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Thread: Need recommendation for carry-on bag

  1. #1
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    Need recommendation for carry-on bag

    Hi folks!

    I'm a recent owner of a Brain Bag, which I am quite happy with. I purchased this bag in particular because I often travel with two laptops - one business and one personal - and this is the only bag I've ever found that is designed to do that.

    I have been striving to pack lighter and lighter as I travel more. I'd like to replace my rollaboard with something lighter and more agile, so I've been researching carry-on bags. Since I'll have my Brain Bag as well, I don't really need backpack straps, since I only have one back

    I am a CPAP user, so I need to carry my device with me whenever I travel. Between that and my two laptops, I've already got quite a bit of equipment to haul around. My trips are usually M-F (4 nights), so I can get by without a lot of clothing. I'm tall, clothes are L-XL. Here's what I pack (not including what I wear):

    - Two laptops, notepad, magazine, phone, etc (Brain Bag, goes under the seat)

    - CPAP machine (and humidifier if I'm travelling to an arid location)
    - Running shoes, shorts, t-shirt
    - 2 pair slacks
    - 3 dress shirts
    - Belt
    - 4 pair socks (stuffed in shoes)
    - 4 underwear
    - 4 undershirts
    - Sweater in cold weather
    - Toiletries

    So far I've been looking at the Aeronaut and Tri-Star, as well as the other guy's bag (Air Boss). I'd be interested in your recommendations. The CPAP machine and laptops are really killers as far as space and weight. I might reduce to a single computer at some point, and I'm looking for smaller/lighter CPAP options. I'd really love to get down to a single carry-on bag, but I don't know if it's going to be possible?

  2. #2
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    I am going to sound like a broken record but I am going to recommend the Tristar.

    One compartment will fit your business clothes, (I suggest the compartment with straps)

    the other your running equipment and the third your CPAP and humidifier.

    I also recommend the bag in Dyneema to lighten your load.


    I have carried the Tristar along the Synapse 19 both in Dyneema on a very long and tiring trip.

    The Tristar felt very light weight.


    The 3 small front pocket and the water bottle pocket have plenty of room for your toiletry and 3-1-1.

  3. #3
    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Now I wouldn't count out the Tri-Star by any means, but with two laptops plus your CPAP and L & XL clothes, the extra volume of the Aeronaut might be advantageous. As well a sharing your name, I'm also a similar size and if, like me, you can't quite manage to adopt a wardrobe of lightweight travel clothes, you might appreciate the extra space. I love both bags and my Western Flyer, but if I only had one, it would be an Aeronaut, and, probably, my ballistic nylon one at that... luckily I don't have to choose though!

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    Thanks so much for your replies!

    I do prefer the "3 parallel sections" design of the Tri-Star. At 19" long by 13" high, I think it is large enough for my clothing. My shoes would likely have to go in lengthwise. But I am concerned it might not be large enough for the CPAP machine. Do you happen to know how wide the center section is?

    EDIT - I checked the dimensions of the packing cubes to get a rough idea of the compartment sizes on these bags. I think the Tri-Star will be a little too small. Looking at dimensions of my gear, the Aeronaut looks to be the best option. I'd be able to fit my CPAP, humidifier, and a partially filled small packing cube on the bottom, and a large packing cube with my slacks and shirts on top in the main compartment. Nikes, t-shirt, and shorts in one side pocket, underwear and toiletries in the other.

    Now I just need to choose a color My Brain Bag is Steel/Black/Steel, so I'll probably go with the same color on the Aero.
    Last edited by Eric_T; 04-16-2013 at 08:20 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric_T View Post
    Thanks so much for your replies!

    I do prefer the "3 parallel sections" design of the Tri-Star. At 19" long by 13" high, I think it is large enough for my clothing. My shoes would likely have to go in lengthwise. But I am concerned it might not be large enough for the CPAP machine. Do you happen to know how wide the center section is?

    EDIT - I checked the dimensions of the packing cubes to get a rough idea of the compartment sizes on these bags. I think the Tri-Star will be a little too small. Looking at dimensions of my gear, the Aeronaut looks to be the best option. I'd be able to fit my CPAP, humidifier, and a partially filled small packing cube on the bottom, and a large packing cube with my slacks and shirts on top in the main compartment. Nikes, t-shirt, and shorts in one side pocket, underwear and toiletries in the other.

    Now I just need to choose a color My Brain Bag is Steel/Black/Steel, so I'll probably go with the same color on the Aero.

    Sounds like a plan!

    Don't forget to buy accessories like the 3D Clear Quarter Cube for your 3-1-1.

    Key Straps to tether the 3-1-1 and other things.

    I also recommend the Travel Tray.


    Just like you, I have had the Brain Bag for many years and it is great! I just got an Aeronaut and it is also terrific, the side pockets are streamlined, yet very roomy.

    Let us know what color you choose and, if you wish, share pictures of your TB box and its content when it arrives at your abode.

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    I have been holding off on this purchase, since I'm still not completely decided on which bag to get. Now I'm thinking more about the Tri-Star. Are each of the three main compartments the same depth on the Tri-Star? I know the overall depth is 8", but I'd like to know how they are split up, if anyone who owns one can comment.

  7. #7
    ceb
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    I'd say that they are roughly the same. The two outside (front and rear) compartments zip open completely while the center one only opens partially giving the impression that the center compartment is narrower but a fully packed packing cube fits in any of the three compartments.

    What are the dimensions of the CPAP machine?
    Last edited by ceb; 04-29-2013 at 10:57 AM.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

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    Each pocket is 3 inch Deep by 13 Height,

    Now I don't know how that happens with an overall depth of 8 inches but I took the measurements multiple times and each pocket is 3 inches from seam to seam.

    I even thought that the center pocket was smaller, but no, it is 3 inches.


    I have heard of TARDiS qualities in Tom Bihn Bags but it is the first time, I have been mystified by actual numbers probably because it is the first time I have actually measured one of them.

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    Thanks for the replies. I am pretty much set on the Tri-Star. It should be big enough to hold my clothing, running shoes, toiletries, and my CPAP machine and accessories. That can go in the overhead, then I can use my Brain Bag to carry my computers and put that under the seat.

    My next task will be to get down to one computer...I got a drive caddy to replace the DVD drive on my work machine, and I'll install Windows 8 on it and dual boot for personal use. We'll see how that works. If I can do that, then I'll have to get a Zephyr or something to replace the Brain Bag. It's a slippery slope...

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    Well, I just ordered my Steel/Iberian Tri-Star, along with the shoulder strap, a medium and small packing cube, and a couple of organizer pouches. The medium packing cube is on backorder, so I will have to wait a few weeks. Can't wait to try this stuff out on my next trip!

    Thanks for all of your suggestions and advice!
    earth5 likes this.

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    Just a followup on my situation...

    I received my Tri-Star yesterday. It's a great-looking bag, and I love the design. It looks a bit smaller than I had expected. I ordered it in ballistic nylon because I wanted durability, but after seeing the 200d Dyneema they use on the interior of this bag, I wouldn't have any reservation about using the 400d stuff for the exterior. It appears to be pretty darned tough.

    I did a test-pack of my gear, and while the Tri-Star can adequately hold my clothing and toiletries for a 4-night business trip, there's not enough room to fit in my CPAP machine too. If I didn't need CPAP therapy and travelled with a single lightweight laptop or a tablet, I think I could make it work as a one-bagger.

    I'm kind of bummed that I couldn't make things work with this bag - it was close, but it's just a little bit too small for me. So, I'm exchanging it for an Aeronaut (in Steel Dyneema), which I think will be large enough to hold everything comfortably, probably with room to spare. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  12. #12
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    Eric,

    I love the Tri-Star. It was perfect for my wife and I for an overnight trip last weekend. However, it would be way too big for an overnight for just me by a factor of about 3! At the same time for a four night trip for one person, it would be great. For longer, too small. I don't carry a CPAP, so I need less space than you, I assume, but an Aeronaut will probably be perfect for you. To me, the Aeronaut is the one bag to have! It can carry a ton of stuff, but looks just as great only one third full. This makes it the best all-rounder!

    Eric (another one!)
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  13. #13
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    Eric,

    I have the Aeronaut and I love it. The Tri-Star looks like a great bag too but as you found it out it probably isn't as good as the Aeronaut when it comes to raw space. I like carrying my Aeronaut backpack style when traveling but I normally just use it for leisure travel so I'm not wrinkling a suit or anything. Hopefully you will enjoy the Aeronaut.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the feedback Eric and pretzelb!

    I think the Aeronaut will be large enough for just about anything I need, and should also be flexible enough to use in other travel situations. My work dress is business casual, so I don't need to worry about suits, and I buy the wrinkle-free/traveler variations of most of my work attire (even when I don't have to travel I prefer those, they always look freshly pressed). Still, I am hanging on to the Tri-Star until the Aeronaut arrives so I can do a side-by-side comparison, and then I'll decide which one to send back!

    I am starting to see why some of you have so many bags, because I'm already thinking to myself that if I had the budget for it, I'd keep both bags. And get an Empire Builder. And a Zephyr for when I want to carry a lighter load. And that Smart Alec looks really cool too...


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