View Full Version : Best way to distribute weight in an Aeronaut in backpack mode?

12-26-2017, 01:45 AM
I'm packing my Aeronaut 30 for an upcoming trip, and I'm wondering what the best way is to distribute the weight in backpack mode? I think I've read in the forums to put heavy items like shoes at the bottom of the bag, but other sites recommend packing heavier items higher up in a backpack (either at the top or at the middle back level). I did a test pack where I compared a bottom heavy and a top heavy configuration. The top heavy version felt lighter and more comfortable, but I was only wearing the Aeronaut for a few minutes. For longer periods of time is there an advantage to packing heavier items lower? What is the optimal weight distribution? For reference, I'm 6'2". Thanks!

12-26-2017, 03:45 AM
FWIW, I stopped using my A30 because it was uncomfortable to wear in backpack mode. I never found it comfortable to shoulder carry and carrying it by hand was annoying after a while. I don't travel often with heavy items, so it didn't matter how I packed, the bag always felt too heavy on my shoulders and uncomfortable after 10 minutes. I even found my Synapse 25 without a hip belt to be much more comfortable to wear over the A30 in any configuration.

To TB's credit, the Aeronauts aren't meant to be worn for long periods of time as a backpack like the Hero's Journey or Guide's Pack. Many find the Aeronauts comfortable, but I'm going to need an integrated hip belt and possibly a frame sheet to make the Aeronaut work for me. It's a great design and a wonderful bag, but I needed to be more realistic about how I use the bag vs how its designed.

To answer your question: when I do pack heavy items I like them centered and higher up than lower in the bag. But I think this is all personal preference. I have no qualms repacking a bag mid trip if I have to. :)

12-26-2017, 05:24 AM
I think you'll find it's personal preference...it depends on just how heavy your heaviest items are, your torso length, endurance, etc. Test packing always helps.

FWIW, I'm a 5'4" female and carried a fully loaded A30 for two weeks in Ecuador. I packed it according to how I'd use my items and where they logically fit when I was living out of it vs how I would carry it.
I used it in backpack mode for 20-60minutes at a time without particularly noticing. I find backpack mode way easier (more balanced) than carrying on one side or with the absolute strap, YMMV.

12-26-2017, 05:13 PM
Thanks! I think I'm going to try packing the heavier stuff higher. The last time I traveled with the A30 all the heavy stuff was at the bottom, and it was a bit uncomfortable. I definitely agree that backpack mode is easier to manage compared to the shoulder strap. I have the Absolute strap, and find that carrying the Aeronaut for more than 10 minutes starts to tweak my side and back.

12-27-2017, 06:28 PM
I think the most important thing is using the compression straps to keep the weight against your back.

01-08-2018, 10:06 AM
I'm 5'11" and already bottom-heavy by nature, so carrying top-heavy always works better for me.

01-11-2018, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the advice, everyone. Here is an update. I just got back from a 2 week trip with the Aeronaut 30 + Pilot. I found this combination to be quite uncomfortable to carry around. I had some city commuting to do (less than an hour at a time), and my shoulders have been sore for the past couple of days. The A30 weighed in around 16 lbs, and the pilot another 6 lbs. I wore the Pilot cross-body most of the time.

* I loved that the A30 fit easily into the overhead bin of the five tiny commuter jets I flew on.
* Living out of the A30 was great!
* The grab handles on the side are amazing.
* The bag is so compact and well constructed.

* The backpack straps weren't that comfortable. I think a big part of it was due to also having the Pilot. I don't find cross-body bags as comfortable (yes, I was using the Absolute strap). I found the Pilot put too much extra pressure on my shoulder.
* I really really wish the Aeronaut had a frame and padded hip belt (hopefully the wait won't be too long for this!)
* I would have like just a bit more space in the Aeronaut. Ideally, enough space so I wouldn't have to carry the Pilot in addition.

So now I'm considering eBaying/or trading my Aeronaut 30 and picking up an Aeronaut 45 (they just released new Verde ones today!). As a taller person, I think the A45 will sit better on my back. I also like the idea of having an underpacked bag vs the stuffed-to-the-gills A30 at the moment, and being able to move the stuff from my Pilot to the bag on my back. I'm also considering trying out the Osprey Farpoint 40. I'm not a fan of the Osprey design, but I like that it has a nice suspension system and frame. I'd much rather carry 80% of the bags weight on my hips than shoulders.

Looking at the A45, I have a few questions:

* Right now I have a bunch of packing cubes and accessories for my A30 (large packing cube, two small ones, and a laundry stuff sack). How do these fit/work in an A45? Should I sell these and replace them with the A45 equivalents?

* In the A30, two large packing cubes + two end pocket packing cubes add up to 27 L (10+10+3.5+ 3.5). In the A45 the equivalent cubes only add up to 36L (12.5 + 12.5 + 5.5 + 5.5). Do the packing cubes not fill up the volume of the bag as much as they do with the A30?

* Do taller people find the A45 more comfortable than the A30?

(EDIT: Forgot to mention that I also took along my new burnt-orange Daylight Backpack. I love this pack so much! It easily fit into the A30 or Pilot, and was a great day bag at my destinations.)

02-02-2018, 10:00 AM

The A30 packing cubes will work in the A45 just fine if you're not worried about using every bit of available space, it's just very visibly not an exact fit. If you're worried about capacity and want to use all the available space, then get the A45 cubes. (I tend to use Packing Cube Shoulder Bags instead because I like how colorful they are, but the A45 cubes would be a slightly more efficient use of the space, and lighter weight too.)

I'm not tall (5'5"), and I find the A45 more comfortable than the A30--there's something about the strap placement. (The A30 comfort improved when I played with strap adjustment, but I haven't found a perfect setting yet.) I usually put my heaviest item, a CPAP, in the bottom of the middle section. That's more to protect the CPAP than anything else, but it's been working for me from a weight distribution standpoint too.

What did you end up deciding to do?

02-02-2018, 11:37 AM
Darcy posted a “spoiler” a couple of weeks ago saying that Aeronaut frame sheets have been designed. Don’t sell the bag yet!

Maybe you could put this post behind a spoiler (ETA: like I did with yours above)? The spoiler tag looks like this: (spoiler) (/spoiler) except use [ and ] instead of (). If you reply to this comment you can see the tags.

02-02-2018, 03:27 PM
I used the aeronaut 30 for a 3-week trip last summer. I did my best to minimize and the whole bag was 10 lbs. I kept telling my husband that the bag was too heavy, my shoulder hurts, but I realised it was the cross body large purse I was also carrying that was killing my neck and shoulders (especially if the aeronaut backpack straps were above the cross body bag strap). I actually felt the same pain by just carrying the full cross body (a travelon anti theft purse, very well done to get organised but too heavy for me).

Envoyé de mon iPad en utilisant Tapatalk

02-02-2018, 05:31 PM
Thanks for all the comments. Nadia, I also noticed that carrying the Pilot cross-body with the A30 caused quite a bit more discomfort. Here is what I've decided on. I recently purchased and received a new verde A45 (love the color!). The A30 seems tiny compared to it, but I have found it far more comfortable when loaded with the same things. It sits better on my back, and I also found out that the shoulder straps are spaced a little wider than the A30. Even though it is slightly heavier, I prefer the structure and support of the ballistic.

Overall, I found the A30 to be frustrating. I really wanted to love it, but it was too small. My shoes barely fit in the end pockets, and I always felt short on space. Combine that with how sore my shoulders were getting, it just didn't work for me. My first trip with the A45 will be next week, so I'll have a better idea of how the new setup will work. I think the A30 is an awesome bag, but the A45 fits my frame and size better.

Here is my new plan (now that I'm ditching the A30 and Pilot combo). Use the A45 and pack it with the same number of things as the A30. This leave a great deal of space left over. Shoes go in the bottom compartment, and my packing cubes and dopp kit in (or medium Eagle Creek Pack-It folder) in the big center compartment. Then the things I put in the pilot fit in the top compartment. I actually bought a Side Kick (SK) to hold all my electronics (iPad Pro 9.7 with smart keyboard, glasses, pens, snacks, and cables). The SK works great, and fits easily in to the end pocket. I have enough room left over to fit a water bottle in the top zippered compartment. When I get on the plane, I can just grab the SK and water bottle and use them in my seat. This will allow me to one-bag it without needing to worry about carrying another bag cross body. I feel a lot less stressed packing the A45. All of my tall person clothes fit easily with room to spare. Another bonus is that my 15" MBP slides easily into the rear backpack strap compartment. It is easy to slide it in and out, something that is impossible on the A30. I don't often travel with my laptop, but this will be nice for when I do.

I test packed both the A45 and A30 with different loads. I found the A30 comfortable up to 6.5 kgs (14 lbs), and the A45 comfortable up to 8.5 kgs. Above these weights, and the bags become a chore to carry for me. One thing I like about the sidekick combo is that it is easy pull out of the A45 and carry on one shoulder. It feels so light that it is hard to notice it there. This is really different than what I've experienced with the Pilot where, even when loaded with the same things as the SK, feels so much heavier. The benefit is that if my A45 goes over 8.5 kgs, I can just pull the SK out and everything feels comfortable (yes, I spent an entire Saturday night walking around my house testing different load outs for comfort and wear duration).

Note 1: The SK is seriously awesome!!!! I got a black halcyon/wasabi combo. When paired with the A45 I think it looks quite gender neutral.

Note 2: I bought a Smart Alec on eBay. I want to see if it can replace the functionality of the A30 for really short trips, but fit my back better.

Note 3: I'm thinking of selling my A30 which is the latest model, and is in mint condition. Look out soon for a posting in the sale thread.

02-02-2018, 06:15 PM
If you haven't seen this yet in some of the SK/SE threads... try using Tyny Tools medium swivel carabiners on the SK to latch onto the seat back pocket once the plane takes off. It's a fantastic way to keep your SK near you and not have to limbo under the seat in front of you to get something out.


02-02-2018, 06:34 PM
Thanks! I just bought several packs of these Tyny Tools swivel clips.