We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics


Topics: 14,637   Posts: 189,054   Members: 6,623   Active Members: 299
Forum Member
Welcome to our newest member, MartyAuste.


No announcement yet.

(Another) A30 vs. A45 Question

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    (Another) A30 vs. A45 Question


    This is my first post here although I have been visiting off and on for a few years. I have been eyeing an aeronaut for some time and realize it is finally time to replace my current bag (this discontinued Lands End bag: Review: Lands? End FlightWise Carry-On softsided bag). I don't love the dimensions (I find it too long and not thick enough for my packing purposes), the backpack and shoulder straps are uncomfortable, and I would like something with a bit better organization. Thanks to reading a few posts on the forum I think I can can get over the lack of a dedicated laptop compartment in the aeronaut and so now my last hang up is choosing between the A30 and A45.

    I would like to know whether it would be possible to use the A30 as a "one bag" for 3-5 days of pleasure travel or travel with a suit in addition to serving as a suitcase for much longer trips supplemented by an additional personal item bag. Or, if I will need to use the A45 for my goals.

    Some info about me: fairly big guy (6'1 and 230 or so), wear a size 44-46 suit, shirts are size l or xl, size 12 shoes (but tend to favor more easily packed minimalist shoes). I usually pack using a bundle method, however I have been starting to experiment with packing folders and cubes. Here is rough guess at what I would be packing in the bag itself:

    "Leisure" 3-5 days:
    1x pants
    2-3x shirt with collar
    2-3x t-shirt
    1x running shorts
    3-5x underwear
    2-3x socks
    1x sweater
    1x minimalist running shoes (can be squished into a smaller area)
    Macbook air 13 either on top of main compartment or in the shoulder strap area
    20 oz insulated Kleen Kanteen
    Small soft container for snacks
    Possibly a smaller laptop bag in the main compartment

    Suit 3-5 days:
    1x pants
    1x suit
    2-3x shirts with collar
    3-4x t-shirts
    1x running shorts
    3-5x underwear
    3x socks
    1x size 12 dress shoes
    1x running shoes if possible
    Macbook air 13 either on top of main compartment or in the shoulder strap area
    20 oz insulated Kleen Kanteen
    Small soft container for snacks
    Possibly a smaller laptop bag in the main compartment (I currently have a Filson briefcase which may be a bit too bulky)

    Again, the main question is whether or not I could accomplish these trips with the A30, with the idea that I would then be able to take longer trips by carrying the laptop and a few other things in a second person item and packing a bit more clothes in the A30. Or should I just get an A45 and if I need something for shorter trips that the A45 is a bit overkill for in the future.

    Another wrinkle is that I do have a toddler with another one on the way. When traveling with them it would be convenient to have a bit extra room from my own items to stick in some of their stuff.

    In any case, I apologize for my possibly over-complicated question and I appreciate any insights you can provide!

    This is a very good question. Unfortunately, I can't test for you with the exact items (though maybe someone else will be able to). However, I own both bags and have traveled extensively with them so I can offer some feedback:

    For your "leisure" packing scenario, there won't be any problem packing the clothes into the A30. The one thing I'm not sure about is the sweater—if it's a relatively thin merino sweater, that's probably fine, but a big wool or cotton sweater may be too big. For toiletries, if you can fit all of them into the standard 311-sized bag, no problem. Minimalist shoes, no problem. I'm pretty sure the only thing that could give you a bit of trouble besides the sweater is the laptop bag. If your clothes are compact enough (like made of merino wool or synthetics), I think it could be possible to fit a small bag like the Daylight Briefcase inside the A30. I'm pretty sure you'd find it more comfortable to carry it separately, however.

    The work/suit scenario is a bit more problematic. Suit jackets take up quite a bit of room, and I am not confident that it's possible to get multiple pairs of shoes into the A30 along with the other items you mention. If you wore your dress shoes and carried the laptop separately, you might be able to fit in everything else, but I can't be sure.

    Because you are tall, I'd have to say that it may be better to err towards the A45. It won't look huge on you (the A30 will look like a book bag on your back, I think), you can probably fit in your laptop and case in either packing scenario, and you'll have the flexibility to carry kid stuff when the need arises. The other thing is that the A45 looks good and carries well even if it's not fully packed. You could use a combination of packing cubes and your laptop bag to keep things tidy, or pack your smalls into the laptop bag and bundle pants around that.

    Hope this helps!


      I had the very same dilemma.
      I got the A45 in the end and i haven't looked back. I was worried it would be massive and make me look like a snail but it's pretty slick, and as Badger says, it carries pretty well under packed. I think when you're travelling an underpacked larger bag (especially a rucksack) will get much less attention from airport staff than a packed to the gills smaller bag.
      My conclusion was- I'm never going to get frustrated with an A45 with not enough stuff in, but if i got the A30 and didn't have enough room i'd be seriously p1ssed.


        It is good to hear that the A45 still carries well underpacked. I had worried about that with how it is organized but I guess I shouldn't have. That may clinch it for me. Thanks!


          My husband and I have gone a week with an A30 and a WF, but we did not pack a suits. These were not his and hers bags. I packed the flat stuff in the WF and the lumpy stuff in the A30.

          I feel the packing area is too small in the A30 for a suit, although you can unzip the side panels. I tend to pack very dense and compact, and pick clothing especially for this purpose.

          That said, I keep debating if I want to also get an A45 for those times when I just cannot get things to fit in an A30 or WF. I just don't want to carry something as big as an A45. I tend to carry a Pilot when I need extra space, especially for a laptop.

          From reading your packing list, I think an A45 would work best for you. Ah, I see that's how you're leaning. Get the packing cubes, too. You won't regret it.


            I don't have an A30, but I do have an A45 and am similar in size to you - 6'0 guy, 250lb. Your leisure pack will be absolutely no problem in the A45. The suit one is going to be an issue just because of the jacket. Here's what I packed recently and it was pretty full which will give you a fair idea. Short version is, the A45 will be perfect, but I cannot imagine getting it all into a bag that is 2/3 the size. The way some people portray the A45, I was expecting a BIG bag, but it's really not that big.

            In the main compartment I packed the following:
            A45 large clothes pack #1: 7 business shirts
            A45 large clothes pack #2: 4 t-shirts, 3 polo shirts, shorts
            1 pair suit pants and 1 pair jeans underneath the clothing packs, strapped down using the straps

            Side compartment #1: Pair of running shoes size 12, stuff sack containing toiletries
            Side compartment #2: Travel laundry stuff sack large, containing all my socks and underwear (this accessory is BRILLIANT), also had a small stuff sack containing a couple of chargers for phone and laptop.

            You could also fit a laptop on top of the clothes in the main compartment, but believe me when I say this was pretty full to the brim. I've had no problem carrying the A45 as carryon in both the US and Australia. As I said above, the A30 being 2/3 of the volume of the A45 is a fair bit less room and I don't think you'll get away with what you want for a business trip. I usually wear a suit on the way out so i have my jacket on and can fold it in the overhead compartment. At the end of a trip I sometimes put my jacket under the handle of the bag and it bunches it up a bit, but the creases come out when hung up. The one thing that I think is a must, is the Absolute carrying strap. The load is distributed easily and the bag carries very nicely when full. Enjoy, you absolutely will not regret the A45


              In find the A30 main compartment small for suit jackets - at least the way I've folded them to minimize wrinkles.

              I'm not sure the A45 would be much better on this regard. I have an MEI Executive Overnighter that is similar to the Tri-Star that packs suits very well. The end to end compartments also work well for slacks, but I prefer the Aeronaut for quality and flexibility.

              Maybe there are some Aeronaut suit packing tips that would benefit many here.

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                Originally posted by slbear View Post
                I'm not sure the A45 would be much better on this regard ... Maybe there are some Aeronaut suit packing tips that would benefit many here.
                I used one of two methods for suits: rolling or the Eagle Creek medium folder with a modified bundle. With either method, you can use tissue paper or spare dry cleaning bags to minimize the wrinkles (by layering it on top of the garment before packing or rolling)

                Videos below ... for the bundle you use the same technique just into the folder instead of the suitcase.

                How to bundle:

                How to roll:


                  Don't waste weight in your carryon bag using paper or dry cleaning bags to prevent wrinkles. Use your socks and underwear in the creases of the pants and jackets to prevent wrinkles. You have to pack them anyway. And for the trip back, come on. How dirty do your socks and underwear get? You're wearing a suit, not digging in the dirt outside. Just fold the undies so the crotch is to the inside of the undies and put them back in the creases of the pants and jackets. Any really dirty socks or undies can be stuffed inside your spare pair of shoes.
                  Forum Member
                  Last edited by BWeaves; 11-04-2016, 06:16 AM.


                    Originally posted by BWeaves View Post
                    Don't waste weight in your carryon bag using paper or dry cleaning bags to prevent wrinkles.
                    weight?!? I use the bags because I'll still get wrinkles (rather than creases) in my suits (which I usually roll), and I absolutely use your socks method on my modified bundle in the EC medium folder - excellent technique! I find with these methods I'm so much lighter and its such less hassle than suiters and wheels, frames, and handles.


                      Hey, I used to pack my suits ON HANGERS. Those were the days. I've changed, along with my suitcases.


                        I get the rolling idea for slacks and can see the benefit for suit jackets. I already knew the shoulder inside the other trick, but not to use a t-shirt and roll method - thanks for the video tip. Even so, aren't those suit "rolls" longer than the maximum dimension in the Aeronaut 45 main compartment? My Aeronaut 30 is supposedly 12" square (according to the Large packing cube dimensions. Personally I find it fairly easy to pack the slacks on the bottom, unzipping one side helps, or just bundling them around my other folded shirts in the Large 12x12" packing cube. The other answer if you just have one jacket is to wear it on travel days.

                        I'm really happy with my A30 - in case I didn't get that point across. Fitting less means carrying less. I can carry my loaded A30 as a shoulder bag, but have switched to backpack mode for longer walks through town or the airport. My MEI has the same 22x14x9 dimensions as the A45, and when it is loaded, I struggle with it on one shoulder. It's good to know the A45 works well when it's not full, but for me the A30 really hit the sweet spot and prevents me from overpacking.



                          The rolling a suit video was very interesting. Of course, it helps if your suit is wool, as wool resists wrinkles.

                          I've done bundling for decades. I thought I'd invented it. Oh well. Too late to patent it now.
                          Forum Member
                          Last edited by BWeaves; 11-07-2016, 12:00 PM.


                            Thanks a lot for the feedback! Sounds like A45 is the best choice for me. Also, love the sock idea, hadn't thought of that.


                              Originally posted by Dignityinleisure View Post
                              Thanks a lot for the feedback! Sounds like A45 is the best choice for me. Also, love the sock idea, hadn't thought of that.
                              So how did it go?

                              You are probably the best person for me to ask as you described a problem I currently have, you have a very similar loadout as me, and are about the same size as I am. The biggest difference is that my laptop is a 15.6 behemoth.

                              You got the A45, I assume? Have you used it yet?

                              Also, how did you incorporate the KK bottle?


                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                              Virtus junxit, mors non separabit.