My name is Paul and I have been a bit of a lurker here for some time. I thought it was about time I pop a few lines together to explain how I go here.
I suspect the story is not new, but I am quite facinated by how a pretty frugal guy like myself can part with (what I consider to be anyway) a considerable amount of money on 3 bags I have never seen 'in the flesh' (nor spoken to anyone about) from a company which is on the other side of the world. For me, this is a first.
So, I came across an interview online with a couple of fellows who call themselves "The minimalists". They were doing this book tour of the US and what really struck me though was the fact that they were travelling with one bag each. Well, I wouldn't expect anything less from a couple of minimalist. What I loved though was their luggage.
So, it is from there that I started my luggage search, plus a reducton in the amount of 'stuff' I have because like many folks, I have way too much 'stuff'. I can't claim to be a minimalist yet, but consider myself to be a poorly disciplined apprentice. But the right luggage will fix that, won't it? ;o)))
I checked all the usual sites (One Bag, One World; Onebag.com, etc) and came to the same conclusion that some people do - for quality, it has to be either a Tom Bihn bag, or a Red Oxx.
After checking the prices of the bags from Tom Bihn and Red Oxx (Aeronaut 30 and the Sky Train were the two bags I was immediatly drawn to), I decided I should have another look at the rest of the market as this was quite a lot of money to pay for hand luggage. (I was still thinking of the Aeronaut as *just* hand luggage at this stage - should I be ashamed?)
Every group of reviews I read for bags of a similar design / style / purported purpose, there were usually a number of dissatisfied customers. Poor service (can maybe cope with that) and poor quality were the two biggest areas where people were not happy. And in the case of quality, I can understand their anger. Broken shoulder straps, handles with seams tearing, side stitching popping out. So, the question for me was:
Do I aspire to be a happy minimalist with high quality travel gear which I will cherish because it continues to give its all, or do I aspire to be a cranky minimalist walking through Hong Kong airport with my hand luggage cradled in my arms because the shoulder strap broke and the handle tore from the bag on one side?
So, I ended back at the start. Sky Train or Aeronaut 30.
So, after far too much research - I won't go through the trials of this as many of you have definitely walked this path before: Well done Padawan - I found myself at the Tom Bihn site, registering and adding the Aeronaut 30 to the wish list. Thats right...the wish list, NOT the basket.
Now there was another problem. I looked ata number of other bags which Tom Bihn makes and I realsied that the Aeronaut may not actually be for me.
So, close to 2 more weeks were spent going through all the travel bags on the Tom Bihn site (with a few trips to Youtube in between) and I am so glad I took my time to get to know all the bags a lot better.
So bringing this story to a close, after setting out to find a bag to travel with so I could just take hand luggage, I did the following:
24th August 2014:
- Purchased 1 x TriStar (Black/Wasabi) with Absolute Shoulder Strap and Horizontal Brain Cell.
- Purchased 1 x additional Absolute Shoulder Strap because I have another bag which will benefit from a good shoulder strap.
- Purchased 1 x Synapse 19 (Black/Iberian) which is a birthday gift for my partner. Her current backpack which she uses for work is on its last legs, so I hope she likes the Synapse...and the time I spent justifying its purchase
24th August 2014...and about 3 hours after placing above order:
- Realised I *needed* 1 x Travel Tray in ultra violet and Luke the Bag Guru sorted me out immediately.
26th August 2014:
Had got myself a bit worked up that my partner was getting a Synapse 19 and was not. (I have managed to convince myself the TriStar is a work-related item)
- Purchased 1 x Synapse 19 (Black/Iberian) so I was not jealous.
29th August 2014:
- Changed my Synapse 19 from black to Navy / Ultraviolet.
Today (31 August 2014)
Spent the afternoon looking at packing cubes and trying to convince myself that I will be far more organised with such items. Managed to get away before the inevitable but am pretty sure Luke would have been more than happy to add it to my order. Dangerous indeed!!!
So far, the Tom Bihn experience has been great. Thanks to the Tom Bihn staff (Luke) for their patience and to all of you for the immense amount of information on these forums. I mentioned at the start that I am not the type of fellow to spend this type of money sight-unseen, but the reviews and information which you, the members, have put together really gives me the confidence that this is the right purchase for me.
I am really looking forward to giving my Tristar its first outing (with the Synapse 19 as my 'personal' item) and will be sure to keep you informed as to how it all goes.
All the best and safe travels.