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Thread: New design between Tri-Star and Aeronaut: The WINGWALKER

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb New design between Tri-Star and Aeronaut: THE WINGWALKER (now with pictures)

    Hi everyone,

    Nothing seems to compare to the design, material, and quality of Tom Bihn products. However, after reading the forums, there seems to be quite a demand for a new bag that would fill the perfect niche between the Aeronaut and the Tri-Star.

    This suggestion is based on many hours perusing travel forums, comparing other manufacturer's products, and reading hundreds of customer reviews (most notably, Eagle Creek, Red Oxx, and last but not least Tom Bihn).

    Presently, the gap between the Tri-Star and the Aeronaut is being requested in numerous ways. Additionally, as a precedent, the Empire Builder / Zephyr shows that having different sizes of the same line is worthy of consideration.

    At the moment, no one is making a combination business/leisure bag in the 40-42 liter range. The Tri-Star, enlarged, would be ideal. Let's say we call it the Wingwalker, since it would well represent "the perfect balance" between the Tri-Star and the Aeronaut (plus it goes perfect with the Farman F.121 Jabiru!). If the dimensions were 20.5 x 14 x 9, that should translate to approximately 2500 cubic inches, or 41 liters. Also, many requests are for an enlarged version of the Western Flyer, with two compartments. If one were 5", the other 3", with 1" allowed for filling the three pockets of the front (thereby not impacting the 3"), that would translate to 9" total.

    The advantages are as follows:
    No one makes this bag
    It is combination business/leisure
    It allows for cubes in many configurations (ie Eagle Creek folders or Tom Bihn cubes)
    A suit, a laptop, and leisure clothes, together with a daypack and room for a few souvenirs, that can be carried reasonably
    Existing Tri-Star large packing cubes could fit in either compartment
    Many combinations of existing Tom Bihn packing cubes fit well
    All Brain Cells, plus a snake charmer would fit side by side (recommend 5" pocket) and layer with large Tri-Star packing cube and Freudian slip
    Heck, even an ID would fit in place of the Brain Cell!
    In the 3" compartment, an Aeronaut backpack cube (Like this design better, plus it comes in yellow Dyneema) and an end cube would fit side by side

    This gives the advantage of having either a versatile bag that is cavernous, or for use with laptop,etc; other compartment fits backpack/cube.

    Some definite feature requests:
    Hold down straps - 2 in 5" compartment, 1 set in 3" compartment
    Eliminate the zippered separator (or make it expandable to allow for large Brain Cell and shoes at same time)
    For those asking for a one compartment Tri-Star : perhaps making the compartment separator between the 5" and the 3" removable

    Being only 1-2 large compartments, it allows for handles on the end for overhead bin access; weight is likely reduced in material, and it works off the existing design to a large extent.

    A few possibilities to make it more distinctive (but not as necessary as the points above) might be
    A heavier duty waist strap like the MEI Voyageur
    A passport/boarding pass pocket in the backpack strap area, accessible top center by handles
    Water bottle/umbrella pockets on end
    Compare the LowePro Apex series camera bags for bottom skid protection idea (ie Apex 20: best to see in person. They're excellent!)
    Compare the LowePro Apex series ALSO for an ingenious way of storing a rainfly that easily pulls out to protect the whole bag (requests for such a thing for Brain Bag too)

    Thanks for considering these ideas. Having traveled extensively (climbing Mt. Kenya, cycling France, scuba-diving the Great Barrier Reef, etc), and looking ahead to our next trip to Costa Rica, I'd love to see one of these.

    I think many, many other people would, too. I welcome everyone's thoughts!

    sojourner

    PS Having trouble adding pictures... have added as pdf attachments below for now... will ask for help Monday to have pix embedded in post.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sojourner; 11-21-2009 at 06:09 AM. Reason: Added simple drawing
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    I think the closest thing we see to your "Wingwalker" concept is the Red Oxx Sky Train. The Sky Train, of course, is a two-main-compartment carry-on, whereas the Tom Bihn Tri-Star has three main compartments. The topic you raise has been very much on my mind.

    The Sky Train receives acclaim, with the exception of its backpack straps. The backpack function has been panned by reviewers I've read; they say the straps don't wear well. If I understand you correctly, you are proposing a three-compartment maximum carry-on, essentially a Tri-Star on steroids, with three main compartments. My concerns would be this:

    1. "Wingwalker" should replicate the tri-carry-modes of the Tri-Star: it should be backpackable, shoulder-strap-able, and handle-carry-able.
    2. "Wingwalker" should offer superior ability to carry a folded suit sportcoat over the Tri-Star. This would be extremely important to me. Down the road, I'm thinking about buying either a Tri-Star or an Aeronaut and an Eagle Creek PackIt 18 Folder to store a suit.
    3. Such a bag's backpack straps should be carefully designed to allow superior carrying experience over the Sky Train.
    4. As with other Tom Bihn travel bags, this "Wingwalker" concept should be built so that the bag will hold its shape (not buldging out) even when fully loaded.
    5. As a carry-on, the "Wingwalker" would have to be able to fit under a typical jetliner's passenger seat.
    6. As with the Tri-Star, the "Wingwalker" should offer a central main compartment with removable annex clips to allow a Tom Bihn Brain Cell to be attached there if the user so desires.


    Does it seem like you and I are both on the same page here?
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    Wingwalker response

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I think the closest thing we see to your "Wingwalker" concept is the Red Oxx Sky Train. The Sky Train, of course, is a two-main-compartment carry-on, whereas the Tom Bihn Tri-Star has three main compartments. The topic you raise has been very much on my mind.

    The Sky Train receives acclaim, with the exception of its backpack straps. The backpack function has been panned by reviewers I've read; they say the straps don't wear well. If I understand you correctly, you are proposing a three-compartment maximum carry-on, essentially a Tri-Star on steroids, with three main compartments. My concerns would be this:

    1. "Wingwalker" should replicate the tri-carry-modes of the Tri-Star: it should be backpackable, shoulder-strap-able, and handle-carry-able.
    2. "Wingwalker" should offer superior ability to carry a folded suit sportcoat over the Tri-Star. This would be extremely important to me. Down the road, I'm thinking about buying either a Tri-Star or an Aeronaut and an Eagle Creek PackIt 18 Folder to store a suit.
    3. Such a bag's backpack straps should be carefully designed to allow superior carrying experience over the Sky Train.
    4. As with other Tom Bihn travel bags, this "Wingwalker" concept should be built so that the bag will hold its shape (not buldging out) even when fully loaded.
    5. As a carry-on, the "Wingwalker" would have to be able to fit under a typical jetliner's passenger seat.
    6. As with the Tri-Star, the "Wingwalker" should offer a central main compartment with removable annex clips to allow a Tom Bihn Brain Cell to be attached there if the user so desires.


    Does it seem like you and I are both on the same page here?

    MtnMan,

    Thanks for the response!

    Yes, I'd say we are absolutely on the same page here. Thanks for expressing the same concepts in a different (and probably much clearer) way.

    I agree with your observation about the Sky Train. The features I don't particularly care for on that bag are the (1) more shapeless appearance, (2) the plastic tubing handles, (3) the way the bag opens, etc etc. For this reason, I chose to submit the idea to Tom Bihn. I'm really excited that this could be an excellent fit in their line, and with the upgrades we allude to it could perhaps be the ultimate business AND pleasure bag.

    I too am very interested in being able to travel with a suit in a more practical way. Also, the backpack strap suggestions you make are points well made (please see the reference to the MEI Voyageur as a starting point).

    With regard to being sure that it doesn't bulge out, I have also tried to take into consideration the bulging inward; some have commented on the Tri-Star outer 3 pockets infringing upon the interior space. I hope that came across clearly.

    It is truly gratifying to see that not only is there more interest out there in this type of bag, but also that it is with the EXACT same features in mind. Hopefully, Darcy will tell us soon that Tom is putting the finishing touches on the first prototype! ;)

    Again, many thanks.

    I'd love to hear more thoughts.

    sojourner
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    When it comes to MEI/Genuine Gear, the closest thing to what you're suggesting seems to be The Executive Overniter. The problem with any bag from MEI is, well, it's not a Tom Bihn, which means it will lack the expandability features such as Bihn's famous "o-rings" for adding attachable items, as well as Bihn's cleverly designed pockets. That having been said, The Executive Overniter is essentially an MEI version of your Wingwalker concept: a maximum carry-on based on the Tri-Star form-factor. I agree that this would be an excellent alternative to the Aeronaut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    When it comes to MEI/Genuine Gear, the closest thing to what you're suggesting seems to be The Executive Overniter. The problem with any bag from MEI is, well, it's not a Tom Bihn, which means it will lack the expandability features such as Bihn's famous "o-rings" for adding attachable items, as well as Bihn's cleverly designed pockets. That having been said, The Executive Overniter is essentially an MEI version of your Wingwalker concept: a maximum carry-on based on the Tri-Star form-factor. I agree that this would be an excellent alternative to the Aeronaut.
    Hiya~

    The Executive Overniter is of interest, true. Again, the rather shapeless appearance is what detracts a bit from its design.

    Interesting to note the difference between the styles of the waist belts: on the Executive Overniter, it appears to be just 2" webbing. On the Voyageur mentioned in the original post, there is a fully padded, weight carrying belt. This has many advantages, with a few disadvantages - mainly dealing with stowage and weight.

    I'd be interested to see if a balance point could be reached between the two designs with regard to size (thinner, but still weight bearing), or to make it detachable if desired might be another option. Of course, Tom Bihn could also come up with yet another innovative solution here... but the goal would be the same: an incorporated waist belt able to bear weight, comfortable shoulder straps, and stowable.

    Along those lines, interesting to look at the MEI designs, which all seem to start to get overly large in capacity, with expansion zippers and the like. My thought is that keeping it specifically right around the dimensions proposed, with a structured look, bright interior, and simply building off the Tri-Star, that Tom Bihn has a winning combination!

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    Thumbs up

    I agree that there is very little competition in the specific mini-segment of the market (maximum carry-on, backpackable, triple-main-compartment, USA-made travel bag) and I would recommend that Mr. Bihn take your "Wingwalker" concept under consideration. Given how long it took for the Synapse to come to market, I would not be surprised if we didn't see such a bag before 2011, though. But we can dream, can't we? :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I agree that there is very little competition in the specific mini-segment of the market (maximum carry-on, backpackable, triple-main-compartment, USA-made travel bag) and I would recommend that Mr. Bihn take your "Wingwalker" concept under consideration. Given how long it took for the Synapse to come to market, I would not be surprised if we didn't see such a bag before 2011, though. But we can dream, can't we? :)
    We can only hope! We leave for Costa Rica en mid-February. I would LOVE to try a prototype! Actually, 4 of them!

    Any thoughts, Darcy? ;)

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    Embedded pictures

    Hi there...

    Here are the pictures right in the post, so no downloading of attachments is necessary.

    Sojourner
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    You'd have to bring the width down to 8" if you wanted it to be a true international carry-on. Most european airlines allow only 8" width and many have sizers at the gate.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

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    Would the Wingwalker's dimensions meet FAA carry-on requirements?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    You'd have to bring the width down to 8" if you wanted it to be a true international carry-on. Most european airlines allow only 8" width and many have sizers at the gate.
    Hiya, fbrown...

    Thanks for the input. I'm sure Mr. Bihn will keep that in mind. I'm certainly not opposed to limiting the dimension if needed. Here was the site I consulted for info:

    http://www.guide4home.com/leis-lug/carry-on.htm

    It seemed like European baggage restrictions had eased in the last couple of years. But I've only been traveling south, so I don't really know. You sound as if you have been in Europe more recently.

    By the way, here is another nice link for reference on carry-on requirements:

    http://www.travelsmith.com/images/us...Guidelines.pdf

    Below is the info as of today from that site.

    Thanks again for the interest! I'm still hoping for a Wingwalker edition early next year, with all the Tom Bihn finesse in the finished design!

    Sojourner
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    In regard to the European airline travel restrictions, both lists only have the "major" European airlines. Most people now travel around Europe on the discount carriers--Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, Vueling, and the dozens like them. These are not listed on the two lists you referred to. And their carry-on limits to both size and weight are much more restrictive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    In regard to the European airline travel restrictions, both lists only have the "major" European airlines. Most people now travel around Europe on the discount carriers--Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, Vueling, and the dozens like them. These are not listed on the two lists you referred to. And their carry-on limits to both size and weight are much more restrictive.

    Thanks! That being said then, it seems like you've raised a valid concern (at least for traveling in Europe on those carriers you mentioned).

    My question is this: What modifications to the proposed design would you suggest? Where would the inch come from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
    Where would the inch come from?
    How about a zippered gusset? Three sides of the bag zipper (say all but the top) so that when zipped the bag is in the smaller restricted configuration, but can be expanded for use on airlines that allow more?

    "permitted 1 piece of cabin baggage. It should weigh no more than 10kg and not exceed the maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm." - From the Ryanair website.

    That equates to about 21.25'' x 15.75'' x 7.75'' inches in roundish measurements. 10 kilos is 22 pounds.

    Looking at those measurements, I think it would be real tough to top the Tri-Star (19" x 13" x 8".) You can add two more inches to the length, and 1 inches to the height, but the depth stays - if not even lessened, and you may even need to leave a little slack in it at that (so it can squeeze into a size test box.) The Wingwalker is an interesting idea, but due to the carry-on restrictions it may not be suitable for those Euro hopper flights.
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    I don't know what changes to make to your bag because I don't design bags. I'll leave that to Tom Bihn since he's so good at it. I just offer my suggestions on what I need.

    The Tri-Star is fine as a multi-compartment bag. If I wanted anything else, it would be a one-compartment bag somewhere in size between the Tri-Star and the Aeronaut...say 20 x13.5 x 8. (I don't need two multi-compartment bags very similar in size.)

    Quite a few people have suggested a smaller version of the Aeronaut. I would say something similar but with just one end pocket so as not to make the main section any smaller. In fact, it could be bigger.
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