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Thread: Validate my Assumptions? Regular Week-long Business Trip Bags (Synapse 25, Tri-star)

  1. #1
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    Validate my Assumptions? Regular Week-long Business Trip Bags (Synapse 25, Tri-star)

    I have been perusing and considering Tom Bihn bags for over a month now trying to make the right selection so I only have to do this once... I thought I was ready, but the the selections I wanted sold out in the colors I wanted, and gave me time to reconsider. In the end I changed almost everything about my loadout, but now I think I have it figured.

    First, a bit about my travel profile: I make regular and repeated trips of about 1 week at a time domestic, and 2 weeks international. I travel with a MINIMUM of two laptops: An Asus UX32VD (325 x 223 x 18 mm at thickest), and either a 15-inch MBP Retina (359 x 247 x 18 mm) or an Elitebook 8460p (338 x 232 x 32 mm) depending on the job. I also always have a Nexus 7 with me. Soon I will replace the UX32VD with a Asus ROG GX500 (378 x 225 x 19mm).

    My thought is that I can make all this happen with one bag for clothes and supplies, and one bag for electronics and business materials. To this end, I was considering the Aeronaut 30 and the Brain Bag, but when I waited to long to pull the trigger I started digging more, and now I am thinking the Tri-star, and the Synapse 25.

    Assumption 1: Based on packing reviews it looks likely that I should be able to fit 5 days of fat man's business casual and maybe some casual clothes in the Tri-star along with all the accoutrements of travel (toiletries, et al) without over-stuffing, and still having some room for souvenirs.

    Assumption 2: The Synapse 25 has rail clips on both the front and back of the main compartment, and could support the bulk of 2 laptops in the sizes above along with: a Nexus 7, two portable battery packs, an large assortment of cabling, a dozen flash drives, two 2.5 inch portable hard drives, a Chromecast, Laptop chargers, an Anker 5-port power adapter, a burner wallet, a couple Mobius ActionCams, and 3 smart phones.

    As such, here is what I think I need to buy:
    Synapse 25 (Black & Wasabi ;-)
    2 Pairs Gatekeeper Rail Clips
    15-inch MacBook Pro Retina, Vertical Cache
    Air13, Vertical Cache (for UX32VD)
    4Z, Vertical Cache (for EliteBook 8460p)
    Snake Charmer
    Tri-star (Black & Wasabi; Must color coordinate, right ;-)
    and a set of Packing cubes in the 3 Tri-star sizes.

    In your infinite Tom Bihn forum wisdom do you feel this $701 loadout will be able to accommodate the needs expressed above, esp regarding fat man's clothes?

    I am a little sad that there is no perfect cache fit for my soon to be upgraded laptop... :-( but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it...

    R/ daijizai

  2. #2
    Registered User UK-Limey's Avatar
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    You are right about the Tri-Star ... I make regular 5-day business trips between UK-US and it's perfect for me. I am sure that if I had to stop for 2 weeks it would still be OK if I got the hotel to launder my work-shirts. Luckily I have only one laptop plus a mini iPad so all of my electronics fit into a Cadet. I need a 'smart' briefcase for work so a backpack is out of the question. I would suggest that you get an Absolute strap as well to make walking around the airport more comfortable.

    I also have Black-Wasabi for everything - great choice !

    I'll have to leave the reply about the suitability of the S25 to other forum members ...
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  3. #3
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    I totally agree about the Absolute Strap - it makes carrying a loaded Tri-Star or Western Flyer much easier, as the stretchiness makes it move smoothly on your shoulder instead of jerking.

    I can't comment on the suitability of the S25 as I only carry a S19 with at most a single chromebook or MacBook Air, however...

    I would add an organiser pouch, probably size "small", to corral the flash drives - I'm guessing you plan on putting all your cables and stuff in the Snake Charmer, but tiny items like flash drives will be hard to find if you just throw them in with everything else. Small stuff sacks are also great for small but lumpy electronics, depending on how much room you have left in the Snake Charmer after stowing all your cables.

    Also I'm not sure why you're adding gatekeeper clips, as these come standard with a cache - unless you want spares just in case?
    eWalker likes this.
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    I think your assumptions regarding the TriStar are reasonable. It's possible that you could actually get everything into the TS (or maybe the lighter of the laptops for the sake of your shoulder), but two laptops do not make 1 bag travel reasonable. As a reference point, I can get everything I need for 1 week of business casual in a TS with an 11" MBA with some room leftover, but I'm a fairly small guy, and that's fairly light clothing.

    One thought- if you're using the TS just for clothing/travel stuff and another bag for electronics, I might consider the A30 instead of the TS (as you had previously). In my opinion, the real strength of the TS is that it's great for compartmentalizing things (i.e. laptop and clothes together). If all of the electronics will be in another bag, you might find the Aeronaut (30 or 45) more convenient for just clothes/travel stuff. That said, the TS would undoubtedly work fine for your purposes.
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    One other thing worth mentioning- TB stuff (with the Parts available on the Accessories page) is ripe for "hacking." If I had two laptops to carry, I might build a custom, longer set of rail clips so I could essentially lie both laptops flat behind the bag. If you're not interested in doing this, feel free to disregard this comment, but it's worth considering ways to make life easier.

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    Thanks guys. That helps.

    For most of my thumbdrive/accessory goodness I use an "AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case". It works well, and IMHO is better than any of the current TB solutions in this vein; however, not as nicely made.

    Also, I am TSA PreCheck, so I only worry about laptop removal when I am outside the US... When I travel internationally, I have a pelican case and the second laptop goes in there. Besides, some countries still make you take the laptops out anyway.

    I guess the question that remains is to the suitability of the S25 w/ 2 laptop travel... Well that and the rekindled nagging "Is the Tri-star the right one, or should I go with the Aeronaut 30?" I think this is one that I have to decide solely based on how I pack/want to pack... Though I would relish the opinions of forum goers.

    When I flip that switch, I will make sure that I do a video or pictures or something in regards to the S25 (If that is what I go with after I hear from the community) because my use case is just extreme enough that some people might find it useful for perspective.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    For carrying 2 laptops and still maintaining the Checkpoint Friendly nature, why don't you put one laptop in the S25 and the other in the TS. I would also suggest putting whichever of the 2 laptops you will be using while in flight in the S25 (assuming the S25 will be your underseat bag). This way you use both bag's TSA friendly features and you save your shoulder from probably around 10lb of laptop and more with accessories. In the S25, you can now fit one or 2 days emergency cloths in the S25 as well - just in case you need to check the TS and the airline loses it. Also, you can get really business appropriate laptop case and put it in the TS as well. That's 3 bag travel with nesting! From the forums, the Cadet and Founders briefcase do fit in the TS middle compartment.

    Note - you will need to get a horizontal cache with rails for the TS and a vertical one for the S25.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    Zephyr (Black/Steel), S25 (Black/Iberian), SA (Black/Steel), BB (Back/Steel), A45 (Black/Iberian), TS (Black/Iberian), WF (/Crimson/Steel), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel), , CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Steel/Indigo Stripe), Vertical Brain Cells, FS, Camera I/O, 400d Nordic PCBP/PCSB/TT, SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket, YSS

  8. #8
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    IMHO, the S25 should fit your 2 laptops fine. I have a Lenovo T510 (379mm x 245mm) and a work Dell E7440 (337mm x 232mm) - so similar size to what you have - and I can put them in Brain Cells and in the S25. I have used the bottom pocket mainly for power bricks, cables, etc with overflow in the side pockets so I think all should be good. I am not sure about the Nexus 7 but it might fit well in the middle compartment normally for a water bottle pocket. The Brain Bag is still my go to back for 2-3 laptop carry but the s25 will do. A Smart Alec would work too and also have a padded bottom for extra protection.

    If I have time, I will double check things tonight in the S25 and post some pictures.

    Cheers!
    Zephyr (Black/Steel), S25 (Black/Iberian), SA (Black/Steel), BB (Back/Steel), A45 (Black/Iberian), TS (Black/Iberian), WF (/Crimson/Steel), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel), , CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Steel/Indigo Stripe), Vertical Brain Cells, FS, Camera I/O, 400d Nordic PCBP/PCSB/TT, SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket, YSS

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    This topic definitely interest me.
    I have never thought S25 could somehow carry 2 Laptops and even, with its Brain Cells. As many shared, Brain Bag is more suitable for such purpose.

    It would be great shall S25 works, as I prefer the look and portability of S25.

    Just for sharing purpose, I always carry my Dell Precision M4600 15.6" (376mm x 256mm x 36.8mm) Size 1. If S25, I hope to be able to squeeze in my wife XPS 16 (255 x 385 x 34) M2.
    Last edited by weirdguy; 07-10-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribe View Post
    Also I'm not sure why you're adding gatekeeper clips, as these come standard with a cache - unless you want spares just in case?
    Simply, to save $5... I need 3 caches, but only 2 sets of gatekeepers, so I put them as a discrete line item principally for my visibility.

  11. #11
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    gatekeeper clips still cost $5 with each cache, i am pretty sure...

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    Well, I pulled the trigger on:

    Synapse 25 - Black/Wasabi (On Backorder Until Late August)
    Cache - 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina, Vertical, Black
    Cache - Air13, Vertical, Black (On Backorder Until Mid-August)
    Packing Cubes - Aeronaut 30 Large, Steel (On Pre-Order Until Mid-August)
    Packing Cubes - 2x Aeronaut 30 End Pocket, Steel (On Pre-Order Until Mid-August)
    Packing Cubes - 2x Aeronaut 30 Small, Steel (On Pre-Order Until Mid-August)
    Aeronaut 30 - Steel/Wasabi (On Pre-Order Until Mid-August); Absolute Shoulder Strap

    Total: $673.00

    Things go on backorder in this joint as fast as they clear it practically... LOL. Had to move or I would be in backorder until the new year. ;-)

    When it gets in I will test my packing and see if I like the S25 & A30, or if I might want to go with BB, TS, or both instead, and at a minimum I will let you guys know how effective the S25 appears to be for 2-laptop carry.

    Once I decide how much of a Bihner I am, I'll probably pick up more packing accessories, caches, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by daijizai View Post
    Total: $673.00.
    I wasn't following details of this thread, as I use a wheeled suitcase that I regularly check in, but I have to say, I completely get how this can add up, especially with accessories. I think it is well-spent, though, as you will have a really versatile packing kit now. I have an Air11 cache and it is one of the most-used items I have gotten from TB - works in any bag, solid cushioning, sleek and light.

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    @GoStanford,
    My previous as well as my first order was about the same Total as @dajizai.
    1 A45, 2 Brain Cells, 2 Travel Trays, 1 Snack Chamber, 1 Double Organizer Pouch, 2 Key Straps, and 2 Packing Cubes for A45.

    All of my purchase serve me very well and worthy to get. But they are sure to pull a big hole on my wallet.
    I'm sure my next purchase (middle next year; have to save up first) will be most likely similar case. Ouch~~

    @dajizai,
    I will be looking forward for your S25 Review on Late August/September.
    Be sure to update this topic, with plenty of photos I will be subscribing now.

  15. #15
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    I just realize after reading past multiple users' experience on S25's Water Leakage to Main Compartment.
    I wonder whether S25 Current Backorder has a new design revision to mitigate such issue?

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