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  1. #1
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    Feb 2007
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    Aeronaut vs MEI Voyageur

    Has anyone compared these two bags? From what I can tell from browsing the web:
    1. They are similar sized, similar in concept, similar materials(?)
    2. MEI Voyageur is quite a bit cheaper, which is attractive to me.
    3. MEI doesn't have much (or any) web presence, but the bag and the company are well liked by people on the web.

    I wonder if anyone has used or evaluated both and can share their personal experience. I use Tom Bihn bags and like them. As much as I like the description of Aeronaut, I am unsure about paying $182 for it if I can find a comparable bag for less.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
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    MEI Voyageur and Aeronaut comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by lefty View Post
    Has anyone compared these two bags? From what I can tell from browsing the web:
    1. They are similar sized, similar in concept, similar materials(?)
    2. MEI Voyageur is quite a bit cheaper, which is attractive to me.
    3. MEI doesn't have much (or any) web presence, but the bag and the company are well liked by people on the web.

    I wonder if anyone has used or evaluated both and can share their personal experience. I use Tom Bihn bags and like them. As much as I like the description of Aeronaut, I am unsure about paying $182 for it if I can find a comparable bag for less.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks
    I don't know about the MEI Voyageur, but eristick referred to it in the early discussions of the Aeronaut design thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by eristick View Post
    I find the MEI "Voyageur" pack pretty unappealing-looking, though it is the bag currently on the market that most meets my needs.
    Perhaps she can comment?

    From the specs given on the Travel Gear Review pages and their pictures of the MEI Voyageur, this bag has the same dimensions as the Aeronaut: 22" x 14" x 9"

    The MEI Voyageur uses 1000 denier Cordura and a supporting frame, while the Aeronaut uses ballistic nylon. This gives the Aeronaut a lighter weight (2.7 lbs vs. 3.5 lbs for the MEI Voyageur). This choice of material and design (going with ballistic nylon and dispensing with a frame) came up early in the Aeronaut design thread, and it might might be useful to quote eristick's other comments from the same post that referred to the MEI Voyageur:

    Quote Originally Posted by eristick View Post
    Tom:
    Stick with the heavier fabric -- I agree that using ballistic nylon will eliminate the need for a frame. Lighter fabric saves me that extra pound or two, but it'll slump all over the place and I'll wish it had a frame, which would make the bag heavier than if you'd just used the ballistic nylon in the first place. Unless...well, I'm guessing that it's not worth it to combine the two fabrics in the design?

    Splash-proof zippers. Protection from the elements (and I'm visualizing of all the under-the-bus cargo areas and wet sidewalks) is more important.

    After looking at pictures of a zillion other bags, then re-visiting my first post, I say this: Screw the other stuff, just give me brilliant compression and stowable waist/harness straps in a bag that does not look too backpacker-y that meets carry-on restrictions when fully packed. With a little style.

    Adequete support is key. This bag will be holding 25-30 lbs of stuff, and I'm a pretty small girl. My current cheapo bag just kills my back because of the sag & lack of waist strap.
    I found the resulting Aeronaut design worked very well; see this post and its thread for a full discussion. (This was in a response to a question by Just about how the Aeronaut held up to overpacking and how well it held its shape.) I'm excerpting a section:

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    The use of ballistic nylon really does help to provide a light-weight solution to maintaining the structure of the Aeronaut while removing the need for a supporting frame. Pictures of the bag for the product description should also include a shot of the Aeronaut opened and empty. The squarish "U" of the zipper actually provides a kind of reinforcing structure, and the stiffness of the ballistic nylon on the side (what would be the "bottom" of the bag when held by the handles) combined with the curved rather than squarish seam join at its base, results in the main compartment staying open and maintaining its depth while you pack.

    The bag also gets structural support on the sides by the seaming and zipper designs of the side pockets. The curved seam designs are an inspired feature; not only do they work structurally for the support of the bag, but I'm pretty sure that for the backpack use they help the contouring to fit more comfortably to the shape of the user's back. On the sides of the bag, you can see that the hand pulls echo the shape of the curved seam design. This makes for a comfortable grip as well as being an aesthetic feature. At the same time, having the ends of the pulls attach to curved side seams makes pulling the bag out from storage easier, while I'll bet that it also makes it less likely that the seams will pull apart there due to wear. Very, very nice.
    As a last point, I notice that the MEI Voyageur uses compression straps. This was a question someone asked about the Aeronaut design, so I'll link to Zephyrnoid's post stating that he doesn't think this is an issue for the Aeronaut unless it's underfilled.

    Maybe some other forum member has tried the MEI Voyageur and can comment? i take your point about the lower price for the Voyageur, lefty, ($136 vs. $175), and the web comments about the MEI products do look good. On the other hand, I think you do get value for the extra amount for the Aeronaut.


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