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Thread: New luggage for round-the-world trip

  1. #1
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    Jan 2014
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    New luggage for round-the-world trip

    Hello everyone! As the title suggest, I am looking for new luggage for my wife and my-self for a round-the-world trip. We are going to be gone for 4-6+ months starting in March. So far, we have planned on passing through Asia, SE Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, then through Africa (planning on Morocco, S. Africa, and possibly Kenya). We are looking to pack fairly light and we do not want to check in. I currently have a 10yr+ old Eagle Creek travel pack and my wife just returned her Ospery Farpoint 55. Both packs are on the larger side and would have problems meeting the stricter carry-on requirements, so that's what brought me here looking for new luggage. After a ton of research, I decided on Tom Bihn bags. I was looking at a few others, mainly the Tortuga, but Tom Bihn seems to be the best value and this community has definitely played a huge factor in my decision. Anyways, on to what we are looking for...

    What we need:
    -We are trying to pack as light as possible, but we will be traveling through a variety of climates, so we will be packing enough clothes for warmer and cooler climates. No extreme cold temps and no formal attire, so we dont have to worry about excessive clothes packing.
    -We will be traveling with a laptop. It will likel be my 15" Apple MBP, but may try to go with my 10" Android tablet. To future proof, I would want the bag to at least accommodate a 13" laptop.
    -I shoot with a DSLR, so will want a day pack that will fit the DSLR and 3 lenses, including the attached lens. I currently have a Tenba sling bag, but it's too large and I want it to blend in a little more as to not attract too much attention.

    What I am thinking:
    -For my wife: An Aeronaut. Offers the most space and versatility. For a day pack, we have an REI Flash 18 that packs away nicely.
    -For myself: A Tristar and Synapse 19/25. I really like the design of the Tristar and its versatility. For my daypack I was looking at the Synapse. I can carry my laptop in the synapse or Tritar during travel, then for daily carry, I was going to put my DSLR in the main pack in a minimal case, then maybe the a lens in each side pocket for east access.

    Questions:
    -First, I am open to any and all suggestions/recommendations since I haven't actually had a chance to see any of these bags, especially regarding traveling with an SLR. I always travel with my SLR, I just want to keep it as light at discreet as possible.
    -Regarding the Synapse, I was deciding between the 19 and the 25, unless someone suggests a better option. I like the smaller size of the 19, because I want to make sure it will fit under the seat of air plane, but will it fit a 15" laptop. How does the Synapse 25 do under seat on stricter airlines? Also, I've seen pictures of the 19 fitting inside an Aeronaut, will the 25 fit as well. Would an empty Synapse 19 fit in a Tristar(I dont think I would do this, but I'm curious if it would)?
    -My one concern with these bags is the lack of a substantial waist belt. Both of us are used to travel packs with an internal frame, but we are also planning on packing lighter than our previous trips. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions regarding this?

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any suggestions and comments.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Dec 2013
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    Oslo, Norway
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    I think the Synaps will fit under an airline seat. I was struck by how flat it was. I guess you can stuff it so full that it will not fit, but my guess is that it in general will fit. It may stick out from under the seat though, but I can't imagine anyone (but you) complaining about that.

    If I was doing anything like you are suggesting I would think Brain Bag with Brain cell. I there are some photo specific accessories for it as well. On the other hand, you say you want to travel light, lighter than before, so my suggestion here might be way overkill.

    Did you check out the sticky in the review section here. There was a guy (Justin Lukasavige) who too the Brain Bag and the Brain Cell on a two week trip.

    "This is the bag I traveled London, Madrid, Rome, and throughout Morocco with. Two weeks, and everything fit perfectly. Tom Bihn is a high quality bag manufacturer in Seattle, WA. This bag is super tough and will handle everything you throw at it, while also accepting modular add-ins, like a cache or vertical brain cell. I've found it's much easier to travel with a backpack than a suitcase, especially for traveling light."

    Check out his videos. He has a pretty convincing demo of the brain cell with his Mac in it.

  3. #3
    Registered User aryabird's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Central Florida
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    A Synapse 19 does fit in the Tri-star. Just don't put anything in the Synapse you need to get to quickly if you decide to carry it that way.
    Do you have a packing list of everythng you plan to take that you can post?
    Indigo/Solar Tri-Star, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Black/Steel, 13" Ristretto, Black/Wasabi iPad Ristretto, Forest/UV Smart Alec

  4. #4
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    i've used a Synapse 19 dozens of times on flights, and every time it fit under the seat, even when fairly stuffed.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2014
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    For some reason my response never posted. Anyways...

    @Sandman - I looked in to the Brain Cell, but it looks too large for what I want. I want to keep my camera gear fairly minimal and want to make sure my day pack is small enough to fit as a personal item under the seat, or ideally small enough to bit in my main carry on.

    @aryabird - Thats good to know. Ideally I want to travel with just one bag and be able to pull my day pack out while roaming the streets. Here is my tentative packing list below:

    My clothes: (not sure about my wife, but I'll include all our electronics)
    4 t shirts
    1-2 long sleeve t shirts
    1-2 LS button shirts
    1-2 SS button shirts
    1 Jeans
    1 Bluffworks travel pants
    1-2 shorts
    4 underwear
    4 socks
    1 sweater
    1 soft shell rain jacket
    1 tennis shoes
    1 Vibram shoes

    Laptop + charger (deciding between my Android tablet or 15" MBP)
    cell phone + chargers
    Garmin handheld GPS
    Kindle
    DSLR + 2 addition lenses + charger


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