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What bag should I get? Looking mainly at T30/T45, but also A30/A45 and SG33.

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    What bag should I get? Looking mainly at T30/T45, but also A30/A45 and SG33.

    Hello all,

    I am planning a few different week-long trips and a 35 day tour across Europe as a 22 year old male. I want to be able to bring this bag on budget airlines (willing to pay fees for carry one but do not want it to get checked). I basically want a bag that can carry one weeks worth of clothing comfortably since this will be the most I pack regardless of length of travel.

    Rough Estimate of Packing List:
    - 6 T Shirts (L)
    - 2 Button Downs (L)
    - 1 Pair of Pants (32/32)
    - 3 Pairs of Shorts
    - 7 Pair Underwear
    - 7 Pair Socks
    - 1 Jacket/Hoodie (L)
    - 1 Rain Shell (L)
    - 1 Pair of Running Shoes (10.5 US)
    - Toilet-tries
    - 13 Inch MacBook Air
    - Phone + Laptop Charger
    - Sunglasses
    - 1 Cap
    - Passport
    - 1 Water Bottle
    - A little bit of room for a purchased item would be great but not necessary

    Clothing will be in Peak Design packing cubes.

    Planning on Wearing:
    - 1 Pair Pants
    - 1 T Shirt
    - Socks + Underwear
    - Pair of white leather sneakers that can be dressed up/down
    - Sometimes will be wearing additional jacket

    Questions:

    1a. Would the T30 be able to fit all of this stuff?

    1b. If I need a T45, is it actually comfortable packed out? (It looks like it pulls people backwards in photos) Is the frame sheet required for the T45?

    2. Should I be considering an A30/A45 even though it is not a backpack?

    3. I have also been eyeing the Shadow Guide 33 as a potential solution, but I am not thrilled about the top loader and lack of water bottle holder. Thoughts on this?

    #2
    I only have a T45 out of all of these, but I find it plenty comfortable. I do not have a frame sheet, nor do I feel like you need one. I know that only answers part of your question, but I did want to chime in and say I love my T45.

    Comment


      #3
      Well, since your dilemma made me curious and I am currently on my lunch break, here is a quick test pack in my A45:
      Click image for larger version

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      My clothing sizes are similar to yours, maybe slightly larger (large tall shirts, 34x34 pants). My running shoes are US size 12. I have my rain shell packed into its pocket, a lightweight fleece, and my Surface Laptop 13" standing in for your MacBook Air. The black and orange organizer is my travel container for charging cables and such. The blue bag on the left is my LL Bean toiletry bag.

      Here is the what the A45 looked like when I stuffed all this into it:
      Click image for larger version

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      Since it doesn't have a dedicated laptop storage compartment, I've used the trick of sliding the laptop into the empty zippered pocket where the backpack straps are stored when not in use. (The Techonaut or Shadow Guide, of course, would not have this problem.) You can see from the picture that the bag is sagging in the corners of the main compartment, where I could have utilized the space more efficiently. There would be the extra space for purchases along the way, as you mentioned.

      Based on this quick-and-dirty assessment, I suspect you would be right up against the limit of the capacity of the smaller bags (A30, T30, SG33). I doubt there would be much room for collecting souvenirs, unless you managed to pare down the packing list a little, but I think you could get by. Those bags would have the advantage on those Euro budget airline flights, in that there would be almost no risk of having to check the bag; the same could not be said for the A45 and T45.

      If I were planning a trip like your European tour, I would think about putting my electronics, water bottle, etc. into a small bag (in particular I'm thinking the Daylight Briefcase) and leaving room in the A45 to pack that in. That way, you are one bagging while on foot, and you can keep the small bag under seat while having an underpacked A45 that you can cram into smaller overhead bins as needed. That might be getting more complicated than what you are after, just thought I'd put it out there.

      Hope that helps. The good news is, you're going to get a bag you'll love no matter which one you choose!

      Comment


        #4
        Welcome to the Forums icallahan2 !

        What fits on the airlines will depend on which exact airlines you choose, what ticket class, etc. but I believe that the general assumption is that the A30/T30 size is most appropriate.

        Minimalist travelers would suggest you consider paring down your list a wee bit and/or consider clothing that packs light, is multi-use, and wears several times before washing (if you haven't done this already). One example would be merino wool socks - I don't think I ever travel with more than 3 or 4 pairs max (I reco Darn Tough brand)....Merino in general is multi-wear unless the percentage is too low. It's more expensive, but if you take care of it, it lasts a very long time.

        Regardless, for sizing, something I find helpful & recommend, is to pull out EVERYTHING you think you will pack and fold/stack/cube it on the floor/table/bed in the size of the bag you're considering. Just measure out the L x W and then keep the tape measure handy to check the vertical dimension of the stack. That will be a quick gut check if you're wildly off or not.

        Another check would be to then ONLY use those items for a week to simulate what it would be like to travel with only that stuff (toiletries included); this is obviously not easy if the climate is radically different trip vs where you are, but you get the idea.


        Based on what you're proposing, if the above seems to work, I would recommend the Techonaut 30; no framesheet, especially since you're carrying a laptop (which adds rigidity).


        TB has this on the Techonaut pages about the framesheets:

        "The Skeleton back panel structure of the Techonaut adds a surprising amount of support even without an internal frame. Add a laptop in the laptop compartment and there's even more support. When the crew tested fully loaded Techonauts here at the factory, pretty much everyone found the internal frame for the Techonaut 30 unnecessary. With the Techonaut 45, it was 50/50: half of folks preferred carrying the bag with the frame, half preferred it without the internal frame. Still, we heard from many folks who wanted an internal frame option nonetheless... so here you go!"


        I would get it as soon as possible and test pack it at your place to see if it will work for you, before your trips, so you can make any changes to what you bring, mull it over, etc. You can test pack at home with the option to return, just check out these guidelines : https://www.tombihn.com/pages/faq#cl...epairs-returns

        Be sure to check that your water bottle fits the T30 water bottle pocket and know that it 'steals space' from the inside. It's easier to change bottles than bags.

        I'm 5'4" female, pretty strong, and quite a bit older than you and don't have any issues backpack carrying the A30 or T30. I also have the 13" Air and put it in the integrated laptop compartment on the T30 and find it plenty rigid/comfortable for carry.
        I can carry the 45L bags as well, but they are 'taller' than fits me as comfortably and encourage me to carry too much stuff. I usually only use the 45L when I'm on a year end holiday trip where I'm bringing a ton of stuff - it gets heavy.

        I would get the optional Absolute strap for if/when backpack mode is not a good idea, as it frees up your hands a bit more vs only using the carry handle. (or the Op-Tech mini strap available from Amazon, etc. - same idea as the Absolute, but smaller).

        I would also recommend a Small Zip Top Shop Bag that you can pack fairly flat and/or roll, to use for shopping, laundry, etc. for when you're in one place for a bit and it makes a good way to bring any last minute gifts/stuff home (fits under the seat).

        Hope this helps a bit, let us know how it goes!!
        I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

        Comment


          #5
          If you're gonna be backpacking around Europe you'll want a Shadow Guide 33 over the other bags as it'll be a much more comfortable and streamlined backpack. I think you'll blend in a lot more with a black SG bag then the others too.

          I'd definitely also bring a second, smaller bag so you can pack a bit more and have a smaller bag to take out with you when you're gear is stashed at your hostel/hotel.

          Watch the Tom Bihn facebook group for used bags if you are looking to snag a deal, I just got a used SG 33 for $170 that was essentially in new condition.
          Last edited by nels; 01-31-2022, 03:49 PM.

          Comment


            #6
            Welcome to the Forums nels !
            I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

            Comment


              #7
              I concur that you could get your packing list down a bit so a S30/A30/T/30 or SG33 could be in play. Concur x2 re some kind of smaller backpack/tote to use out in the world.
              Perhaps a TB Packing Cube backpack if you can find one.

              Random thoughts:
              1. Pick a color palette so that all clothes can be mixed and matched
              2. Pick fabrics that travel well by packing light, and easy to wash in a sink etc.
              3. Essentially you are wearing one outfit and packing 5 max.

              my comments bracket/bold

              Rough Estimate of Packing List:
              - 6 T Shirts (L) [4 max, poly or merino wool]
              - 2 Button Downs (L) [Non Iron fabric preferred]
              - 1 Pair of Pants (32/32)
              - 3 Pairs of Shorts [2 short max, 1 should be swim/running friendly as well]
              - 7 Pair Underwear [ 4 max, ex offico is the gold std here. All poly or merino wool]
              - 7 Pair Socks [ 4 max, 70%merino wool or more]
              - 1 Jacket/Hoodie (L) [Concur 1/4 sweater/fleece, wear on the plane]
              - 1 Rain Shell (L) [concur]
              - 1 Pair of Running Shoes (10.5 US) [2nd pair of shoes is always a room suck when you are a guy. Are you really going to run? ]
              - Toilet-tries [travel size max. I decant mine into contact lense cases for the trip. You can get “refills” when you get there]
              - 13 Inch MacBook Air [concur]
              - Phone + Laptop Charger [concur]
              - Sunglasses [concur]
              - 1 Cap [concur]
              - Passport [concur]
              - 1 Water Bottle [concur]
              - A little bit of room for a purchased item would be great but not necessary

              Clothing will be in Peak Design packing cubes. [concur. I like eagle creek specter as well]

              Planning on Wearing:
              - 1 Pair Pants
              - 1 T Shirt
              - Socks + Underwear
              - Pair of white leather sneakers that can be dressed up/down
              - Sometimes will be wearing additional jacket [wear it on the plane/spotcoatesque]

              If ther is any chance it is going to be cold, a fleece hat, lightweight gloves and buff/scarf are worth the bulk. Put them in a stuff sack along with your rain shell and you have a travel pillow.

              FWIW

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by G42 View Post

                One example would be merino wool socks - I don't think I ever travel with more than 3 or 4 pairs max (I reco Darn Tough brand)....Merino in general is multi-wear unless the percentage is too low. It's more expensive, but if you take care of it, it lasts a very long time.
                I second G42's recommendation of Darn Tough. They hold up, they are comfortable (I have a high sensitivity to most scratchy things - these are much less scratchy than most wool socks), and they have cute, eye-catching designs and colorways.🧦

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Aventurera View Post

                  I second G42's recommendation of Darn Tough. They hold up, they are comfortable (I have a high sensitivity to most scratchy things - these are much less scratchy than most wool socks), and they have cute, eye-catching designs and colorways.🧦
                  I’m linking to my post in an old thread about A week in Boston because it gives a picture of the specific Darn Tough socks I have been using (from many years ago) along with a link to what I thought was the closest equivalent at the time. (The link still works, but I haven’t tried to update checks of all current versions).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks everyone. I am planning on pairing down some of the clothing to 5 Ts, 1 Button Down, purchase some merino socks, and maybe only bring one pair of pants. I really like having two pairs of shoes while traveling since I like to hike but also have nicer shoes for dinners, going out, etc.

                    I'm thinking I might order a SG33 and a T30 and seeing which one I like better. I really wish the SG33 had a water bottle holder as I really like the rest of the bag.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think if you get the Shadow Guide Padded Hip Belt you could attach the Padded Hip Belt Pocket to carry water externally.

                      I also checked and my 27oz klean kanteen fit perfectly horizontally in the bottom of the top compartment.

                      Enjoy your travels!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        1a. Would the T30 be able to fit all of this stuff? -
                        • Short answer is yes. All the clothing fits into the medium and large Peak Design cubes in the compressed mode. The medium cube fits nicely in the small bottom zippered section. The large cube fits nicely in the main section, along with the shoes, toiletries pouch, rain shell and insulated hoody. Water bottle goes pretty easily in and out of the long side pocket (but intrudes into the interior a bit). Charges, cables, phone, glasses case and passport etc. fit pretty easily into the other 2 pockets (but the shorter side pocket gets a bit tight with bag fully packed). The laptop went in and out of the laptop pocket pretty easily, but was a bit tight with bag fully packed. Not much leftover space for purchased items.
                        1b. If I need a T45, is it actually comfortable packed out? (It looks like it pulls people backwards in photos) Is the frame sheet required for the T45?
                        • The T30 is comfortable and carries well for me. The T45 is similar but feels like it is pulling me back just a bit, even with a laptop in the laptop compartment. I don't think a frame sheet would be helpful. If you pack it out and/or have a laptop in it, it is going to be plenty stiff. I have doubts about how much load transfer is possible, even with the optional wider hip belts and frame sheet. If you intend to walk for really long distances (i.e., all over a city, from hostel to hostel etc.) you might want to consider a full suspension backpack. There are lots of options out there these days with travel bag characteristics (e.g., extra organization, full clamshell openings, hideaway straps, etc.).
                        2. Should I be considering an A30/A45 even though it is not a backpack?
                        • The key features of the A30 and A45 are that they look and function like "normal" soft luggage, can fit in anywhere (from hostel to hotel), but have multiple carry options, including the hideaway straps. The drawback is their duffel nature, with no easy laptop or water bottle options, and limited backpack straps, etc. The Techonauts solve the laptop and water bottle issues, and are much more comfortable in backpack mode (nice straps, mesh back, luggage pass-thru, and the skeleton semi-frame). They also look more like backpacks, but probably still look nice enough to pass in more formal settings. I would take the T30 over the A30 for all those reasons. As an added plus, it works well with the peak design cubes and the capacity seems much higher than 30L (fits the same amount as Bellroy's supposedly "38L" transit bag).
                        • After my test pack today, I might pick the A45 over the T45. The A45 has greater capacity than the T45, was easier to pack, and has a slimmer profile. The T45 has more volume than the T30, but the extra space was hard to use efficiently when using the Peak Design packing cubes. Somehow that was not an issue with the A45. Comfort doesn't matter much over short distances, and I don't always care about carrying a laptop or water bottle.
                        3. I have also been eyeing the Shadow Guide 33 as a potential solution, but I am not thrilled about the top loader and lack of water bottle holder. Thoughts on this?
                        • Not my first choice for versatile travel bag (lack of clamshell, etc.), but I did enjoy using a Mountain Laurel Design Burn frameless backpack as a 2nd bag when traveling in India a few years ago. Only weighs 16 oz, has great straps, and you can attach a water bottle holder to the shoulder strap (universal versions of such holders are available from various makers for various packs).
                        Pictures:
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                        Comment


                          #13
                          The big question is whether you need a backpack or luggage.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ayazgood View Post
                            1a. Would the T30 be able to fit all of this stuff? -
                            • Short answer is yes. All the clothing fits into the medium and large Peak Design cubes in the compressed mode. The medium cube fits nicely in the small bottom zippered section. The large cube fits nicely in the main section, along with the shoes, toiletries pouch, rain shell and insulated hoody. Water bottle goes pretty easily in and out of the long side pocket (but intrudes into the interior a bit). Charges, cables, phone, glasses case and passport etc. fit pretty easily into the other 2 pockets (but the shorter side pocket gets a bit tight with bag fully packed). The laptop went in and out of the laptop pocket pretty easily, but was a bit tight with bag fully packed. Not much leftover space for purchased items.
                            1b. If I need a T45, is it actually comfortable packed out? (It looks like it pulls people backwards in photos) Is the frame sheet required for the T45?
                            • The T30 is comfortable and carries well for me. The T45 is similar but feels like it is pulling me back just a bit, even with a laptop in the laptop compartment. I don't think a frame sheet would be helpful. If you pack it out and/or have a laptop in it, it is going to be plenty stiff. I have doubts about how much load transfer is possible, even with the optional wider hip belts and frame sheet. If you intend to walk for really long distances (i.e., all over a city, from hostel to hostel etc.) you might want to consider a full suspension backpack. There are lots of options out there these days with travel bag characteristics (e.g., extra organization, full clamshell openings, hideaway straps, etc.).
                            2. Should I be considering an A30/A45 even though it is not a backpack?
                            • The key features of the A30 and A45 are that they look and function like "normal" soft luggage, can fit in anywhere (from hostel to hotel), but have multiple carry options, including the hideaway straps. The drawback is their duffel nature, with no easy laptop or water bottle options, and limited backpack straps, etc. The Techonauts solve the laptop and water bottle issues, and are much more comfortable in backpack mode (nice straps, mesh back, luggage pass-thru, and the skeleton semi-frame). They also look more like backpacks, but probably still look nice enough to pass in more formal settings. I would take the T30 over the A30 for all those reasons. As an added plus, it works well with the peak design cubes and the capacity seems much higher than 30L (fits the same amount as Bellroy's supposedly "38L" transit bag).
                            • After my test pack today, I might pick the A45 over the T45. The A45 has greater capacity than the T45, was easier to pack, and has a slimmer profile. The T45 has more volume than the T30, but the extra space was hard to use efficiently when using the Peak Design packing cubes. Somehow that was not an issue with the A45. Comfort doesn't matter much over short distances, and I don't always care about carrying a laptop or water bottle.
                            3. I have also been eyeing the Shadow Guide 33 as a potential solution, but I am not thrilled about the top loader and lack of water bottle holder. Thoughts on this?
                            • Not my first choice for versatile travel bag (lack of clamshell, etc.), but I did enjoy using a Mountain Laurel Design Burn frameless backpack as a 2nd bag when traveling in India a few years ago. Only weighs 16 oz, has great straps, and you can attach a water bottle holder to the shoulder strap (universal versions of such holders are available from various makers for various packs).
                            [U]
                            I wanted to update this post because I recently did a 13 day trip to Israel, carrying just a T45 and a 9L Bellroy Venture sling. I was not being a minimalist packer and packed 3 pants, shorts, swimsuit, 10 short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, 4 wool t-shirts, walking sandals, underwear, socks and what turned out to be an unnecessary jacket. I used large and medium Peak Design packing cubes, a shoe pouch and a small toiletries pouch. In addition to an iPhone and iPad in the sling, I carried a 15" work laptop and charger in the T45. If I tried really hard, I could probably have fit all that into the T30, but it was feeling too tight and difficult, especially when I went to toss in the jacket. When I tried the A45, it seemed under packed and saggy (just like my prior test pack), plus I knew from prior experience that the carry straps would not be very comfortable and the zippers would be annoyingly stiff. The T45 turned out to be the Goldilocks solution, fitting everything, with just a bit of extra space. As I had discovered during my prior test pack, the large packing cube was not a perfect fit, which meant having to tuck some things in on 1 side of it. Total weight, with bag, was 25 lbs.

                            The straps were comfortable, the bag (1050 ballistic) did not barrel out, and the bag did not feel like it was pulling me backwards. I thought the T45 worked well in actual use, walking around with it, living out of it, occasional hand carry, and tossing it about. Other people I was traveling with were impressed it was my only bag, since it seemed small to them. I had removed the waist straps, so there were a few times (when stuck standing around in airports) when I wished I had bought the optional hip straps to bear some of the weight.
                            Last edited by ayazgood; 06-19-2022, 09:16 AM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by icallahan2 View Post

                              Rough Estimate of Packing List:
                              - 6 T Shirts (L)
                              - 2 Button Downs (L)
                              - 1 Cap
                              A couple of observations

                              Your hat and 1 x button down could be transferred to the wearing list.

                              The 6 t-shirts could be pared down to 3, if you go down the merino t-shirt route.

                              Comment

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