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Rethinking my bag strategy? (Long)

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    Rethinking my bag strategy? (Long)

    I'm interested in a new bag for adventure travel. Let me give you some background first. I'm a 44 year old male, about 5'4"-5'5", 160 lbs. I moved to Asia about 3 months ago from the US. Before, on my first trip to Hong Kong (1 week), I went with a big Atlantic upright roller, and a Ricardo of Beverly Hills overnighter. I was primarily in tourist mode the whole time, motels, and used a day pack for going out. Second trip was to the Philippines (1 month), and I was in Manila, along with staying in the rural province with a family. I used the same combination, and it was a BIG mistake! The apartment I was at in Manila didn't have an elevator/lift, only a flight of stairs! So I had to drag it up and down by hand, and Manila streets are uneven, full of trash, and potholes, so you can imagine trying to roll luggage down them. In the province, the mode of transportation is bus, and then jeepney, a tricyle, with my luggage on the top of the tricycle, exposed to inclement weather. Also,rurally, there's mud, trash, dirt, lack of pavement,etc.

    After returning back to the US, I swore never again! I ended up purchasing a Macpac 70-90L, and a Dana Design Far Flung, 70-90L. I didn't use either, until moving to Asia. The Macpac sits in the Philippines, and I've used the Far Flung once! I moved from one place to another, using the Far Flung to move some of my stuff. Granted, it was not packed very well, but to me, it was definitely a chore in the hot sun, on small sidewalks, trying to dodge literally hundreds of people during the 6-7 city block trek. In a nutshell,they are too big, and overkill.

    So, here I am. Now I plan on doing everything differently. I'm a FIRM believer in the " One Bag "approach to traveling. I'm hoping to find and purchase something in the 40-50L range, no more than 35-55L.

    I've looked at:


    Jalan 55-60+15 - The main site seems to be down (I can't access it anyway.) Seems like if i wanted/needed to contact them I'd be out of luck.


    Global 50-70, Global Lite 50+15, Global Gapper 65+15, Global Hobo 65


    En Route 60+10, Amazon Carry-on 40

    All the packs look good, with the possible exception of the Karrimor...looks like it's unbalanced and awkward. Different to say the least. A lot of them are bigger than my criteria. Also, they are big companies, so I'm unsure of the communication. I like the idea of supporting a "cottage" industry, someone local, and made in the US. I dislike the idea of buying a pack/bag that was made/assembled in another country. There's also the quality control factor to think of.



    Voyageur, Convertible, Silver Streak, Flying Scotsman I, II, Travel Master, Trekker I, II, China Clipper I, II, Eurail I, II, Executive Overniter (Towne & Country Traveler) - Company really does not have much in the way of a web site. Site and bags seem (to me) so '70's. I've read a review of someone experiencing fraying of the harness straps on his first trip out.

    Rick Steves:

    Classic Back Door Bag, Convertible Carry-On - Seems like it's made for the Gucci loafer, chino and sweater knotted around the shoulder set, comfortably touring Europe crowd, which I'm not. I sort of doubt the ruggedness and durability of the bags from looking at the pictures on the web, also. Too, the site is lacking about the specific fabric used. It looks like it would not hold up to abuse.


    Sky Train, Air Boss - The bags look sturdy, almost too sturdy. They look boxy, and the Air Boss lacks a back pack harness, and the Sky Train's harness looks uncomfortable, and "chintzy". There's not a good selection of packable daypacks it looks like also. Plus, as an animal lover, I'm not to sure about supporting an outfit that does "trophy" hunting. There's also the matter of bulging in the middle of the Air Boss when it's packed full.

    Tom Bihn:

    Aeronaut - I like most of the line. Seems like there would be a way to combine a need for a main bag and a daybag that can be packed along with it. Website and forum is full of information and reviews. Plus the ability of getting a smaller harness, the Breve. Also things like splash proof zippers, good reviews, the website has a forum so you can interact with the company and other customers. Also, the company seems to listen about product suggestions and input.

    As far as ruggedness and dependability goes, the Red Oxx and Tom Bihn products are hard to find fault with, with pictures of round the world travelers and of soldiers and correspondents in Iraq being posted from customers.

    I'm looking for ideally a carry on size, not something too big, with a daypack (ideally from the same manufacturer) that can be folded up and put with the main bag when not in use. I did a lot of my flying to Asia pre-9/11, so I was able to carry on items like a nail file, scissors, a swiss army knife, etc., so i really haven't come up with a solution to that problem. Plus, in Asia, everything is crowded, the apartments/flats, elevators are really small, and the streets are VERY crowded. The trams, buses, and subway are crowded, you have to really be careful when you're riding them. Plus, I'm only 5'4"-5'5' you have to remember! I'm not after a "gimmicky" product that is thoughtfully and sensibly designed, and ideally tested by someone in the company before it's produced. I'd like to be able to correspond with the company, and have some rapport about the products, able to communicate any questions/concerns I have. I'm not a business traveler, although I might use the bag for business. I also carry on occasionally a MacBook 13", too make it more confusing! Something which is, rugged, dependable, able to take ANY abuse, and looks good. Something that you can drag around the world with you, and can also be used in a 5 star hotel (I doubt very seriously that will happen to me, but hey, it might :-). I want to avoid anything questionable as far as quality of construction/materials goes, poorly designed, not "real world " tested (I like how the owners of Red Oxx and Tom Bihn really seem to test their products out), and anything "gimmicky"'

    I've also looked at Eagle Creek, and they seem to be changing designs just to have new and different products every year, not what the customer really wants or needs. The quality is really questionable to my thinking...seems like it's being targeted to the 20's student crowd for a smaller duration trip.

    Well, I'm interested in hearing any advice or experiences. Thanks for being patient and reading about my needs.

    My best,
    David Bradford

    As much as I hate to recommend a competing brand on the TB Forum, from hearing your requirements I say go for the MEI Voyageur due to it's superior suspension system.

    Originally posted by dbradford View Post
    I've read a review of someone experiencing fraying of the harness straps on his first trip out.
    One out of how many thousands of users? Not significant.

    OBTW, Rick Steves has sold over 20,000 back door bags so he must be doing something right. From looking at them in his Edmonds, Washington store I can tell you they are quite well made. Of course I wouldn't give up my TB Aeronaut for the world but if I were schlepping it for long distances then I would have to think it over.
    Last edited by GaryS; 11-27-2007, 02:15 PM.


      Tom Bihn's Customer Service Counts For a Lot!

      Originally posted by dbradford View Post
      Well, I'm interested in hearing any advice or experiences. Thanks for being patient and reading about my needs.
      Unfortunately, I don't have enough experience with the travel bags you're considering (Tom Bihn or otherwise) to comment on specific items. I'll leave that to others.

      However, I have to tell you that I can't even imagine a company having better customer service than Tom Bihn. They listen to customers in the forums, and carefully talked my mother through some questions over the phone. Once I received my bag (the Super Ego), the service and perks continued, to my pleasant surprise. I recently placed my second order, and two more bags are on the way (Aeronaut and Brain Bag).

      Ultimately, you need a bag that suits your specific needs, or you won't be satisfied. But if you find yourself deciding between a Tom Bihn bag and another company, I think it's a no-brainer to go with Tom Bihn. They have the best customer service -- by a large margin -- of any company I've dealt with in my 35 years.

      Good luck in your search for the right bag!
      Aeronaut (Original in Hunter Green), Aeronaut 30 (Forest), Smart Alec (Hunter Green), Pilot (Forest), Co-Pilot (Coyote), Synapse 25 (Black Dyneema), Two Large Shop Bags (Iberian and Steel), Passport Pouch (Iberian), Two Travel Trays (Solar stays in the Aeronaut, Iberian stays home), more than a dozen accessories.


        Happy with the responses so far.

        Well. I've been impressed with the speed of responses from Darcy at Tom Bihn, the customer service is really great. Thanks Darcy! Thanks also for all who've posted on the forums so far. Ay one else feel free to chime in!


          I'm not sure I can help because most of the products you mention are unknown to me. But here are some thoughts.

          If you want durability I can vouch for Red Oxx. I just can't possibly see anything going wrong with their stuff. It's built insanely tough and rugged. I don't think the Air Boss bulged at all but I didn't find it comfortable. I have no experience with their chest straps but I agree with you that they don't look comfortable. But I'm not sure why you'd want the Air Boss in the first place because it's more about business travel. Trying to compare the Air Boss and something like the MEI Voyager seems wrong. Red Oxx does have some Ruck Sacks that might work for you. They also have some very tough looking duffel style bags that I would imagine travel very well, but they are not backpacks.

          I think you need to narrow your needs a bit. Going the one bag approach is fine but you also need to decide if you're going for a business travel look or a backpack is fine. You describe some horrible conditions so I would think a traditional backpack would be better suited for you, yet you also appear to be considering some nicer pieces of luggage that is more suited for hotel type travel (imo).

          I have the Aeronaut but haven't taken it on a trip yet. I found it comfortable around the house using the backpack straps. I imagine the MEI is MUCH more comfortable but I don't see myself as needing to carry items far. In fact, my travel is more suited for wheeled bags in reality. I'm not sure why I'm trying a new strategy. With Tom Bihn you don't get trophy hunting support (which I don't support) but the "secret" message on the label really rubs me the wrong way - seems like an agenda is being pushed on me.

          Besides the decision on what level of professionalism you want to shoot for, I think you also need to consider your preference for durability. The higher end products you mention will last you a lifetime but some people prefer to buy new stuff every few years. There's nothing wrong with buying a cheap bag and using it until it falls apart where you then get a new one. I know a guy who travels to Asia for business almost every other week and he uses a $20 wheeled bag.
          Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


            You might find reading reviews of the Aeronaut useful -- I've linked to them below. Most of the people who conducted these reviews have used some of the other bags you've mentioned.

            Imago Metrics

            The Gadgeteer

            One Bag, One World

            Skylark reviews the Aeronaut in our forums


            Review by customer Yash K.

            Review by ellismc

            Review by Just in our forums


            Rainy Day Magazine
            Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

            Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


              Aeronaut vs. MEI Voyageur and Red Oxx Air Boss

              Hi David,

              I'm going to respond to Gary's recommendation of the MEI Voyageur.
              Originally posted by GaryS View Post
              As much as I hate to recommend a competing brand on the TB Forum, from hearing your requirements I say go for the MEI Voyageur due to it's superior suspension system.

              Originally posted by dbradford View Post
              I've read a review of someone experiencing fraying of the harness straps on his first trip out.
              One out of how many thousands of users? Not significant.

              OBTW, Rick Steves has sold over 20,000 back door bags so he must be doing something right. From looking at them in his Edmonds, Washington store I can tell you they are quite well made. Of course I wouldn't give up my TB Aeronaut for the world but if I were schlepping it for long distances then I would have to think it over.
              I've only used the Aeronaut myself, but back in June, I posted to the Aeronaut vs MEI Voyageur thread with some comments and comparisons based on my readings of the descriptions of the two bags, and also based on earlier comments in other threads that appeared relevant to the discussion. (The orignal poster, lefty, was considering buying an MEI Voyageur instead of an Aeronaut. I didn't see a reply from lefty to my summary comparison in that thread, but before the end of June I did see a remark in another thread that lefty had ordered the Aeronaut; last month lefty posted
              Originally posted by lefty View Post
              My successful combination with many different airlines in 5 different countries this summer has been Aeronaut for overhead bin, and Imago with my Macbook for "under the seat in front of you".
              For a more thoughtful evaluation of the relative merits/features of these two products, try comparing the Aeronaut review at One Bag, One World with their MEI Voyageur review. I thought this was a fair assessment of relative strengths and weaknesses. Here's their punchline:
              If retro is your thing, you aren't worried about a few wrinkles, and you're going to carry it full-time as a backpack then the Voyageur MEI may well be your dream bag. Ditto if you're a twentysomething who doesn't mind (or prefers) looking a little scruffy. I believe the Voyageur is a good enough backpack to suffice for the short-term vagabonder. I just don't think most modern carryon travelers who have widely-varying travel needs will prefer it as their first-choice bag. At $136 it is an excellent value for a USA-made product.

              For comparison, here's the Red Oxx Air Boss review, too, from One Bag, One World so you can get some idea of comparisons of different bags from the same site. They quite liked both this bag and the Aeronaut. However, my impression from the comments and the review is that you'd find the Aeronaut more comfortable. See also the comments to the later discussion on multi-tasking with the Air Boss at the One Bag, On World site. Here's the first comment:
              After trying the Air Boss for the first time I can't help but think the author is barking up the wrong tree. With just clothes I found a fully packed Air Boss too uncomfortable and I'm in good shape and weigh in at 170 pounds. My clothes did arrive in great condition but just waiting in line for the xray was torture. Everyone else was perfectly comfortable while I struggled to not notice the Air Boss on my shoulder. I really wanted to like this bag, I really did, but it just wasn't for me. I feel bad about it too because I love the team at Red Oxx but I can't see how anyone who does run of the mill big plane travel in major US airports can handle this bag compared to a simple backpack or wheeled bag. I hate to say it because of their political label stance, but the Tom Bihn Aeronaut may be a superior solution for non wheeled travelers. Only drawback is that maybe the Air Boss is better about wrinkles.

              The third comment was interesting, because the writer also included an ebags link to a Victorinox Swiss Army bag that was being offered as an alternative the Red Oxx Sky Train straps, with comparable comfort to the Rich Steves bag straps. However, when I read the latest (September 6, 2007) review of the Victorinox Werks Traveler 2.0 Weekender 2-Zip Overnighter that the forum member at One Bags, One World liked, I saw:
              I so wanted to love this bag! Like all Victorinox products, the red color is stunning. The fabric is very durable and the construction of the bag is top notch. The zip-out expansion is quite a nice feature, and I think even unzipped and fully loaded, the bag is actually quite slim in appearance. Other pluses include the key fob in the outside pocket and the compression straps in the main compartment. I was looking specifically for a bag that could be carried like a backpack while running through the airport, or as a shoulder bag for more professional settings. Unfortunately, this one was just too big and boxy for me. The squared rather than rounded corners really made it look quite dorky when worn as a backpack (for reference, I am 5'5, 135 lb woman). On a larger man, this bag would probably look OK.
              This reminded me of the discussion in the original design inputs thread for what became the Aeronaut, and how many women commented that a lot of these bags simply didn't work comfortably on smaller frames. It's clear this issue is usually not considered in most reviews, since the person at the One Bags, One World forum who recommended the Victorinox bag clearly didn't find this to be an issue. I've always been impressed by the way that the Tom Bihn bag designs manage to scale comfortably for different frames. In the case of the Aeronaut, where the scaling doesn't work as well, they offer a Breve model. And incidentally, I've also tried the regular Aeronaut, and it's workable for me (at 5'4") but not as comfortable as the Breve because the shoulder straps are set slightly farther apart. But I'd guess that even the regular Aeronaut is far more comfortable than the Victorinox bag.

              Just my 2 cents.
              Last edited by moriond; 11-28-2007, 09:43 PM. Reason: Added links to Victorinox bag discussion and comments about Bihn bags on small frames.


                Some random thoughts...

                I'd like to specifically say thanks to Darcy, she's always there lending her experience and knowledge, the links to the reviews really helped, very informative and helpful. So, kudos to her! The post by moriond was very helpful in the decision making process, that's exactly what I was looking for! In looking at it, I guess I was hoping someone would talk me into a certain brand ( "yeah, go with brand X, you'll be fine", or "THIS bag blows the competition out of the water!" ) You hear deep down what you want to hear.

                As far as something cheap and replaceable, back during my first trip to the Philippines (one month, Manila and the province), I went out and bought a pair of Payless brand boots, I think for around 60-80 $US, After coming back to the US, after a month, they literally fell apart. I then went out a got a pair of Red Wing work boots for around 175-200 $US (this is in 2001). I wore them today, as I do most of the time. They've been re-soled once, and they are a little worn in, and scuffed and scraped, but they're still sound and presentable! There are some things that I'm willing to go cheap and inexpensive on, but my main pack/bag and day bag ISN'T one of them! I guess I could go down the street here, and pay the equivalent of 20 $US and get a bag, and then replace it after every trip...what happens if it falls apart during a visit to the US? I'm back to square one. In the watch aficionado world, having some "battle scars" on a beloved timepiece reminds an owner of what he and the watch have been through together, I believe it's called "wabi". I read on a testimonial about Macpac that the owner was home after a long, grueling trip abroad, and was retrieving their backpack from the carousel, and someone commented on how "tired looking" their backpack was. It caused the owner to reflect on what adventures over the years they had had, what sights they'd seen, the places they'd been to. The owner stated that their Macpac was still serviceable and trip ready, and still had a lot of adventures ahead of them. That's a neat testimonial! I expect some "wabi", but only after a long time, a lot of trips, and a LOT of abuse. Maybe I can volunteer to be an acid tester for Tom Bihn products, how about it Tom and Darcy?;-) I can see it now, "If Dave in Asia can't break it, nobody can!" Along with being their "Man in Asia". :-)

                I sent an email to MEI with a couple of question, they replied to it about 5 hours later, and then only saying he (Ahmed ? This whole thing doesn't inspire me with a lot of confidence!) couldn't give an adequate answer by email, and to call him during working hours there, and knowing I live in Hong Kong now, and I'm 15 hours ahead of PST! I sent an email to Tom Bihn, and after 5 minutes I got an email from Darcy, answering my questions, and giving me her insights and advice! Now that my friends, is customer service!

                I still think for me that Red Oxx is out, there's some reviews that state the owner felt like the shoulder strap was uncomfortable on the Air Boss, and you essentially have an Air Boss with backpack straps with the Sky Train, and those LOOK uncomfortable (and chintzy) in the pictures I've seen. I like the option of the Breve harness for the smaller framed person. Plus, I think that Tom Bihn has better styling, the Red Oxx product look like overkill, too boxy, and too "safari-ish" (is that a word?). I'm sure they're tough, but I don't really care for them aesthetically, YMMV. I also like the fact that the Tom Bihn line is so complete, with the main bag, daypack, toiletry bag, and hopefully the luggage tags and cords for use on the zippers (Are you reading this Darcy, hint, hint! :-) all coming from the same place, same quality control before it goes out the door. The Rick Steves bag really does not do it for me personally, even though the quality has been vouched for.

                Well. the search continues, but I feel like I'm getting closer to making a decision. Thanks to all who've posted with their insights!

                Dave in Hong Kong
                Last edited by dbradford; 11-29-2007, 09:33 PM.


                  I think I'm getting a clearer picture of your requirements now and it sounds like a good quality product is one of them. Based on my experience I can safely recommend Red Oxx and Tom Bihn to meet that requirement. It also sounds like durability is a requirement and both meet that as well. I am a bit puzzled why you are scoring against Red Oxx for being over engineered though. Unless it's based on looks which is totally subjective so that's just whatever floats your boat. I noticed a review on the Sky Train if you are interested (http://www.travelgearreview.com/). Not much detail on the straps but it's the first review I've seen thus far.

                  Your next step might be deciding on your carrying method. This is also highly subjective but in my opinion if comfort is important then you have to go with a backpack solution. This would mean something like the Air Boss is out of the question. Having said that, if I were a business traveler looking for a one bag solution I might go with the Air Boss. But if comfort is more important to me than wrinkles or how my bag makes me look then I would immediately rule out any bag that lacks backpack straps.

                  If you think the backpack system is the way to go, which is where I think you are leaning, then (besides capacity needs) I think the next step is weighing how important comfort is versus looks. For example, I would guess the MEI Voyageur is one of the better options because it has a full harness system. But I think a full harness system is not as good looking as a partial harness system like the Aeronaut. So if you have to walk blocks and blocks with your bag in the streets of Hong Kong every day then maybe a full harness system is what you need. But if you're just going from the plane to your room then I think the Aeronaut (or maybe the Sky Train) is good enough to get you by.

                  It's a fun topic but not sure if I'm helping.
                  Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


                    Originally posted by moriond
                    For a more thoughtful evaluation of the relative merits/features of these two products, try comparing the Aeronaut review at One Bag, One World with their MEI Voyageur review. I thought this was a fair assessment of relative strengths and weaknesses.
                    Exactly! Brad at One bag-one world pointed out my objection to the MEI Voyageur: the backpack suspension system takes up too much room when stowed making the bag bulky in the exterior and taking up valuable interior room. This is why I dismissed it when shopping for a convertible travel bag.


                    The only advantage the MEI has is its backpacking suspension system. If you are hauling your bag for several miles then this feature outweighs its deficiencies. I decided that if I needed a backpack then I already own a North Face pack that I have had and used for many years (How old is it? It says Made in USA on the label.). The Tom Bihn Areonaut intrigued me and I ordered one just to check it out. My plan was to send it back if it didn't meet my expectations. I wound up keeping it and ordering another for my wife.

                    Note: (And slightly off topic) Of the reviews Darcy listed above several are from "professional reviewers" who, it seems, never met (or reviewed) a product they didn't like. Brad at One Bag-One World is a refreshing change as he seems to call them as he sees them.


                      More thoughts...

                      You're getting a clearer picture of my requirements? Then tell me, and then we'll both know!:-) 'Cause I'm definitely lost!

                      Seriously, thanks for the heads up on the Sky Train review, I've been looking forward to that. I only wish it was more in-depth. I owe you one, thanks for the post. In retrospect, I've probably come across too harshly on the other companies. In looking at them, I'm sure that Red Oxx makes a well engineered bag, with an emphasis on toughness and ruggedness. For me personally, personally now, I like the styling of Tom Bihn products better. I looked (online, and at different reviews) of Red Oxx, the Air Boss, Sky Train, Beano PRS-5,and I didn't personally care for them, right now for my particular needs. When you look at their toiletry bag for instance, I see it as overkill on the "tough factor". It looks like it could withstand a direct hit by a nuclear warhead! Now, look at Tom Bihn's toiletry bag, and it to me is a lot more elegant and stylish. It's just a personal preference.

                      I keep hearing the MEI Voyageur being suggested. It also is probably made very well, and I'm sure a lot of people are using it on their trips and are happy with it. I don't know if the customer service is there though, certainly not like when we've been spoiled by the customer service at Tom Bihn. When, after emailing a question to Tom Bihn, and Darcy replies cheerfully and promptly, usually with an answer, and like I said, her thoughts and insight , my day gets a little brighter. I hope Tom realizes what a treasure he has working for him there in the office..I'm pretty sure he does. I feel like the folks there are more personable and friendlier on a customer service level.

                      As far as movement goes, I'm looking for a "Aeronaut" type bag, with backpack straps that fold out of place, and out of sight, when not in use, a COMFORTABLE shoulder strap, and a comfortable handle. I'm planning on using it when I travel, airplane, ship, whatever. Once I'm at my destination, I usually stay in hotels, boarding houses, hostels, with friends. There my main bag will remain, while I use a packable day-pack for excursions to sight see, shopping, trips to the market/store for food and drinks. I won't be going around too much with a main bag in the city, maybe from one place to the other. I stayed in a hotel after coming to Hong Kong, and then moved to where I am now. So I moved by foot, 5-6 Hong Kong city blocks, in the hot sun, with my FULL 75-85 L Dana Designs Far Flung, and rolling my full Atlantic with my Ricardo of Beverly Hills shoulder bag on top of it! Insanity! I'm sure I provided some amusement to the Chinese (stupid gweiloh!) on that one. In the future, my main bag will be primarily to get me (and all my stuff) from one country, or from one city, to another (hopefully comfortably and efficiently). Once there at my destination, the main bag stays put, and the day-pack is what I'll use for going around the city/town/countryside with.The main bag could end up with me "living out of it" for maybe an extended time. I don't think I'll be doing any serious "backpacking" or "trekking" with the bag, or any hill/mountain climbing. But who knows...I want something that looks "okay" when I stay in hotels too.

                      I've used the above rolling upright/shoulder bag on three international trips. I have massive fraying and dents on the outside of the Atlantic, along with a outside seam that's starting to come apart, and a inside seam that's coming apart on one of the outside pockets of the Ricardo shoulder bag. This is Asia; I know what my bags will go through.

                      I'm looking to for a company that has unmatched customer service along with a quality, well designed, thoughtfully engineered, well tested, and carefully made product, one that the company will stand behind. One that lasts for years use of abuse and rough treatment, without having to worry about seams that will come apart, or zippers that will fail, uncomfortable and poorly made straps . If something does break or tear, I want to be able to easily communicate with the company, and hassle free have it repaired or replaced. If I go through the life of the product, I want to be able to choose its modernized, updated, or redesigned successor, hopefully with some improvements from customer feedback and/or reviews that the company actually listens and takes heart to.

                      I have a MacBook 13". I'll need something to take it with me wherever I go (I'm a computer tech by trade) to another country, to an office once I'm working, to coffee shops occasionally. I like how Tom Bihn caters to those needs, and provides well thought out, sensible, and convenient bags for the needs of those customers. I might take it to an interview/work, or to business meetings occasionally. But I'm not a "business traveler" per se.

                      Those are some more of my needs/wants in travel bags. I feel like already I'm edging to one company, but the results aren't all in for me yet. Close though..You know when something purchase wise "calls to you". I don't want to go with the wrong product/company, and then when problems arise, be thinking " If I'd only gone with this outfit, this wouldn't have happened." or " I wish that I'd have bought this other bag." I don't want to have buyers remorse with this purchase. I realize that there is not, nor will there ever be, one "PERFECT" bag, but you can match a bag with a certain person, whose needs are for a certain situation/lifestyle pretty close.

                      Dave in Hong Kong
                      Last edited by dbradford; 11-29-2007, 09:11 AM.


                        I am wondering if you have looked at the Brain Bag?
                        It is rugged and versatile and has a proven track record as you mentioned in the original post.
                        I use two of them as "Emergency Go Bags" for radio communications and I am amazed at how much they can hold and yet still be easily transported.
                        They are comfortable for me loaded or empty although I am taller and heavier than you too.
                        It just seems they might be an appropriate choice and worth a thought to me.



                          I finally decided on Ton Bihn!

                          Well, after giving it some thought, and looking online and at the reviews, I've decided on Tom Bihn (I bet you guys figured I would all along!). I decided that based on the quality and looks, and the completeness of the line of products.

                          I'll most likely buy at the start of the new year, after the "Western Flyer" is finished and available. I plan on getting that one for my wife, and I also am looking to get an everyday bag for my wife and I, market totes, toiletry bags, and some organizers. You can expect some reviews to be coming your way, and lots of pictures! So, thanks for all the input!

                          Now I just have to decide which particular bags to get!

                          Dave in Hong Kong
                          Last edited by dbradford; 12-05-2007, 07:22 AM. Reason: Spelling error.


                            Believe it or not I was thinking you'd end up picking TB. In the end it came down to how much you want the bag to look good and what you personally think looks good. I started to see that looks were a pretty big factor and that you liked the looks of the TB products. All your other requirements (durability, customer service ...) could be met by other companies but I think it does come down to what "grabs" you with stuff like this.

                            Your next choice (which bags to get) could be a challenge. I think you'll love the Aeronaut so that's a no brainer recommendation. But after that you have quite a few options for a day pack and/or something for the laptop. Plus you'll need to contend with whatever restrictions exist on international travel. The laptop bag and the day pack (assuming you get two different bags) is either going to be a fun choice because of the options available. I look forward to reading more on the decision process.
                            Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot