The Techonaut travel bag — two sizes: 30 liters (you are here) or 45 liters — can be carried three ways: as a backpack, shoulder bag, or duffel.
It's a variation of the original Aeronaut 30 / 45. It was designed by Nik and includes many of the features you've been asking for; we added some additional features we wanted as well, including a breathable, supportive back panel and a dedicated laptop compartment.
The Techonaut 30 fits laptops up to the size of the 16" MacBook Pro or the Microsoft Surface Book 2 15". The Techonaut 45 will fit just about any laptop out there.
The Techonaut 30 is designed to meet most requirements for North American regional commuter jets and intra-European flights; it can also fit under the seat of many planes. The Techonaut 45 is designed to be a maximum-size airline carry-on bag; it’ll easily slide into the overhead compartment of a plane.
Walk through the features of the Techonaut 30.
Three Carry Methods
The Techonaut 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 Edgeless handle.
Nik's goal when designing the Techonaut was to add features that made it just as comfortable to carry as a dedicated backpack — while also retaining the same multiple-carry-method convenience that made the Aeronaut our most popular travel bag.
Suspended Laptop Compartment
Suspended off the bottom of the bag, the Techonaut's laptop compartment offers just-right padding without adding bulk or weight. Don't plan to carry a laptop? Know that most of the padding and construction of the compartment would be there regardless to offer comfort to your back and structure for the bag itself.
The Techonaut 30 will fit laptops up to the size of the 16" MacBook Pro or Microsoft Surface Book 2 15". The Techonaut 45 will fit just about any laptop out there.
Skeleton Back Panel
The name says it all: instead of the back panel being a solid rectangular piece of foam, it’s cut in a spine-like shape so that it provides all of the usual comfort with less of the weight and improves airflow. We use a soft and durable mesh finished to our specifications on the part of the back panel that’ll be in contact with your clothes to reduce the chance of abrasion. No, this new back panel won’t ensure you don’t experience any sweat whatsoever if you run through the airport or hike uphill in the summer; that’s just an aspect of wearing a backpack and, well, being human.
Wide U-Shaped Main Compartment
The Techonaut takes the amazing wide-opening main compartment that made the Aeronaut one of the most beloved travel bags ever a step further: it opens even wider, even bigger, and it's reoriented to be Hero's Journey style. You can live out of this bag (and easily find what you're looking for) without ever having to unpack it.
One end pocket instead of two increases the amount of stuff you can pack in the bag without increasing the size or weight of the bag.
Hideaway Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Straps
Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of this strap allows it to more softly conform to your shoulder; we find that this increases comfort. Yet the straps aren’t too soft: the 1/2” thick foam means the strap is robust enough to carry a heavy load.
If you plan to carry the Techonaut as a shoulder bag or in-hand like a duffel — or wear it through the airpot as a backpack and, at the terminal, tuck away the straps so it'll slide even more easily under the seat on the plane or in the overhead compartment — you'll appreciate that the backpack straps of the Techonaut can easily tuck away behind the back panel when not in use.
Edgeless Duffel Handle
The Edgeless duffel handle of the Techonaut is designed to provide comfort and cush when carrying the Techonaut in duffel mode: it utilizes the same EV50 1/2” / 12mm EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam as our Edgeless Shoulder Straps.
Since we figure most folks will primarily carry the Techonaut as a backpack or perhaps as a shoulder bag with the optional Absolute Shoulder Strap — and carry the bag as a duffel for shorter durations — we wanted its duffel handle to be as (if not more) comfortable yet somehow more minimal and lower-profile than the Aeronaut grab handle. We believe we’ve achieved our goal on both accounts: you’ll, of course, tell us what you think.
Note that, because of the design of the original Aeronaut handle, it was effectively anchored at four corners in such a way that it did not “lift” much from the bag itself; the Techonaut handle, to achieve its goals of comfort and minimalism, is anchored at two points, and may slightly lift away from the bag if your Techonaut is packed very full. That doesn’t impact the utility of the handle or experience of carrying the bag (and of course the handle itself is robustly secured with multiple bartacks) but we thought we’d mention it because it behaves a little different than the original Aeronaut handle.
Rolling Luggage Handle Pass-Through
Some of us use rolling luggage: maybe because we need to pack more formal attire for a work trip, photography gear, or just because we find it more comfortable. Good thing the Techonaut's back panel has a pass-through that allows you to slide it over the handle of your rolling luggage.
There are, of course, different sizes of rolling luggage with different handle lengths and widths. That said, the Techonaut 30 and Techonaut 45 should fit over most rolling luggage handles.
One End Pocket
Whereas the Aeronaut had two end pockets, the Techonaut has one. Here's why: removing one of the end pockets saved some weight and increased the overall capacity of the bag. Think of it this way: instead of the fabric and build that went into that second end pocket, you've got more space in the bag for more stuff. It also means the main compartment is that much bigger and opens up even wider.
Need to fit a really big item in the main compartment, or just don't want the division of the end pocket? You'll see that there's a zipper inside the main compartment that creates the division between it and the end pocket: simply unzip it and you've got one very big packing area.
Nik included three quick-access exterior pockets on the Techonaut.
The pocket on the right side of the bag is sized to fit a Passport, phone, wallet, and keys.
The pocket on the left side of the bag is the biggest; it can fit some water bottles or stuff like an umbrella or jacket.
And the pocket on the top of the bag can also fit stuff like a (smaller) water bottle, umbrella, or jacket.
Exterior Grab Handles
For your convenience, you’ll find two exterior grab handles on the Techonaut in addition to the Edgeless duffel carry handle. These grab handles work great for pulling the Techonaut out from under the seat of a plane or from the overhead compartment. They're also handy for steadying the bag as you insert your laptop in its compartment or even hanging the bag on a coat hook.
Removable Sternum Strap + Waist Strap
As with all of our major backpacks, we include adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your waist or sternum strap, remove them and leave (almost) nothing behind. There's also an optional 1" Padded Hip Belt and an optional Techonaut Internal Frame.
We include the following accessories to give you a good amount of options for your new bag right out of the gate.
One 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
A Key Strap is a strip of webbing with plastic snaphooks on the end. The 8” Key Strap in Black that’s included in most of our larger bags is, for many, the gateway to a world of organization via Key Straps and Organizer Pouches. All the members of the Key Strap family are intended to make locating things in your bag easier and more instinctive. Pulling out a small item or pouch tethered to a strap is easier than rooting around aimlessly in the depths of your pack; you can also rest assured that anything hooked to a strap is much less likely to fall out or otherwise be left behind. You can find more Key Strap colors and varieties on the Key Strap page.
One Cord Zipper Pulls w/ Plastic Ends (8-Pack)
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.
A simple webbing waist strap that can offer extra stability when running to catch a bus, plane, or train. It can also add a small measure of support for a heavy load (for a truly supportive hip belt experience, please see the optional 1" Padded Hip Belt.) Also features leave-no-trace hardware.
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 Techonaut as a shoulder bag, this is the shoulder strap for you. Hands down, it's the most comfortable strap we've ever used.
The Skeleton back panel structure of the Techonaut adds a surprising amount of support even without an internal frame. Add a laptop in the laptop compartment and there's even more support. When the crew tested fully loaded Techonauts here at the factory, pretty much everyone found the internal frame for the Techonaut 30 unnecessary. With the Techonaut 45, it was 50/50: half of folks preferred carrying the bag with the frame, half preferred it without the internal frame. Still, we heard from many folks who wanted an internal frame option nonetheless... so here you go!
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.
Packing Cubes & Other Organization
You can view all of our packing cubes, pouches, toiletries bags and other organizational options at the link above. Want a guide to what works best with the Techonaut 30 and Techonaut 45? Check out our blog post Techonaut: Packing Cubes & Organizational Options.
Cinched up your bag and you've got a lot of dangling straps? Well, if that's something that bothers your, grab a pair of strap keepers and manage those straps!
Choosing an Exterior Fabric
You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Techonaut is typically available* in four 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: email@example.com
- plain weave with 1/4” / 6mm ripstop
- 400 denier type 6 filament nylon (base fabric); 420 denier ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene ripstop grid
- light urethane
- Made in:
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.
525d High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
- 2x2 “ballistic” weave
- 525 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.
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.
1000 denier Cordura®
- plain weave
- 1000 denier type 6,6 texturized nylon, discontinuous surface fibers that mask surface damage caused by abrasion
- medium urethane
- Made in:
Choose this fabric if
- You want a durable, canvas-like, natural-feeling fabric, and don't mind the slightly rough or abrasive texture.
- You appreciate that it's been the outdoor industry's go-to, classic pack fabric for the past four decades.
- You don't care about your bag collecting pet hair or lint.
- Alexander W.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, High Quality Craftsmanship, Sewn in USA, Durable, Good Storage Size1 year agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, High Quality Craftsmanship, Sewn in USA, Durable, Good Storage SizeRated 5 out of 5 starsGreat travel backpack
Great build quality and materials on this bag. It's a pretty simple design without secret pockets or pen holdesr or small pockets, but I appreciate the simplicity. I tested this against several other bags (Aer Travel Pack 3, Cotopaxi Allpa 35, Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, and the Minaal Carry-On 3.0) and the Technonaut 30 was the winner. It was easier to pack than the other bags and it was more comfortable than the other ones for me. The bottom pocket is great for shoes or anything else I would want segregated from the rest of the bag, but I like that the design of the divider allows you to basically negate it and give the main compartment some more space. It's also not so large that it would look silly as a day pack so that's a bonus too. Couldn't be happier with this bag!
- Jessica M.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Comfortable, Sewn in USA, High Quality Craftsmanship, Easily Adjustable, Versatile1 year agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Comfortable, Sewn in USA, High Quality Craftsmanship, Easily Adjustable, VersatileRated 5 out of 5 starsPerfect travel backpack
I got this bag in Ursa prior to a two week trip to Europe, and planned to use it as my carry-on under the seat with a Hartmann duffel as my overhead/checked bag. I have LOVED the backpack so far. The straps are super comfy, even when fully loaded with a laptop and other heavy stuff like books and the little bottles of booze I purchased in the main compartment. It has fit under every airplane seat I've tried so far, including the smaller crafts with only 2 seats on each side. I was worried at first about how easily things at the bottom might fall put when I unzipped the front compartment, but they really don't: firstly the zipper is super sturdy and doesn't open further unless you pull the tabs, and second the shape is designed so even slightly wide things are cupped in to the body of the bag even while it's standing up with the flap open. Genius. I love the bottom compartment too, it's perfect for an extra pair of shoes.
I'm a female who is 5'3" so a larger pack might have looked silly on me, but this one looks just right (although I have to adjust the back straps to almost their tightest). Check out my suave reflection in a window in Nuremberg ;-) And the Ursa color is a beautiful brown.
Overall very happy. I'm carrying this along with a Le Grand Derriere on this trip, which I will review separately: they are a great travel pair! I pack then differently for the plane than for a day trip, but love that I can bring one bag and use it many ways.
- Benjamin S.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts High Quality Craftsmanship, Made in USA, High Quality Finishings, Good Storage Size1 year agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts High Quality Craftsmanship, Made in USA, High Quality Finishings, Good Storage SizeRated 2 out of 5 starsGreat idea, expensive, execution leaves a lot to be desired
I'm a long-time Tom Bihn fan (obsessive?) and have owned and loved a great number of bags for different uses. My daily go-to is a Synik 22 (which replaced the earlier Synapse, much loved), and for travel I've enjoyed an Aeronaut 30 for many years. Along the way I've owned a number of smaller Tom Bihn bags, cubes, etc. and while I've occasionally sold some items for replacements which better suit my needs, I haven't really had a dud. The Techonaut 30 is unfortunately the closest that I've come to that - or at least, it's the bag that seems to have been made with the least thought or care for actual use. I wanted this to be the great upgrade to the Aeronaut I was looking for which had space for a laptop, etc., for a true one bag setup, but I don't think I've found that.
The pros of the bag are pretty straightforward: classically good build, reasonably good looks (chunky, but pretty enough), and you can certainly fit a lot in it. If you're used to the good construction of a Tom Bihn bag, this will not disappoint, and I do like the Design Lab logo in black that replaced the earlier gray one.
The cons are immensely frustrating, and they mostly pertain to carry, as in, it's not pleasant to carry this bag at all as a backpack. I am compact but not tiny - 5' 8" and athletic - and it is simply impossible to cinch this high enough up on the back to get comfortable. The straps, at their shortest available length, still have the backpack sitting way down under the hip, digging into…TBTOM BIHN6 months ago
Hi there! Thanks for sharing this feedback with us! I was revisiting some older reviews and came across this one again- I sent you an email when this review was new but never heard back. I'd love to hear an update to how your bag is working for you after some time. If you've got additional feedback, feel free to firstname.lastname@example.org with an update. -Mike
- Kelly P.Verified BuyerBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Comfortable, Thoughtful Design, Sewn in USA8 months agoBought For MyselfProduct Standouts Comfortable, Thoughtful Design, Sewn in USARated 5 out of 5 starsPerfection
This bag will change how we travel. Upon arrival I packed it out for our upcoming trip. The T30 offered plenty of room and was comfortable on my back (I am 5’ 7) with the packed weight at 11 pounds. My partner tried it on and he now wants one for himself. I look forward to experiencing the freedom and comfort of one bag carry in the coming months.
- Mike M.Verified BuyerBought For GiftProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Compact, Versatile1 year agoBought For GiftProduct Standouts Thoughtful Design, Comfortable, High Quality Craftsmanship, Compact, VersatileRated 5 out of 5 starsExcellent long weekend bag
My wife has been looking for a medium sized bag for long weekend car trips. She used to steal my A45 but that was too big. The s25 was not the right shape and too “chopped up” with pockets. Enter the T30. Is it a duffel? A backpack? A shoulder bag, a tech bag? Why yes it is. It is the Swiss Army knife of mid-sized travel bags and it does everything we ask of it very well. It looks great too! Other bags are envious when ever we take her out in public. I am looking forward to seeing how it will fit in overhead bins of small jets once we are back to traveling again.
Thanks again TB crew for helping my wife to join the BIHN Nation.
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.
THE BIHN Guarantee
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.