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maverick
11-25-2012, 06:20 PM
hi folks,

i traveled today for the first time with my new nordic/streel western flyer!

i am amazed at how versatile this bag is! you can pack it for a 4 day business trip (as i just did). and you can pack it as a briefcase to take to work (as i will do tomorrow).

inside my western flyer, i brought along:

* 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, and toiletries in a clear quarter packing cube.
* an apple 13" macbook air in a soft cell, an apple ipad mini in a vertical cache, various cables in a small clear organizer pouch, an apple iphone, keys, earphones, a notebook, a pen.
* i even put my gloves and jacket into my smart alec once i got into the airport.

going through airport security was a breeze - i pulled out the macbook air in the soft cell, and my toiletries in the clear quarter packing cube, and sent them through security without having to remove them from their respective cases. each easily slipped out of and back into the western flyer.

the western flyer fit easily into the overhead bin of the united airbus a320. sliding it up there was no problem, and grabbing it to pull it down was cake. i stowed my western flyer when i boarded, and later brought it down to grab my macbook air about half way through the flight.

one of the things i appreciate about carrying the western flyer as a backpack is that it becomes a part of me. it goes where i go, it moves as a i move. i really appreciate this as i walk down the skinny aisle of the airplane - if i can walk down the aisle, i know the western flyer is coming down the aisle right behind me - not getting caught on something or stuck or anything like that.

my clothes and toiletries will stay back at the hotel tomorrow (well, except for what i'll be wearing), and the rest will come with me to my meetings.

moriond
11-25-2012, 06:40 PM
@maverick Any special comments relating to the Nordic Dyneema in this combination? I think it looks better in person than I would have guessed from the pictures, and the feel of the fabric is surprisingly nice. I haven't tried these as travel bags, yet, since I still have my beloved Ballistic Nylon bags, and I use the Swift and Synapse far more than I do my travel bags. (So these are the ones I picked up in Nordic). I really think that the smaller travel bags in this material, like the Side Effect or a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, would do really well. And are you using Polar with your Iberian Dyneema accessories now?


moriond

Lani
11-26-2012, 11:59 AM
@maverick Any special comments relating to the Nordic Dyneema in this combination? I think it looks better in person than I would have guessed from the pictures, and the feel of the fabric is surprisingly nice. I haven't tried these as travel bags, yet, since I still have my beloved Ballistic Nylon bags, and I use the Swift and Synapse far more than I do my travel bags. (So these are the ones I picked up in Nordic). I really think that the smaller travel bags in this material, like the Side Effect or a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, would do really well. And are you using Polar with your Iberian Dyneema accessories now?

I took my Nordic Dyneema Western Flyer to Vegas over the past weekend to test it out, and I'm TOTALLY sold. I'm already partial to Dyneema, but I was interested to see how the heftier version of the new Dyneema fabric would fare.

I agree with Maverick on how great the WF is, but here are the things I noticed specifically about the Dyneema version:

- LIGHTER. I'm petite (5'3" in very thick socks), and while the size of the Western Flyer fit me better than the Tri-Star did, the lighter weight of the Dyneema fabric was quite noticeable. It didn't feel nearly as heavy as my ballistic nylon version does.

- FAR MORE FORGIVING when packing. Not only is the fabric lighter, it's also more flexible. Part of what makes the ballistic nylon so great is that it holds up well on its own... but that also means when you have a very snug fit, you kind of have to work it. Things like squishing things down when you zip the bag up. With the Dyneema version, it felt easier to squish things around, and the fabric gave less resistance. For example, I typically use the front-facing pocket to store my iPad. It's a very snug fit, and with the ballistic nylon version, I'd have to kind of shimmy it in and then pull and tease it. Not so with the Dyneema fabric. It almost felt "stretchy" in its give.

That said, the structure of the WF is such that the Dyneema version never felt floppy. It's not made of parachute nylon, and anyone worried about the Dyneema version looking too cheap or floppy shouldn't have to worry at all.

- FOLDS DOWN FLAT. I didn't even think about this. When I got to the hotel, I unpacked everything into the closet and dresser. I usually keep my bag on the valet stand because I don't want to just sit it down, empty, on the floor. But I discovered that when I emptied the bag, it was flat as a pancake. SO I wound up just putting the empty Western Flyer into a dresser drawer and stashed it out of the way.

- SUPER SMOOTH SURFACE. Nothing snags on the fabric. If you get a bit of dirt on it or something, you just wipe it off and it comes off right away. The Dyneema actually feels slicker than the ballistic nylon, and even though it's the same size, I found it much easier to slide my bag into the underseat area on the aircraft. I also found that pulling it out to grab stuff during the flight was super easy (made even easier by the grab handle at the end of the bag).

- FASHIONABLE. I didn't think I'd ever hear myself say this because I'm more into the practical, but the Nordic Dyneema is actually quite fashionable. It's a great color... it's a deep indigo hue that leans a little towards violet. It's a great unisex color. And it's certainly a real standout compared to all the bland, boring black bags everybody carries.

===============

One last note. I also rush ordered a Small Cafe Bag in Nordic Dyneema so I could do a matchy-matchy on this trip. Wow, am I glad I did. I've always liked the SCB but never thought of it as part of a "set" with the Western Flyer because the cafe bags are made of lint-clinging Cordura. Well now, I have a purse that matches my carry-on! And since my trip was short, I actually stashed the SCB into my Western Flyer, in one of the front side pockets. It fit perfectly!!! Like they were made to fit like that on purpose.

Anyone considering getting a matching luggage set, you can consider matching up all sorts of items now. Cafe bag with Western Flyer, Tri-Star, Aeronaut, or upsizing your personal item by going with a Synapse. Or going backwards and just traveling with a Synapse and Small Cafe Bag. And they'll all still match! So stylish!

snowbot
11-26-2012, 12:05 PM
Lani, I fear I'll not be able to resist the lure of the Western Flyer much longer after that review.

TavaPeak
11-26-2012, 02:40 PM
Photo? Photo?

Lani
11-27-2012, 12:02 PM
Photo? Photo?

I'll post some in a few days!!

Lani
11-27-2012, 12:09 PM
OK OK here is a quicky snapshot I took of the Nordic Dyneema Small Cafe Bag sitting atop the Western Flyer at the airport.

2924

Shiva
11-27-2012, 03:21 PM
Lani: it looks very grey in this picture..or it is my monitor! There was another picture that showed it to be a deep blue...so just curious...

nukediver
11-27-2012, 04:43 PM
There's something to be said for matchy-matchy luggage :-)

notmensa
11-27-2012, 11:10 PM
OMG! Matching functional luggage. Swoon!!!

-n

moriond
11-28-2012, 12:06 PM
Anyone considering getting a matching luggage set, you can consider matching up all sorts of items now. Cafe bag with Western Flyer, Tri-Star, Aeronaut, or upsizing your personal item by going with a Synapse. Or going backwards and just traveling with a Synapse and Small Cafe Bag. And they'll all still match! So stylish!
Don't forget the Swift and the Co-Pilot in Nordic Dyneema as additional options for the matchy-matchy crowd.


Lani: it looks very grey in this picture..or it is my monitor! There was another picture that showed it to be a deep blue...so just curious...
Shiva, the color of Nordic Dyneema is difficult to show well. Unlike the 200d Dyneema, but similar to the Ballistic Nylon, there are obvious strands that are reflective when light shines directly on them. The net effect, combined with the interlaced white grid pattern, is to make the colored portion of the Dyneema appear lighter than seen in person - hence maverick's question in another thread about whether Nordic would go well with Iberian Dyneema (it does, it's darker than the blog pictures give the impression). I'd agree that Lani's picture makes this look pretty gray - more so than in real life.

A close match is to look at the small cafe bag image, and zoom in on the darkest sections which appear shadowed by the flap:
http://www.tombihn.com/mm5/PRODIMG/TB0201/TB0201_13b.jpg
It's not as dark as the blue in the tag that now appears with the Dyneema product label on new bags, but it's headed in that direction. This is what I refer to as "midnight blue" tones.

HTH. moriond

backpack
12-17-2012, 09:43 PM
This is just wonderful, thanks for sharing Lani and Maverick!

dlg
12-18-2012, 07:03 AM
Does the nordic dyneema remind anyone else of the contact paper that lined their grandmother's shelves? I can't get the hang of it as a bag color, and I think this is why.

dorayme
12-18-2012, 07:55 AM
Does the nordic dyneema remind anyone else of the contact paper that lined their grandmother's shelves? I can't get the hang of it as a bag color, and I think this is why.

Your grandmother must have had the coolest contact paper, one of my grandmother's contact papers had harvest gold and avocado mushrooms all over it, the other's had an orangish fake bamboo lattice.

lotuseater
12-30-2012, 07:51 PM
i am amazed at how versatile this bag is! you can pack it for a 4 day business trip (as i just did). and you can pack it as a briefcase to take to work (as i will do tomorrow).

Hi Maverick. Once again, thank you for sharing how you use your Tom Bihn bags. I've owned a Tri-Star for a couple of years and used it very successfully one-bagging for week-long business trips. But a year ago I became very familiar with a chiropractor's office, and started to question the wisdom of loading a 5lb laptop plus 4 days of clothes into a 3lb bag and slinging it over my shoulder. Most of my travels in 2012 had me bring my laptop in a slimline checkpoint-friendly case, and the Tri-Star seemed more than I needed, even for five nights.

I've wondered how many days' business casual attire I could fit into a Western Flyer. Conventional wisdom suggested it was best for max two nights, and that held me back from placing an order. Your write-up here pushed me over the edge, and I took delivery of a black 1050d ballistic Western Flyer with backpack straps.

It is a tighter squeeze than the Tri-Star, but I can still fit all the clothes I need - including a set of workout clothes and a blazer - for my typical 4 day, 3 night business trip. Loaded, the Western Flyer feels better over one shoulder, and I'm sure it looks a lot slimmer too.

My one disappointment is that my 3S Horizontal Brain Cell barely fits into the rear compartment, but to be honest I've hardly used it in the Tri-Star and never in the Aeronaut. It stays attached to my Empire Builder. For overnight trips I've ordered a 3S Cache and will use that inside my Western Flyer, and supplement the padding with my clothes. A reasonable compromise, methinks.

As for the qualities of Nordic dyneema, they're not lost on me. Much to the family CFO's chagrin, I placed an order for a Smart Alec in that configuration the day Darcy posted a pic of it on the forum.

Cheers again.

NickA
08-19-2013, 03:58 AM
Lotuseater how is your WF faring these days? Can it still handle a variety of situations?

I typically carry
4 business shirts
2 undershirts
1 trousers
4 socks n underwear
1 New Balance minimus shoes
1 workout shorts

From what I've read on these forums I should fit all that in no problem. However the catch comes when I want to add a 11" Macbook Air, and in winter a possum fur (soft but bulky) sweater plus warm thermals.

At a stretch would all that fit?? I have visions of forking out the hard earned for the Tri-Star only to find I dont need the extra space.

Thanks.

Le_Pied
08-19-2013, 09:49 AM
I typically carry
4 business shirts
2 undershirts
1 trousers
4 socks n underwear
1 New Balance minimus shoes
1 workout shorts

From what I've read on these forums I should fit all that in no problem. However the catch comes when I want to add a 11" Macbook Air, and in winter a possum fur (soft but bulky) sweater plus warm thermals.
Thanks.

That load should be fine in the WF. I would suggest a large Packing Cube to compress (and keep orderly) the clothing in the back section. The 11" MBA should fit in a cache and easily sit (portrait orientation) in the front. You may even have enough room in the back to slip the MBA into the back-straps' pocket.

Enjoy!

NickA
08-19-2013, 11:39 PM
Thanks Le_Pied

I've found the foundation of travelling light is packing light. There's no way around just having less and lighter stuff. The WF should fit most of what I currently lug around in a 30L duffle. I think if I got the Tri-Star I would end up over packing it just because I could fit more stuff and defeat the point of the whole exercise.

Do you find an EC folder is better for business shirts? Do they crumple up in a packing cube with no support?

Thanks for your input

Badger
08-20-2013, 07:27 PM
I think that with careful packing, your shirts should be okay in the cube; plus, the cube maximizes your packable space. Here's how I'd suggest doing it: in the bottom of the cube, pack your trousers. Then layer the shirts in, alternating collars L-R-L-R. Pack your T-shirts on top of that, then optional thermals, and your smalls on the top. The one thing that gives me pause is the sweater. I wonder if a cashmere or merino layer could replace the bulkier item?

Le_Pied
08-22-2013, 08:46 PM
It's a rule of packing, the capacity of the bag will influence how much you pack. I chose not to get the Tri-Star for that reason. I would fill up the extra space, and I just don't want to carry that much stuff. The WF keeps me efficient when going on extended trips.

As far as the shirt-shuffle goes, I think they are OK in the packing cube, and do not require the extra bulk/weight/complexity of a folder. As Badger points out, using a LPC is a much more effective use of the space. Also, Badger's packing suggestion is good (sounds like what I do), but explore packing techniques. You should have luck with the bundle, folding, rolling and stuffing (fill those shoes). Either way you go, you just zip it up tight in the LPC. Also, consider your shirts. Do they shed wrinkles easily, or do they still look like a wrinkled tissue after hanging in the closet overnight?

Other stuff---
Perhaps go with a PC Backpack instead of the LPC. That way you have the efficient use of space for packing, and also the security of a way to carry overflow.
I find I use the Absolute Strap and the backpack straps equally as much. If you have any concerns at all about back problems, get the model with backpack straps, and use them.

Enjoy!