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Unlearning how to pack for business travel

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    Unlearning how to pack for business travel

    I've owned a Tri-Star for the last year, and it's worked fantastically well for 4 day / 3 night business trips within the US. I used the Tri-Star for travel 43 weeks last year. This year, I'll be travelling internationally and to colder climates on a more regular basis. The trips will be longer, and the weight of clothing heavier than in 2010. In anticipation, I ordered an Aeronaut, and I should take delivery tomorrow.

    Before the Tri-Star I used a Patagonia MLC, circa 2005 model. The rectangular(-ish) shape let me use Eagle Creek Pack-It folders to organize the contents. The MLC was too much of an amorphous blob, and I had to carry my laptop separately. I found the transition to the Tri-Star relatively easy, given the rectangular shape of the large packing cubes. I have rarely needed to iron any dress shirts or pants packed into the Tri-Star upon arrival at my hotel.

    With the Aeronaut I have unlearn the whole process. The main section appears to be square - or at least the large packing cubes are. I've seen comments about rolling clothes, but that seems like a recipe for hours of ironing when dealing with cotton shirts, wool pants, and the like. Make no mistake: I detest ironing.

    I would really appreciate hearing from folks who use the Aeronaut for business travel - how do you pack the bag most efficiently while minimizing wrinkles and creases? I'm really comfortable with packing cubes, and so they'll probably be my mainstay going forwards. So how do I use them to best effect?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by lotuseater; 02-14-2011, 09:43 AM. Reason: Updated title
    Enlightened traveller since 2009

    When I travel for business I use the Aeronaut and a Checkpoint Flyer.

    My shirts and such are packed in Packing Cubes using the Bundle Method from OneBag.com. I also use TB Padded Organizer Pouches for the core of the bundle.

    As for my suit I use a cloth garment bag. I lay the bottom of the bag in the Aeronaut, put the packed organizer cubes on top, and the lay the top of the bag over that so that it is in a U shape around the cubes.

    Everything unpacks with minimal wrinkles. A quick shake out or bathroom steam will bring the clothing back to the condition you packed them in.


      lotuseater: this is a great post - I have the same concerns as I'm deciding between the tri-star and the aeronaut. I'm looking forward to what people post.


        My Aeronaut arrived yesterday afternoon, and the first thing I did after unboxing it was to place another order, this time for a large packing cube and two end pocket cubes. In my rush to grab one of the last Indigo Aeronauts, I just ordered the bag. My trip to Calgary was pushed back a week, so I have time to experiment both with and without packing cubes.

        RedBeard - I'll follow your suggestions, thank you. One follow-up question: Do you need to unfasten one or both sets of the end pocket divider snaps in order to place your garment bag inside the Aeronaut?

        2612 - The Tri-Star is a breeze to pack with cubes, but the compartmentalization means you don't really need them. It's more convenient to pack / unpack. My goal was to carry my laptop (Lenovo T61) in the center section, which meant that on longer trips (4 nights +) I found myself in an either/or situation: gym gear or casual/warm clothing? The jury is out whether I'll carry the laptop and Brain Cell inside the Aeronaut, or separately with a shoulder strap.

        More thoughts to come as I experiment with packing.
        Enlightened traveller since 2009


          I have a Western Flyer and use packing cubes all the time. It helps by compressing clothing and keeps them really neat, in addition to lotuseater's observations. On my current trip (a seven day trip) I'm using the Packing Cube Backpack. Not only did it keep 2 pairs of pants, 2 dress blouses/shirts, 2 polo shirts neatly packed, but I'm using it as a lightweight backpack (and didn't need to pack an extra bag).
          Owner of Burnt Orange/Steel Daylight Briefcase , Burnt Orange/Steel Aeronaut 45, Black Dyneema/Wasabi Pilot, Crimson/Steel Western Flyer, Forest/Steel Zephyr, Olive/Cayenne Ristretto for iPad, Olive/Cork/Steel and Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Nordic/Ultraviolet, Linen/Steel and Conifer/Steel SCB, Steel Breve, Plum/Black Swift, Steel FJN, and various packing cubes, organizer pouches, caches, and other odds and ends.


            Originally posted by lotuseater View Post
            RedBeard - I'll follow your suggestions, thank you. One follow-up question: Do you need to unfasten one or both sets of the end pocket divider snaps in order to place your garment bag inside the Aeronaut?
            No, I am able to lay the garment bag down without unfastening the side picket straps. The edges of the bag curl up the side a bit (I wear a size 50 jacket) but not so much as to crease the suit inside.

            Let us know how it works out once you get back.


              Originally posted by lotuseater View Post
              I've seen comments about rolling clothes, but that seems like a recipe for hours of ironing when dealing with cotton shirts, wool pants, and the like. Make no mistake: I detest ironing.
              I don't travel as much on business as you, but: 1) I have an Aeronaut and the packing cubes; 2) I use it for business; and 3) I live in Canada, so I also have to contend with packing "more" or differently for cold weather. I use the bundle wrapping method.

              My first thought is are you willing to invest in more travel friendly clothes rather than cotton? I have a lot of Tilley clothes and their blends pack very well. I just hang them up in the bathroom when I arrive and take a hot shower. Pretty much steams out the wrinkles. The bundle method, in my opinion, produces less wrinkles than pack-it type folders. I form a small core using items that I don't care about wrinkles (underwear, socks), wrap my pants around it, and finally, shirts so that I can stretch them taut over the shirts.

              Not sure if this helps...


                When deciding how to pack, keep this in mind: many international airlines only allow "one" bag as carry-on. Not one and a personal. One.

                And many also are strict with weight. They do weigh bags. This ranges anywhere from 11 lbs to 22 lbs depending on the airline. Some also have size restrictions but the Aeronaut should be fine on all but some turboprop aircraft.

                But, they all let you carry a coat on board. That's my secret for traveling to colder climates--carry the coat. And use the pockets to take some of the weight out of the bag. Once onboard you can move things back to the bag.
                Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

                Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.


                  I've experimented with packing the Aeronaut in my travels over four of the last five weeks. The fifth week I used my Tri-Star for comparison purposes. Each trip was four days in duration, with business casual clothing, flying on United Express CRJ regional jets to Calgary and from. I discovered that not all CRJs are created equally. CRJ-700s have more generous overhead bins than CRJ-200s. Fully packed, the Aeronaut fit fine in a 700, but was too large without removing items to fit in a 200. The Tri-Star is a better fit in a CRJ-200, but even that was too wide - the laptop had to come out of the central compartment.

                  Why would I need to pack an Aeronaut fully for a four day trip, when others have one-bagged for weeks or months? The first two weeks temperatures didn't get above -15C / 5F and went as low as -37C / -35F. I was really appreciative of the space to pack extra layers than I normally would. My North Face Vostock down parka compressed perfectly into an end pocket. Fast forward to late March, and the temperatures are much more bearable, leaving me a lot of space in the bag.

                  Back to packing techniques, and how they've changed. Initially I tried the Pack-It folders I've been successful with in the Tri-Star. The 18" folder fits, kind of, but it's not optimal given the shape of the Aeronaut's main compartment.

                  Next I cut down one of the Pack-It folding templates to a 12" square, and used that to fold shirts, t-shirts and dress pants and place them into a TB large packing cube. Better, but more creases than I expected as the clothes moved around inside the packing cube.

                  Finally I discarded the folding template and tried the bundle technique, wrapping shirts and pants around a core of t-shirts, socks and underwear, and I put the bundle inside the packing cube. It took some getting used to, but the results have been better than my first two attempts to pack. Definitely a successful technique when travelling to one destination and having the option to hang up clothes.

                  Thanks to all who provided suggestions in this thread and others. The unlearning process wasn't as hard as I'd thought, although it doubled my Tri-Star packing time on the first occasion. It was still faster than using the folder techniques in the Aeronaut though.

                  One final pair of comments: I find my 14" work laptop tricky to get in and out of the main compartment of the Aeronaut. When packed on top of clothing, its weight being at the furthest point away from the body is not ideal. If I didn't have to extract the laptop going through security that would be a different matter, as I could pack it closer to the back of the bag. I've been carrying it in my Brain Cell with shoulder strap as a second item and that's a reasonable alternative.

                  On my first flight home from Calgary I stood in the security line behind a gentleman with a Checkpoint Flyer and asked him why he was removing his laptop from the bag to go through the x-ray. His experience was that CATSA don't recognize the checkpoint friendly bag guidelines - only once in months of travel had he been allowed to leave the laptop inside his bag, so he no longer tried. Oh well, no reason to splurge on a TSA-friendly laptop bag then...
                  Enlightened traveller since 2009