Hello fellow Bihnions.
Relatively new here to the TB community, but feel right at home with the brand and these forums. So thanks in advance for hearing me out
A few months ago I bought a Smart Alec as my first TB bag. I purchased it because I find it the most sexy bag in Tom's lineup, and think that it just shouts adventure. Ballistic exterior, dyneema interior, O-rings and all the rest have all sold me on Tom's way of carrying, but I'm now interested in purchasing another bag, to perhaps coexist with but most likely replace my beloved SA.
I purchased the SA with the intent on having it be the one bag to rule them all. It certainly can be, and currently is, but my one caveat is in carrying shoes. I consider myself a pretty decent minimalist packer, but I also try and look good when I travel. My pants are on point and my merino microns are getting softer and softer...but SHOES! They are a minimalist packers' nightmare. I'd travel with an S19 if I didn't have to bring an additional pair of kicks for my travels. They absolutely can be carried in the SA, or even attached on the outside, but this is when things get messy, and I do not like messy.
It is important to note that along with extended travel (typically up to 3 weeks), I would like for the next bag to be able to sit comfortably on my back for bike rides where I need to haul some stuff. I live in NYC and pedal pretty much everywhere. I have a small bag for daily carry, but need something bigger (a gap that my SA currently fills, but might not if its replaced) in order to pack the sort of things that a guy buys and transports from one borough to the next.
The recent release of the A30 has me intrigued. Organization, style, and of course build quality are all there. I'm typically a backpack guy, but can't deny that I prefer the packing style of a duffel (it just seems much easier to be neater). I like imagining my shoes being zipped in a stuff sack and isolated in an end pocket. I also like the smaller size compared to its older brother, but like some of you feel left craving for just a few extra liters to perhaps better accommodate cold weather travel trips. I pack light and smart, but still; can anybody give me an idea of an extended travel list for their A30? Preferably male, but I hold no biases here--female packing lists are more than welcome.
The small concern with the A30's carrying capacity has of course left me flip-flopping tabs back and forth with the A45, but I can't help but feel that it's just too big for a short weekend getaway or, of course, an inner-city adventure. As I'm writing this, I'm more and more ruling out the A45 (you guys are like therapy).
Then all of a sudden came the tri-star. It's more square than I consider myself to be, but I'll be damned if I could even try and deny that organization. The video nearly had me sold on that zip-up divider on the back pocket pictured with shoes (I'm a US 11 by the way, if anyone has any words of caution, I presume my size wouldn't be in a problem in any of these bags). I consider it the least appealing of the bunch, but only because where others try (or have) to conform to a businessy look, I typically go the other way. In the end, however, I do value function over fashion, which is why I'm considering the tri-star as my third option to (potentially) sub in for my SA.
Whether traveling for 3 days or 3 weeks, my carry is almost identical. Apart from what I typically travel in (Outlier 60/30 pants in navy, biggest shoes for the trip, t-shirt, light sweater option, Mission Workshop Orion rain jacket, Swrve linen/silk bandana/scarf):
- Outlier Climbers in Gray OR Levi's Commuter Cargos (if I feel like roughen' it more)
- Outlier Three-Way Shorts
- a pair of shoes (depending on travel, these can be dress shoes or closed-toe sandals)
- 1 merino wool T-shirt
- 1 merino wool Polo shirt
- 1 or 2 button-down shirts
- 2-3 pairs of socks/underwear
- Merino Henley/Sweatshirt (depending on weather)
- Macbook Air 11" (in vertical cache right now), with charger
- Nikon P7800 Camera
- Nook Simple Touch
- Side Effect, packed with toiletries, which one at destination becomes a day pack.
- Various other TB pouches, with little things and cables galore that don't really effect this packing list.
TO SUMMARIZE (thanks for bearing with me all this way):
I'm wondering if another bag can satisfy me more than my Smart Alec. I'm mainly considering the A30, but in doing so have had stray thoughts about the A45 and Tri-Star. I'm mainly looking for anybody who has had similar thoughts and/or can help by judging my packing list/bag desires. But really, let's face it, we're all just here to talk bags.