View Full Version : Travels with my Aeronaut, Empire Builder, and Brain Cell

06-29-2007, 11:42 AM
I've always been a chronic overpacker. I used to require a 26" rolling bag for even a 4 day trip! Embarrassed that I packed so much, I made a conscious decision to begin packing light. Plus, I was traveling more for business, and realized some changes were necessary. I checked out onebag.com, and found some terrific ideas to reduce my load. Next, I needed to get some bags that would maximize what I could take, with the ultimate goal to be carry-on only. After looking at both the Red Oxx Air Boss and the Aeronaut, I felt the Aeronaut looked more professional, and ultimately it was the winner.

The Aeronaut I arrived, and I was in love at first sight. I began looking at other Tom Bihn bags with envy, and quickly decided that with so many business trips approaching, I had to have an Empire Builder. And a Brain Cell. And some packing cubes. So was it worth it? Hell yes, it was worth it! I began with a 2 day trip to NY, perfect for the Aeronaut. The trips got longer, culminating with a 7 day conference in San Antonio, which included a recreational detour for hiking in the desert. Not only did I get everything I needed for the conference, but I also packed my hiking clothes for the desert! It all fit into the two bags, and I was thrilled to be able to go carry-on only with all this gear. The Aeronaut swallowed everything I could stuff into it, and the packing cubes made a huge difference. Although stuffed to the gills, it still fit into all overheads easily, and the Empire Builder carried everything that remained. The Absolute straps made carrying the bags a joy, and I never felt overloaded.

As an exhibitor at the conference, we had plenty of downtime, and it wasn't long before I was selling Tom Bihn's bags to every exhibitor there. They all travel extensively, and it didn't take much to sell them on the difference a quality bag can make. Several people were incredibly impressed with the Empire Builder, and made notes to purchase one after the conference. The running joke became that I was really an undercover Tom Bihn salesman. The quality on these bags is second to none, and I can't imagine a trip that I can't pack for using these two bags. I've now gone from someone who needed to check a bag for an overnight trip to someone who can pack for more than a week with just a carry-on bag. My Aeronaut and Empire Builder make it a joy to travel, and I now look for opportunities to use them whenever possible, just because I like carrying them so much. Consider me a customer for life!

06-29-2007, 01:02 PM
Amazing review. Linked to it on the blog (http://www.tombihn.com/blog/)

06-30-2007, 03:34 PM
If you enjoyed onebag.com, you will love http://www.travelite.org/.

07-01-2007, 12:07 PM
And also One Bag, One World:

They will be reviewing the Aeronaut soon.

07-02-2007, 08:01 AM
Thanks for the additional sites!

07-02-2007, 02:26 PM
P.S. I've added Travel Lite and One Bag, One World to the Aeronaut F.A.Q. (http://www.tombihn.com/FAQ/TB0906.html)

Thanks for the link, PM4HIRE.

07-02-2007, 02:42 PM
Thanks to everyone who has visited One Bag, One World (http://onebagger.squarespace.com). We don't have a forum yet, but welcome post responses from all. We will indeed review the Aeronaut and assorted accessories soon - really looking forward to it. I just did a 10-day trip with the Air Boss so the comparisons promise to be interesting.

Alex Merz
07-17-2007, 10:30 PM
I just returned from a 3-week, 22k mile trip with a single piece of luggage: a black Aeronaut. Said bag held both business-casual clothes and dayhiking gear, toiletries, laundry supplies, a 15" MacBook Pro (in matching SoftCell), a digital camera, a quad band cell phone, the nest of cables and power bricks for feeding the electronics, a couple of (small) paperback novels, flip-flops, and other sundries. This was partly an experiment to see how light I could pack on a combined business/vacation trip. The major constraint was Quantas's maximum of a single 7 kg carryon for passengers flying coach. The bag almost certainly was heaver than 7 kg, but the Aeronaut's clean lines make it carry - and hence appear - light. Things were compartmentalized with a Convertible Packing Cube in one end pocket and various other Ziplocks and pouches for the rest. For day use and hiking I brought a Golite Ion pack with the waist belt and all extraneous webbing excised (~6.5 oz.). During travel this pack was used to sequester dirty laundry in the Aeronaut's main compartment.

The Aeronaut is by far the best piece of "conventional" luggage that I have ever used. My sole concern is that I don't have absolute confidence in the long-term durability of the top attachment points for the shoulder straps. Time will tell how these hold up. Since the straps are identical to the excellent straps on my (excellent) Smart Alec daily-use bag, I'm hoping for the best. I should also mention that my first Bihn pack was a custom Twisted Limpet daypack made in 1985 that has over the ensuing 20+ years been subjected to (ab)uses that no sane pack designer would want to anticipate. It still sees regular use. Tom & Co. make GREAT gear, and the Aeronaut is no exception. Conclusion: with the Aeronaut true one-bag travel is possible for extended trips, and for trips of 4 days or less, the Aeronaut makes one-bag travel trivially easy.