I'm interested in buying my first Tom Bihn bag.
While I was walking around Shinjuku in Tokyo during a sunny winter afternoon, trying to kill time before heading to Narita airport to fly home, one of the wheels on my 15 year old, 2-wheeled Samsonite suitcase broke. I had to hand carry 22 kg for ~3-4 hours. In quirky American units, that translates into 50 lbs. I consider myself a fit person, but that's impossible to carry for a long time. Anyway, I have decided to replace my old Samsonites. It's time to go modern.
I replaced my large suitcase with an older version of the [B]Crumpler Dry Red No. 4[ /B] that I was thrilled to find! It's perfect because it's medium-sized and only has 2 wheels (i.e. not a "spinner"). I will use it if I'm packing for winter trips and need more capacity!
Now, I want a wheel-free carry-on. I'm looking to replace my 52x35x23 cm suitcase with either a Tri-Star or Aeronaut. The Aeronaut would hold an extra 15 litres (~33%), and the Tri-Star has the same carrying capacity as my suitcase.
My travel needs: I'm not a frequent traveller anymore, but I do travel enough that I want good luggage. I'm 33 years old, pretty fit, 5'10", no back problems, and my clothes will be size S or M. I'll be using this bag for some infrequent 2-3 day trips, but I'm more concerned about those 1-2 week vacations in warmer climates.
I'm going on a 2 week vacation soon. I'm generally a light packer, but for this trip, I'll need to carry:
- 8 small/medium t-shirts
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 4 x socks
- 7 x underpants
- personal hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair product, deodorant)
- an extra pair of shoes (work shoes or runners)
- a spare backpack or bag
- some documents
Things I could stuff into my spare extra backpack and carry onboard separately:
- 11.6" Macbook Air
- iPad Mini
- a camera (Fuji X100 or X-Pro 1, no additional lenses)
- cables and chargers
I may also choose to bring an additional "proper" backpack (my favourite: Osprey Raptor 14) or man-bag ("murse"), but I suppose I could learn to live with one of those TB packing cube backpacks, or the Crumpler Squid (sorry Tom Bihn!).
The Tri-Star: The 33 litre capacity is perfect.
One of the big advantages of the Tri-star is that it's the size I want. If I don't want to hobble around with a massive bag on my shoulder unless I need the space! Sure, the Aeronaut is light weight, but its size and shape means that it'll be the most annoying to shoulder-carry, even if it's only half full. Also, the Tri-Star's 4 organizing pockets on the front look incredibly useful. The bag looks beautiful.
The disadvantage is the 3 narrower compartments, and how I'll need to pack to make it work. Do I just shove clothes into the laptop compartment to utilise the full 33 litres?
The Aeronaut: It's the perfect "too-big" travel bag. I really want to love it. For most risks, it'll usually be way too large for me, but it's not rigid, and offers flexibility if my needs change. Not everything in this world is thin and flat, which means the Tri-Star is only perfect if you carry clothes, laptops, books, documents, and random pizza boxes.
And what about things like camping? The Aeronaut would be perfect. The Tri-Star would be weird.
However, I have a problem that's more mental than physical. I'm a bit of a bag nut, and I really like the idea of getting bags that I believe are the most suitable for the task. The Aeronaut will be too large, and it bothers me that it's not ~35 litres. :O
What do you think? I'm actually leaning towards the Aeronaut (and maybe some external compression straps to keep this beast in check), but sometimes I feel like I should get the Tri-Star because that's the one I was originally eyeballing.
Any wise words?