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Thread: aeronaut 30 or 45 or Tristar??

  1. #1
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    aeronaut 30 or 45 or Tristar??

    Hi, I've been lurking on the forums for a while now, and I have to make a purchase decision in the next day or so. My husband, 4 yr old son and I are planning a month long trip to Southeast Asia. We're going to go as light as possible, with 2 backpacks containing all our and our son's stuff. I'm buying one (yes ONLY ONE BAG, well, maybe also a co-pilot) I can't decide between the 3: Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45 or Tristar. I'm in Europe, so the whole "order 3 and try them out and then return the one you don't like " doesn't really work unfortunately.
    I'm 5'4 and a (work in progress) reformed overpacker... Any advice is welcome. TIA!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forums, @trin4914. There are a lot of 5'4" forum members with experience with the A30, A45, and Tri-Star, so you should get lots of feedback! Some quick questions: are there specific details on whether you will be using carriers that have more stringent size/weight constraints? (More stringent carryon luggage weight and size constraints can be a feature of many Southeast Asian airlines.) Are there specific items you will be carrying or that you will need easy access to? Are you planning to take two TB backpacks (distributing load between you and your husband)? Have you looked at the videos for some of these bags, including the recent A Tale of Two Aeronauts video review by @itsablur of his initial impressions of the A30 and A45?

    Some other good starting points for reviewing these bags are the Blog links to a few packing videos for the Aeronaut 45 and the Tri-Star. These not only give you a feeling for how the bags might be packed, but carry a timeline identification of various accessories used in packing as well as links to the videos:


    Cheers, moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 08-12-2014 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Added links to Aeronaut 45 and Tri-Star videos

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Based on a design thought (though YMMV), I would not suggest a TS unless you are taking a large (15.6" or larger) laptop. The TS is best in a business travel scenario with lots of things you can pack thin and long (e.g. paper, folders, etc). But, it may work if you need the extra space above the A30.

    There is a great video of the A30 and A45 that @isablur posted that may help you:
    A Tale of Two Aeronauts (or my Video Review of the A30, compared to the A45)

    Note, you can fit your co-pilot in the A45 (and I think the A30) and use it as a "packing cube".

    Also, here is a link to @dorayme's post to show the relative bag sizes on a 5"2" person.
    Who says short people can't carry big bags?

    Proportional questions aside (as this is personal opinion), IMHO, if you are ok to carry some weight, an A45 would be good as it gives you options to carry more ad-hoc extras if needed. But, if your husband is carrying the larger load, an A30 might just fit.

    Also, would a DLBP (Day Light Backpack) be something your son would like to wear (to hold his toys, etc). I have seen several posts on this.

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 08-12-2014 at 11:41 AM.
    Zephyr/SA/BB (Black/Black/Steel), S25/TS/WF/A45 (Black/Iberian), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

  4. #4
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    I have two of those bags (A45 and Tri-Star), but if I were buying for that trip today, I'd get the one I don't have. (Hmm, sounds like lyrics to a song best never performed.)

    The Tri-Star is more structured, which is handy in some cases, but I think it also means a loss of flexibility / total capacity. For a short, domestic trip, I've lately taken my Tri-Star over the A45, but if I were adventuring in Asia, I'd rather have the bag with more packing options. (For instance, not that I am a big souvenir buyer, but what if I picked up an awkward-shaped momento?)

    And though my travel in Asia has been cushy by my standards (it didn't matter if I was overpacked, it was going to fit on the AC-equipped bus and in the nice room ...), if I were backpacking there now and for a month, I'd want the A30 for ease of carrying, for fitting in all kinds of transport, etc. May still be huge by local standards ...
    eWalker and RobNC like this.

  5. #5
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    My house contains all three of these bags and I'd say for certain no on the Tri Star. So it's between the A30 and A45. It would be helpful to see a general packing list to make a decision as one person's 'light' packing is another person's entire wardrobe. Also, shoe size matters. Mr. Kippi's feet are size 14 and his running shoes don't fit at all in the tri star, but do in the A45. Probably would in the A30 but take up a ton of room. So don't forget shoe needs on your list. I am certain if you post a list, the great forum members will be able to steer you in the right direction. Best of luck and happy traveling!

  6. #6
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trin4914 View Post
    Hi, I've been lurking on the forums for a while now, and I have to make a purchase decision in the next day or so. My husband, 4 yr old son and I are planning a month long trip to Southeast Asia. We're going to go as light as possible, with 2 backpacks containing all our and our son's stuff. I'm buying one (yes ONLY ONE BAG, well, maybe also a co-pilot) I can't decide between the 3: Aeronaut 30, Aeronaut 45 or Tristar. I'm in Europe, so the whole "order 3 and try them out and then return the one you don't like " doesn't really work unfortunately.
    I'm 5'4 and a (work in progress) reformed overpacker... Any advice is welcome. TIA!
    So it's going to be two bags for three people? What is your husband's bag going to be?

    My wife and I spent a month in SE Asia for our honeymoon several years ago. We were young and somewhat foolish, and did the whole trip with your typical massive 55-70 liter hiking pacs. I don't think we quite had mastered the art of packing, and those babies were full. Plus we had day packs and were rocking the full on double backpack look.

    Given that you are going to be gone for a month, will you have access to laundry facilities, or are you willing to do a little laundry on your own? That would cut down on the amount of stuff you would ultimately need to carry. If you can do laundry once every week to week and a half, you only need clothes for 6-9 days (with some repeats if you don't mind/aren't too sweaty).

    If you were just looking for a bag for yourself, and having not seen a packing list, I'd probably say A30. The flexibility of an Aeronaut's layout just gives you more freedom when packing, and overall better access to that capacity.

    The Aeronaut 45 is somewhat perfect for the reforming over packer, and if you and your husband are splitting your son's clothing, then perhaps the larger size will be an asset. It gives you all the space you can generally get away with as a carry-on, while still being a manageable, carryable size. There are smaller owners of the A45 than you, though it's up to you to decide if it will be "too big" for you. I've personally taken the A45 on trip up to 3 weeks so far without any issue. My challenge is slimming down my "other bag".

    As others have mentioned, you can check out the video I posted last week of the A30 and A45. I'm 5'10", so it won't look exactly like that on your own frame, but you can at least glean some relational size comparison from it.
    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.

  7. #7
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    I agree with the other posters. I went on a six week trip to SE Asia with only a TriStar as I thought the Aeronaut might be too large for some of the air flights. The TriStar was a champ and it served my needs BUT I wouldn't make that choice again. As it turns out the flights I took required all bags to be "checked" regardless of the size, so that reason for a smaller bag didn't pan out. Also the Tristar, with all its marvelous compartments was overkill for me on the trip.

    I have subsequently purchased an Aeronaut 45 and now an A30. The A45 proved a much more flexible companion on my European trip but it was a little large for my solo female travel. The A30 looks perfect and I'll be taking it on the Silk Road this Fall.

    Long winded conclusion: I'd take the Aeronaut. Since you are traveling with a child, I might opt for the A45 unless you are an ultra light traveler. If you are packing just for you, since SE Asia usually doesn't require heavy clothes, I'd take the A30. Also, although I prefer the look of the ballistic nylon, I'm a huge fan of the lighter dyneema.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone. I'm thinking the A45 as well. My husband has a proper backpacking backpack that is quite large (I'm guessing 40-50L but I'm bad at that type of thing ) and he is great at light packing, so he'll probably take the kiddo's stuff as well. We'll do laundry once a week (I hope). I'm hoping I wouldn't fill it up on the way there, and then I have some room for gifts for the return.

  9. #9
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    Trin, you'll do well with the Aeronaut. Have a great trip!


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