I thought it was time to post a review of a recent purchase, the Tom Bihn Aeronaut Bag, finally I think I have enough experience to post something of use, here goes…
The Aeronaut is hard to categorize: Is it soft luggage? A duffel bag? Or a backpack?
The Aeronaut is all of the above. It takes the best of all of those bags and combines them into what may be the most versatile travel bag yet. A maximum carry-on size bag, the Aeronaut converts to be carried as a backpack with zip-away backpack straps
Let me start off with the obvious, this bag is not cheap. At $240 dollars without the shoulder strap and $30 dollars shipping this is not a cheap piece of luggage.
- not me (but posted for visual size comparison)
What you are getting for this price is what I believe is one of the best carry on bags available today. I have so far taken this bag to Vancouver, Scotland, Italy, and the Netherlands (all carry on) using Air Canada, BMI, Ryan Air, and Easy Jet airlines with no problem and testing each airlines baggage restrictions racks at the airport with this bag.
This bag fits pretty much every airlines carry on limit on the planet due to the fact of its particular size and the fact that it is not a rigid bag. However, I did see one airline in Rome with a weight limit of 7 kg which I had never heard of before and I really doubt this bag would fit within their baggage limit, that said I doubt I will ever fly with this no name airline.
I started looking for a new piece of luggage while thinking about switching my traveling style to carry on baggage only. It is just so much simpler to fly with carry on bags only, in so many ways.
After searching the web and talking to a few people I realized one bag/no wheels luggage was the way to go. A bit of google searching and I found this bag based on a number of glowing reviews. I now have to agree with all the praise this bag gets. It is pretty much perfect.
To begin with… the size is perfect, as big as possible but not so big that you can’t carry on airlines like Ryan Air or EasyJet (the cheap euro airlines).
The convertible hideaway backpack is awesome. No, it is not the best backpack in the world but it is fine for a day walking around the streets of Rome with a full weeks of clothing in it without too much discomfort.
The $30 dollar addon shoulder strap is probably the best strap I have ever used and likely the best anywhere due to the stretchy soft material used that you kinda have to try to understand.
The material of the bag is top notch, basically bomb proof. It seems more durable than my Chrome Messenger bag as comparison.
Handles on the bag are where you need them when you need them and the bag is pretty good looking to boot.
I probably won’t go for anything smaller than this bag though as I found I wanted as much space as possible to make week long trips possible, which is very possible with this bag.
The duffle bag design is great. One big main pocket and the two side pockets divide everything logically and well. Making this even better are the optional packing cubes Tom Bihn sells to match the bag.
I decided to go for the two end cubes and one large cube and two small for the main compartment and am very very pleased with them. They make packing and unpacking amazingly easy… it’s actually pretty unbelievable how awesome they are considering how simple they are.
So I have described the basic parts of this bag but really the take away point is that this is probably the best carry on bag on the planet for trips up to a week long. One bag / no wheel travel is the way to go and there is a lot more information about this on the web one can easily find using google.
This kind of luxury does not come cheap at over $300 US fully loaded but I expect this bag to outlast me and I really like to support hand made craftsman type products made by people who really care about what they do. The attention to detail and thought put into this bag really shine through.
To go along with bag I also purchased the Arc Teryx Cierzo 25.
At $80 dollars it is probably not worth the cost but at 415 g it is super super light and folds down to almost nothing (made of 100-denier nylon) making it an ideal companion to the aeronaut.
I use it as my day trip bag that so that I can leave the Tom Bihn where I am staying when I travel. This bag is a bit overkill for the purposes of a day bag but it performs well and is fairly comfortable.
Overall scores according to me:
Tom Bihn Aeronaut : 5 / 5
Arc’teryx Cierzo 25: 4 / 5
Let me know if you have any questions about either bag and I will do my best to answer them.