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Female business traveler woes

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    Female business traveler woes

    Greetings all -newcomer here. Have decided to take the plunge and abandon my roller board. I travel weekly for business usually three days but sometimes four and usually in the same location all three days. I think I have decided on the Tristar as my main bag, and would love some advice for what some of you other woman do about purse/computer bag for personal. Obviously trying to minimize weight as I am used to roller bags. Have never checked bags so I am used to that portion, but have historically packed my computer bag in my main (for use during the day), carried small duffle holding computer and personal in which I would stash my purse during check in. Since my roller is going away, I am not going to want that excess weight so would love some suggestions of what others are doing. Thanks ahead, and am loving this site !

    You didn't mention what kind of computer you carry, but I can't sleep right now so I'll take a stab at a few possibilities.

    The obvious option I see is to use a Brain Cell in the middle compartment of the Tri-Star and keep your computer in there, and carry it as a computer bag when you reach your destination. Then you can either carry your purse as your personal item, or the purse inside a tote bag if you need more room.

    Here's an alternative option: in the Tri-Star, I'd suggest using the large compartment for your clothes; to keep things contained, use a TB cube or a third-party packing sleeve. If you're petite to average height/build this should not be any problem for 3-4 days. Use the middle compartment not for your computer, but for your computer-related things: cables, mini-projector, power brick, etc., and also any papers and office supply-type things that you won't need in-flight. Consider packing all of these things into organizer pouches and affixing them to the o-rings. In the divided front compartment, pack your toiletries on one side and your (empty) purse on the other. Keep your wallet/ID/boarding pass out for the time being. In the small zippered pockets, tuck in your other small things and 3-1-1 bag. Use the Absolute Strap with the Tri-Star.

    For your personal, I'd suggest a Cadet if you carry a Mac. Put your laptop, your wallet (you may consider buying a Clear Organizer Wallet just for travel), and your boarding pass inside the Cadet. Also use the Cadet to contain your headphones, in-flight reading or work, or whatever else. Remove the carry strap from the Cadet and carry it by the handle; once you get to your destination, use the Absolute Strap from your Tri-Star if you need a strap.

    If you have a 13" MBP or a MBA of either size and your business environments aren't too formal, you might also consider packing the middle compartment of the Tri-Star with the laptop inside of a Ristretto, and then carry a purse as your personal if need be. Since the Ristretto could function well as a purse/computer bag, you may not need a separate purse.

    All of these options operate under the assumption that you are comfortable carrying a decent amount of weight on one shoulder, or are OK with using the Tri-Star's backpack straps.


      The Swift makes an excellent companion piece to the Tri-Star. Yes, it was designed for knitters but it's turned out to be an awesome travel tote bag too. I've flown several trips with the Tri-Star and Swift combo and it suits me perfectly. I carry the Tri-Star as a backpack and the Swift as my purse/personal item. My Tri-Star is steel and my Swift is steel/navy so they do coordinate. The Swift has 2 large full-width clear zippered pouches that hold all the miscellaneous items you accumulate throughout the day. The Swift is large enough for a laptop or you have room to toss in a purse if needed. I'm a big fan of TB's organizer pouches and everything is tethered so having the open top has not been a problem at all. The Swift fits upright into the overhead bins on the airplane or easily under the seat. It's a very sturdy bag and that's a big plus when subjecting it to air travel. It's also one of the more stylish totes, IMHO.


        HI gadgegal,
        I travel for seven to ten days with my Western Flyer and either my Synapse or medium Cafe Bag. I've never stashed my Syanpse in my Western Flyer but my Medium Cafe bag fits just fine. My Western Flyer usually weighs in at around twelve pounds and the Synapse at eight. I'm not sure what kind/size of computer you're carrying, can you tell us that? I do know next on my wish list is a Tri Star in steel and ultraviolet and an ultraviolet Travel Tray and, and, and... Please let us know what you settle on.
        Take care,
        List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!


          Thanks for the ideas. The computer I am carrying is a Dell Latitude 4300 (6 cell) and bag is Briggs &Riley smart mini - wish it were a MBA! Not sure about the Synapse as I am a 50+ woman and don't think I can carry off the backpack look. However, do not have an issue with the backpack mode of the Tristar in airports. Would love to consolidate into a combo computer/purse but not sure which bag has the best business look if I choose to carry it as a purse replacement during the day. Room is important as I carry an iPad As well during the day (also travel with a kindle as well on longer trips). Right now my large purse handles the iPad


            I used the Tristar for my summer trip to Africa. I loved that it was not questioned for any flight - even for full flights, tight weight limits, no problem! I used a compression bag that fit the large pocket (by the backpack straps) for clothing, and that worked great at managing the bulk. I took only a few business clothes, and didn't have to worry about wrinkles or crisp blouses. Though I took the Absolute strap (yes it's magic), I preferred to use the backpack straps to save my shoulders. For weight reasons, I would probably leave the Absolute strap at home for the next trip. Your Dell would be very happy in that cushioned middle section.

            For my second item, I took a non-Tom bag - a CitySafe bag. It was just the right size for my personal item on the plane and for a low-key briefcase/tote for speaking at the conference in Uganda. CitySafe™ 200 Shoulder Bag – LB399 | Magellan's Travel Supplies For this trip I did not take a computer, just a NookColor and iPhone. (Have an Ipad now, so that will go next time, along with a keyboard.) Love the organization on this bag, and it worked great for me. I like water bottle pockets on the outside of totes or purses, and I prefer top-zippered bags, rather than bags with flaps. I also prefer bags with lots of zippers to secure stuff .

            But I think there are some wonderful Bihn options available. The Cadet or Co-Pilot might be professional-looking options, though a Cafe bag would be more lightweight and flexible for stashing it in your Tristar. I've been considering Synapse (tho I'm not a backpack type), Imago (so cute!), and yes, that Little Swift. My Tristar was a fantastic for travel. I always knew where everything was, thanks to the organizer pouches. It's a beautifully-designed bag. If only it had invisible, retractable wheels for when I can't carry something on my back or shoulder. ;-)


              Another option: the ID briefcase. That would hold your Dell in a Brain Cell (or not, as you wish) and an iPad and Kindle, no sweat. If you're OK with using the backpack straps on the Tri-Star, I'd put the Absolute Strap on the ID to make carrying it more comfortable.


                Just got a chance to check back on the site and really sort throughout the comments. Everyone has been extremely helpful and am taking a little bit of each comment. Based on the comments, I had narrowed it down to Co-Pilot, Imago, L/S Cafe Bag, and Little Swift. I had finally decided on the Imago.....until I made the mistake of asking my husband's opinion in which he chose the Co-Pilot without hesitation (easy for him - he is not using it !). That said, he rarely fails me on this so I think I am going to go with the Co-Pilot in Navy/Solar to match the new Tristar. I plan on using the Brain Cell as my computer bag during the days. I may not end up carrying a purse at all, depending on how I like the look of the Co-Pilot as an everyday - but will probably throw in a purse in the TS for the first couple of runs.

                Next decision - What organizer pouches to buy !! Currently carrying a RedOxx PR-5 and several of their organizer bags to handle electronics/toiletries etc as carry on. Time for a new thread !!


                  Ooh, I think the Co-Pilot is a great choice. You've seen the packing thread, right? That might be a good place to start with organizer pouches. I tend to think that the mini and small sizes are great in the front pockets, and that the large compartment will accommodate several minis/smalls and a medium or two; however, the dyneema pockets in the main compartment are not to be ignored, and might reduce your need for as many pouches as you might initially think.

                  Given the recent discussion on the forum lately, it seems like the go-to third-party accessories for the Co-Pilot include Moleskine notebooks and sporks.


                    Call me redundant but, lately, I've been putting my computer into my Ego while I carry the rest of my stuff in a Large Cafe Bag. Yeah. Two bags. Not counting my "lunch bucket". That makes 3 bags. Every day.


                      I'm not familiar with that Dell, but I think the smaller Cadet makes a fine computer bag for a woman. The larger size is good, too, but might look a little big and more masculine. Of course, if your 'puter won't fit in the small Cadet, then there are many fine suggestions above. Or just get an MBA.


                        I liked the Cadet so much I bought an MBP! And I LOVE both!
                        Current carry: Super Ego, various pouches, I/O (when shooting). Incorporating the FIELD JOURNAL!!!! Next up on wishlist: S25 and SE (June 2016)


                          Gadgegal, Great Choice! The Tristar/ Co-Pilot pair is very stylish!

                          The Ballistic Pouches are the perfect way to test Tom Bihn Pouches, you know the color and can then select your preferred sizes.

                          Ballistic Nylon Organizer Pouches: TOM BIHN

                          However, anybody who has to handle letter size documents and wants them organized in a stylish and lightweight way needs a Large Pouch and for that will have to choose between All Cordura or all Dyneema Pouches, they look like slim briefs, Cordura being more formal and Dyneema more lightweight and casual.

                          My favorites are Clear Large Organizer Pouches. Folders can be placed within the color coded Large Pouches.

                          I color code the folder to the Pouch itself but it is not necessary.