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Thread: Aeronaut 30 vs 45 vs Tri-Star HELP

  1. #1
    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    Aeronaut 30 vs 45 vs Tri-Star HELP

    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):

    CLOTHES
    • 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)


    GEAR
    • 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.

    Much love!
    Last edited by platisc; 09-29-2014 at 03:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    Maybe I didn't follow your description all that well but why not just get something to put the shoes in,inside the SA?

    There are nice shoe bags made just for this and it hardly requires a dedication purpose designed shoe accessory although I would be the last guy to argue if that is what you wanted too.

    I know when I ride I like a bag that is a backpack and not one that can just be a backpack if you need one.
    So if you already have the bag that rules all others,finish it off with the shoe bag to quietly rule all others just from the inside!

    I love my TriStar and take it with me on almost every trip I take but it also will not hold my Size 13 paddles standing top to bottom in the zippered 1/3 pocket easily either. I have to lay them down inside somewhere to get the zipper closed.

    Also I thought that was the front of the TS and the back is where the straps hide?

    Ed

  3. #3
    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    Hey @AVService, thanks for the reply, and glad to hear that you and your TriStar have a healthy relationship.

    Two clarifications, although your suggestion is more than valid, and one that I am still considering (sticking with the SA):

    • I prefer a dedicated backpack when I cycle as well, but do have a smaller bicycle-specific bag that accompanies me on most rides. What I meant when alluding to the bag performing for bicycle duty, is the occasional trip where I need to haul some larger gear (shipping packages immediately comes to mind). In other words, this bag that I'm hunting doesn't have to be super perfect for bicycle trips, as it will not be my go-to bike bag. (If you're curious, I ride with an Axial Mini Messenger from Modern Industry. It is small and unobtrusive, but still fits my mac air, phone, keys, some snacks and a water).


    • Also, the zipped pocket I meant is just one of the side main compartments. In it, there is a zip-up fabric divider, which is shown (in TB's product page video) to nicely house a pair of shoes. This could of course all be conjecture, because I don't own the bag so I'm not that familiar with it.


    Do you take your tri-star on lengthy trips? How many shoe pairs if so? And for you or anyone else, shoe bag/stuff sack recommendations for US 11?

    The main reason I feel for possibly abandoning the SA is my newfound preference for lay-flat packing.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    --Chris
    Last edited by platisc; 09-29-2014 at 08:04 AM.

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    One thing to keep in mind about the TriStar is that anything over about 3" thick is not going to pack very well. Your shoes are also borderline on fitting in the designated shoe compartment. My size 13 (US) women's tennis shoes do not fit there. I say go with your gut and get an Aeronaut if you can't make the SA work.

  5. #5
    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip @Auntie Em. As I was typing my response about cycling (and imaging trying to fit UPS boxes into the TS), I started to really realize that and it made me lean toward eliminating the Tri-Star.

    A picture of an SA next to an A30 and/or A45 would help huge if anybody could oblige.

  6. #6
    Registered User BagJunkie's Avatar
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    As someone with the A30 and A45, I can attest that the A30 is just as accommodating. I can easily fit 1-5 days of clothing (using packing cubes etc) in my A30 plus toiletry bag, iPad, pullover fleece and size 8.5 men's shoes. I really love the compact feel of the A30 vs. the A45. I've sold the A45 because the A30 serves me quite well. I feel that the A45 is a little to big for me, and I would tend to overstuff the A45. If I overstuff the A30, I can still be assured that it will fit in the overhead bins on regional jets as well as most European flights.

    The A30 and my Synapse 25 are my dynamic duo for traveling.

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    @platisc, On the question of shoes, the A30 should comfortably carry your U.S. Men's size 11 in the end pocket. The product description page states:

    Good to know: the end compartments of the Aeronaut 30 can accommodate a pair of size 12 men's dress or running shoes. Don't wear a size 12? Smaller sizes fit too, of course. The end compartments are also great for segregating the clean from the unclean (more on that just below), or perhaps socks and underwear, from everything else.
    If you want a visual check, @adampaul's Brief Aeronaut 30 Review has pictures of a pair of men's size 13 (U.S.) shoes that he said fit (but barely) in the end pocket. Your shoes should also be able to go into the Tri-Star's front right (smaller of the two zippered) compartment. I don't usually carry extra shoes (and in any case my size is small even for women, so not likely to be a good reference for you), but I checked that a pair of Men's U.S. 10.5 M Sperry Topsiders fit in both the A30 and the Tri-Star, and I can also fit these into a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, which is what I used in the Tri-Star for dress shoes. Some people use the size #3 Travel Stuff Sack for shoes (e.g. @jeffmac for men's 8.5 shoes), but that won't work for large men's sizes or very high heels (they'll take 3" heels, but not 4" heels that forum member @bijoux asked about -- those did fit in the PCSB). Other people use the Aeronaut end packing cubes, or the plastic bags that newspapers are delivered in for their shoes.

    The main comment is the the Aeronaut end pockets (on both the A45 and A30) are better shaped to take shoes if these are bulkier or the major constraint for your traveling, since there is more room to accommodate odd shapes and volume in the way those end pockets are laid out. However, if you had really bulky and large hiking boots, you'd have to put them into the main compartment even in the Aeronaut.

    Did you look at the video that @itsablur did comparing the two Aeronauts? It's up at this blog post.

    Also, I'm sure someone has a better picture, but here's one of @Ilkyway's pictures of her (early) Aubergine collection with Smart Alec next to an Aeronaut 45.



    HTH moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 09-29-2014 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Added link to video comparing A30 and A45

  8. #8
    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    @BagJunkie I like the positive words on sizing between A30 and A45. Accommodating sounds like the word one really needs when dealing with carry capacity. Overstuffing is a big fear.

    Quote Originally Posted by BagJunkie View Post
    The A30 and my Synapse 25 are my dynamic duo for traveling.
    That seems like a pretty agreeable duo. I've been leaning toward the A30 heavily, and would be lying if I said I didn't frequently fantasize about adding an S19 into the mix. I'm too stubborn to hold two bags while traveling, and have thought about going marsupial with the S19 inside the A30, which I believe can be done but would probably render most of the A30's interior useless.

    I think what's really happening here is that as my first full year since discovering Tom Bihn comes to a close, I've finally begun to realize that every bag they make is the one bag that I need.
    Last edited by platisc; 09-29-2014 at 01:54 PM.

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    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    @moriond as always, thanks for the links. And @adampaul thanks for that awesome review. Seeing everything laid out, and that beefy One-Bag packing list was drool worthy. In the end, while I may be able to get all of this into my SA, the load/unloading process would be drastically different, in favor of course to the A30.

    I dig all that aubergine, and am pleased to see how big the SA still looks even in comparison to the A45. I've been starting to realize that it can feel a bit hungry as a traditional daypack and not the best option for a weekend/travel bag, so I might be better off with a new piece. I really seem to be honing in on a new aeronaut, but now have a question concerning its backpack straps. How is the overall backpack carry experience of the A30? I imagine I'll be using the straps a lot, and am aware that there is no Dri-Lex Aero-Spacer mesh panel. Given thought, this doesn't really seem to be a big concern, but I'll probably just have to order and find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by platisc View Post
    I think what's really happening here is that as my first full year since discovering Tom Bihn comes to a close, I've finally begun to realize that every bag they make is the one bag that I need.
    This meeting of Bihnaholics Anonymous will now come to order...

    Platisc, my new close and yet unmet friend, you have just come to terms with the biggest challenge implicit in Tom Bihn bags. They play to your perfectionism. Once you use a (insert random Bihn bag here) to go some where in a "Just So" sort of way...you are hooked.

    Tom's attention to detail and thought process means that you will always find your self choosing the bag in your ever shrinking Bihn closet that suits what you are doing just that moment.

    I really need a library card for the Tom Bihn store so I could borrow whatever I needed for what ever form of travel I am embarking upon at that moment. Except that wouldn't work because (to quote Golem) they are "MY PRECIOUS! DO NOT TOUCH MY PRECIOUS!"

    ...and now...I have said too much.

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    First off I am talking about the same zippered partial pocket divider that you are,but I already know that my shoes will not fit in it when divided that way.
    Your mileage may vary there?

    I will normally wear 1 pair of shoes and pack a pair of Keens and thats all.
    If needed I have brought more but I am not a light packer by any means ever so I just don't worry about it anymore and bring bigger and/or more bags depending on the situation and mode of travel.

    I will add to the TS a Synapse or Brain Bag depending on the need and often I will have a Super Ego too as my computer bag and almost always travel with a Mac and PC laptop and a few iPads at a minimum so I need the bag space pretty badly.

    If I go for a week or so I am good with the TS as a main bag and I have crammed 8 Polo shirts and sets of socks and underwear in there too along with the Keens and a spare pair of Jeans,Carhartt usually and they are thick.

    I also routinely carry other bags not Bihn(Gasp!). I have a Patagonia that is a bigger aeronaut pretty much and I also use a Burton Board Bag which is a large rolling bag but is soft and perfect for me for lengthy trips.
    I also still will carry a garment bag,a Boyt Walk In Closet if the spirit hits me as it requires zero folding!

    Also worth mentioning that a Synapse is an ideal Bike bag too.

    I do have a couple of Eagle Creek Shoe Bags and they are great but a little bulky.

    I should also tell you that I have 3 Brain Bags so I might not be an ideal role model for Tom Bihn reason or moderation?

    Just Sayin.


    Quote Originally Posted by platisc View Post
    Hey @AVService, thanks for the reply, and glad to hear that you and your TriStar have a healthy relationship.

    Two clarifications, although your suggestion is more than valid, and one that I am still considering (sticking with the SA):

    • I prefer a dedicated backpack when I cycle as well, but do have a smaller bicycle-specific bag that accompanies me on most rides. What I meant when alluding to the bag performing for bicycle duty, is the occasional trip where I need to haul some larger gear (shipping packages immediately comes to mind). In other words, this bag that I'm hunting doesn't have to be super perfect for bicycle trips, as it will not be my go-to bike bag. (If you're curious, I ride with an Axial Mini Messenger from Modern Industry. It is small and unobtrusive, but still fits my mac air, phone, keys, some snacks and a water).


    • Also, the zipped pocket I meant is just one of the side main compartments. In it, there is a zip-up fabric divider, which is shown (in TB's product page video) to nicely house a pair of shoes. This could of course all be conjecture, because I don't own the bag so I'm not that familiar with it.


    Do you take your tri-star on lengthy trips? How many shoe pairs if so? And for you or anyone else, shoe bag/stuff sack recommendations for US 11?

    The main reason I feel for possibly abandoning the SA is my newfound preference for lay-flat packing.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    --Chris
    Last edited by AVService; 09-30-2014 at 03:40 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by platisc View Post
    @moriond as always, thanks for the links. And @adampaul thanks for that awesome review. Seeing everything laid out, and that beefy One-Bag packing list was drool worthy. In the end, while I may be able to get all of this into my SA, the load/unloading process would be drastically different, in favor of course to the A30.

    I dig all that aubergine, and am pleased to see how big the SA still looks even in comparison to the A45. I've been starting to realize that it can feel a bit hungry as a traditional daypack and not the best option for a weekend/travel bag, so I might be better off with a new piece. I really seem to be honing in on a new aeronaut, but now have a question concerning its backpack straps. How is the overall backpack carry experience of the A30? I imagine I'll be using the straps a lot, and am aware that there is no Dri-Lex Aero-Spacer mesh panel. Given thought, this doesn't really seem to be a big concern, but I'll probably just have to order and find out.

    Backpack straps are comfortable and functional. Fits my 5'9" frame like a glove when packed to capacity. As mentioned in my previous post, I was able to pack in a large Eagle Creek cube: 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of khakis, 2 pair of work out shorts and 5 short sleeve polo shirts. In the large TB packing cube: 5 tshirts, 5 pairs of boxers, a patagonia pullover and an iPad Air in a case. I forgot to mention that I unzipped one side of the main compartment to accommodate the large EC packing cube. Also in the Abyss of the main compartment, I have Victorinox toiletry bag, and a down vest in a stuff sack. In the zippered mesh pocket is where I store the travel bin. On the left side zippered compartment (Where I unzipped the divider) I have a small TB end pocket with 5 paris of socks, a watch case, one belt and a small first aid/sewing kit. On the right side zippered compartment, I have a large TB end pocket for a pair of shoes. All of this on my back feels like nothing and puts my previous A45 and RedOxx Skytrain to shame. You CANNOT go wrong with the ergonomics of the back pack straps on any of the the TB bags. I do also have the Absolute TB strap, and that too, gives me the option to sling it over my shoulder comfortably if I'm also traveling with my trusty S25.

    I think if you ended up doing the "marsupial" with the S19, you could get away with it if you packed it first, and flat on the bottom of the A30 or on the very top of your packing cubes. Again, it's pretty amazing what you can fit in the A30. Best travel bag for frequent flyers on the market. Bar none.

  13. #13
    Registered User platisc's Avatar
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    @BagJunkie you're getting me real excited about the A30. I'm wondering if by chance the EC PCs you're using are from their Specter Compression line? You (or anybody else) have any experience with these? The idea sounds great in theory, but I'm envisioning just not being able to zip shut the compression zipper, which would render the whole concept useless.

    Thanks for all your help everybody. As of now I'm crushing real hard on a Black/Iberian A30, and will probably be putting my beloved Black/Steel SA on eBay (even just typing that was difficult...I'm not sure if I'll be able to go through with it). Will also continue scouring for more photos (pretty much run every piece of A30 picture content dry) , and am still especially intrigued by the thought of putting an S19 inside the A30 (PHOTO REQUEST). I'm trying to convince myself that 2 more hits (in the form of an A30 and S19) could satisfy my deepest of Bihn cravings, for the time being...


    EDIT: Would also gladly entertain ideas from any of those in favor of packing a DLBP or other daypack solution inside the A30. I have a feeling feedback from putting an S19 inside an A30 will be negative. I do know the PCBP is taller, but imagine it's much more packable. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by platisc; 09-30-2014 at 12:42 PM.

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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    An empty DLBP will fit in the stowaway strap compartment of the A30. You can also roll it up and tuck it inside the bag, or pack it flat(tish). You can smash an S19 in there but it will seriously take up a ton of space. (I know this because I store my S19 inside my A30 inside my A45.)

    A brief word of caution: I would strongly suggest buying your A30, checking it out, and making sure you like it before you sell your SA. If the A30 turns out not to be the prince charming you imagined, you'll be happy to have your old friend waiting patiently for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by platisc View Post

    Thanks for all your help everybody. As of now I'm crushing real hard on a Black/Iberian A30, and will probably be putting my beloved Black/Steel SA on eBay (even just typing that was difficult...I'm not sure if I'll be able to go through with it). Will also continue scouring for more photos (pretty much run every piece of A30 picture content dry) , and am still especially intrigued by the thought of putting an S19 inside the A30 (PHOTO REQUEST). I'm trying to convince myself that 2 more hits (in the form of an A30 and S19) could satisfy my deepest of Bihn cravings, for the time being...


    EDIT: Would also gladly entertain ideas from any of those in favor of packing a DLBP or other daypack solution inside the A30. I have a feeling feedback from putting an S19 inside an A30 will be negative. I do know the PCBP is taller, but imagine it's much more packable. Any thoughts?
    I don't have time to take/post pictures (pretty much the whole next two days are packed solid), but I can comment that the S19 does fit in the bottom of the main A30 compartment, but it is noticeably flatter with the old 200d Dyneema Synapses (I think @Badger has one of these), even in comparison with the current 400d Dyneema S19s. You can also try the Dyneema Daylight Backpack @Badger mentioned. (I find this doesn't go as easily into the A30 Backpack strap zippered pocket as in the A45, both because these are hourglass shaped, and the A30 is a bit tighter, and because it's just easier to fit in both the Western Flyer and Tri-Star back pockets, as I showed/commented in the middle of the long Daylight Backpack Impressions/Photo thread. @Badger may be able to help you out here.

    HTH moriond

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