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View Full Version : My new Aeronaut in Nordic



kollarc
05-29-2014, 08:05 AM
After field-testing 4 different Osprey hiking backpacks from REI for an upcoming backpacking trip in Europe (their return policy LOVES me), I discovered Tom Bihn through a blog on travel bags. Immediately, I was hooked and was up into the wee hours for the following 2 nights on TomBihn.com, this forum, and other Bihn-related web pages. The following day at 10am I drove to REI, returned my latest iteration of the perfect europe-trekking bag (A green Osprey Kestrel 38 at the time) and drove up to the Tom Bihn factory/showroom in South Seattle. This is what came back with me-

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This is an absolutely killer bag. I spent about an hour on the showroom sweating and pacing about like a rabid monkey; whether I wanted the Ballistic Nylon (Even more rugged and thick than I was imagining) or the lighter-weight Dyneema.



The interesting part about visiting the showroom was that sometimes, they have items that are literally right off the press OR special items that aren't even listed on the website. For instance, they had a few aeronaut packing cube backpacks that were constructed from the heavier 400 denier Dyneema fabric as opposed to the thinner and lighter 200d that they normally make and sell on the website. This was a very tempting addition (as I'm still on the market for a semi-rugged daypack to go along with the adventures) but I knew that self-control had to be in peak mode before even walking into this place.

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Back to the bag: I was almost set on walking right out and waiting for backorder on a Navy Ballistic Aeronaut, but despite the assurance of the exceptionally chill(at least compared to me at that moment) and helpful guy running the showroom that my bag would be produced on-time, I opted for the Dyneema. The biggest selling point for me was weight - I'm going to be carrying this thing around on my back for 2 months and am not really expecting it to take too much abuse as it will serve the majority of it's time in transport, getting me from city to city. The second reason was that the colors on this bag are really cool. The Nordic looks better in person. The ballistic nylon is incredible though, it's so thick that it really felt more 'padded' - and that it would protect the items inside from some serious jolts and bumps, simply by it's nature.

I really like the spacious design. The interior removable straps are a nice touch as well. The only part I'm unsure about is the configuration of the side pockets. When the bag is in 'backpack mode', the zippered-end pocket is on the top and the unzippered pocket is on bottom, potentially allowing items in that particular pocket to fall out of the bag.

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Granted, this pocket was never designed to be really secure, but it should be a useful pocketin all 3 configurations that this bag can be carried in, nonetheless. I'd like to see these pockets reversed so that the zippered pocket is on the bottom of the bag, keeping my papers, gummy bears, and piroshki's safe ;) Possibly with some more weight in the bag, the pressure might compress the open pocket to the point of securing some non-essential papers and other flat items in there, but this pocket would be much more useful if there was at least an o-ring or some type of securing point within the pocket itself to attach a carabiner or some TB straps. Another idea would be to tactfully integrate some strong magnets into the ends of this pocket so that with a little force of the hand, you can access the inner contents of the pocket. Then, after removing your hand, the fabric snaps back together leaving some lightweight items totally secure in that pocket.

Overall, I'm excited to be giving this bag a good run by living out of it for a couple of months - There was always an unsettling feeling about the idea of a traditional hiking bag for such a versatile trip where I will be in a lot of urban places. Despite having lived with several different options for a few months, the mesh exterior pockets and extraneous straps are really something I don't want to deal with on this journey. I think Tom Bihn has cured my indecisive quest for the perfect carry-on backpacking Europe bag; I can lock most of the zippers, it's cool-looking, tough, secure, and more spacious than anything else out there.

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Thanks Dr. Bihn!

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Ilkyway
05-29-2014, 11:04 AM
Very nice pictures. Thanks for posting them again. I am glad that this particular Bag is not longer availble. After these pictures I might have bought a nordic one even so I have a perfectly beautyfull aubergine one. And I DO NOT NEED TWO Aeronouts (just shouting at myself do not worry).

On thought about this side pocket you are writing about: I hate magnets as bag-shutter. You have to be carfull with your debit-carts, they are never as secure as one hopes and sometimes the "collect" unwanted objects. That said: I totally think a O-Ring would be nice in there but as this bag gives so many good options to secure thinks I see that pocket as a magazine-pocket and am fine with it. You could (if need be) clip long keystrap to on of the sidepocked zippers and but an attached pouch in that open side pocket. You would have to leave that zipper in the upper corner of the sidepocket but I see no harm in that. And on the go you could even connect both zippers and have a safety for pickpockets.

Have fun in Europe and if time allows write about your experience and how the bag holds up.

Ilkyway
05-29-2014, 11:25 AM
I took some photos of what I mean:

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Hope this gives some ideas.

Ilkyway

Sorry for the quality its just a phone that took the pictures.

kkintea
05-29-2014, 11:37 AM
Neat idea! Will have to try on my next trip. I also talked myself out of the Nordic Aeronaut for the very same reason (I have Steel Dyneema).


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vivelly
05-29-2014, 01:49 PM
Oh how I would love to pull up my car into the parking slot of this place!!!!! I have to visit America in my lifetime just to visit Tom Bihn. :)

Ilkyway
05-29-2014, 02:37 PM
vivelly lets meet there.

eWalker
05-29-2014, 02:44 PM
Oh how I would love to pull up my car into the parking slot of this place!!!!! I have to visit America in my lifetime just to visit Tom Bihn. :)

If all the items I wanted were available without a chance of being on backorder, I would to go to Seattle just for TB bag shopping! :)

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Leena
05-29-2014, 03:57 PM
On our recent trip to Italy, I packed a Synapse 25 in the bottom of my Aeronaut and proved to be a great day bag on the trip. So I recommend the Synapse 25 for a day bag solution :)

vivelly
05-29-2014, 04:25 PM
vivelly lets meet there.

Great idea Ilkyway! :-)

kollarc
05-29-2014, 04:30 PM
On our recent trip to Italy, I packed a Synapse 25 in the bottom of my Aeronaut and proved to be a great day bag on the trip. So I recommend the Synapse 25 for a day bag solution :)

I have been admiring the Synapse 25 as an EDC for school and carrying some mobile everyday items but thought that even the dyneema would sacrifice to much space in the Aeronaut for other stuff. How much space does it actually take up? Considering the Synapse 19 as a daypack as well.

Leena
05-29-2014, 06:57 PM
I have been admiring the Synapse 25 as an EDC for school and carrying some mobile everyday items but thought that even the dyneema would sacrifice to much space in the Aeronaut for other stuff. How much space does it actually take up? Considering the Synapse 19 as a daypack as well.

It packed pretty flat into the bottom and really didn't take much space. Mine is dyneema as well. I had tried a smart alec (not dyneema) and I thought it took too much space. It worked out really well.

icebeng
05-29-2014, 07:04 PM
I have a small hunch about the placement of the pockets, but will need current owners to chime in as I'm not an Aeronaut owner.
Question for Aeronaut owners who use it in backpack mode: do you guys sit down with the backpack on? And how do you usually set it down after taking it off? And what do you usually put in the zippered pocket? Would you still put it in the zippered pocket knowing it might have to bear the weight of the bag?

Hollie
05-29-2014, 08:32 PM
If all the items I wanted were available without a chance of being on backorder, I would to go to Seattle just for TB bag shopping! :)


Yeah, it's dangerous living 27 minutes from the Tom Bihn store. Ask me how I know. :)

vivelly
05-30-2014, 12:53 AM
Oh Hollie...!!! How do you cope??!!

eWalker
05-30-2014, 07:39 AM
Yeah, it's dangerous living 27 minutes from the Tom Bihn store. Ask me how I know. :)

You are the lucky one!

For every $15 I invest (I see as investment! :) ) in TB products, I am punished with $10 in taxes!

That hurts!! :(

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scribe
05-30-2014, 07:49 AM
For every $15 I invest (I see as investment! :) ) in TB products, I am punished with $10 in taxes!

That hurts!! :(

Ouch! I thought it was bad enough paying 20% tax on top of overseas shipping...

bchaplin
05-30-2014, 07:57 AM
@eWalker, that's crazy! Where do you live?
It is the same problem with technology, in some countries, which is so expensive because of import taxes. Seems like a bad approach to me, because people will, if they can manage it, take trips overseas to buy these things, or convince their friends or family to bring them on visits. Who wants to pay 150% or double for a computer or camera?

eWalker
05-30-2014, 08:11 AM
@eWalker, that's crazy! Where do you live?
It is the same problem with technology, in some countries, which is so expensive because of import taxes. Seems like a bad approach to me, because people will, if they can manage it, take trips overseas to buy these things, or convince their friends or family to bring them on visits. Who wants to pay 150% or double for a computer or camera?

I live in Brazil! As I said in other thread, that's is the reason why Brazilians love travel shopping so much!

But I am hijacking a thread (again!) and Darcy is giving me a warning!

Sorry for that! :(

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chcougar
06-01-2014, 05:10 PM
Nice bag! Do you know if they had anymore of these in stock at the store? What day did you purchase this one?

Thanks!

Anniegill
06-01-2014, 10:14 PM
[QUOTE=Ilkyway;66559]I took some photos of what I mean:

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Hope this gives some ideas.


Great pics and awesome idea! Thanks IIkyway

Anniegill
06-01-2014, 10:22 PM
I have a small hunch about the placement of the pockets, but will need current owners to chime in as I'm not an Aeronaut owner.
Question for Aeronaut owners who use it in backpack mode: do you guys sit down with the backpack on? And how do you usually set it down after taking it off? And what do you usually put in the zippered pocket? Would you still put it in the zippered pocket knowing it might have to bear the weight of the bag?

You can sit down with Aeronaut in your back, but it does not leave much of a chair! You take it off just like a regular backpack. And I either lay it down or sit the Aeronaut up on it's long side, depending on how you have weighted the case, and space available. On the zippered side I usually have papers and a TB wallet, so I never worried how it sits. I have lovely Cardinal, and not dyneema, that may make a difference. The zippered pocket is not made to take bulky items, so that makes it easier as to what may fit inside. Hope that helps!
Annie

icebeng
06-02-2014, 01:10 AM
You can sit down with Aeronaut in your back, but it does not leave much of a chair! You take it off just like a regular backpack. And I either lay it down or sit the Aeronaut up on it's long side, depending on how you have weighted the case, and space available. On the zippered side I usually have papers and a TB wallet, so I never worried how it sits. I have lovely Cardinal, and not dyneema, that may make a difference. The zippered pocket is not made to take bulky items, so that makes it easier as to what may fit inside. Hope that helps!
Annie

Lol! I definitely didn't have chairs in mind when I asked about sitting down with the Aeronaut on. Was more thinking about outdoor amphitheaters or steps.
I would most probably set it down long side up as well, in my case, if the pocket were to be on the bottom, that's 1 place I wouldn't be placing my M&Ms bags, or any other candies or bars I might bring along.

Although I did crushed a bag of M&Ms accidentally before, I ended up eating the whole bag at once, since it was all mashed together and so technically, I was eating only ONE M&M. :p

kollarc
06-02-2014, 01:14 AM
Nice bag! Do you know if they had anymore of these in stock at the store? What day did you purchase this one?

Thanks!

I purchased this on the 22nd of May. I'm almost certain it was the last one made in the entire factory as the only one's they had were my nordic, a steel/steel dyneema, and 2 black ballistics that were hot off the press. I went back on the 30th and ended up purchasing a black dyneema co-pilot as my day-pack, they had one nordic/solar co-pilot and that was about it as far as nordic goes.

Anniegill
06-02-2014, 08:27 AM
Lol! I definitely didn't have chairs in mind when I asked about sitting down with the Aeronaut on. Was more thinking about outdoor amphitheaters or steps.
I would most probably set it down long side up as well, in my case, if the pocket were to be on the bottom, that's 1 place I wouldn't be placing my M&Ms bags, or any other candies or bars I might bring along.

Although I did crushed a bag of M&Ms accidentally before, I ended up eating the whole bag at once, since it was all mashed together and so technically, I was eating only ONE M&M. :p

Hope they were dark chocolate M&M's! They are sooo good! I like your logic, makes sense to me!

icebeng
06-02-2014, 08:47 AM
They were! Best kind of M&Ms!

I do have an additional question here, when the Aeronaut is on your back, is it possible/easy to take stuff out, then place back, from the exposed lower pocket?

Ilkyway
06-02-2014, 12:01 PM
iceeng: you want one, you might even need one, just get one and be a happy Aeronauter. ;-)

chcougar
06-02-2014, 12:20 PM
I purchased this on the 22nd of May. I'm almost certain it was the last one made in the entire factory as the only one's they had were my nordic, a steel/steel dyneema, and 2 black ballistics that were hot off the press. I went back on the 30th and ended up purchasing a black dyneema co-pilot as my day-pack, they had one nordic/solar co-pilot and that was about it as far as nordic goes.

Shoot. Sounds like my chances of getting this one are slim to none. I guess I will see what they have in stock later this week. I'm looking forward to getting a co pilot as well!

Anniegill
06-02-2014, 04:03 PM
They were! Best kind of M&Ms!

I do have an additional question here, when the Aeronaut is on your back, is it possible/easy to take stuff out, then place back, from the exposed lower pocket?

Let me try it when I get home for you.

kollarc
06-02-2014, 06:02 PM
I'm just glad I got in there when I did; Travel season is in high gear and everyone is out prepping and grabbing gear for trips and other summer adventures. I do plan to stop in one more time before I leave (end of June) to browse any last-minute accessories and maybe catch a glimpse of the Aeronaut 30 ;)

Anniegill
06-02-2014, 07:40 PM
They were! Best kind of M&Ms!

I do have an additional question here, when the Aeronaut is on your back, is it possible/easy to take stuff out, then place back, from the exposed lower pocket?

You have to take the Aeronaut off to get to the lower pocket in backpack mode. You can however "get at" the top zippered side pocket by taking off Right backpack strap and accessing the pocket by sliding left strap down the arm.
PS I got some chocolate M&M's at Target...and it's all your fault Icebeng!

icebeng
06-02-2014, 08:00 PM
You have to take the Aeronaut off to get to the lower pocket in backpack mode. You can however "get at" the top zippered side pocket by taking off Right backpack strap and accessing the pocket by sliding left strap down the arm.
PS I got some chocolate M&M's at Target...and it's all your fault Icebeng!

Thanks Anniegill!
Enjoy the M&Ms! Unmashed I hope :p

llkyway, I'm waiting to see if the Aeronaut 30 is more suitable, the big Aeronaut is attractive, but may just be a little overwhelming for me if fully stuffed.