Traveling with suit(s)
Hi, I'm new to the forum but have admired Tom Bihn bags for some time. I regularly travel for 2-5 nights and always wear suits. I wanted to get some feedback from any of the other Tom Bihn owners who travel with suits to hear about their experiences with different bags.
It seems as though most who travel with suits use the Aeronaut, but I personally feel like the Tri-Star looks a bit more professional. Does anyone have experience packing a suit in a Tri-Star?
I've also considered sticking with my tri-fold garment bag for the suits and carrying a second bag for the other items to give me an option when I don't need suits. Do you think I could get away with a Western Flyer as a "personal item"? (Usually on Delta on MD-88 or A319)
Thanks in advance for you help!
I've owned a Tri-Star for the last year. I bought it over the Aeronaut, as I felt the Tri-Star worked better in a business travel setting. I travelled with the Tri-Star for 43 weeks in 2010, between 2-6 days each trip (most weeks 3-4 days), and I quickly learned how to make the most of each compartment.
I found the Eagle Creek Pack-It 15 folding template (not the whole folder, just the plastic insert to fold clothes around) to be the perfect size to fold items into the Tri-Star large packing cube. The Pack-It Folder 15 is excellent for shirts and dress pants, but personally I could never get it to work for blazers or suit jackets (size 42 Regular). Eagle Creek recommend the Folder 20 or the Garment Sleeve for the latter. You might be able to pack a couple of suits in a Tri-Star, but I don't think you'll have space to squeeze in a laptop, if that was your intent.
Last week I ordered an Aeronaut to see whether the larger bag would work better for trips to colder climates. It will arrive tomorrow. I know the different shape means I'll need to unlearn my packing techniques. I'll post soon to describe my experiences.
Thanks lotuseater, I'd appreciate hearing your feedback when you get the aeronaut. I definitely want to get a new luggage setup, but the options sure seem limited when suits are involved.
Funny you two should bring this topic up. I had a similar discussion with Kevin Connolly at Practical Hacks (regarding his article on the Tri-Star) over a year ago.
Kevin and I corresponded via e-mail, and he even sent photos to me to demonstrate how a suit can be packed in a Tri-Star using an Eagle Creek PackIt! 18 folder to protect the sportcoat.
Thanks MtnMan. Do you have a link to those pictures? I'd be interested in seeing them.
I could post Kevin's photos to this forum if that's what you'd like. I've never posted directly to the forum before; I always used third-party web-hosting services to post images. But it you want to see what Kevin sent to me, I'll review the how-to's on this site and give it a whirl.
Would that be to your liking?
That would be great, thanks!
My mistake, Crusader - I use the Pack-It 18 folder template, not the 15, to fold shirts and dress pants that then fit inside the Tri-Star large packing cube. The template goes into the cube too, to add a little structure and separate the shirts from the pants, but the rest of the Pack-It folder stays at home as it just adds bulk and weight.
I'll be curious to see Kevin's photos, MtnMan.
The Aeronaut arrived yesterday and I'm planning to make a square folding template (somewhere between 12" and 13" in size) to help with the large packing cube (13.5"). For comparison, the Pack-It 18 folder measures 18 x 12", but its template is 16 x 10.25".
I tried sending an e-mail to Kevin Conolly to see if he would post his photos directly. So far, I haven't heard back from him. If I don't hear from him soon, I'll see about giving it a whirl. This could get interesting... :)
Sorry, I can't find the photos I shot for you. If you can post them to this forum, great. If not, email them back to me ( ! ) and I'll give it a shot (ha.)
Here are some of Kevin's photos...
This forum-based uploader will only allow five files at a time.
Here are the rest of the images...
Thanks MtnMan. I fell like I might be leaning towards the Tri-Star after seeing those pictures. It look like the pack-it folder fits in well.
Without going into a detailed narrative, I can tell you that the Eagle Creek garment folder seen in Kevin's 2009 photos, posted above, is the PackIt! 18-inch model. Kevin used the same Eagle Creek folder in both the above Aeronaut and Tri-Star photos. Kevin told me he did not have to undo the Aeronaut's internal divider snaps in order to insert the Eagle Creek folder in the main compartment. If you follow the Practical Hacks discussion thread at the bottom of the article I linked to above, you will see that I was asking somewhat similar questions back then that have been brought up in this thread.
Money has been way, waaaaaaay too tight for me to make air travel plans over the past year. However, if another trip does come onto my horizon, it will likely require packing a suit (sportcoat, change of dress shirts, dress pants, tie, shoes, etc.) and after the horrific time I had with cheap, foreign-made luggage during a trip to Washington, DC in 2009, I decided that high-quality, superior-design carry-on luggage (read: Aeronaut and/or Tri-Star) will indeed be part of any future travel plans. Kevin's article, discussion thread and e-mail replies to me made it clear that packing a suit in a carry-on can be done if handled properly, and that's the way I intend to go.
Well I never... I tried the Pack-It 18 in the Aeronaut myself, and it does fit without having to unfasten the snaps. It does cut into the available space in the end pockets, and I probably would wind up unfastening one or more set of snaps, but in practice it works. There's no curling up of the ends. I think I'm a big step forward in figuring out how to maximize the packing space of my new Aeronaut.
MtnMan - Thanks for posting Kevin's photos. He and I traded messages about the Packing Cube Backpack last year when I was finalizing my Tri-Star purchase. Kevin was extremely helpful. I could go so far as to say that his posts were the gateway drug that led me to my Tom Bihn addiction.
From Kevin's photos, and discussions on Practical Hacks, it looks as though he packed the suit around the folder, not inside. That makes perfect sense to me, and I can see first-hand that there is space in the Aeronaut to do that.
A photo is worth 200 words. I know, it used to be 1000, but we all have to make adjustments in this economy. In other news, I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail. CEO’s are now playing miniature golf. Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen. If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.