With the A30 on your back, you won't hesitate to make your way through the crowd, down a cobblestone alley, across the grass, or up the trail.
The Aeronaut 30 is the little brother of the original Aeronaut 45, our convertible carry-on travel bag (the "30" or "45" reflecting their approximate volumes in liters). Its smaller size meets most requirements for North American regional commuter jets and intra-European flights. That said, even if you fly in just regular planes, you may find that the Aeronaut 30 better meets your needs: its smaller size will allow you to squeeze it in to just that many more tight overhead bins, and to move that much more stealthily through crowds. Though the Aeronaut 30 has only two-thirds the volume of the Aeronaut 45, you'll find that in use it seems to fit almost as much.
When we began to scale down the Aeronaut 45, we couldn't resist updating the design with a few minor changes. To make it smaller but still allow full-sized folks to carry it, we had to change the way the bag went together: the padded back panel under which the backpack straps hide is actually a bit longer/taller than on the Aeronaut 45. The gist is that you needn't be 20% shorter to wear the Aeronaut 30. In other words: if the Aeronaut 45 is a good fit for you, the Aeronaut 30 will be as well.
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. The Aeronaut 30 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, like we said, to fit even European budget and regional commuter airline carry-on requirements, the Aeronaut 30 also serves as luggage for shorter trips (or even longer trips for those of us who lean towards ultralight/minimalist packing). With its zip-away backpack straps, the Aeronaut 30 can be carried as a backpack, 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 or cross-body (almost any other shoulder strap will work as well).
The downside to most duffel bags is their lack of compartmentalization: we think we've answered that quite successfully with our Aeronauts. The main body of the bag is divided into three significant compartments: a large center compartment flanked on both ends by substantial end compartments. Don't need one end compartment or the other, or need to fit something bigger than expected in the main compartment? The panels dividing the end compartments from the main compartment of the bag unzip — another versatile feature allowing you to customize the Aeronaut 30 to your needs. Good to know: the end compartments of the Aeronaut 30 can accommodate a pair of size 12 (USA) 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.
Available in a size designed specifically to fit the end compartment of the Aeronaut 30 is the Travel Laundry Stuff Sack. Based on a design from Tom's archives (circa 1981) and inspired by his time hosteling around Europe, 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. You don't need separate sacks for clean and dirty laundry anymore! Yeahh! It can be ordered as an optional accessory with the Aeronaut 30 or separately.
The main compartment of the Aeronaut 30 is accessed through a curved zipper opening and swallows a substantial stack of folded shirts/blouses/trousers/dresses; as you pack the Aeronaut 30, 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 30. Inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut 30, you can fit two Large Aeronaut 30 Packing Cubes, one Large and two Small, or four Small. In either end compartment of the Aeronaut 30, you can fit an End Pocket Packing Cube in either Fabric/Mesh or All Fabric. Also available to fit in either of the end compartments is the handy Travel Laundry Stuff Sack that we mentioned above or various combinations of our Travel Stuff Sacks.
If Packing Cubes aren't your style, you can avail yourself of the pair of tie-down straps inside the Aeronaut 30's main compartment. These straps can be handy for securing pants/slacks or a carefully folded sport coat. The tie-down straps attach to the inside of the bag with Gatekeeper loops, so if you find they are in your way you can save a bit of weight by removing them.
The Aeronaut 30 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 30 Internal Frame for those who would like to offset some of the weight of a fully loaded Aeronaut 30 on to their hips. The Padded Hip Belt is designed to fully integrate with the Aeronaut 30 — 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 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 30 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.
Both exterior ends of the Aeronaut 30 have exterior zippered pockets; one includes a Black 8" Key Strap, and both are large enough for the Guide Michelin and a boarding pass. They're a nice place to keep your earbuds or other small items you might need during the flight, as one end or the other is often easily accessible in the overhead bin.
We make the Aeronaut 30 in two different exterior fabrics: 1050 denier high tenacity ballistic nylon (made in USA to our specifications) or 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop (made in Japan to our specifications). Both versions are lined with our ultralight Japanese 200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric (again, made to our specifications — see a pattern here? We want things to be just right.)
More on materials: we use #10 YKK Coil Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers so you needn't worry so much about bad weather impacting your gear.
Included with the Aeronaut 30 is a package of our Cord Zipper Pulls in Black so you can add them to the metal zippers for an easier grab, though many folks like how uncluttered the Aeronaut looks as-is.
Of course the Aeronaut 30 is built, like all TOM BIHN bags, to withstand years of worry-free abuse. Bartacks galore. Reinforced everything. Finished seams.