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TriStar vs Western Flyer, question for owners of both...

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    TriStar vs Western Flyer, question for owners of both...

    Hi all... Been inactive posting for awhile but still check in and keep up. Got a question for owners of both the Tristar and Western Flyer.

    I have found my Western Flyer extremely useful and very versatile. I have, though, always had two issues with it. One is that I find that the backpack straps and their reinforced corner attachments constrain the back compartment. The second is that the brain cell for my 15" macbook pro is a beast and, combined with issue #1, limits my ability to put any additional items in the back compartment when I need to bring the computer. I have not traveled much for business so this has been less of an issue, and I have my Aeronaut for taking lots of stuff with me. But business travel may be increasing in the future. So...

    I have been considering a WF without backpack straps, which fits my usage pattern a little better anyway since I rarely use the WF as a backpack, particularly when it is my second bag along with the Aeronaut. Still won't address the issue of the size of the computer, though the absence of the backpack straps might give me a little more room, but no built in "padding" like they provide when stowed. I may get this anyway at some point since my kids keep stealing my organizer pouches and it is only a matter of time before they move up to my bags.

    Ideally, I would like to be able to bring the same amount of clothes with me as I can fit in my WF (or slightly more), add the computer in the brain cell when necessary, but stay with one bag. Which should be the TriStar. So finally I get to my question, which really revolves around the depth of the TriStar compartments and the fact they are shallower than either of the WF compartments and the Aeronaut end compartments. I often carry dress shoes (size 11-11.5), pouches with electronics, a Kit, a 3D clear organizer cube, etc, i.e. things with some bulk that do not compress. My clothes also are relatively large, usually XL and XXL type sizes. These things fit pretty well in the WF and the Aeronaut end pockets, but I am concerned that the TriStar compartments might be too shallow. Especially the back compartment, with its backpack straps and attachments like the WF, and the front compartment if the front pockets are used at all. Can anyone who has experience with both bags comment on whether there is anything that you have found can fit in the WF that doesn't work well in the TriStar? Thanks!
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

    Ouch, I don't have both but I have crammed my Tristar to the gills for some 8 day trips. Shoes definitely impact your ability to put stuff if the front pockets. I put a packing list up for an 8 day trip here.

    The shoe section is right behind the water bottle pocket section so it actually impacts that pocket the most. Are you using the packing cubes with the WF? If you do so with the Tristar they will keep you a little more disciplined and help keep your clothes a bit more compressed.

    To me it still sounds like a Tristar is a perfect solution for you...


      Hi keb,

      I have both WF and Tri-Star, but my WF is an early model. However, the Tri-Star usage of the back pocket is far less impacted by the backpack straps than on the WF back compartment, and I find its overall allocation of space much more flexible than the WF if I have to include bulky items of any sort, which is why I usually carry it (even underpacked) instead of the WF. The WF works if I only take clothes or flat-packed contents, but if I ever need to accommodate bulky items, sometimes because they're given to me (and not because I originally packed them), the Tri-Star works. In addition, it's much easier for me to access a laptop in the middle compartment of the Tri-Star than in the Western Flyer, although that's not always needed now. I'd suggest that you use the back compartment of the Tri-Star to pack clothes (both slacks and other garments), and put the bulky items in the front pocket (with the partition unzipped). I can't estimate for the size 11.5 shoes (I'm 5' 4", female, and my shoes are only about 9" long), so maybe someone else can weigh in here. Men's 10 1/2 dress shoes (borrowed a pair to test) can go into the front compartment without unzipping the partition. I've been trying to imagine how your dress shoes go into the two front pockets of the WF, since it sounds as though you keep the parition zipped. Are your shoes placed vertically? If so, they will certainly fit in the Tri-Star front pocket, unless you use elevated heels that add extra thickness or a high boot design. And remember, the Tri-Star is slightly taller at 19" x 13" x 8" vs. 18" x 12" x 7".

      It also seems to me that the Tri-Star would work for you, even with the 15" Macbook Pro in Brain Cell, but that may limit the rest of your room. I sometimes carry electronics and other incompressible, bulky items, but not the size 11.5 men's dress shoes -- sorry! I haven't found anything that can go into the WF that the Tri-Star cannot accommodate, although I've run into the reverse situation of not being able to carry things in the WF that I can carry in the Tri-Star.


      P.S. I only put flat items in the front pockets of the Tri-Star. The back compartment of the Tri-Star is a lot less impacted by the backpack straps than on the WF, even only considering that the overall dimensions of the bag's cross-section are larger, so the corners impinge less.
      Last edited by moriond; 07-01-2011, 01:40 PM. Reason: Postscript


        Thanks so far. Usually I do pack clothes in the back compartment in the large packing cube. I put my most flexible loafers in a small packing cube with socks and underwear on the water bottle side of my WF (older model) with the partition zipped. Usually I'll put Kit and clear cube on the side with the front pockets and put a padded pouch with my ipod in one of the front pockets, and I can usually slide another padded organizer pouch with chargers in the front compartment as well. On my way home, I will often reverse and put dirty clothes in a front compartment, shoes in the other, and clean clothes and electronic pouches in the back compartment.

        I like the idea of being able to take the Brain Cell in the TS middle compartment with the front mesh portion holding my presenting accessories and charger, so that it becomes a small self-contained briefcase, then packing the same several days of clothes in the front and rear compartments of the Tristar. So it really does sound perfect, as long as I avoid my stiffer heeled dress shoes. I guess what I lose in depth I gain in height and width (if only real life was like that!!) so it should work. Thanks again for the info. Happy 4th everyone!
        Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)