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Aeronaut 45

Regular price $295.00
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Add Clear Quarter Packing Cube: Add Gatekeeper Waist Strap: Add Halcyon Packing Cubes (Aeronaut 45): Add Shoulder Straps: Add Travel Laundry Stuff Sack: Add Whistle Sternum Strap Half: Add to wishlist
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Aeronaut 45


U.S. high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon — or — ultralight 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop
200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric lining
Tough Duraflex® and Nexus buckles
Main Compartment and End Compartments:
#10 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers with lockable sliders
Diagonal End Pocket:
#8 YKK Aquaguard Coil Zippers
Interior Compartment Zippers: #5 YKK Vislon Molded Tooth
3/8" / 10mm thick back foam panel


Made in USA
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9" / 555 x 355 x 230 mm
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 3 lb 1 oz / 1395 grams
400d Halcyon®/420d nylon ripstop: 2 lb 7 oz / 1095 grams
2700 cubic in / 45 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Optional, removable 1" / 25 mm waist strap
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 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 Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut): 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 the upper part is 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. 

An optional 1" / 25 mm waist strap attaches to the bottom of the lower (unpadded) part of the shoulder straps. The waist strap is meant not so much as a weight-bearing "hip belt" but rather a simple way to further secure the Aeronaut on your body. 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 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.

The Aeronaut in 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop:
The Aeronaut is also available in ultralight 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop. This stellar fabric is made for us in Japan. Though one-third the weight of our U.S. made, high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon, it has comparable tear strength and very good abrasion resistance. With 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop you'll save about 20% on the over-all weight of the Aeronaut. Note that 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop won't stand up to the all-out abuse that 1050 denier ballistic nylon can handle - you'll need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat your ultralight Aeronaut. It's a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it's a compromise to consider.

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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 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

Build your own organization

your bag already has great built-in organization. that said, you may want to add these optional organizational accessories to further organize and protect what you carry.

visible variant TB0915-ND

Clear Quarter Packing Cube

Tom designed the Clear Quarter Packing Cube to fill up one-half of the end compartment the Aeronaut 45. It has two equal-size compartments and its sides are made of clear urethane.

visible variant TB0510

Gatekeeper Waist Strap

The optional 1" / 25 mm Gatekeeper Waist Strap can attach to the bottom of the lower (unpadded) part of the shoulder straps of the Aeronaut 45. The waist strap is meant not so much as a weight-bearing "hip belt" but rather a simple way to further secure the Aeronaut 45 on your body.

visible variant TB0911-SD

Halcyon Packing Cubes (Aeronaut 45)

We make a variety of Packing Cubes sized specifically to most efficiently utilize space inside the Aeronaut 45. Inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut 45, use two Large Packing Cubes (stacked one on top of the other), or one Large plus two Small Packing Cubes or use four Small (stacked one on top of the other, or interlocking like bricks). One End Pocket Packing Cube fills each end pocket, or four can fill the main compartment, like books on a shelf.

visible variant TB0924-ID

Packing Cube Backpack

The Packing Cube Backpack is a dual-purpose packing cube: in preparation for and during your journey, use it to organize and pack your clothing inside your bag — just like how you'd use a Large Packing Cube. When you reach your destination and it's time to leave your travel bag in the hotel or hostel, you can remove the contents of the Packing Cube Backpack and right-side it out, transforming it into a backpack with two compartments, an O-ring, and webbing backpack straps that are surprisingly comfortable for lighter loads.

visible variant TB0921-DH

Packing Cube Shoulder Bag

The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is a dual-purpose packing cube: in preparation for and during your journey, use it as a Packing Cube to organize and pack your clothing inside your travel bag. When you reach your destination and it's time to leave your travel bag in the hotel or hostel, repack the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag with a light jacket, wallet, lunch or small water bottle, map, and add a shoulder strap: you're ready to go out and explore, and you've saved space by not having to bring a separate bag for day use.

visible variant TB0555

Shoulder Straps

The Absolute Shoulder Strap has a unique, patented, internal control-stretch system that's a lifesaver when carrying a heavy bag. It's the ideal strap for those who carry hefty loads or simply want the most comfortable strap available.

visible variant TB09376-ID

Travel Laundry Stuff Sack

The Travel Laundry Stuff Sack works like this: start your trip off with the sack full of clean clothes, and as they become dirty, put them in other end of the same sack. A floating divider midway keeps the clean and the dirty clothes separated. The volume of the clothing doesn't change, but the ratio of clean to dirty does. Designed to fit the side/end compartments of the Aeronaut 45.

visible variant TB1251-ND

Travel Stuff Sack

Our Travel Stuff Sacks serve a variety of purposes: they stow and compress items like down/polyfill jackets and vests (constraining them to a smaller amount of space) and some folks prefer to use them for packing clothing that doesn't need to be folded, like underwear — we don't fold our underwear — do you? (On second thought, let's not go there.)

visible variant TB0570-EA

Whistle Sternum Strap Half

Our Whistle Sternum Strap Half features a nearly impossible-to-lose whistle integrated into the male (usually the left) half of the sternum strap buckle. It replaces the male half of the sternum strap included with your Aeronaut 45.

Lifetime Guarantee

You can expect your TOM BIHN bag to give you years of hard service. Our bags are guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the bag. That means if something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it at no charge.

Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and are most often evident while your bag is still new. Keep in mind that daypacks and briefcases are often subject to serious wear in everyday use. We often see TOM BIHN bags that are still solid and in use after five, ten, fifteen, even twenty or twenty-five years, with minor repairs needed here or there. But remember: only true love lasts forever.

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