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Thread: Aeronaut 30/45 or Tristar

  1. #1
    Registered User k.observes's Avatar
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    Aeronaut 30/45 or Tristar

    Newbie here. I have read so many descriptive and intelligent posts about Tom Bihn bags that I just can't seem to pinpoint what would be the best for me.

    I am traveling to Europe for 3 weeks in September. I am having a very hard time deciding between: Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45 and the Tristar.

    I am a woman, average height and weight (5'6"), and I am planning on packing:
    -2 shoes (very slim)
    -5 unmentionables and socks (1 bra, as this adds more bulk)
    -3-5 tanks
    -5 shirts
    -2 pants or skirts
    -1 dress
    -2 pair tights/hosiery
    -scarf
    -small makeup bag
    -small toiletries bag
    -1 small jewelry bag
    -1 curling iron
    -small medicine bag (saline nasal rinse bottle adds a bit of bulk)
    -chargers
    -headphones
    -travel pillow
    -thin tablet/computer

    This is a bit detailed and I hope I'm not leaving anything out. I'm going in September so clothing won't be too bulky. I will be carrying a purse/small messenger cross body style bag for things like passport, money, everyday stuff, etc. I read reviews on having an all Tom ensemble, but to be honest- the smaller packs for day use are a bit lacking in the fashion department for a woman.

    I was sold on the regular Aeronaut (45L) at first. But, it seems pretty large and I am not sure I want to look like I have a gigantic duffle on my back; and of course I want to make sure I can carry it on (perception is reality here as we know). When I read about the smaller Aeronaut (30)- I was super excited. However, I'm worried it might be too small. Goldilocks problem here The Tristar is still in the mix because I love the design aesthetically and in my perfect world that would be the bag for me. But, I've read that after packing for more than a week of travel the Tristar is a bit bulgy and looks overstuffed.

    One more thing- I am planning on doing laundry so if I need to slim down my list of clothing, I can do that. It's also the reason I keep putting the Tristar in my options.

    If anyone has any advice on which of the three would benefit me more and my needs I'd greatly appreciate it. I want to have a bag that fits my frame but also one that fits all my things nicely without feeling too large. I am leaning towards the Aeronaut 30, but I keep flip flopping. Thanks in advance!!!!
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  2. #2
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    I would choose the Aeronaut 30. But I wouldn't worry about the Aeronaut 45 not fitting you. I'm 5' even and can wear it without a problem and it doesn't look too big. One great thing about the Aeronaut is you can bring more stuff back with you than what you left with.

  3. #3
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Personally, I like the Aeronauts (well, I've only used the 45 version so far, of course, but will be trying out the 30 soon) over the Tri-Star. I think they are easier to pack and more forgiving because of the large open space. I believe the 45 would work for you, and possibly the 30, depending on exactly how much you pack and the size of your travel pillow, toiletries, etc.

    However, many people prefer the Tri-Star, and it will provide a safer place for your computer, since it can be cushioned in the middle slot between your clothes. I usually carry my tablet or computer in a smaller personal bag, like my purse, the Co-Pilot, etc.

    In choosing a bag, it's also worth considering which airline you are flying, particularly any internal European flights, which may have stricter req's or smaller planes.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 07-06-2014 at 03:14 PM.
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    My first thought on reading the list was that it might not fit in the TriStar, but my second thought is that it depends on how bulky your toiletries and makeup bags are. Especially if you are also packing a laptop. I do love the organization in the TriStar, but it's easier to stuff things into odd corners in the Aeronaut. How do you feel about ordering both of them in order to do a test pack, then returning one?

    There is also an excellent recent post with pictures by Badger in the thread on TriStar and one bag travel. Maybe you can get a feel for how that load compares to yours.

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    i can tell you when I made my decision I chose the tristar over the the Aeronaut about 5 years ago. I made the decision is because I try to do one bag travel as much as i can plus my camera bag and sometimes travel on low cost airlines in Europe and they have strict rules. In those cases I would check my partners bag because I did not want to check mine and he would take the camera bag as his carry on.

    The Areonaut is in some cases just a bit too big for some of these airlines. So I chose the Tristar.

    What I love about the tristar is that I can pack it really full and yes when I went for a month it was bulging but i love the organizational features as my macbook air would fit so nicely protected in the centre. Now I am traveling with an iPad mini and so there is more room in the centre for clothes and things.

    Now if there had been the the aeronaut 30 back then I might have went with that. I think it might be easier to pack.

    I would get it but my partner travels with a light weight roller bag which I love as well.

    Just not sure I can justify ordering it. I am thinking of the night flight, or the pilot as a second bag for him. I am on the quest for the perfect camera bag as everything I have is just never perfecct for various reasons.

    but I still do love the tristar

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k.observes View Post
    Newbie here. I have read so many descriptive and intelligent posts about Tom Bihn bags that I just can't seem to pinpoint what would be the best for me.

    I am traveling to Europe for 3 weeks in September. I am having a very hard time deciding between: Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45 and the Tristar.

    I am a woman, average height and weight (5'6"), and I am planning on packing:
    -2 shoes (very slim)
    -5 unmentionables and socks (1 bra, as this adds more bulk)
    -3-5 tanks
    -5 shirts
    -2 pants or skirts
    -1 dress
    -2 pair tights/hosiery
    -scarf
    -small makeup bag
    -small toiletries bag
    -1 small jewelry bag
    -1 curling iron
    -small medicine bag (saline nasal rinse bottle adds a bit of bulk)
    -chargers
    -headphones
    -travel pillow
    -thin tablet/computer
    Okay, so I basically packed everything you listed. I did one pair of pants and one skirt, 5 shirts, 4 tanks, 5 pairs each of socks and underwear, 1 sports bra and 1 normal bra, 2 tights, 1 dress. No scarf, sorry, but I figured that takes up negligible room. I also have a curling iron, full size headphones, an iPad, charger, and four bags with toiletry type items in them. For shoes I used flip flops; those were the best I could do since most of the shoes are still in a box from my recent move.

    Here is all of that:

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    I packed all the clothes except the dress and pants into the WF/TS PCBP.

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    The dress and pants I put in an Eagle Creek 18" packing folder.

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    The PCBP went in the rear compartment, and the packing sleeve, shoes, and curling iron went in the middle. The iPad went in the big front zip pocket, and the charger went in the small front zip pocket. Everything else went into the front compartment.

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    It's pretty full but it's still around 9" wide, which is the sweet spot for carry-ons.

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    I'm not gonna lie. This sucker was heavy. While there was room to spare in the TS, I would definitely work on trimming the clothing, and try to go for a tablet rather than a computer, which will add more weight and bulk.

    Continued in next post...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    I have an Aeronaut 45 so I thought I'd show you what the same stuff looks like in there.

    For this packing job, I put the pants at the bottom of the bag and secured them with the compression straps. I put an Aeronaut large packing cube on top of that. All of the rest of the clothes were in that cube. The bags of toiletries, curling iron, and headphones filled out the rest of the main compartment. The charger went in the inner lid zip pocket. The shoes went in one end pocket (the one that would be the bottom if the Aeronaut was in backpack mode) and the iPad went in the other.

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    Everything fit nicely.

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    It didn't look overly bulky, either.

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    It too fit well within width parameters.

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    Based on the test, I would say that an A30 would most likely work for you for this trip, although the A45 wouldn't look huge and ridiculous. Regardless of the path you take, I would suggest taking fewer clothes. Another forum member called jannilee suggests the "rule of 3"--that is, don't take any more than 3 of any item. I think extra socks and underwear never killed anyone but if you could lose some tank tops and shirts, you won't regret it. Another thing to note is that a lot of the stuff I packed here was cotton, which is really heavy. Going for more merino wool or synthetics will help reduce weight and bulk.

    Hope this helps!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Totally agree that you don't need to take that many clothes. When I was a youngster, I was fortunate enough to be able to take an 8 week trip to Europe, and I learned very quickly that you are meeting new people every day who don't know what you wore yesterday, and your traveling companions are all too soon familiar with everything you've brought. So you just need enough to keep clean (wear one, wash one, pack one). At some point in my journey, I got tired of hauling the load and mailed about half my clothes home.

  9. #9
    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by k.observes View Post
    Newbie here. I have read so many descriptive and intelligent posts about Tom Bihn bags that I just can't seem to pinpoint what would be the best for me.

    I am traveling to Europe for 3 weeks in September. I am having a very hard time deciding between: Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45 and the Tristar.

    I am a woman, average height and weight (5'6"), and I am planning on packing:
    -2 shoes (very slim)
    -5 unmentionables and socks (1 bra, as this adds more bulk)
    -3-5 tanks
    -5 shirts
    -2 pants or skirts
    -1 dress
    -2 pair tights/hosiery
    -scarf
    -small makeup bag
    -small toiletries bag
    -1 small jewelry bag
    -1 curling iron
    -small medicine bag (saline nasal rinse bottle adds a bit of bulk)
    -chargers
    -headphones
    -travel pillow
    -thin tablet/computer
    Welcome!

    Your list looks a lot like the packing list I had for my first ever trip with my TriStar a couple of years ago, except with a pashmina instead of the travel pillow. My height is also similar.

    I agree with Badger's observation that the bag will be heavy (personally I found mine too heavy with my own similar list). If it was heavy when picked up for five minutes in the comfort of Badger's living room, imagine how you will feel after lugging it around for a couple of hours. I would try to slim the list down if possible. This doesn't have to mean compromising on outfits if you select the clothes carefully.

    Easy wins could include:

    choosing a tablet over a laptop,
    picking your most lightweight shoes,
    getting some earbuds instead of the headphones,
    go for a travel sized curling iron if your styling needs permit it
    consider skipping the tights unless the climate requires them (eg if in Southern Europe they may not be necessary...)
    Pashmina instead of pillow (much more versatile for the weight and space)


    Personally I find my Aeronaut 45 is too heavy when fully packed (generally comes in around 10kg) to be convenient for air travel, so I save it for car trips. On the other hand, the main open packing space might be more flexible than a TS for a leisure trip, as others have commented. If you are planning to use budget airlines check their carry on policy as some permit only a single bag on board. It might be easier to fit your handbag inside the A45 or the A30 in comparison with the TS. If it were me, I'd seriously consider trying out the A30, assuming it is available in time for your trip.

    Also don't forget the 3-1-1 rule for liquids - will apply to the nasal saline bottle too.

    Hmm, I think I've almost talked myself into ordering an A30!

    HTH
    Last edited by JLE; 07-06-2014 at 09:14 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    There is a packing video for women available through the Rick Steves website. It is oriented toward travel in Europe and helpful. Check it out.

    There is a travel size nasal saline applicator available through Amazon. It take up less space than the Neill squeeze bottle. It looks like a small turkey baster and it works well.
    Last edited by monkeylady; 07-06-2014 at 09:49 PM.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdophoto View Post
    [I] sometimes travel on low cost airlines in Europe and they have strict rules.
    [...]
    The Areonaut is in some cases just a bit too big for some of these airlines.
    I'm curious which airlines you have had problems with. I'm looking at wheel-less options for international travel right now.

    Airline Carry-On Bag Policies - Airfarewatchdog

    (I avoid Ryan Air for reasons beyond their carry-on policies.)
    Last edited by jeff; 07-06-2014 at 10:08 PM.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    I think if it comes to Try Star/Western Flyer vs. A45/A30 it mostly is a bit like a fundamental decision (at least for some people). I for one am an Aeronaut-girl. I like the flexibility and add my own struckter via packing cubes etc. But I have read great thinks about the Try Star/Western Flyer they have big fan-community and for very good reasons. But even as thous two bags where available in nordic I did not get them (had a hard time about this ;-)) because the A30 was known to come in the near future so that I knew I could get a smaller version of all the flexibility I have in my A45 for shorter trips.

    What I am trying to say: you will be fine with any of thous but you have to decide with your "guts" which one reflects your packing-style.

    Ilkyway

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I'm with Ilkyway on this. Your personal packing style would be the deciding factor. For me, I personally don't like the predetermined structure that comes with the TS and WF, but then I also don't tote a laptop when I travel and I believe those two bags afford more protection and make dealing with TSA easier. Rather I like to be the one to determine how to use my carry space. The Aeronauts, whichever size, may give more flexibility with combinations of stuff sacks and cubes without worrying about "bulge".
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeylady View Post
    There is a travel size nasal saline applicator available through Amazon.
    Sorry to derail, but I have to know, monkeylady: what's the brand name of this device? It would rock my world. Thanks in advance.

  15. #15
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 1174
Size:  504.8 KB When I purchased this, I had hoped it would fit in the TB pencil case. But, alas, no. It fits snugly in a packing cube and freely in the Clear Quarter Cube. It is available from Amazon. It is by no means tiny, but its shape is much more travel friendly packing wise.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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