PDA

View Full Version : Need opinions: Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack



bouncing
10-11-2018, 11:34 AM
21144

So I'm an Aeronaut 30 user. I find that its size keeps me from carrying so much stuff it gets cumbersome. My main problem with the Aeronaut, for 1-bag travel, is that as a duffel, it's a pretty bad day-bag once I get to my destination. Once I unpack, I like to throw some essentials in a day bag and go.

Usually my solution to this is to ... whine about it while I still take a separate day bag or cram vast quantities of stuff into my jean pockets.

But I got to looking at the Tom Bihn website and I noticed this Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack (https://www.tombihn.com/products/travel-laundry-stuff-sack?variant=16409804615). It seems like a large packing cube that transforms into a minimal backpack, then transforms again into a small shoulder bag. I looked around YouTube but couldn't find any deep dives into what it's like to use, so I have some questions:


In shoulder bag mode (folded into itself), how bad is the loss of interior space to the other compartment being inside it? Like, can someone send me a picture of the interior in that configuration?
How does it look inside-out like that? I mean, with the D-rings sticking out and all, it seems weird, but is it noticeable?
Similar to the first question, how does its capacity as a packing cube compare with a normal packing cube? Are you losing a lot of space to the hardware and folding sections?
Could you fit a 13 inch laptop in the backpack mode?


It seems like a clever idea, but man, I'm worried that it'll also be a non-stop flight to compromise city: less space as a packing cube, weird look as a shoulder bag, etc. I'm interested in it more in shoulder bag mode than backpack mode, since museums and shopping areas scrutinize backpacks and often force you to check them, but never care about shoulder bags. I'm an American guy, but I have no shame in carrying a man-bag. I spend less than ~30 days a year in the US anyway.

Cristina
10-11-2018, 11:40 AM
Have you thought about the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag instead? I have neither an A30 nor an A30 PCBP, but I have several PCSBs and I have used them in my S25 and MRD. I love them. I also use them with a Large Shop Bag.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

bouncing
10-11-2018, 11:52 AM
Have you thought about the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag instead? I have neither an A30 nor an A30 PCBP, but I have several PCSBs and I have used them in my S25 and MRD. I love them. I also use them with a Large Shop Bag.

I have! And actually I have something similar -- the TB Sidekick. It's great, but kind of bulky as a packing cube with its hardware, its extra pockets, zippers, etc. When I do bring it, I usually don't use it as a packing cube; I use it as an air travel survival kit (water, snacks, Kindle, etc). I guess at the time, when I was deciding between the two, I got the Sidekick because it seemed to fit more.

The reason I was drawn to the backpack, however, is that I would definitely use it as a packing cube and I'm thinking it might be able to fit my laptop in backpack mode. But you're right, outside of the laptop, perhaps a PCSB would be an interesting investment. Is it less chunky to pack than a Sidekick? BTW, is the PCSB still available? Its product page (https://www.tombihn.com/collections/packing-cubes/products/packing-cube-shoulder-bag) seems to be missing any buy/color options for me.

LordAnubis
10-11-2018, 11:52 AM
I also donít have the bag but I would highly recommend a day light back pack. Itís small can just sit at the bottom of your bag till youíre ready to use it. The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is also another alternative if you like the smaller size and shoulder bag style.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Muni_Jedi
10-11-2018, 11:53 AM
If you're looking for a backpack to use as a packing cube and day pack I really like the DLBP. In Halcyon it is light, compact and easy to use for both purposes. I don't have an A30 so I'm not certain if/how it fits but even squished into the bag unpacked it takes op less room than one of my T-shirts. If you are a fan of the shoulder bag there isn't a better option than the PCSB IMHO.

Cristina
10-11-2018, 12:08 PM
I have! And actually I have something similar -- the TB Sidekick. It's great, but kind of bulky as a packing cube with its hardware, its extra pockets, zippers, etc. When I do bring it, I usually don't use it as a packing cube; I use it as an air travel survival kit (water, snacks, Kindle, etc). I guess at the time, when I was deciding between the two, I got the Sidekick because it seemed to fit more.

The reason I was drawn to the backpack, however, is that I would definitely use it as a packing cube and I'm thinking it might be able to fit my laptop in backpack mode. But you're right, outside of the laptop, perhaps a PCSB would be an interesting investment. Is it less chunky to pack than a Sidekick? BTW, is the PCSB still available? Its product page (https://www.tombihn.com/collections/packing-cubes/products/packing-cube-shoulder-bag) seems to be missing any buy/color options for me.

The PCSB is very different from the Side Kick. To me they aren't substitutions for each other.
The PCSB is 4.5 L and the Side Kick is 3L, and the PCSB is one layer of Halcyon (apart from the front pocket which creates a second layer) with no inside pockets, so it is significantly less material overall but holds more.

I just asked customer service about the PCSB and Cody said they hope to have some available before the holidays.

tress29
10-11-2018, 12:10 PM
I just asked customer service about the PCSB and Cody said they hope to have some available before the holidays.
Dreaming of a PCSB in UV...

kathryn
10-11-2018, 12:52 PM
I love both my (halcyon) DLBP and PCSB as day bags while traveling with my A30. I never actually use the DLBP as a packing cube; I just fold it in half and put it flat on the bottom of the main compartment under the other stuff I pack.

One tip I really like for the PCSB is to put a medium clear organizer pouch into the main or front pocket (https://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/11250-clipping-bags-seatback-pockets-post127603.html#post127603). It lends some structure and stability, as well as organization, to the PCSB. A bonus is that you can keep essentials in the OP and easily swap them between the PCSB and DLBP.

There is also a post about folding the DLBP to fit into the PCSB (https://forums.tombihn.com/packing-lists-and-travel-tips/9621-test-packing-budapest-rome-post100673.html#post100673) so that you can switch as you gain or lose volume of what you're carrying during the day, e.g. start out with the PCSB with daily stuff, and then use the DLBP after you stop for groceries on the way back to your hotel.

ETA: found the links, and am not surprised to find they are both by @moriond :)

G42
10-11-2018, 03:19 PM
I test packed the A30 PCBP and thought it wasn't as useful compared to other options so I returned it... like others have mentioned, I prefer the PCSB or a halcyon DLBP.
Right now I'm on a long work trip with a halcyon DLBC packed into an A45. The DLBC is for hauling around the laptop for the days I have a training class... next week the laptop will stay in the room and the DLBC will be my carry through a convention for three days. It can hold product literature, my raincoat, and a water bottle and is lightweight enough not to be a bother walking around McCormick Center in Chicago.

I also have an LL Bean Stowaway - a very lightweight packable backpack I sometimes bring.

melminimalist
10-11-2018, 03:55 PM
I love it! It's not only my EDC, but it was my day bag for a trip to Montreal and used it in bum bag mode for two experimental zero bag trips.2114521146

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk

moriond
10-12-2018, 01:13 AM
21144

So I'm an Aeronaut 30 user. I find that its size keeps me from carrying so much stuff it gets cumbersome. My main problem with the Aeronaut, for 1-bag travel, is that as a duffel, it's a pretty bad day-bag once I get to my destination. Once I unpack, I like to throw some essentials in a day bag and go.

Usually my solution to this is to ... whine about it while I still take a separate day bag or cram vast quantities of stuff into my jean pockets.

But I got to looking at the Tom Bihn website and I noticed this Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack (https://www.tombihn.com/products/travel-laundry-stuff-sack?variant=16409804615). It seems like a large packing cube that transforms into a minimal backpack, then transforms again into a small shoulder bag. I looked around YouTube but couldn't find any deep dives into what it's like to use, so I have some questions:


In shoulder bag mode (folded into itself), how bad is the loss of interior space to the other compartment being inside it? Like, can someone send me a picture of the interior in that configuration?
How does it look inside-out like that? I mean, with the D-rings sticking out and all, it seems weird, but is it noticeable?
Similar to the first question, how does its capacity as a packing cube compare with a normal packing cube? Are you losing a lot of space to the hardware and folding sections?
Could you fit a 13 inch laptop in the backpack mode?


It seems like a clever idea, but man, I'm worried that it'll also be a non-stop flight to compromise city: less space as a packing cube, weird look as a shoulder bag, etc. I'm interested in it more in shoulder bag mode than backpack mode, since museums and shopping areas scrutinize backpacks and often force you to check them, but never care about shoulder bags. I'm an American guy, but I have no shame in carrying a man-bag. I spend less than ~30 days a year in the US anyway.

Hi @bouncing,

I'm going to point you to the Aeronaut 30 Packing Cube Backpack on a 6,5" person (https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-videos-and-reviews/11740-aeronaut-30-packing-cube-backpack-6-5-person.html) thread for pictures and answers to your questions. In general, a lot of the really detailed information about new products get answered in the threads that are started on the debut days for these products (maybe we should have a tag like "debut day" to mark these out for search), and often by the forum moderators, because generally most of the questions people have about a completely new product (it's size, how it works, what it can hold, what it looks like when carried, etc.) get asked en masse on the days the new products appear. You'll not only be able to see what the sections look like when the bag is turned inside out, but there are comparisons for the size of these sections with the Side Kick, and Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. There are also comparison photos with the Daylight Backpack and the original Aeronaut (45) Packing Cube Backpack.

You don't lose a lot of space when used as a packing cube (the backpack straps fold in pretty flat), and you could always pack it with the top segment and the packing cube portion separately filled (and still hinged together) -- @Ilkyway also shows a picture of this in her post #4. It would be difficult to carry a 13" laptop in this -- it would basically only fit into the squarish section that is sized like a packing cube. The current 13" Retina MacBook Pros (touchbar models from 2016 onwards) might make this a little easier to fit in -- I haven't tried it), but for a visual comparison, take a look at the pictures in my post #3 (https://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/10556-cache-aeronaut-30-a-post115685.html#post115685) from the Cache in Aeronaut 30? (https://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/10556-cache-aeronaut-30-a-post115684.html) thread. That shows an older model 13" MacBook Air, placed in the pocket of a Maker's Bag Freudian Slip -- with an option to tether it to an O-ring. It pretty much takes up the full space that a large packing cube would occupy, and you can visually compare it to the various configurations in the PCBP for A30 in the other thread.

@Badger's pictures comparing the Daylight Backpack and the PCBP for A30 in size show you how much less room you have for your laptop in the A30 PCBP. But this could be a good configuration if you're only carrying a smaller tablet. It really depends on what you plan to carry in the backpack as to whether this is a good solution for you. If you want to carry a 13" laptop, I'd use the Daylight Backpack, which has tiered inside pockets that can do a better job of supporting the laptop, placed vertically inside. However, if you're carrying other smaller items, the extra O-rings inside the PCBP for A30, might be more useful in organizing and tethering pouches and other accessories.

I'll just excerpt one of the pictures showing a comparison of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, A30 PCBP (small section), and the Side Kick. Please check the linked thread for more pictures:

http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161130/3a0f6b4fde2afa8de45f7fbb13fa4ba0.jpg

I'd actually suggest that @kathryn's suggestion, which combines using a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, with a Daylight Backpack that can be packed into the PCSB, especially if you choose this as a Halcyon Daylight Backpack, could work for you -- you'd have a way to carry your laptop in the DLBP.

However, I'll also note, as a nod to @Cristina's suggestion of the Large Shop Bag, that I recently spent two weeks in China and Europe (mixed personal travel and work), which included having to take formal wear (and an extra pair of shoes to go with this). I used the Side Kick (Black Halcyon/Island) for its organization, and although I had to bring a laptop (in my Synapse), I didn't carry it most of the time I was out. Instead, I carried the Large Zip Top Shop Bag (https://www.tombihn.com/products/large-zip-shop-bag?variant=8988406349887) folded up in a pocket of my rain jacket. This rain jacket was found from reading the forum discussion thread on Technical and/or fashionable packable rain jacket suggestions? (https://forums.tombihn.com/not-about-bags/10529-technical-fashionable-packable-rain-jacket-suggestions-3.html), was on sale at Sierra Trading Post, and weighs 8.7 ounces. (I could fold it into the Side Kick, but, it wouldn't leave me a lot of room for accessories). It's actually pretty fitted when worn, but I found that I could fit a folded up Large Zip-Top Shop Bag in one pocket. The other pocket could hold a small folding umbrella (and a Kindle, if it wasn't being carried in my Side Kick). @kathryn can probably say that the end of August was pretty warm in Asia, and it was rainy when I was there. I generally had to do grocery shopping near the end of the day when I was in Europe (where it also had some rain), so it was very convenient. And I didn't need to check anything going into museums, etc.

I may post pictures later if I get a chance.

HTH

moriond

bouncing
10-12-2018, 07:37 PM
Wow, thanks to everyone for the super informative responses. I'm thinking I may not have considered the Daylight series enough; I think at the time I first saw them, I had a much larger computer than I do now, but hadn't though to reconsider them.

I think I'm going to get a Daylight Briefcase once the color I want comes back into stock. It will probably be the best all-around solution. I'll post back pics on how well it fits inside an A30 if anyone's interested. :)

Thanks again for such thorough and informative replies!

moriond
10-12-2018, 07:51 PM
@bouncing,

You asked:"Could you fit a 13 inch laptop in the backpack mode?" I tried checking this with my current model 13" MacBook Pro (with touch bar), and if you put that bare laptop into the large, square section, its edges will just fit between the black seam bindings of the square portion of the Packing Cube Backpack for Aeronaut 30. Remember that without a protective cache, or even a shell around the laptop, there is only the 200d Halcyon fabric used for bag linings and clothes packing cubes between the laptop and anything that you might swing into, drop, or that might hit your laptop in the backpack as you are carrying it or putting it down.

I've left the top compartment of the PCBP for A30 visible in this picture. The side zippers of the larger, bottom compartment where the laptop rests is shown fully unzipped. (These open to much further down than for the Daylight Backpack main compartment, so be aware of the potential for heavier items falling out when you unzip this -- if you're using this to lug groceries with heavier items like bottles or beverages).

21151

Here's a side by side comparison of the PCBP for A30 (with the bottom section zipped closed) and the Black 400d Halcyon Daylight Backpack to the right. The 400d Halcyon material used for the DLBP is sturdier. I'm also going to show how the laptop is more supported when placed inside the tiered pockets of the DLBP (both with the bare laptop, and with the laptop inside of a cache).

21152

Opening the DLBP, here's the same laptop positioned inside of an interior pocket. Both PCBP for A30 and the DLBP are shown with the zippers of their largest compartment unzipped as far as they will go. For the DLBP at the right, you can just see the top elastic border of the bottommost tiered pockets. Note that while there is additional room in the compartment for other items outside of that pocket, the side zippers don't go down all the way, so heavy/bulky items carried in the DLBP won't tip out.

21153

This is the same setup as shown in the previous picture, but with the 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar laptop placed into its Tom Bihn Cache. The padding adds about 3/8"+ to the height. If you tried to place the laptop in its cache inside the PCBP for A30 bottom compartment, it would overflow the seams reinforcing the top and bottom.

21155

Here's the laptop in its cached transferred to the PCBP for A30 at the left. The bottom is bulging down, because the laptop needs to push out on the bottom of the cube in order to fit into that compartment. (If you were carrying a 12" MacBook or other smaller size laptop in a cache, the length, lying flat, would be within the top and bottom seams of that compartment.)

21154

The empty Daylight Backpack can be folded, and remains relatively flat. Here's a picture of the Black 400d Halcyon DLBP folded up, under a Northwest Sky Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. It can easily be slipped inside the PCSB, or inside the back pocket of a Daylight Briefcase.

21156

A view of the folded Daylight Backpack inside the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag:

21157

Please note that I can't both hold the folded bags flat and take pictures at the same time, so that it will look as though the folded DLBP takes up more room than is the case in real life. To get a better appreciation of how tightly these can be packed, take a look at my pictures in the Daylight BC/BP into a stuff sack? (https://forums.tombihn.com/general-bag-discussion/12891-daylight-bc-bp-into-stuff-sack.html) thread. I can roll the same Black Halcyon DLBP shown above into a Size 1 Travel Stuff Sack (probably 0.9 - 1.0 liter capacity):

https://forums.tombihn.com/attachments/general-bag-discussion/19038d1507348584-daylight-bc-bp-into-stuff-sack-photo-jpg

The other pictures in that thread show the Original Halcyon Daylight Backpack and Daylight Briefcase stashed into the two sides of a Small Snake Charmer, or folded into the 3D Organizer Cube.

It seems to me that the advantage of the Packing Cube Backpack for A30 for your purposes is that it gives you a second compartment for tech accessories at the top. On the other hand, it may not be as secure a way of carrying your laptop as the Daylight Backpack, and it depends on what else you might be carrying (the bulk, weight, and fragility) as to whether it is more suitable for your purposes than an alternative like the Daylight Backpack.

HTH

moriond

bouncing
10-12-2018, 07:57 PM
It seems to me that the advantage of the Packing Cube Backpack for A30 for your purposes is that it gives you a second compartment for tech accessories at the top. On the other hand, it may not be as secure a way of carrying your laptop as the Daylight Backpack, and it depends on what else you might be carrying (the bulk, weight, and fragility) as to whether it is more suitable for your purposes than an alternative like the Daylight Backpack.

AMAZING, moriond, that helps a ton. The pictures, side by side, speak volumes and really seal it for me. Daylight FTW.

Really, thanks a bunch for custom-taking a bunch of pictures for me. And thanks to everyone else also for all the thoughtful replies and research into other threads and everything. You're the best.