Meet the Aeronaut 45. Our legendary maximum size carry-on travel bag.
- 3 carry methods: duffel, backpack, or shoulder bag
- Five total exterior pockets: two slash pockets, two end pockets, and a generously-sized main compartment
- Stowable backpack straps in our always-comfortable edgeless design
- Zippered partitions allowing you to push into the side pockets' space and expand the main pocket as needed or keep the pockets neatly divided
- Comfortable grab handle on the long side of the bag for comfortable side-carry
- Attachment points for an optional shoulder strap such as our Absolute Strap
- Maximum carry-on size for most US domestic airlines
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.
Looking for its younger and smaller sibling, check out the Aeronaut 30.
Three Carry Methods
The Aeronaut can be carried on the back via its Edgeless backpack straps (which can tuck away when not in use), on the shoulder or cross-body with the optional Absolute Shoulder Strap, or by hand duffel-style with the padded handle handle.
U-Shaped Main Compartment
The main compartment of the Aeronaut 45 is accessed through a curved zipper opening and swallows a substantial stack of folded shirts/blouses/trousers/dresses; as you pack the Aeronaut 45, 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.
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 45 to your needs.
Zip-Away Edgeless Shoulder Straps
The Aeronaut 45 converts easily to and carries comfortably as a backpack, now with our updated Edgeless Shoulder Straps, featuring EV50 foam. 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.
Two 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.
Both exterior ends of the Aeronaut 45 have exterior zippered pockets; 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.
Mirrored Exterior Grab Handles
The grab handles at either end of the Aeronaut 45 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.
Some folks prefer metal zipper pulls. Others prefer cord pulls. So, what to do about that? We think the best solution (in most cases) is to offer metal pulls and include a starter pack of Cord Pulls with most bags. The most popular solution is to weave the Cord Pulls through the metal pulls, effectively silencing them without having to remove them. A video demonstrating various Cord Pull options and more colors/varieties of Cord Pulls can be found on the Cord Zipper Pulls page.
An adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your sternum strap, remove it and leave (almost) nothing behind.
One pair of Tie-Down Straps
Our included tie-down straps are an alternative to packing cubes: use them to compress and secure clothing in place to help keep it wrinkle-free. They're removable so if you don't want or need to use them, you can leave them behind.
If you plan to carry the Aeronaut as a shoulder bag, this is the shoulder strap for you. Hands down, it's the most comfortable strap we've ever used.
The Gatekeeper Waist Strap is a light waist strap that helps stabilize your bag during frantic sprints from one end of the airport to the other. The 1" Padded Hip Belt allows you to carry some of the weight of a loaded pack on your hips rather than just your shoulders.
You can view all of our packing cubes, pouches, toiletries bags and other organizational options at the link above. The Aeronaut/Techonaut 45 Packing Cubes were made to fit the Aeronaut 45, and the Aeronaut 45 Travel Laundry Stuff Sack is the perfect size for the end pockets.
Need a little bit of a stiffer back, or want to use the padded hip belt to take some of the weight of all those bricks you're carrying off your shoulders? The Aeronaut 45 Frame Sheet is here for you in your time of need.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
1050d High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
- 2x2 “ballistic” weave
- 1050 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon
- medium urethane
- Made in:
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.
High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
- 2x2 “ballistic” weave
- 630 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon, twisted
- heavy urethane
- Made in
- South Korea with Canadian Yarn
Choose this fabric if
- You want your bag to be soft and supple yet tough as nails.
- You want a fabric that's stately enough to be at home at work, the mountains, or a nice hotel.
- You don't want your bag to collect pet hair or abrade your clothing.
- Amanda3 years agoRated 5 out of 5 starsthe best and only bag
I bought my Aeronaut in 2014. Since then, it's traveled to every continent except Antarctica, spent lots of weekends at my mom's house, and ferried gym clothes to and from work a billion times. It still looks brand new, and I am not easy on my belongings. The interior is some kind of magical clown car -- the challenge with this bag isn't running out of room, it's making sure you don't shove so much stuff into it that you can't carry it anymore. I have a pile of packing cubes, which makes it easy to live out of this bag no matter how much you've crammed into it -- I usually don't bother unpacking, as it's easy enough to just grab the cubes out of the main compartment. I almost always wear it as a backpack; I bought the hip strap last year, which is nice but not essential unless you're carrying really heavy loads. Wearing it as a backpack also distracts gate agents from checking its weight -- it looks so reasonably sized when you're wearing it, even if it's full of bricks. I've yet to be forced to check this bag. (Maybe I shouldn't jinx this bag.)
I tell everyone about this bag. I watch videos of people packing their Aeronauts on YouTube just for fun. It's the best bag for people who travel like me: you can run through the airport with it, you can hold it on your lap on overnight bus trips, you can use it as a pillow when you have to sleep on a dock, you can carry it up ten flights of stairs, and you'll look sort of professional the whole time. What a win.
- NancyVerified ReviewerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Durable, Good Storage Size, Versatile, Unique, Compact2 years agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Durable, Good Storage Size, Versatile, Unique, CompactRated 5 out of 5 starsGoing on 6 years
I am 5’ tall and don’t weigh that much, backpacks are extremely hard to find and fit. The compact size of the Aeronaut is almost a perfect fit. Off season travelling requires rain ware, warm clothes and light clothes. It all fits! I am also the family Sherpa most of the pharmacy goes in my bag, sunscreen, laundry detergent, hydration packs… still fits. I have even succeeded to carry 4 pairs of shoes.
Now, please create a super light convertible day backpack that can become a purse (like a mail bag). This way I can get on the plane with two items my Aeronaut on my back and the purse in the front. When backpacks are not allowed in the museum change over to the purse by hiding the straps. Going out for supper… switch to purse. Walking in an open air market switch to backpack. I am sure you can create the ultimate bag.
- CollinBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, High Quality Craftsmanship, Durable, Good Storage Size1 year agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, High Quality Craftsmanship, Durable, Good Storage SizeRated 5 out of 5 starsMy top travel bag after 9 years
I originally bought the Aeronaut 45 for a trip to Italy. It's been around the US, Canada and Europe and has also been my daily gym bag for most of the past 10 years. There is very little wear after all of that time. Stitching is still strong. All of the hardware is working in good shape.
Each time I travel with a soft carry-on this one wins out because it's the perfect size for a week of clothes. I've fit it on European trains and small overhead bins.
The best feature is a dedicated shoe compartment. The boxy shape makes packing easy and has only a few, useful pockets. Shoes on the left, rolled clothes in the middle and smaller items on the right and I'm done. The zippered sleeve takes longer items like tickets easily with a passport, and the non-zipper sleeve will take a small water bottle. The grab handles on the ends have proven to be amazingly useful. If needed, I slide my laptop into the strap storage pocket, and it's better protected than some of my dedicated laptop bags.
The bag will collapse when it only has a few items in it. I use other bags when I have a small number of items to carry, so I usually don't have this problem. The new models feature an optional back panel to fix that problem.
This bag is an excellent value. It was expensive but it has given me more use than any other bag.
- Jim W.3 years agoRated 5 out of 5 starsThe Aeronaut is a lifetime purchase you'll never regret.
I've had my Aeronaut for more than a dozen years, and I've taken it on hundreds of trips (both business and personal), and yet it shows very little wear. I've used it so much that my average Aeronaut cost per travel day is somewhere between a dime and a quarter.
For me, this bag hits the sweet spot between a big, open duffel bag and a highly structured bag with lots of small organizing pockets. The open space in the center allows you to pack some large things if you need to--the most unusual cargo I can recall carrying on an airline is the large free-form bowl my dad carved out of a mesquite burl back in the 1960's. On the other hand, it has just enough pockets to provide some structure and to be my home away from home.
I always pack mine in the same way. I set the bag down with the handle towards me. That way, when I unzip the main flap, it flops towards me. My CPAP machine and socks go in the right, toiletries and underwear on the left. Outer clothes and a pair of sandals/shower shoes in the center, a light and other electronics, etc. in the flap pocket. For air travel, my documents go in a passport pouch in the end pocket. Magazines/newspaper/full-size document folders (rarely carried) go in the backpack strap pocket (be careful converting to backpack mode--they will go flying if you whip out the straps!). A wet umbrella or rolled rain jacket slides under the handle.
- Carlos Z.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, Sewn in USA, Good Storage Size, Versatile10 months agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, Sewn in USA, Good Storage Size, VersatileRated 5 out of 5 starsPerfect Travel One-Bag
Everything you need to pack for your trip -regardless of length- will fit in the Aeronaut 45. This bag was the only one I traveled with, including an empty small day bag inside, for while at my destination.
I never owned previous models, so I cannot make a comparison to the previous iteration of shoulder straps, but these edgeless straps were extremely comfortable.
I was amazed at how much I could fit into the Aeronaut 45. The main compartment had a stuffed Western Flyer Packing Cube, along with several other medium and large pouches for electronics, cables, and miscellaneous items. I also threw in my MacBook Pro 13” and iPad Pro 11” with Apple Keyboard in the main compartment. The side compartments were perfect for shoes, and additional items of clothes. The zippered pockets at both ends housed earphones, and several small pouches.
Because of how much this bag can fit, it can definitely get heavy, especially you one-bag it. Additionally, being 5’7” it felt like I was backpacking when roaming around the airports. This is when cinching the shoulder straps to the appropriate fit, plus cinching the sternum strap tightly helped immensely with distributing the weight much better.
One-bag traveling with the Aeronaut 45 -as packed as it was- beats traveling with a duffle bag, which I have done several times. The Aeronaut 45 on your back is infinitely more comfortable than carrying a duffle bag around airports and/or public transportation.
One thing I will add is that the…
Sewn in Seattle
Our bags are designed and 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 find out more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.
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Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business since 1972 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.