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Thread: Smaller Aeronaut, dual-compartment Tri-Star (Duo-Star?), and other suggestions

  1. #1
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    Smaller Aeronaut, dual-compartment Tri-Star (Duo-Star?), and other suggestions

    Hi,

    I've been a TB member for.....oh.....2 days (?), and have only just ordered my first TB bag last night, but I thought I'd be in a decent position to give an objective opinion based on what see on your website. As I currently don't own a TB bag, I think I could be objective! Also, I have a lot of bags, and love bags of all sorts.

    Aeronaut: A 35 litre size (similar to the Tri-Star), which may suit people who prefer the Tri-star's capacity, but want the Aeronaut's design. Keep in mind that the capacity of a maximum size wheeled carry-on suitcase is roughly 30 litres. A 35 litre Aeronaut wouldn't be considered small in terms of volume. In fact, such a bag would fit more stuff, and yet be physically smaller than the typical wheeled carry-on. Win-win! It would also be easier to carry than the current Aeronaut.

    This will sound quite anecdotal, but last summer, I travelled to Prague (and other parts of Europe) for a conference with my wheeled carry-on suitcase for 2 weeks. I packed a whole bunch (7 or 8) t-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, a business shirt and trousers, and even a pad of paper and some printouts. I never washed My suitcase was only 27 litres, and was large enough for all of that. Yes, I had to check it in because my 15 year old carry-on was a Samsonite tank that weighs ~5 kg, but imagine having a lighter Aeronaut to swallow that up!? I'd still have room to spare.


    Tri-Star: I'm a fan of compartmentalisation to keep things organised, which is why I love its external front pockets so much! However, I don't like it when bags try to be too organised because I feel that while the total volume may be sufficient, the space is only accessible in bite-sized pieces.

    Could we see a "Duo-Star" with the same capacity? That way, you get a deeper compartment for clothes, and still have a laptop compartment for a laptop and cables. Also, since "ultrabook" laptops have become increasingly common, perhaps the laptop compartment could be made narrower. Nowadays, even a 1" laptop is considered thick. If the laptop compartment was narrower, and padded compartment so that a laptop sleeve wasn't necessary, it would be amazing. Do people who can afford a Tri-Star still carry 1.5 - 2" thick laptops?


    Messenger bags (in general): Personally, I like using messenger-style bags, whether it's a proper messenger bag, or a "man-purse"/satchel. However, I believe that the top flap on most messenger-style bags is too tall. If the bag is hanging on your side, and you want to access something, you need to open up the flap. Since the flap is so tall, the flap gets in your way! It reduces visibility, and generally makes it more difficult to reach into your bag. When the bag is open, the flap could reach as high up as your shoulder, or if it's a vertically-oriented laptop bag, then the flap may even reach your face!! Do people need flaps that long? Wouldn't it be easier to deal with a shorter flap?

    Create a messenger bag with a 15-20 litre main section, add a thin padded laptop compartment (for modern, thin laptops), put the pockets from the Tri-Star or Western Flyer on the outside, add a shorter flap, and the result would be a fantastic messenger bag!


    Thanks for reading. :)
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  2. #2
    JLE
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    Your first two suggestions are very similar to the first two I thought of when I first discovered Tom Bihn too!

    I would love a smaller Aeronaut and what I think of as a larger Western Flyer. At various times Darcy has dropped hints about bags in design that might or might not meet these needs, but not recently....

    I don't think integral laptop sleeves/compartments are needed with the TB Cache on rails system. It's more flexible and efficient than a built in sleeve because of the range of cache sizes and it allows you to remove it altogether when you want to use the space differently. More clever Bihn thinking! :)

  3. #3
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawksi View Post
    Aeronaut: A 35 litre size (similar to the Tri-Star), which may suit people who prefer the Tri-star's capacity, but want the Aeronaut's design. Keep in mind that the capacity of a maximum size wheeled carry-on suitcase is roughly 30 litres. A 35 litre Aeronaut wouldn't be considered small in terms of volume. In fact, such a bag would fit more stuff, and yet be physically smaller than the typical wheeled carry-on. Win-win! It would also be easier to carry than the current Aeronaut.

    This will sound quite anecdotal, but last summer, I travelled to Prague (and other parts of Europe) for a conference with my wheeled carry-on suitcase for 2 weeks. I packed a whole bunch (7 or 8) t-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, a business shirt and trousers, and even a pad of paper and some printouts. I never washed My suitcase was only 27 litres, and was large enough for all of that. Yes, I had to check it in because my 15 year old carry-on was a Samsonite tank that weighs ~5 kg, but imagine having a lighter Aeronaut to swallow that up!? I'd still have room to spare.


    Tri-Star: I'm a fan of compartmentalisation to keep things organised, which is why I love its external front pockets so much! However, I don't like it when bags try to be too organised because I feel that while the total volume may be sufficient, the space is only accessible in bite-sized pieces.

    Could we see a "Duo-Star" with the same capacity? That way, you get a deeper compartment for clothes, and still have a laptop compartment for a laptop and cables. Also, since "ultrabook" laptops have become increasingly common, perhaps the laptop compartment could be made narrower. Nowadays, even a 1" laptop is considered thick. If the laptop compartment was narrower, and padded compartment so that a laptop sleeve wasn't necessary, it would be amazing. Do people who can afford a Tri-Star still carry 1.5 - 2" thick laptops?
    Much as I am now a big fan of Tom Bihn, let's not be myopic and forget there is a big wide world of other bags out there. If you want the layout of the Aeronaut in a smaller size, and a laptop slot (rated for 17", but would have to be a really thin 17" laptop), take a look at the Timbuk2 Wingman. It's about 2" narrower than the Aeronaut, which drops its capacity down to about 2100 cubic inches compared to the Aeronaut's 2700 (despite being Canadian, can't recall my metric conversion at this hour; guessing about 38-40L).

    I'm in the midst of writing a three-way travel bag review which includes the Wingman, Patagonia MLC, and Aeronaut, but in the few months I've owned one, it's a capable bag that clearly takes some design inspiration from TB (and is laid out both better and worse in different ways). It's less expensive, lighter, but not as well made.

    I also find the similarity in names between the Aeronaut and Wingman to be mildly amusing. :)

    Also, I think the "Duo-Star" currently exists as the Western Flyer, no?
    Last edited by itsablur; 07-04-2013 at 10:39 PM.
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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post
    Much as I am now a big fan of Tom Bihn, let's not be myopic and forget there is a big wide world of other bags out there.
    Oh definitely. These are just suggestions and opinions about the products that I've looked at. Some of these issues are probably things that Tom Bihn and co. have already considered, or perhaps it'll spark them to consider a new product!



    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur View Post
    Also, I think the "Duo-Star" currently exists as the Western Flyer, no?
    I imagine the Tri-Star to be the bag you'd buy if you wanted a larger Western Flyer. If that's true, then why the additional compartment? Wanting more space doesn't necessarily imply that people were hoping for a 3rd compartment, especially if it means that the clothing compartment will be narrower. The Tri-Star has a larger volume, but its 3 compartments are also narrower than the WF's.

    The Western Flyer has two equally sized compartments, and they're both wider. Based on what I said about the Tri-Star, the WF's rear laptop compartment would be even less suitable for a modern laptop! I suppose you could put your laptop in the rear compartment and fill the remaining space with some clothes, socks, underpants, etc.

    If the Tri-Star is for those people who want a WF with more space, then couldn't it be left as a dual-compartment bag? The rear and middle compartments could be merged into a "clothing" compartment that's twice as deep as before, while the front compartment acts as the computer + document + cables compartment. The "Dual-Star's" two compartments would be asymmetric in terms of volume, but that should be OK, since people usually want to pack clothes or shoes in there anyway.
    Last edited by Nawksi; 07-05-2013 at 02:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsablur

    I'm in the midst of writing a three-way travel bag review which includes the Wingman, Patagonia MLC, and Aeronaut, but in the few months I've owned one, it's a capable bag that clearly takes some design inspiration from TB (and is laid out both better and worse in different ways). It's less expensive, lighter, but not as well made.
    I am interested in hearing your thoughts on these bags having previously owned 2 of the MLC and the older wingman, my original MLC held up pretty well until the main zipper gave out, to their credit Patagonia replaced the bag with the current at the time version of the MLC that among other problems wasn't actually within maximum dimensions for carry-on, just before I found TB I purchased a Wingman and it self destructed in a comically short amount of time, it's backpack straps pulled out, it's lining detached, it's shoulder strap attachment ring's box stitching ripped out and the zipper derailed every time I zipped it up. All this happened in the first week of its inaugural journey, then just for fun Timbuk2 said it was considered general wear and tear and wasn't covered by their warranty. Granted I'm not easy on my luggage but a week seems like a short lifespan for a bag!

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    I like the Duo-Star idea SOMEWHAT. The idea of having a bag the same capacity as the Tri-Star is good, and the idea of having thicker sections is good, but it sure is nice having three sections rather than two...

    I put an Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder in the back compartment for all the clothes that can be easily wrinkled. That leaves the middle compartment for the wrinkle-resistant outerwear and the front compartment for underwear, toiletries, and a pair of shoes. All the electronics and documents go in the front pockets.

    With only two compartments, the Duo-Star would require packing cubes to segregate the different clothes (dirty/clean/wrinkle-resistant/wrinkle-susceptible) and toiletries and shoes, and then I might as well go all-out with the packing cube philosophy and go with an Aeronaut... So then your suggestion of a smaller-capacity Aeronaut is probably the best solution here (at least for me), or perhaps a slightly fatter Tri-Star.

    Of these two ideas, I'd go with the 1" fatter Tri-Star, but I'd use up the extra 1" in the front pockets, giving them some depth, rather than in the three main compartments. (I do love my Tri-Star, but mainly because I prefer its packing style, not because of its current size).
    Last edited by dchang0; 07-11-2013 at 01:57 AM.
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    A smaller aeronaut (19x13x8 or 9) has been on my Tom Bihn wishlist since, oh, 2008... (search for Aeronette and you'll get the history).

    Unfortunately the Tri-Star, with its radically different packing style, sits in that size zone and, if I recall correctly, was a direct response to the call for a mid-size bag on these forums, so I doubt very much that we'll get one for those of us who pack in "3D"!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpau View Post
    A smaller aeronaut (19x13x8 or 9) has been on my Tom Bihn wishlist since, oh, 2008... (search for Aeronette and you'll get the history).

    Unfortunately the Tri-Star, with its radically different packing style, sits in that size zone and, if I recall correctly, was a direct response to the call for a mid-size bag on these forums, so I doubt very much that we'll get one for those of us who pack in "3D"!
    Pretty different materials and overall look, but if that is the size you want, and a layout like the Aeronaut, check out the Timbuk2 Wingman. It is very much like the Aeronaut in packing style, but a little narrower. It clocks in at about 42 linear inches, which is about where your given dimensions were. I've owned it twice but could never get it "just right" for myself, so I sold the first and returned the second before spending the money on the Aeronaut (tried to go the cheaper route initially). Not a bad bag (pretty decent actually), but didn't ultimately fit me right.

    I agree with you though that since the TS exists right around that general size, a smaller Aeronaut-style bag is likely not in the cards. :(
    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

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    The Wingman is too long for our restricted carry-on dimensions here (.au), and I actually prefer a shorter but deeper bag, which gives a greater volume overall. The dimensions of the Tri-Star are just right!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpau View Post
    A smaller aeronaut (19x13x8 or 9) has been on my Tom Bihn wishlist since, oh, 2008... (search for Aeronette and you'll get the history).

    Unfortunately the Tri-Star, with its radically different packing style, sits in that size zone and, if I recall correctly, was a direct response to the call for a mid-size bag on these forums, so I doubt very much that we'll get one for those of us who pack in "3D"!
    Very well-put. Yes, it seems that a bit of "product positioning overlap" is going on that may make any of these speculations unlikely to ever happen. It would be nice if perhaps TB could design the Aeronaut so that it could be reduced in size via accordion-style bellows and clips (or zippers) rather than having us improvise with compression straps...


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