Thanks, Tom - well said!
Well, if you want a good-looking USA-made roll-aboard, go to Best American Duffel and look at their roll-aboard selection.
The only drawbacks I can see to using B.A.D. luggage is that (1: since they aren't Bihn-made or Bihn-designed, they lack o-rings, splash-proof zippers or solar dyneema interiors, which means that (2: all the advantages those Bihn features offer are not available.
So, if you want a good USA-made roll-aboard, go to B.A.D. You just have to realize that B.A.D.'s are not made like Bihns.
Great article from Tom.
I never took part in the rolling luggage trend.
I went from hard sided to soft sided luggage to Tom Bihn great designs.
Because of my Brain Bag, I have been able to catch a couple of flights I would have missed for sure fumbling with wheeled things.
I also take public transportation and wheels would be an hindrance there.
When I will need to add wheels to my bags, I want Tom to make a rolling luggage carrier. :)
as tom mentioned, wheeled bags have their place. some of us are unable to carry a bag, while others just prefer a wheeled bag and their travels keep them on smooth surfaces, and that's totally okay.
but i think that the point a lot of people miss if they haven't had the opportunity to travel with the aeronaut, tri-star or western flyer is the freedom these bags afford you.
i connect through europe or new york when i travel to india, and i like to venture out of the airport if i have a few hours for a layover. i've gone into amsterdam, paris, and new york this way. traveling with the aeronaut allows me to do that. it's just an appendage on my back and easily goes where i go - whether i'm walking, on a train, on a bus or in a taxi. if i had a roll aboard instead, i know i couldn't easily do that.
@MtnMan first let me say I have no badbag and no Aeornaut so I do not know of what I speak as well as those who have one or both. . .but I can see a few other things than what you pointed out as advantages of he Aeronaut over the rollerboard.
To me it just looks nicer, the lines are cleaner. There are places to grab or carry the Aeronaut, but they are streamlined and not sticking out taking away from the look of the bag. The construction appears to be of higher quality, straps are integrated and a part of the design vs. looking like they were sewn on as an afterthought. It's more of an original design vs. the standard rolling suitcase which the rollerboard resembles to me. The end pockets on the Aeronaut seem more useful for shoes, toiletries, or even an additional bag. They look like they would hold something substantial, whereas the front pocket on the Rollerboard reminds me of what I've got on my rolling luggage, useful for a few pieces of paper or a small book. If I tried to put a garment or shoes into it I would horribly distort my bag.
The Aeronaut is also well under 1/2 the weight with nothing in it. That from what I am reading from owner's posts equals quite a bit when toting the bag around.
I don't fly frequently, or hardly ever. I mostly travel by car and my trips don't require a lot of luggage handling. Basically from car to hotel/suite/condo, or car to our travel trailer. . .But I am heavily leaning towards getting an Aeronaut of my own. When we do travel I HATE the rolling luggage, and I can't carry much without my back acting up. The rolling luggage always tips over, is hard to pack with everything, is hard for me to lift into the back of my mini van, or even worse, my dh's truck. And ultimately I'm realizing that it's not a good solution for me.
I love the blog post, and am looking forward to reading all that I can about the Aeronaut. I especially love reading about what others pack for their various trips. I am a chronic over packer so at first the Aeronaut seemed like it wouldn't work, but the more I read, the more I am realizing that I don't carry much more than some of these posts, I just don't have the right bag, and therefore cannot pack it in as well. I am thinking that eventually the reading will yield to one making it's way into my TB bag family.
I've always detested rolling luggage, preferring a rucksack, but as I'm now a cripple, that's not a great option! Still, on my last trip (just a one night stop with a 45 min flight either way) I decided to experiment. I took a 30 litre rucksack slung over the back of my scooter chair, and my iPad Ristretto over my shoulder. As here (UK) you're only allowed one bag, I had to be able to stuff my Ristretto in to the rucksack, and a stuffed rucksack is the wrong shape to fit in the hand luggage tester, so I had to carry only the minimum of 'stuff'. But, the experiment worked perfectly! So all I needed was a bag small enough to fit in the luggage tester, big enough to carry 10kg of 'stuff', the right 'shape' to maximise these criteria, and rucksack straps to fit on my chair ... Anyone any ideas? Aeronaut ordered the next day, and now it might arrive tomorrow, if not it'll be Monday, so I'll be able to judge for myself! Can't wait!!!
Speaking as someone legally considered handicapped, I detest rolling bags! I bought two Eagle Creeks until I realized I a) hated rolling them, due to the strain on my arm/shoulder/hip (yes, hip) from the handle, and b) they were so heavy I couldn't get them in a car or bus once they were packed - and these were ultralight Latitude non-convertible rollers!
Why did I buy them? My backpack-style bag had died and I needed a new bag pronto that conformed to post 9/11 regs. They're now full of unused dog and cat stuff (between dogs and cats right now). Hated them and went back to shopping. Saw Onebag.com and read it.
I bought an Air Boss. Didn't really like it since it didn't have backpack straps. Used it for more than four years, anyway, until my back cried 'NO' for the last time (and my chiro begged me to use something else). Since I used an Absolute on it, was it the strap? No. It was hanging the whole bag off one shoulder, whether it was bandolier style or not. My back couldn't take the s-curve from the one-shoulder carry.
Bought an Aeronaut. Love at first carry. Will cry when it finally dies - may it be a looooong time coming - since it's Indigo ballistic and that was just discontinued. Now, why would a woman with more back injuries than you can shake a stick at (and who has needed to use a scooter to get around, as well as canes/arm crutches to get in and out of bed after many of them), use a backpack-style bag? Simple. It's that comfortable to carry on my back.
My limit is 20 pounds, and I prefer to get it to 15, computer and all, with a Co-Pilot, or medium Cafe, or even my Swift inside if need be. But it does not hurt me to carry a loaded Aeronaut around an airport for an hour or more at a time if I have the bag properly balanced and the sternum strap buckled.
Why? I really don't know. My doctor and chiropractor think the equal weight on my spine makes a difference. Certainly the padding on an Aeronaut's back doesn't hurt. And if I do need to use my Absolute or an end strap on the Aeronaut, those certainly don't hurt for shorter periods of time.
When people say they have to use a rollerbag because of their back, I mention I've been to the chiro for 3x per week for over a year after at least two car accidents, sciatica so bad from a fall that I had to eat standing up for 6 months because I literally could not sit down without severe pain (stand or lie down, that's all I could do, driving a car was nearly impossible because I couldn't even use my right leg to drive), and that my back was nearly snapped in two by a stallion in the 70's. I have LESS pain with the Aeronaut than with any roller I've tried. I've even tried wheelies with my Air Boss and my Aeronaut, and that hurts much, much worse than putting my Aeronaut on my back.
So, if you have injured your back, but haven't been in severe pain for a while, and your doctor/chiropractor/naturopath thinks you could safely test it, get a Western Flyer, a TriStar, or an Aeronaut and give it a whirl. You may find you can do it with much less pain than you ever thought of.
I will say that if you have injured your back, carrying the Aeronaut by backpack straps and then adding a Co-Pilot cross-body or one-shoulder over it may not be the way to go. If you don't inpack your daybag into your Aeronaut (or TriStar) the way I do, consider one of the backpacks (like the Synapse or Western Flyer) for your daybag or computer bag so you can use a two-strap front carry for your second bag. If I try to carry even a five-pound Co-Pilot cross-body on top of a back-carry 14 pound Aeronaut, I feel it later that night or early the next morning. That kind of angled carry throws off the weight distribution.
I love the Ballistic fabric now that I have it as well as the Cordura. I'd prefer it if I could get a Ballistic FJN. I do so wish the backpack-strap Western Flyer had been available when it first came out. I would have bought one. Now that I would like one in Indigo, waaah, they're all gone. Even if there's a ballistic Field Journal Notebook on the horizon, it won't be in blue. :(
When I first found onebag.com, reading about the weights of roller bags and the space taken up by the mechanics - it made such sense. I found Tom Bihn bags via the OneBagOneWorld website and obviously I am now quite a fan of the brand.
I've not yet ordered the Aeronaut, but it's growing on me after reading such as all of the above, plus seeing the photos and packing lists people post. I usually like pockets and exact placement, and am a little worried by turning it to back-pack mode and having things shift...not in their actual placement but in the weight. Either way, it's a bag I would like to get...especially when flying to Europe when I know I may have more to bring with me for the family (they usually give me a list of things they would like from North America.)
Also, the bag looks secure enough that it would not be easy for another person to try to take something out of it while on my back. (One of my fears of anything on my back / out of sight.)
Now - for the Aeronaut, I just have to decide what colour... :)
Tom's blog post is a great discussions of carry-ons vs roll-aboards. A few years ago I started traveling a lot and switched from a clumsy carry-on (some no-name, cheap import) to a roll-aboard. As long as I was traveling to suburbs and only had to transport the bag from car to hotel it was tolerable. I eventually bought a Swiss Army European tote, which was small so gave me a fighting chance to get it into the overhead compartment.
But then I started making trips to cities, using mass transit, and walking several blocks. As Tom suggests in his last point, you take up a lot of room on busy city streets, the streets themselves make it difficult to roll the bag (try brick sidewalks!), and you do make a racket.
Having discovered Tom Bihn via my Ristretto for iPad, I started reading about other bags in the Forums and decided to get a Western Flyer. Since getting the the WF I haven't used my roll-aboard. I didn't get the backpack straps because I might be using a backpack for a computer and the WF at the same time. But using the WF with the Absolute Strap is almost as good. I can easily carry it and don't have to worry about having something on my back when riding the subway. It fits easily in the overhead bins and the side handles make it easy to retrieve it.
And I am amazed at what I'm able to fit into it. Next week I'll be going away for a week and I'll be packing all my clothes in the WF (and my Macbook Air and iPad will travel in my Imago).
Why do you need to take your camp chair to India? Don't they have chairs there?
i'm thinking of taking this meditation chair instead. instead of carrying it inside the aeronaut, i would carry this as my personal item in addition to the aeronaut.
Maverick - Has your packing technique changed since you shot the videos of the Aeronaut? After a year of using a Tri-Star exclusively, I took delivery of one of the last Indigo Aeronauts yesterday (wow! what a colour), and the different shape has me scratching my head. It'll be used predominantly for business travel, either 5+ day trips or 3-4 day colder weather trips. Thanks in advance.
P.S. this is my 100th post. Starting to feel at home ... though I'm not sure everyone here gets my sense of humour ... yet :)