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Thread: Shortlisted to a Western Flyer or Tri-Star (or other...)

  1. #1
    Registered User MartiBlank's Avatar
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    Shortlisted to a Western Flyer or Tri-Star (or other...)

    Basically I'm looking to find a bag to replace my current hard-shell wheeled carry-on (IIRC it's an Antler Revelation) which has no methods of organisation beyond the compression straps in one half and the full panel mesh zip in the other half.

    The case generally holds;
    - Camera gear (Micro 4/3, and not a lot of it, so not really space hungry)
    - Change of clothes if it's long haul (jeans*/shorts/jogging pants & T-Shirt) *I wear the jeans to board
    - Perhaps a pair of shoes/trainers (UK 10)
    - Sennheiser N/C headphones
    - iPad (on rare occasions 13" MacBook Pro)
    - Kindle & a magazine or two
    - Bottle of water
    - General travel bits (doc's, antihistamines, gum, pens, etc)
    - Maxpedition Jumbo (I transfer things I'll want in-flight from the case into it and keep it under-seat)

    ...and anything (if anything) I might pick up in Duty Free.

    I know it sounds very disorganised, but we all start somewhere

    I'm not looking, at the minute, to go as far as One-Bagging it, so I'm thinking that perhaps the Aeronaut would be a bit large for my needs. So what would the recommendation be between the Western Flyer or Tri-Star? Or should I plan for the future and look straight for the Aeronaut?

    Thanks
    Pui

  2. #2
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Hi Pui!

    When you say you aren't quite ready to one-bag it yet, tell me what you have in mind. Do you want to travel with just carry-ons, or do you want to take a maximum-sized carryon plus a check-in?

    I used to travel with a Tri-Star but I've now migrated to a Western Flyer pretty permanently. The trick for me has been to use a second, smaller carryon (what the airlines call a "personal item") for those things that don't fit in the Western Flyer. Depending on how much extra stuff I have, that could either be a Packing Cube Backpack or Packing Cube Shoulder Bag--both of which, should I wind up tossing some belongings during the trip, I can incorporate as organizers in the Western Flyer.

    The Maxpedition Jumbo looks pretty rad but how much will it hold? Unless you are strongly married to the slingbag style strap, you might consider the Co-Pilot (if not the PCBP/PCSB) for under the seat. Co-Pilots make great bags for holding camera gear. A combo like that, and you should theoretically be able to go with a Western Flyer. But then, I travel pretty lightly these days.
    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

  3. #3
    Registered User MartiBlank's Avatar
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    I'm probably going to sound confusing and contradict myself here.

    Well I don't currently envisage going without any checked luggage. But with my current carry-on case (i'm loathe to call it that) I'd struggle to use it for anything more than an overnight bag. It really is that space unfriendly.

    I think I'm looking at more of a max/near-max sized and organisable carry on that could perhaps be used to one-bag for a weekend away and work as an under-seat carry on for long haul holidays.

    The Maxpedition Jumbo becomes my EDC when I arrive at my destination. If I, for example, bought a Tri-Star, the Jumbo would probably get packed into mine or my other halves checked luggage. It only gets used as my personal carry on because it works for what it does really (ie. holds my wallet, phone, iPad, headphones, passport etc. and fits under the seat for easy access).

    I've steered away from the Co-Pilot as it really doesn't seem to make financial sense (potentially an extra $70 on top of the TB price) to buy and ship one to the UK by the time taxes and courier fees are added.

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    I'm partial to the WF. It's all I've used for months (I mean one-bag only for up to 5 nights of business or 10 nights vacation). I would consider it as an under seat bag. I wear a size 12 US, and have given up the stress of overhead bin space. The WF, either ridiculously over-stuff, or politely filled has sat under the seat in front of me on 757, 737, CRJ200 and yes even the ERJ145! The WF also offers the option of getting the slip pocket on the back, rather than the back-straps, to create more ease of use when dealing with multiple pieces of luggage. IMHO the tough ballistic exterior, the multiple carry options, and the subtle organization would make it a good choice. Keep in mind, with any Tom Bihn bag, the use of organizer pouches and key straps to keep all your stuff connected is a great feature when going through security or in flight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    I used to travel with a Tri-Star but I've now migrated to a Western Flyer pretty permanently.
    Why did you abandon the Tri-Star permanently as opposed to decide on the bag depending on trips requirements since you have them both?

    I have a WF and actually thinking of getting a tri-star to give me some flexibility when that extra compartment might be useful. I usuallly travel with a suit in my WF and laptop too so can get really crowded for international trips longer than two days.

  6. #6
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matsui View Post
    Why did you abandon the Tri-Star permanently as opposed to decide on the bag depending on trips requirements since you have them both?
    - The Tri-Star is really way too big for the way I pack now. And I'm like a lot of people... if there's space in the bag, it'll get filled! So it's better to carry a smaller bag.

    - I'm pretty petite (only 5' 2.5" -- yes, at that height, half an inch counts!), and I've lost quite a bit of weight in the past year so now when I carry a full Tri-Star, it's as big as I am.

    - One of the benefits to losing a lot of weight is that my clothes don't take up as much space as they used to (I wear smaller sizes). Things I never even thought about, like how elastic waistbands actually take up more space when packing, than fitted pants, or how an underwire bra is less flexible than an unwired one (the latter of which I can now easily cram into a stuff sack).

    Primarily, I find the Tri-Star is bigger than what I need. It's still a fantastic bag, and it's the main travel bag my husband uses. He's 6 feet tall, so his carrying a full Tri-Star still looks OK.

    The middle compartment on the Tri-Star is definitely handy. It's what I'd consider "pristine space" so you can easily stash a laptop there or a suit. And if you aren't carrying as much, you can leave that middle compartment empty, and the bag naturally compresses down to where it looks slimmer.
    Last edited by Lani; 03-21-2013 at 03:22 PM.
    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

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    FWIW here's a shot of my WF and size 12 US Vans on a 767.
    Name:  WF_767_seat.JPG
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    Darcy and JonP like this.

  8. #8
    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    -

    - I'm pretty petite (only 5' 2.5" -- yes, at that height, half an inch counts!), .
    .
    I'm sure you're both pretty and petite, but I'm worried about you. You were 5' 3" a couple of months ago on your blog... at this rate, by next Christmas there could be nothing left of you and that would never do! LOL

  9. #9
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    OK I lied. The 5'3" was with shoes.
    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

  10. #10
    Registered User MartiBlank's Avatar
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    Just had a big "doh" moment when I was about to pull the trigger on an order only for it to dawn on me at the last moment that it's a bank holiday weekend so there's no cushion for delivery given there's now only 3 working days (Wed, Thurs, Tues) before I go away in a weeks time

    Damn my procrastinating and indecision!

  11. #11
    Registered User PaulT00's Avatar
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    It's annoying when that happens. There are so many options to consider that it's easy to do. There again, Easter always seems particularly bad for bank holiday delays because everything shuts down for days, and of course Easter Sunday is the one day in the year when more or less everything is closed - in the UK, at least. Easter always seems to me worse in that respect than Christmas. However, hopefully you will be able to place the order on your return and be tooled up for the next trip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MartiBlank View Post
    Just had a big "doh" moment when I was about to pull the trigger on an order only for it to dawn on me at the last moment that it's a bank holiday weekend so there's no cushion for delivery given there's now only 3 working days (Wed, Thurs, Tues) before I go away in a weeks time

    Damn my procrastinating and indecision!
    So what bag and configuration of accessories did you settle for?

  13. #13
    Registered User MartiBlank's Avatar
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    I think (see what more time does for my decision making. ) I've settled for a Tri-Star in either Steel or Navy with Iberian lining, or Cardinal/Steel.

    Accessories, I'm not so sure about. I already have a couple of Eagle Creek Cubes and Pack-It Folders and they're easy enough to pick up in the UK, so unless there is some huge advantage to the TB ones, I'll probably not bother. Absolute strap too, I might just get the Op/Tech version from Amazon.

    Any other accessories maybe worth considering?

    After my long weekend away, I'm definitely ready to get a new bag. It's not so much the roller-case that frustrated me. It's a hard-shell case so the lack of any external pockets was a real pain for security as I had to plan ahead to make sure I had my iPad, and camera at Schipol, (first time I've ever had to do that) ready in hand to send through in their own security boxes. And if I wanted anything out, it meant laying the bag flat on the floor as it had to be unzipped fully to get at it without getting your hand stuck or spilling the contents on the floor.

    I almost bought a Victorinox Standard Brief EXP from Schipol. It's a really nice bag, but there was just a couple of little irks that put me off. The gusseted opening being the main one, as i meant you couldn't open it fully. I considered whether I'd be willing to cut them out at one point :lol:

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartiBlank View Post
    Accessories, I'm not so sure about. I already have a couple of Eagle Creek Cubes and Pack-It Folders and they're easy enough to pick up in the UK, so unless there is some huge advantage to the TB ones, I'll probably not bother. Absolute strap too, I might just get the Op/Tech version from Amazon.

    Any other accessories maybe worth considering?
    The nice thing about the TB accessory items is many are custom for the bag. With my Aeronaut I know that packing my cubes will fill the center section nicely. But I could probably get by with off the shelf cubes or none at all.

    I am fond of the travel tray. I used to have one from Red Oxx that my wife took over. I really like having the tray in a hotel for my keys and wallet and such so I don't end up losing something. I bought a the bright yellow so I could also see it in the dark of a hotel room.

    I would advise you consider the various pouches. I am very fond of the smaller ones. I use these for club cards or business cards that I need or pick up on the trip. I will also use the wallet pouch to store some extra money in case I lose my personal wallet. I have used the medium pouch for receipts or change that I pick up when shopping on a trip. I think the TB pouches are worth considering since they work with the o-rings and aren't something you find in most stores.

    I really like the 3D Clear Organizer Cube. I use it for my 311 bag. I forced myself to use this on travel and it really helps me pack light and not have a ton of junk in the hotel bathroom on trips. I used to use it daily when I went to the gym too.

    Oh, and I find the small Guardian light very useful on trips. I usually rise before my wife so it allows me to get ready without having to turn on a light. I also jog in early mornings and it can be useful in areas I don't know.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  15. #15
    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    I recently added a cardinal/steel Western Flyer to my TB collection and I just love the Cardinal! Though I like steel in all three fabrics too.

    Accessories for your new Tri-Star. An absolute must is an Absolute Strap! Then the Back Pack Packing Cube and or Packing Cube Shoulder Bag are great. If not then the ordinary packing cubes are far from ordinary! The fact that they fit the bags makes packing a breeze! All the Organiser Pockets are always handy, but it's always difficult to know what to buy - I've accumulated about two dozen different sizes and styles over the last three years as every time order something, I always end up adding another one two!


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