The Western Flyer seems rather small for anything more than a quick 1- or 2-day business trip. What do you folks think?

    - Tim
    Last edited by tbessie; 10-17-2012 at 11:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    Without knowing exactly what you're taking and how much, it's hard to suggest one bag over another. I

    However, if you're used to the duffel bags, and the Lowe Alpine one, you might find it easier and more familiar to pack the Aeronaut. .
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  3. #3
    JLE
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    I agree with Frank II that it's hard to make a recommendation.

    FWIW I own and love all three bags and this has been my experience: The TS is great for a 1 week trip with minimal/no washing and on that basis would also be fine for a two week trip with washing en route. It has the advantage of the third compartment which is perfect for laptop and electronics. The WF, which is my favourite of the three as it happens, is fantastic but because of its size it tends to push you towards a second bag to take in-flight essentials, electronics etc (I prefer to travel with a second, personal bag, so this suits me). It comfortably accommodates my needs for a 2-5 day trip though. The Aeronaut easily accommodates my packing for a 1 or 2 week trip but doesn't really offer an intuitive place to pack a laptop (so I guess it goes in the main compartment). It will more readily accommodate running shoes etc, though, if that is an essential for you, because of its flexible, large main compartment.

    If you were only buying one bag I'd say go for the Aeronaut or maybe the TriStar. If you were buying two bags I'd say the WF plus the Aeronaut gives a good spread of functionality.

    Good luck with the decision!

  4. #4
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    Thanks folks! I'm actually thinking of getting both an Aeronaut AND a TriStar. I think the Western Flyer might be a little too small for my needs on most trips. Deciding if I want to spend $1000 on a bunch of new travel gear that I won't use THAT often... :-)

    - Tim

  5. #5
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    Wow, I like the color combo on that vintage bag!

  6. #6
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    Kind of looks like the inspiration for the Aeronaut to me?

    I am also cheap for anything with Purple in it.

  7. #7
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    And with your choice of Aeronaut or Tristar now comes the choice of original or new lightweight versions.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    And with your choice of Aeronaut or Tristar now comes the choice of original or new lightweight versions.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.
    Well, I ended up just ordering the Aeronaut (Black/Iberian, though I think Black/Steel would show less dirt - I'm being flashy (for me) this time 'round :-) ) and associated packing cubes n' such. The lightweight versions are spiffy, but as mentioned elsewhere, flashy/stripey luggage isn't my style - give me dark, solid colors any day. :-)

    I was thinking how the TriStar is much more oriented towards the Grab n' Go style of travel, more businessy stuff, and most of my travel is pleasure trips; I'd be bringing my Brain Bag or Ristretto with me as well, most likely, so having the TriStar with its laptop compartment would be unnecessary most of the time.

    Also, I just packed up my old Tom Bihn duffle (the smaller of the two - the above one is the bigger one), and it's slightly bulging, so I figured I pack more than the TriStar could easily take a lot of the time. If I ever get a job where I need to fly from place to place frequently for short trips, the TriStar might be in my future.

    Still, Tom Bihn Acquisition Syndrome is strong, and it took all my guile and cunning to convince myself not to get it. :-)

    Here's my current duffle and Ristretto for this weekend's trip, with my foot and a bicycle wheel for scale. :-)

    - Tim


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    Last edited by tbessie; 10-19-2012 at 11:05 AM.


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