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.