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Thread: Can't choose between the Aeronaut and Tri-Star. Any advice?

  1. #16
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawksi View Post
    I bought an Aeronaut in navy blue, with the red (i.e. "iberian") interior!

    I also bought the "Absolute Strap", a "packing cube backpack" in purple, as well as a smaller packing cube.

    I thought about buying another small packing cube, but I'm just going to dump stuff into that section like I normally would. Heck, I may never use those cubes. I'm really not sure.
    I have the same colour combination and it looks pretty great! You can see a lot of photos of it on my Flickr set.

    I got the fabric end cube (for shoes), the regular end cube (for clothes, other crap), and two large packing cubes. I've only really made use of one of the large packing cubes; the other I'm still not sure about. Maybe I should have gone with two smaller cubes, or a PCBP. I'm sure I'll make use of it at some point, but at least it points to just how flexible the Aeronaut can be depending on your packing style and how long you want to pack for.


    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    So here is a dissenting opinion.

    I recently sold my Aeronaut because I never used it. Much depends on how you pack.

    The Aeronaut packs things on top of one another in a large compartment, while the TS packs things in their own compartment. Things are much easier find in a TS.

    I use a packing cube in the back compartment. The middle compartment hold an Eagle Creek folder , a size 4 brain cell with the chargers and other wiring in a small EC packing tube on one side of the brain cell with another packing tube on the other side with my "dry" toiletries.

    The front compartment holds the things I want on a plane - Blackberry Playbook, paperback, magazine and what-not. The other side holds a second pair of shoes (assuming I can't live without a second pair)

    The three front compartments are packed as follows - the bottom compartment holds my headphones and a spare cell phone charger. The middle compartment holds my wallet and ID when going through security. The top compartment is empty and holds my watch, keys, change, phones and other stuff in my pockets when I go through security.

    After security, I re-stow my wallet and ID and wait until I get to the gate to put the rest of the stuff into my pockets.
    Different strokes for different folks! At least we all have options. I found organizationally the Aeronaut would work better for me by virtue of having the large main compartment. My packing lists vary wildly depending on destination, purpose of travel, duration, and what I might be lugging back, so trying to jig things around between three fixed size compartments would be a different challenge, on top of being lower in volume off the bat. Still, the TS is superior to the Aeronaut if you are looking for that segmented organization. As a business traveler, I think the TS would have been a better option for my business travel (MUCH easier to get at my laptop), but overall if I were to just have one bag, the Aeronaut suits me better.

    But hey, that's just me! If I had the money, I'd have both and use them for different purposes. Maybe I'll buy the TS under the guise of getting my wife a new travel bag...
    Own: Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Iberian), Aeronaut 30 (Steel/Ultraviolet), Night Flight (Coyote/Steel), Guide's Pack (Steel), Synapse 19 (Olive/Steel), Daylight (Navy), Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack (Wasabi), Founder's Briefcase (Black), Pilot (Steel 400d/Steel), Co-Pilot (Black/Iberian), Side Effect (Black/Ultraviolet), Travel Tray (Iberian), various cubes, pouches, sacks, and straps

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  2. #17
    ceb
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post
    I have the same colour combination and it looks pretty great! You can see a lot of photos of it on my Flickr set.

    I got the fabric end cube (for shoes), the regular end cube (for clothes, other crap), and two large packing cubes. I've only really made use of one of the large packing cubes; the other I'm still not sure about. Maybe I should have gone with two smaller cubes, or a PCBP. I'm sure I'll make use of it at some point, but at least it points to just how flexible the Aeronaut can be depending on your packing style and how long you want to pack for.




    Different strokes for different folks! At least we all have options. I found organizationally the Aeronaut would work better for me by virtue of having the large main compartment. My packing lists vary wildly depending on destination, purpose of travel, duration, and what I might be lugging back, so trying to jig things around between three fixed size compartments would be a different challenge, on top of being lower in volume off the bat. Still, the TS is superior to the Aeronaut if you are looking for that segmented organization. As a business traveler, I think the TS would have been a better option for my business travel (MUCH easier to get at my laptop), but overall if I were to just have one bag, the Aeronaut suits me better.

    But hey, that's just me! If I had the money, I'd have both and use them for different purposes. Maybe I'll buy the TS under the guise of getting my wife a new travel bag...
    Correct. I'm sure the OP will be very happy with the Aeronaut. It is a lovely bag but the TS just fit better for me.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    So here is a dissenting opinion.

    I recently sold my Aeronaut because I never used it. Much depends on how you pack.

    The Aeronaut packs things on top of one another in a large compartment, while the TS packs things in their own compartment. Things are much easier find in a TS.

    I use a packing cube in the back compartment. The middle compartment hold an Eagle Creek folder , a size 4 brain cell with the chargers and other wiring in a small EC packing tube on one side of the brain cell with another packing tube on the other side with my "dry" toiletries.

    The front compartment holds the things I want on a plane - Blackberry Playbook, paperback, magazine and what-not. The other side holds a second pair of shoes (assuming I can't live without a second pair)

    The three front compartments are packed as follows - the bottom compartment holds my headphones and a spare cell phone charger. The middle compartment holds my wallet and ID when going through security. The top compartment is empty and holds my watch, keys, change, phones and other stuff in my pockets when I go through security.

    After security, I re-stow my wallet and ID and wait until I get to the gate to put the rest of the stuff into my pockets.
    Actually, I think you're absolutely right. I thought that the TS was much more organised, and those 3 external front pockets look amazing. Also, the Aeronaut requires that you tip the bag onto its back and pack your stuff in the main compartment from bottom to top. However, whenever you carry the bag using the handle or shoulder strapthe things that you packed horizontally will become vertical. That means if the bag is half full, my perfectly folded clothes will just tip over and slosh around inside unless I use the internal compression straps, and this is true even if the bag sat in a car. It almost forces you to buy a packing cube! Touché, Tom Bihn.



    Ideally, I think I'd rather have the Tri-Star first, and buy the Aeronaut later. However, I can only afford one bag right now, and the Aeronaut seems more flexible. Perhaps I'll get the Aeronaut now, and the Western Flyer later. Not sure if I'll need to.

    The other alternative was to get the Tri-Star now, and the Aeronaut later, assuming I still have the money.
    Last edited by Nawksi; 07-05-2013 at 01:23 AM.

  4. #19
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    I have both a Tristar (in ballistic nylon) and and Aeronaut (Dyneema).

    I bought the Tristar first and absolutely love it. It is, indeed, perfect for business travel and its organization helped me get to the point where I don't HAVE to have its organization anymore (does that make sense?). I can pack for an 8 day trip in it but it looks like a barrel at that point.

    I got the Aeronaut because I had an 11 day trip that I bounced around too much to be able to do laundry. It performed brilliantly, but I felt like a needed a second bag for electronics. Like Frank, that went inside the Aeronaut until I got on the plane.

    Shoes are always the limiting factor for me. If I can get by with one extra pair (90% of my situation) I generally choose the Tristar.

  5. #20
    JLE
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    My first TB bag was a TS and my first real use of it was an 8 day (leisure) trip to Hong Kong and Japan. The organisation is fantastic and like others in this thread I find it works just as well for leisure travel as for business. But now my husband seems to have it on permanent loan...

    I also have a Western Flyer and an Aeronaut. I find the Aeronaut best for car trips (I always seem to use its full capacity and then it is too heavy for a comfortable carry for me). The WF is my favourite bag of the three (but can be a challenge for me to use as my main bag on longer trips). The WF has the organisational approach of the TS in a slimmer format that is much more comfortable for me to carry, and for some reason I find it holds its shape better than the TS when it's fully packed.

    I'm travelling at the moment and I am using the WF as my carry on bag (I have the rolling luggage sleeve version). I've also got a small check-in rolling suitcase with me (only a fraction over carry on size), and the WF complements it perfectly (the TS would be overkill for me on this trip). It's a particularly versatile bag. But they all are!

    If you had to pick one to buy first (trust me, it won't be your last!), I'd agree with the others that a BN Aeronaut is the best choice. It is the most flexible of the three bags.

  6. #21
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    To the OP:

    Based on your list, I'd say the Tri-Star is actually a bit too small. I love my Tri-Star, but it always seems to force me to leave stuff out. This is what I most recently packed for a three-day wedding trip:

    three t-shirts
    one pair long casual pants
    one pair shorts
    four sets of underwear + socks
    rolled up belt
    one pair dress shoes
    one softshell compressible rain jacket (lifesaver, because it rained two out of the three days)
    toiletries
    two smartphones, with chargers, headphones, stand, and an game controller
    one tiny TP-Link WR703N pocket wireless router
    keys, flat documents
    NO laptop or tablet

    one Eagle Creek 18" folder containing:

    one suit jacket
    one suit trouser
    three dress shirts (multiple family meals at nice restaurants)
    two ties

    That was pretty much all I could fit in the bag. The front flat pockets were pretty much useless because the clothes behind them made the bag bulge too much. All the loose items got dumped in the water bottle section, shifting around loose in there.

    The weight was just about right--not too heavy with the backpack straps for carry. Add a laptop and then it gets too heavy. I'm about your size. No back problems either.

    It's just that I haven't figured out a way to fit more than a four-day trip into the Tri-Star, assuming that there will be no laundry facilities and that most of the clothes will not be worn twice.

    The Aeronaut can definitely handle more than four days. It is also supremely modular, so if you carry bulky items, it's a much better fit for you than the Tri-Star.

    Again, I'll say that I made my choice and chose the Tri-Star, even though I am advising you to go with the Aeronaut. The words that jumped out at me were "1-2 week vacations," "Macbook Air 11," "camera," and "water. You'll really appreciate the extra room that the Aeronaut offers.

    And if you find that it's just half-full and unwieldy or imbalanced, your idea to use compression straps can be used to tie the bag down into a more compact shape is spot on.

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    Thanks for the great reply! I'm glad I chose the Aeronaut.

    It's so surprising to me that you can't fit enough stuff in your TS. It's 33 litres!! If I were to try and pack my shirts, shorts, and camera into a 33 litre suitcase, I'm sure it would fit! I suppose the suit doesn't help. I have almost never travelled with a suit.

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    Me too! I see these photos of other Tom Bihn customers packing waaaaaay more stuff into their bags, and yet, my TS gets full and bulges with what seems like a fairly small load...

    I think the suit and the dress shoes were the problem. I fold and pack very efficiently, but those items can't be compressed much. That's where an Aeronaut would be a better fit for me.

    Congrats on the Aeronaut choice--you made the right decision!

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    Just got the bag an hour ago!! The outer material is amazing!! I thought you TB fanatics were just exaggerating about how good the material feels. Actually, I thought it was going to feel like Cordura, but now Cordura just looks and feels cheap. :P


    And.......I got free zipper pulls and pocket pouch. Bonus!!!


    I know they're not expensive freebies, but dayam......they sure made my day.

  10. #25
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawksi View Post
    Just got the bag an hour ago!! The outer material is amazing!! I thought you TB fanatics were just exaggerating about how good the material feels. Actually, I thought it was going to feel like Cordura, but now Cordura just looks and feels cheap. :P


    And.......I got free zipper pulls and pocket pouch. Bonus!!!


    I know they're not expensive freebies, but dayam......they sure made my day.
    Congrats and welcome to the club! I really do love the colour of the Navy and especially the Iberian. Such a classy, vibrant red.

    Hold on to those zipper pulls. I have not swapped my zipper hardware out for them, but after a few trips with my Aeronaut, I'm starting to consider it. The zippers jingle so much walking around that I feel like a cowboy wearing riding spurs! Still, I'm not a fan of removing the zipper hardware (which is much easier to lock and secure than pulls), so I might get some nice heat shrink tubing and make "silencers" myself.
    Own: Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Iberian), Aeronaut 30 (Steel/Ultraviolet), Night Flight (Coyote/Steel), Guide's Pack (Steel), Synapse 19 (Olive/Steel), Daylight (Navy), Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack (Wasabi), Founder's Briefcase (Black), Pilot (Steel 400d/Steel), Co-Pilot (Black/Iberian), Side Effect (Black/Ultraviolet), Travel Tray (Iberian), various cubes, pouches, sacks, and straps

    Want: EVERYTHING.

  11. #26
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    I have both bags and use both frequently.

    The problems with the TS is the forced organization and the ability to store bulky items. Fleece jackets take an entire compartment, and I don't want to carry the jacket on a hot summer day.

    However, the organization is great if you're one bagging with a laptop and you know things fit.

    Ultimately, the AN is the better all-rounder. The TS is a specialty bag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post

    Hold on to those zipper pulls. I have not swapped my zipper hardware out for them, but after a few trips with my Aeronaut, I'm starting to consider it. The zippers jingle so much walking around that I feel like a cowboy wearing riding spurs!
    Yup, that's the first thing I noticed when I picked up the bag. I have already attached two zipper pulls directly onto the metal zipper tab. I didn't cut them off.

    I haven't attached all of them because I wasn't sure if I should buy different colour cordso that they're easier to see. Black cords don't work well against the black zipper!!

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    My post concerns laundry while traveling, a sometimes difficult project the the un-initiated. Here's the drill. Take a super-thin camping towel and powdered soap or those "leaves" for laundry. Pack quick-dry clothing and UW, a hanger with skirt/pants clips and a plastic tube hanger. Wash clothes in room sink, squeeze dry, don't wring or you will promote wrinkling. Wrap items in the camp towel and place on your bath mat to keep the camp towel clean. Stand on the just-laundered items wrapped in the camp towel, walk all over the item you want to dry. Hang up your fresh laundry and it will dry overnight, even in jungle humidity. Hang the camp towel, it will rapidly dry.

    I've done my laundry like this for years and years, literally hundreds of times. When in Asia, where laundry ladies are everywhere, stay 2-3 nights so you can give employment to locals and not have to wash every night.

  14. #29
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    You can also use bar soap you take for body and hair for laundry also...like Dr. Bonners or others...

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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post
    The zippers jingle so much walking around that I feel like a cowboy wearing riding spurs! Still, I'm not a fan of removing the zipper hardware (which is much easier to lock and secure than pulls), so I might get some nice heat shrink tubing and make "silencers" myself.
    What I did to silence the zipper pulls without cutting them off is to thread the nylon pulls through the pull tab so that they go through each end of the zipper pull. I've done it with the original Tom Bihn pulls as well as with 6" lengths of paracord (you can buy this at Home Depot now!)

    If you use the stock TB pulls as ordered from this site, run one end of the nylon "rope" through the bottom hole of the metal pull (a tight fit) and pull it through halfway.

    Then, run the two free ends up and through the upper hole in the metal pull, so that they cross each other in the hole. Then, cap the two loose ends with the TB pull cap. It is a bit short, but it'll work.

    If you use 6" of paracord, you can actually double-up the paracord by folding the paracord in half, then running that through the bottom hole, then running the two loose ends through the loop in the paracord through the top hole, and capping that off with the TB caps.

    What that does is make the pull nice and fat and super-quiet.

    The other benefit to all this, learned the hard way, is that the pulls don't get caught on things and yanked off (thank you to Tom's crew for sending me a replacement pull gratis!)

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