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MsMoon
03-30-2009, 06:31 PM
I received my steel Aeronaut with packing cubes (one large and one small) and Absolute strap a few weeks ago and finally tested it out on it's first trip. We flew to Miami, then went on a five day cruise with carry-on only. First of all, let me say how well-built and thought-out the bag is, not to mention attractive to carry. Walking through the airport, I wondered why everyone didn't stop me and ask where they could buy a bag just like mine!

Packing: Packing the bag was a breeze with the packing cubes. And in case anyone is wondering, it is possible to over-pack the large cube. I think I could have filled up the main compartment with only my stuffed packing cube! Since this was a cruise with various attire recommendations, I most definitely brought too much stuff. I stuffed the Aeronaut with approximately 20-25 lbs, and it took it like a champ. No seam pulling, the zippers closed just fine, and it didn't bulge!

Carrying the bag: The Absolute strap does help lighten the load when carried on one shoulder. The carry handles are well-designed and comfortable. The backpack straps are moderately comfortable. This was my biggest problem with the bag - comfort. I spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how to rig my Absolute strap as a waist belt to help take some of the load off my shoulders. I'm pretty sure it was simply too heavy for me, so my husband carried it a good part of the time (and looked darn good doing it!). Next time I will have to keep the weight below 15 lbs to carry it any distance at all. Oh well, lesson learned! I guess for those heavier loads, I may be more of a wheeled-bag kind of person. But, the Aeronaut performs beautifully for what it's designed.

Despite my discomfort with carrying the bag, I am not returning it, selling it, giving it away, etc. In fact, I just placed an order for a cafe bag to replace my personal item, as well as multiple organizer pouches and other small items. Yes, I'm that impressed with my Tom Bihn bag.

maverick
03-31-2009, 06:10 AM
hi MsMoon!

i've also learned that i have to pack an amount of weight that i can carry comfortably in the aeronaut, specially if i'm going to be walking for some time. whether the bag can carry the weight and whether i can carry the weight are two different questions with two different answers for me :).

i actually prefer the backpack straps over the absolute shoulder strap when carrying the aeronaut for an extended period of time because the weight is distributed across both shoulders.

Darcy
03-31-2009, 01:12 PM
i actually prefer the backpack straps over the absolute shoulder strap when carrying the aeronaut for an extended period of time because the weight is distributed across both shoulders.

I agree with this. In fact, when I pack my Aeronaut really to-the-max full, the backpack straps are the only way I like to carry the bag. I'm about 5'5" and have a somewhat small frame.

We don't put a waist belt on the Aeronaut for two reasons:
1) It would be a further extraneous piece of strap that the customer would need to tuck away inside of the bag.
2) Furthermore, a waist belt really only helps distribute the weight if a bag has some kind of internal frame. And if we added an internal frame and padded waist belt to the Aeronaut, it would make the bag heavier, bulkier, and a different kind of bag entirely.

Have you considered the Western Flyer instead of the Aeronaut? I might suggest thinking of it this way: Even though you could use the Aeronaut and carry more stuff when you travel, use the Western Flyer because you don't like as heavy a load as the Aeronaut allows. The Western Flyer would force you to be more selective about what you take with you: take less stuff and the bag isn't as heavy, making it a more enjoyable experience. If that's not an option, maybe another type of bag would work better for you than the Aeronaut. (I don't really want to carry less stuff, and usually pack my Aeronaut to the max, but the backpack straps work for me.)

MsMoon
03-31-2009, 03:02 PM
I did carry the Aeronaut by the backpack straps almost exclusively. Really, I just need to get the weight down a little and pack better. If I thought I might use it, I brought it! Don't get me wrong, I really love my Aeronaut!

I understand the issues with the waist belt. Any plans to make a bag or travelpack with the suspension mentioned above? If so, I may have another investment to make!

Nuke
04-01-2009, 05:18 AM
One of the benifits of being a larger guy is that the rule of thumb that a bag shouldn't be more than 10% of your body weight means I get to carry more stuff.

I regularly load my Aeronaut to 25 lbs or so; I can carry that much weight rather easily. I do find that the backpack straps are better at the heavier wieght. I am still on the lookout for reducing some of my load, but the Aeronaut holds it well.

I love using the packing cubes (1 large, 2 small). They make it very easy to pack and repack at a moments notice.

timarelay
04-01-2009, 06:42 AM
One of the benifits of being a larger guy is that the rule of thumb that a bag shouldn't be more than 10% of your body weight means I get to carry more stuff.

Oh wow. Following that rule, I should only carry 10.5 pounds of stuff. That's not much. I do have to admit that might be part of the reason backpacks and I don't get along so well. I load them up too heavy.

peregrina
04-01-2009, 07:13 PM
on my 4-week trip to Europe last summer, my Aeronaut weighted exactly 10 kg (I believe that's 22lb). I'm tall but I have a very small frame and I carried the Aeronaut exclusively with the backpack straps. It was heavy but comfortable once I had it on... my main problem was the second bag, which was VERY heavy with a laptop, books, and the like and wasn't very comfortable to carry on one shoulder on top of the Aeronaut.

pretzelb
04-02-2009, 09:54 AM
I have that problem too. If one bag goes on my back with backpack straps, it's almost always the other bag that is the source of discomfort. Even if the second bag is light, I still find it annoying if I try to use a shoulder strap because the second bag always seems to fall off. The alternative then is to hand hold the second bag which I suppose is fine but I like to keep my hands free.

Recently I took a quick trip with the Aeronaut and the Brain Bag. I put the BB on my back and alternated with the Aeronaut from shoulder to hands.

MsMoon
04-02-2009, 10:56 AM
Peregrina, I'm probably about the same size as you. I agree with the problem of the personal item. I used a cheap messenger-style bag from a Central American market, and it definitely added to the discomfort.

I just put in an order for a large cafe bag/absolute strap, so I'm hoping that will fix that problem.

bluedawg
04-02-2009, 11:59 AM
on my recent trip, i had a similar problem. my back/shoulder has been acting up (and was really bad right before the trip), so i've been trying to avoid dangling anything off my shoulder on a long strap (i.e., phasing out messenger bags), but i travelled with both an aeronaut and a smart alec. i didn't even want the temptation of hanging the aeronaut off my shoulder with the absolute strap, so i didn't even attach it.

the majority of time, i wore the smart alec and carried my aeronaut with the short duffel handles (just switching off from hand to hand). at one point, we had to walk a lot in an airport, and i switched to put the aeronaut on as a backpack. it was really awkward to carry the smart alec in my hand (by the loop), so i just slung it over my right shoulder on top of the right aeronaut strap. i'm sure i looked silly, but it worked fairly well. i wouldn't want to do it for ages, but it got me through the airport.

maverick
04-02-2009, 12:11 PM
Recently I took a quick trip with the Aeronaut and the Brain Bag. I put the BB on my back and alternated with the Aeronaut from shoulder to hands.

wow! that is a lot of load to carry!

i found that the aeronaut on my back coupled with a medium cafe bag across my body in the front worked quite well.

i've also carried the large cafe bag in the same way along with the aeronaut, but i wouldn't want to carry much more than that.

mruseless
04-03-2009, 12:38 PM
I weigh about 185lbs. The heaviest load I ever put in my Aeronaut was for a trip to Cozumel. I packed a week's worth of clothes, toiletries, my paper dive log, my scuba regulators, and a hardback book. The load was almost 30 lbs. I could only manage about 5 minutes at a time on one shoulder, but in backpack mode the load was tolerable. Not comfortable, but tolerable.

Most trips I end up around 20 lb, but I'd like to trim that back to about 15 lb.

maverick
04-03-2009, 12:40 PM
Most trips I end up around 20 lb, but I'd like to trim that back to about 15 lb.

i say almost the same thing about myself rather than my aeronaut, but with another zero at the end of each number. :)

mruseless
04-03-2009, 12:46 PM
LOL :D:D:D

Zephyrnoid
04-05-2009, 08:01 PM
Traveling again at April's end. Can't decide between taking Aeronaut or Super Ego. Will probably take Aeronaut since it's a tad bigger. I'm getting a bit tired of the 'Red' , Anyone wanna trade for Green or Black?

peregrina
04-07-2009, 06:00 PM
For regular vacation trips I'm comfortable with my medium cafe bag as a second bag but when I go away for research for example, I need not only to pack clothes for a month (not difficult for me) but also need to bring laptop and possibly a couple of books. I thought the ID might work for me but my body rejected it :(

I think in those cases I'll end up bringing a Smart Alec and carry the aeronaut by its handle (not uncomfortable if it's not too heavy).

MsMoon
04-08-2009, 02:39 PM
For regular vacation trips I'm comfortable with my medium cafe bag as a second bag but when I go away for research for example, I need not only to pack clothes for a month (not difficult for me) but also need to bring laptop and possibly a couple of books. I thought the ID might work for me but my body rejected it :(

I think in those cases I'll end up bringing a Smart Alec and carry the aeronaut by its handle (not uncomfortable if it's not too heavy).

Was the ID too heavy/uncomfortable? I've been considering an Ego/Super Ego for that larger personal item. Oh, and I've got a large cafe bag on the way.

peregrina
04-08-2009, 05:08 PM
I don't think the ID would be uncomfortable to anyone used to a messenger bag. My problem is that I have a weaker lower back and although I'm fine carrying my medium cafe bag hanging across my body and the occasional shoulder bag, carrying a fully-packed ID made my back uncomfortable at the end of the day. I think for me a backpack works better for distributing the weight.

It depends on what you are used to...

MsMoon
04-08-2009, 06:42 PM
I don't think the ID would be uncomfortable to anyone used to a messenger bag. My problem is that I have a weaker lower back and although I'm fine carrying my medium cafe bag hanging across my body and the occasional shoulder bag, carrying a fully-packed ID made my back uncomfortable at the end of the day. I think for me a backpack works better for distributing the weight.

It depends on what you are used to...

So how will that work when you have to carry your Aeronaut and have your Smart Alec on your back? The extra weight on one side can really throw your back off. (Sorry, had to put that out there, I work in Neurosurgery and am always harping on patients to strengthen their core and equally distribute weight, esp when they have back pain.) Of course keeping the Aeronaut lightweight makes all the difference, as I painfully experienced.

peregrina
04-08-2009, 07:11 PM
I know... I thought of that... I think the problem with the ID was having it hanging across my body. I actually don't find it too hard to carry the Aeronaut - provided it doesn't weight 30lb - holding the handle and putting it down every time I stop. If I need to carry it a longer distance, I might actually pick it up and sort of hug it. Not ideal but I wouldn't be doing this (traveling with both bags) too often... I sometimes see backpackers traveling with their big backpack on their back and a smaller backpack on the front. Not sure how comfortable that is but it does seem balanced...

I'm definitely working on strengthening my core with some yoga and pilates. We'll see how that goes... ;)

dclawyer
04-19-2009, 11:18 AM
One of the benifits of being a larger guy is that the rule of thumb that a bag shouldn't be more than 10% of your body weight means I get to carry more stuff.

I regularly load my Aeronaut to 25 lbs or so; I can carry that much weight rather easily. I do find that the backpack straps are better at the heavier wieght. I am still on the lookout for reducing some of my load, but the Aeronaut holds it well.

I love using the packing cubes (1 large, 2 small). They make it very easy to pack and repack at a moments notice.

This is the first I have heard of the 10% rule. I weigh 128 lbs. so that would limit me to about 13 lbs., which makes sense. When a bag is heavy I find a shoulder strap uncomfortable. But there is a limit that a person can carry comfortably -- it's not only size. Thank you for your post.

pretzelb
04-20-2009, 05:56 AM
I know... I thought of that... I think the problem with the ID was having it hanging across my body. I actually don't find it too hard to carry the Aeronaut - provided it doesn't weight 30lb - holding the handle and putting it down every time I stop. If I need to carry it a longer distance, I might actually pick it up and sort of hug it. Not ideal but I wouldn't be doing this (traveling with both bags) too often... I sometimes see backpackers traveling with their big backpack on their back and a smaller backpack on the front. Not sure how comfortable that is but it does seem balanced...

I'm definitely working on strengthening my core with some yoga and pilates. We'll see how that goes... ;)


Someone once posted they put their messenger bag on first then use the backpack straps of the Aeronaut over the top. I have not tried that yet but that might help.

MsMoon
04-22-2009, 01:16 PM
For regular vacation trips I'm comfortable with my medium cafe bag as a second bag but when I go away for research for example, I need not only to pack clothes for a month (not difficult for me) but also need to bring laptop and possibly a couple of books. I thought the ID might work for me but my body rejected it :(

I think in those cases I'll end up bringing a Smart Alec and carry the aeronaut by its handle (not uncomfortable if it's not too heavy).

How does the medium cafe bag work for your personal item? I've ordered a large, but the punch is on back-order till June now! Just wondering if I can cram everything into a slightly smaller bag (water bottle included).

MsMoon
04-22-2009, 01:19 PM
How does the medium cafe bag work for your personal item? I've ordered a large, but the punch is on back-order till June now! Just wondering if I can cram everything into a slightly smaller bag (water bottle included).

Never mind, I see your photos:
http://forums.tombihn.com/showthread.php?t=1761&highlight=water+bottle+cafe
And these:
http://forums.tombihn.com/showthread.php?t=1763&highlight=water+bottle+cafe

MsMoon
04-27-2009, 05:36 PM
Tom Bihn must have heard my cries, as there is now a waist strap retrofit kit available for the Aeronaut (and Western Flyer)! I think I'm more excited about this than anything else! (OK, almost)