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Best combination for TWO-bag travel?

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    Best combination for TWO-bag travel?

    HELLO ... I'm new here and have yet to purchase my first Tom Bihn bag, though I will. I'd like to buy two bags, which will be used separately or together depending on the situation. Here are the parameters:

    BOTH bags must be smaller than strict international carry-on rules.
    ONE bag must fit under most airline seats.
    ONE bag will be used for everyday carry, including a 12-inch Macbook.

    Obviously, it should be comfortable to carry both simultaneously through an airport, wearing one as a back pack and carrying the other with a shoulder strap or handle.

    The idea would be to have one really great, well-organized bag that's with me everywhere, and a second bag I'd bring when I needed to carry more. I've thought about various options, but it would be incredibly helpful to know what others think.

    I'm 6-4, so I'd probably prefer a Synapse 25 to a Synapse 19, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.

    Within those parameters, which two bags would you choose, and why? Go! And thank you.
    Last edited by Buffalonian; 08-19-2018, 11:13 AM.

    I would definitely choose a convertible option (Western Flyer or Aeronaut 30 depending on capacity needs/packing preference) for flexibility - backpack mode paired a shoulder bag, shoulder carry paired with a backpack, either when used alone. When carrying two bags, I always prefer to have the backpack be the heavier one.

    Parenthood has turned be into a not so light packer, but I had many great two bag trips with my Western Flyer paired with my Synapse 19 or Medium Cafe bag. Today I might pair it with my Pop Tote.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


      If you have the discipline for one bag, I’d suggest the Synapse 25 or Aeronaut 30. They will each pack differently but are a good size if you can do it.

      If you want two, here is what I do. I have an Aeronaut 30, Synapse 19, and Daylight Briefcase. I mix and match as needed.

      Week long personal trip: A30 with optional S19
      Week long work trip: A30 with DLBC
      Shorter trip: Just the A30. Or the S19 with DLBC

      A30 fits overhead with no issues. It’ll even stand on end so the profile is thinner. I’ve also put it under the seat (even along with the DLBC) on planes with decent under seat space. Obviously the DLBC and S19 are no problem under the seat (even both together).

      Hope that helps.

      Another thing to consider would be the Daylight Backpack. I don’t have one, but it would offer a great way to have a second bag and also be able to pack that second bag inside the first one. That is put the DLBP in the A30 then use it as a daypack at your destination and an “overflow” for the trip home in case you bring souvenirs.

      P.S. if you want to really push yourself, try experimenting. I once did a week long business trip (including MacBook) in JUST a S19. I wouldn’t do it again, but I challenged myself and made it work. The point is, you may not find the perfect solution right away but the search is the fun part because you learn each time.
      Last edited by kioneo; 08-19-2018, 07:31 AM.


        S19 for your personal item and to use as an EDC for work paired with an A30 for travel.

        Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
        "Not all who wander are lost"
        "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
        Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB


          I'm also on the S19 + A30 bandwagon when I bring my personal laptop...Pilot + A30 when it's the work laptop (which is huge)...S25 would obviously also work, but it's too tall for my torso.
          If you prefer to have the heaviest bag on your back, put the A30 or WF there (or a 26L SmartAlec - discontinued but you can swap or buy used) and put the smaller S19 or DLBP into a Shop Bag for easy carry.
          The BB is huge and can do a lot - depends on if it fits you.

          As mentioned above, the Pop Tote is a great under the seat bag if that also suits your EDC needs... or the DLBC...

          In general, the halcyon DLBC, DLBP, & Shop Bags (can't wait to try the new Zip Shop Bags) are great as extra bag-in-bags, as a way to bring extra organizational capabilities along for different situations.
          The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.
          -Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures


            If you can get to TB to actually look and try that would be great, but if that is not practical, the S19 (if comfortable for you) would be good for EDC / personal + A30, but if you want to keep the cost down a bit a Small Yeoman, whilst having slightly less capacity than the A30 would be worth considering. Remember though that the YD has no outer pockets, nor interior organisation, just a big space, ideal for packing cubes, although there are plenty of O-rings to attach pouches etc.

            I guess it depends on how you want to pack and how often you will need two bags.

            The S25 may, and certainly the BB would, probably be too big for your EDC.


              Thanks so much for the comments thus far -- they're very helpful, and you've suggested things I hadn't thought of, such as the Pop Tote or the Daylight briefcase.

              If I go with a Synapse for one bag, I'd probably choose the 25 -- I'm 6-4 and worry that the Synapse 19 would feel too short on my torso.

              But the comments here also have me thinking about the Stowaway. It's not often discussed on the forum, but it seems to get a lot of love from folks who have one.

              Part of my challenge, I suppose, is that I can never decide whether I prefer a backpack or shoulder bag as an EDC. At the moment I have both a Timbuk2 Closer shoulder bag and a Mission Workshop Rambler backpack. At 8L the Closer is sometimes smaller than I'd like. And there are times when I like the size of the Rambler (expandable from 22L to about 30L), but I dislike the rolltop style with top-only access.

              I'm not going far for the next few months, so I may pick something for an EDC, then see how that goes and what it can hold before choosing an additional bag.
              Last edited by Buffalonian; 08-19-2018, 05:58 PM.


                Since you're not completely sure if you prefer a backpack or shoulder bag for EDC, I would consider a Synapse 25 and a Pilot. Both are compact and can be used as EDC but together you get 38L of space.


                  Since you're 6'4", it's worthwhile pointing out that the pilot can stand upright under most plane seats, leaving you plenty of legroom (I'm 6'0", and love it for this.)


                    IMO, I don't want to carry anything bigger than a Side Kick as a shoulder or crossbody bag; anything bigger must be worn as a backpack. And you can't wear two backpacks at once. So I would be looking at a large bag I can carry in backpack mode, like Aeronaut or Tristar, for longer trips, or a more traditional backpack for short trips, plus a small crossbody bag like a Side Kick or Travel Cubelet for easy assess to small essentials.


                      I don't do a lot of international travel but my preferred combo is the Brain Bag and the Pilot. The Pilot fits easily under most seats without taking legroom away and the BB holds more than enough clothing for my needs, doesn't look out of place as a day to day bags and wears very comfortably.


                        Originally posted by loma View Post
                        IMO, I don't want to carry anything bigger than a Side Kick as a shoulder or crossbody bag; anything bigger must be worn as a backpack.
                        Thinking out loud ... I know I'm comfortable carrying an 8L bag on a shoulder strap, so the DLBC would certainly work for me. And among the shoulder bags I've owned over the years, my favorite in some ways was a VERTICAL bag from Watertown, sized big enough to fit my laptop (but without any built-in protection). I ditched it because it was too thin, and once I put my laptop in a neoprene sleeve, there wasn't enough room for other things.

                        With that in mind, my ideal EDC for most situations might be a Ristretto (9L) or a medium Cafe Bag (8L) ... either of which would give more room than the Watertown.

                        In the end I'd likely want three bags, using one or two at a time, but my budget wouldn't allow that all at once.
                        Last edited by Buffalonian; 08-19-2018, 06:24 PM.


                          I've had great success with the A45 plus the Pilot.

                          Or the A45 plus the Sidekick. I've actually put the SK in the A45 for part of the travel.

                          It depends on whether I want a briefcase type bag (the Pilot) or a purse type bag (SK, and yes, my husband will carry a SK as a man-bag).

                          I've also travelled for 3 days using just the Pilot, if I'm not carrying electronics. But I'm a light packer.


                            Originally posted by kioneo View Post
                            Week long personal trip: A30 with optional S19
                            Week long work trip: A30 with DLBC
                            Shorter trip: Just the A30. Or the S19 with DLBC
                            Originally posted by melminimalist View Post
                            S19 for your personal item and to use as an EDC for work paired with an A30 for travel.
                            Hi! Am curious... how do you carry both A30 and S19 at the same time? Is S19 on the back and A30 on the shoulder using a shoulder strap?


                              I took a plunge.

                              Yesterday, I bought a Mars Red S25 Guide's Edition on Ebay. Brand new and never used. I paid more than I should have, but I couldn't resist. To me, it's the most beautiful bag I've ever seen, and eminently practical. The appeal is almost possessive, perhaps for reasons of nostalgia -- it reminds me of the pack I owned 35 years ago, when I was 22 and hitchhiking around the country.

                              I'd rather do that than get a bargain on something that's less appealing. If i'm happy with it, I'll be using it till I'm dead. If I'm not, I'll take the loss and resell it.

                              I'll probably buy either a DLBC or MCB for days when I don't need to carry much, and mix and match those two with things I already own for now. More TB to come next year, perhaps an A30 or WF.

                              Thanks again for the advice and suggestions.
                              Last edited by Buffalonian; 08-21-2018, 12:09 PM.