Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tom Bihn Aeronaut

The Aeronaut - packed

Type and Usage:

The Aeronaut from Tom Bihn is a divided convertible duffle type bag. With three large compartments, two smaller pockets, hide away backpack straps, it's a versatile bag very well suited for one-bag travel. It's designed to fit into overhead compartments of most airplanes. As with all things that come from Tom Bihn, it's not cheap, but quality is impeccable.

Quick Notes:

I like it, it's my go to travel bag in anything over two or three days. I've made many multi week trips with it, and lent it to friends who've made trips with it. Over and over I come back to this bag. As with everything Tom Bihn does, it's well thought out, durable, strong, and everything a

It's certainly not perfect, I have a couple of quibbles with it, but not enough for me to stop using it. The three part design is great for organization but sometimes I wish it was one pocket so I could place one large item in.

  • 22" x 14" x 9" / 555 x 355 x 230 mm
  • Volume: 45 liters (2700 cubic inches)
  • Weight 2.71 lbs / 1230 grams
  • Ballistic Nylon

If you're looking for a quality carry on that can act as a one bag solution the Aeronaut certainly fit's the bill. Let's take a look at the details:

The Aeronaut's main chamber is divided into three main pockets, a large central chamber, and two side pockets. It's an interesting design that I was skeptical at first but it's mostly won me over. The bag is full of little details. For example, the opening of the main chamber is not the size of the entire chamber. It's like slightly smaller. At first, I found it a big annoying as it was harder to get large item inside, but over time I found out with a smaller opening, it was easier to stuff items in and compress them. Under the flap of the main chamber is a zippered mesh pocket, good for storing small goods. Inside the mesh pocket is an "o-ring" a small plastic ring that you can clip valuable items like keys to. The two side pockets are designed to be able to fit a pair of shoes, which is exactly what I've done on the right side here.

The zippers are large Y2K zipper, very, very large and sturdy.

On both ends of the bag, you have pockets and grab handles. The grab handles are great for getting the bag out of overhead compartments in just about any orientation. The ability to hold and pull from nearly all directions is just one of the many thoughtful details of this bag. One side has a zippered end pocket which can be good for keys and small items, again with a o-ring to attach stuff, the other side has an open sleeve, handy for papers and items you want easy access to. (Sorry about the moria effect in the picture, flash and this nylon causes weird light effects.)

The top has a sizable and comfortable grab handle, which can be separated. It's seems to be an odd choice since there's no opening here, but as some people have pointed out, it could be useful to place say a jacket or other item between the handles.

On the back of the bag is a large zipper that goes all the way across. Here you can see the backpack straps, with sternum strap, and hip belt. The backpack straps are perfectly usable and comfortable, I wouldn't take it on a multi-day hike, but I've been comfortable wearing it for many hours. I wish I could say the same for the hip belt. At one inch nylon webbing, it's better than nothing, but not as good as I'd like for this kind of load. That's the compromise you make though for something that hides so neatly away. So what can it hold? Well quite a lot:

For my upcoming trip to Europe, I've got:

  • 1 pair of slacks
  • 2 pairs of zip-off pants
  • 1 running/sports pants
  • 1 running/sports shorts
  • 2 thin long sleeve shirts
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt
  • 2 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of shoes
  • Waterproof pants
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Toiletry kit
This isn't my final pack, I've probably got a separate small bag for seat side, which will have the laptop and and other items. Also this is not "overstuffed". I have room for a little more, but I don't like to overstuff starting out. You always end up with more coming back, or things that aren't packed as nicely.

As I said the the quick notes, it's my go to bag. It fits in most plane overhead compartments and often even the under seat ones. The only planes so far are the very small prop planes. It's well thought out, durable, and easy to carry. I've taken it from US,  Europe, China. From planes, to trains, to cars, it hasn't let me down yet. Just enough organization to keep things separate, but not enough that you forget what is in which pocket. The backpack pack straps make it easy to walk long distances, the shoulder strap and grab handle for short trips. BTW, Tom Bihn's absolute strap is one of the best out there.

Running out of time tonight but I'll have another entry on how I pack it.

Information and Purchase:


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