July 20, 2021

First look at the Techonaut Travel Backpack

First look at the Techonaut Travel Backpack

The Techonaut is a new version of our Aeronaut travel bag. 

It'll be available for pre-order very soon and in two sizes: 30 liters and 45 liters. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified as soon as the Techonaut pages are up with full photos/specs/video and a pre-order date.

This is like the Synapse to Synik evolution all over again: for the past few years Nik has been designing a version of an Aeronaut that included features customers have long requested as well as a few features he himself always wanted. It was tentatively scheduled to debut a year ago, though, yeah, 2020 and all. 

Here's a first look at just a few of the Techonaut design details. Note: all of the following photos are of the Techonaut 30.

 

Built-in Laptop Compartment 


Person removing their laptop from the Techonaut 30

Suspended off the bottom of the bag, the Techonaut's laptop compartment offers just-right padding without adding bulk or weight. Don't plan to carry a laptop? Know that most of the padding and construction of the compartment would be there regardless to offer comfort to your back and structure for the bag itself.

The Techonaut 30 will fit laptops up to the size of the 16" MacBook Pro or Microsoft Surface Book 2 15".

The Techonaut 45 will fit just about any laptop out there.

 

Breathable Skeleton Back Panel

Shadow Guide Back Panel

The name says it all: instead of the back panel being a solid rectangular piece of foam, it’s cut in a spine-like shape so that it provides all of the usual comfort with less of the weight and improves airflow. We use a soft and durable mesh finished to our specifications on the part of the back panel that’ll be in contact with your clothes to reduce the chance of abrasion. No, this new back panel won’t ensure you don’t experience any sweat whatsoever if you run through the airport or hike up hill in the summer; that’s just an aspect of wearing a backpack and, well, being human.

 

U-Shaped Main Compartment

Person packing a Techonaut 30 with the main compartment zipped open: inside is an HLT in Northwest Sky and an Acuity Travel Stuff Sack. The person is holding a Solaris Travel Stuff Sack.

It's that same amazing wide opening that made the Aeronaut one of the most beloved travel bags ever, but reoriented to be Hero's Journey style. You can live out of this bag (and easily find what you're looking for) without ever having to unpack it.

One end pocket instead of two increases the amount of stuff you can pack in the bag and saves a little weight. Speaking of which: the Techonaut is slightly lighter-in-weight than the Aeronaut. 

Techonaut 30 weights, per exterior material:

1050d ballistic nylon: 1235 g / 2 lb 11.6 oz
1000d Cordura: 1160 g / 2 lb 8.9 oz
525d ballistic nylon:: 1150 g / 2 lb 8.6 oz
400d Halcyon: 980 g / 2 lb 2.6 oz

 

New Exterior Pockets 

Techonaut 30 worn by a person who is standing on a city street. They're wearing a grey hoodie and sunglasses.

One is sized for a phone/wallet/passport, and the other two can fit some water bottles, an umbrella, lightweight jackets, etc.

 

Three Carry Methods

Person carrying the Techonaut as a shoulder bag. They're walking up a flight of stairs outdoors.

Just like the original Aeronaut, the Techonaut can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag (with the optional Absolute Shoulder Strap) or as a duffel via its Edgeless handle.

 

The Great Internal Frame Debate 

Here's where we'll let you in on something we're currently deciding:

When we began packing, using, and carrying the Techonaut, we were surprised to discover that we didn’t feel it needed an internal frame — we had assumed that we would be including an internal frame with the pack. Nonetheless, Nik designed an internal frame, and we tested it in the Techonaut — nope, didn’t do much for us.

Our next step was to test that perception further by packing two Techonaut 30s — one with an internal frame, one without — and asking various folks at the factory to try them on. No one knew which bag had the frame and which didn’t; folks wore each bag with and without a laptop in the device compartment. Nearly everyone preferred the Techonaut without the internal frame.

We suspect this has to do with the structure of the bag and the Skeleton back panel design: it helps the bag hold its shape and the integrity of the back panel without the need for an internal frame.

So, rather than subject folks to an additional expense that may not improve their experience of the bag, we’re definitely not going to include the internal frame with the Techonaut.

What we’re currently debating is whether to offer even an optional internal frame with the Techonaut — and that’s where you could offer your feedback, if you’d like to. Feel free to post here in the comments.

34 comments

Dan - July 30, 2021

Unfortunately looks like all the quick access pockets are a bit out of reach when carrying with a shoulder strap over the right shoulder (in a TSA line, public transit, etc.). Maybe a dealbreaker for me. Looks like the nearest one for keys, phone, ID, transit card is behind you when carrying on right shoulder, so you’d have to shift the whole bag around onto your stomach and awkwardly pull the item out backward. For me having access at the forward section when carrying on right shoulder is a key feature

Marie - July 26, 2021

I could really use the internal frame; it makes a huge difference imo and I was a digital nomad a good part of the year (pre-pandemic).

Please at least offer it as an extra add-on!

Jimmy - July 23, 2021

Awww, I was hoping to see a Techonaut in Verde 1050 Ballistic among the pre-order choices. Perhaps in a future production offering?

Jen - July 23, 2021

I am very excited for this one! I have a classic Aeronaut (before there was the 30 or the 45… I guess it’s equivalent to the 45 now), and this looks like a possible excellent upgrade. I mean, I tend to go with my Aero and my Empire Builder, but we’ll see how it shakes out. (Since I carry two laptops normally anyway, one Windows and one Mac, moving one to the Technonaut would be awesome.)

Looking forwards to this! I honestly don’t know much about the frames (one wasn’t available for mine) so I have no real opinion on that.

Paula - July 23, 2021

I vote for an optional internal frame, especially since it looks like the Techonaut may not support a padded hip belt. I look forward to the full Techonaut page with more details, video, and additional photos. This looks like a thoughtful update to a great bag (I own an Aeronaut 30)! Can’t wait!

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