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Aeronaut 45

Regular price $300.00
  • Black 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
  • Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Add Shoulder Straps:
  • Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

    If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

    Face Masks
    Our masks are satisfaction guaranteed. Please if you're happy with your mask *or* there's something that doesn't work for you. We want to hear from you!

  • Our bags and face masks are designed and cut & sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

    That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

    Intrigued? You can more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.


U.S. high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon
— or —
bluesign® certified High Tenacity 525 denier ballistic nylon
— or —
bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified Ultralight 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop
bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified 200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric lining
Tough Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
Main Compartment and End Compartments:
#10 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers with lockable sliders
Diagonal End Pocket and Interior Pocket:
#8 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers
Interior Divider Zippers:
#5 YKK Vislon Molded Tooth
3/8" / 10mm thick back foam panel
Bound-edge EV50 .375" / 10mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)


Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 21.9" (w) x 14" (h) x 9.1" (d) / 555 (w) x 355 (h) x 230 (d) mm
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 3 lb 1 oz / 1395 grams
525d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 2 lb 15 oz / 1340 grams
400d Halcyon®/420d nylon ripstop: 2 lb 7 oz / 1095 grams
2700 cubic in / 45 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
What's included:
1x 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
1x Black Cord Zipper Pulls w/ Plastic Ends (8 Pack)
1x Sternum Strap Assembly
1 pair Tie-Down Straps
Total O-rings: 9 (4 in the main compartment, 1 in the inside mesh pocket, 1 in the left curved pocket, 1 in the right curved pocket, 1 in the left side pocket, 1 in the right side pocket)
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Our legendary maximum size carry-on travel bag. Carry it as a backpack, shoulder bag, or duffel.

Travel with the Aeronaut isn't like travel with wheeled luggage: you won't ever hesitate to make your way through the crowd, down a cobblestone alley, across the grass, or up the trail. With the load on your back, you can navigate through not just airports, train stations, and bus depots, but through airplanes, trains, and buses. Hard to categorize, the Aeronaut is at once soft luggage, a duffel bag, and a backpack. It takes the best of all those bags and combines them into what many people have found to be their most versatile travel bag yet.

Designed to qualify as a maximum-size airline carry-on bag (the smaller Aeronaut 30, great for intra-European flights or über-minimalist packers, is also available), the Aeronaut can be carried as a backpack (with its zip-away backpack straps), or with its padded handle can be carried on-edge as one would a traditional suitcase. Of course you can add our Absolute Shoulder Strap so you can carry it on your shoulder as well (almost any other shoulder strap will work too).

The downside to most duffel bags is their lack of compartmentalization: we think we've answered that quite successfully with the Aeronaut. The main body of the bag is divided into three significant compartments via two zippered dividers: a large center compartment is flanked on both ends by substantial end pockets. These end pockets can easily accommodate size 12 (USA) running shoes (now maybe you can finally take all the shoes you need with you). The end pockets also are great for segregating the clean from the unclean, or perhaps socks and underwear, from everything else. Don’t need two end compartments? Unzip one of the zippered dividers, transforming the Aeronaut into a two compartment bag. Or, unzip both zippered dividers, and the Aeronaut becomes a large one main compartment bag.

The main compartment is accessed through a curved zipper opening and swallows a substantial stack of folded shirts/blouses/trousers/dresses; as you pack the Aeronaut, the end pockets act like bookends, keeping everything in the center compartment relatively flat and folded. The inside of the opening "hatch" features a convenient zippered mesh pocket for small items. 

There's also two simple webbing loop handles that are accessible only when the main hatch is unzipped: they're designed to be used as grab handles when and if you need to move your Aeronaut around while packing or unpacking. The handles drop to the inside and are only there when you need them (we think you'll appreciate them).

We make a variety of Packing Cubes sized specifically to most efficiently utilize space inside the Aeronaut. Inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut, you can fit two Large Aeronaut Packing Cubes, one Large and two Small, or four Small. In either end compartment of the Aeronaut, you can fit an End Pocket Packing Cube in either Fabric/Mesh or All Fabric. Also available are the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and the Aeronaut 45 Packing Cube Backpack: use them as packing cubes inside the Aeronaut and once you reach your destination, unpack them for use as lightweight shoulder bags or backpacks as you explore your destination.

If Packing Cubes are not your style, you can avail yourself of a pair of tie-down straps inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut. Theses straps can be handy for securing pants/slacks or a carefully folded sports coat. If you find they are in your way you can save a bit of weight by removing them.

The Aeronaut converts easily to and carries comfortably as a backpack: the shoulder straps are contoured and padded, and they feature a removable/adjustable sternum strap; the back panel is padded with 3/8" / 10mm thick closed-cell foam as well. Thanks to a zipper hidden inside the lining of the bag, the back panel foam is removable (or swappable) if you don't find you need it and want to save the weight/bulk. 

We offer the optional and removable Aeronaut Padded Hip Belt and Aeronaut 45 Internal Frame for those who would like to offset some of the weight of a fully loaded Aeronaut 45 on to their hips. The Padded Hip Belt is designed to fully integrate with the Aeronaut 45 — almost as if it was built-in to the bag from the get-go.

Once the Padded Hip Belt is installed, you have the option of unclipping it and, in one fell swoop, stowing the Padded Hip Belt and the backpack straps in the backpack straps compartment. And with both the backpack straps and waist strap tucked away inside, the Aeronaut becomes a sophisticated soft-luggage piece, free of extraneous straps and geegaws and entirely presentable. Because it is carry-on size, you usually won't be checking the Aeronaut as luggage, but tucking away the shoulder straps (and waist strap) also greatly reduces the possibility of the bag being caught in a conveyor belt if you must check it.

The optional Aeronaut 45 Internal Frame slips inside the same secret zippered pocket that accommodates the back foam padding, and is held in place by its hourglass shape. Some folks may opt to use just the Padded Hip Belt, just the Internal frame, both, or none of the above — for our two cents on those matters, please see our Aeronaut: Frequently Asked Questions blog post.

The grab handles at either end of the Aeronaut were designed to be in the right place at the right time. Specifically, they provide an inviting and obvious place to grab the Aeronaut and give it a yank to extract it from an overhead compartment of a plane or other tight spot. They’re reinforced, so if you need to pull hard, go ahead, and because they’re padded, the whole process will be as comfortable for your hands as possible.

On both ends of the Aeronaut are exterior zippered pockets large enough for the Guide Michelin and a boarding pass. Included in one of these pockets is a Key Strap in Black.

The exterior of the Aeronaut is made of our 1050 denier, high tenacity ballistic nylon fabric (made in U.S.A.), and it's lined with our ultralight Japanese 200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric. We use #10 YKK Coil Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers so you needn't worry so much about bad weather impacting your gear. Sewn right side up (which means the waterproof coating is on the inside rather than the outside) the zippers are easier to operate. We include a package of our Cord Zipper Pulls in Black so you can add them to the zippers for an easier grab, though many folks like how uncluttered the Aeronaut looks as-is. Of course the Aeronaut is built, like all TOM BIHN bags, to withstand years of worry-free abuse.

Choosing an Exterior Fabric

You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Aeronaut 45 is typically available* in two different exterior fabrics. Our Materials Glossary explains each fabric in great detail, but here are some quick facts that may help you decide which to choose. And we're always here if you have questions:

400d Halcyon
Weave: plain weave with 1/4” / 6mm ripstop
Fibers: 400 denier type 6 filament nylon (base fabric); 420 denier ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene ripstop grid
Coating: light urethane
Made in: Japan

Choose this fabric if:
  • You want a lighter weight alternative to traditional nylon fabrics that has remarkable tear strength and good abrasion resistance.
  • You're looking for a fabric with a modern, "technical" appearance.
  • You have pets: 400d Halcyon doesn't collect pet hair, reducing your monthly lint roller costs.

1050d High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
Weave: 2x2 “ballistic” weave
Fibers: 1050 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon
Coating: medium urethane
Made in: U.S.A.

Choose this fabric if:
  • You want a super-tough fabric – originally designed for use in bullet-proof vests.
  • The weight of your bag isn’t a huge concern (though it’s worth noting that 1050d Ballistic is still lighter than cotton canvas or leather).
  • You want a smooth surface that won’t collect pet hair or sweater fuzz, slides easily into and out of the overhead bin, and fits in whether you're traveling for work or leisure.

*There may be times when one of the exterior fabrics mentioned here isn't available. Even with our best efforts, the demand for our bags occasionally outpaces our production capabilities: at times, some products, color combinations, or fabrics might be temporarily unavailable or "In Production." See the In Production color combinations as a guide to what our factory crew is making and what will be available next.

Customer Reviews

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Design Notes

When I set off to design the bag that became Aeronaut, I had a pretty clear idea of how it would look. This is not always the case, however, as often in my mind is a set of criteria (usually for the intended utility of a bag) and only the vaguest idea of how that might end up looking. But with Aeronaut, I knew up front that I wanted a relatively straightforward, backpack-convertible, maximum carry-on-sized bag with two end compartments that could be utilized for, well let's face it: shoes. One of my pet peeves with all the bags I'd been using was that they made no particular allowance for shoes. After I started using early prototypes of Aeronaut, I realized that the compartmentalization I had designed worked well for shoes, but also was good for any variety of organizing, such as toiletries, books, underwear, pajamas and even a very lightweight sleeping bag in one end-compartment. Furthermore, the divisions helped control the tendency for the bag to beer-barrel when over-stuffed.

Early testing of a bag often reveals unexpected opportunities to improve a design. While using early prototypes of Aeronaut, for example, I realized that when I brought the bag into a hotel room, I tended to pitch it onto the bed (or bureau) with the bag coming to rest with the handle closest to me. This made me realize that I wanted the center hatch to open towards me, so that the zippered mesh pocket inside the hatch flap could flop out in my direction, allowing me to most easily access its contents. And, yes, I wanted to do that without again moving or reorienting the bag once I had set it down. Lazy me. This initially didn't seem right, but the more I used the bag, the more I realized that orienting the zippered center hatch as it is (in a "U" shape, rather than an inverted "U" that you might expect) really does make packing and unpacking that much more natural and easy.
- Tom

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