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TriStar or Aeronaut?? The decision is making me crazy!!!

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    Not to be "Johnny Raincloud" but I think the Brain Cell might be the most important item they sell here?

    There is no padding on the bottom of the TriStar so I suggest sticking some foam or something there when carrying a computer if not using the B.C.!

    The Brain Cell is unique among computer protection in that they are designed to sling the computer above the bag bottom so that a drop will let the computer swing or droop down inside the Cell but never hit the bottom.
    I don't know of any better protection anywhere else.

    Just Sayin'!



      To rain on johnny raincloud - and not to cast aspersions on the brain cell, I have carried a laptop in a TB cache or Waterfield sleeve in a number of bags (TriStar, Smart Alect, Synapse and non-TB bags) without a problem. I used to have a braincell but decided to sell it. Certainly the brain cell offers a level of protection that is unparalleled short of a using a Pelican case but IMO it not necessary most of the time.


        Originally posted by AVService View Post
        Not to be "Johnny Raincloud" but I think the Brain Cell might be the most important item they sell here?
        Killin' me.... Absolutely killin' me! LOL


          Originally posted by rabergnc View Post
          To rain on johnny raincloud - and not to cast aspersions on the brain cell, I have carried a laptop in a TB cache or Waterfield sleeve in a number of bags (TriStar, Smart Alect, Synapse and non-TB bags) without a problem. I used to have a braincell but decided to sell it. Certainly the brain cell offers a level of protection that is unparalleled short of a using a Pelican case but IMO it not necessary most of the time.
          I like where your head is at rabergnc! I will most likely hold off on considering the brain cell until I get my 2nd TB bag. My laptop will always be in a protective sleeve, and if I damage my laptop from a dropping on accident, the company will replace it.


            I also often carry a computer in a Waterfield Sleeve,which is another brilliant offering by the way.
            Usually everything is fine as Rabergnc says.
            I have had the experience with the TriStar though where I load it so heavy that instead of setting it down carefully like I would with a briefcase I sort of drop it from my shoulder to get it off of me. Like I said you just want to pad the bottom of the compartment you have the computer in.

            This advice is from the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.!


              This is a great thread. I've been trying to decide on my next purchase here. Got a Brain Bag a month or so ago and am VERY happy with it. Wanted to see if I could use it exclusively for a 4 day "business-casual" trip, and technically, yes, it would work, but pragmatically, no. Getting that much stuff into a vertically oriented bag just wasn't working for me.

              So I've been looking long and hard at the Tri-Star, and to a lesser degree, the Aeronaut. My ideal is that I'm able to make the transition to the Tri-Star and use it as my sole bag for a trip like what I've got coming up. But I've never been the 'one bag/light travel' guy. But I love the IDEA of transitioning to this packing and travel style. Can I actually do it? I'm about to find out.

              After a lot of deliberation (as I said on another thread, I have a 'gift' for being able to turn a $25 purchase into a week-long research project), I ordered the Tri-Star instead of waiting on the Aeronauts to come back in stock. My reason for ordering that bag boils down to a few prime reasons:

              1. I think it's just a gorgeous, incredibly well-designed bag. I've read a dozen online reviews of the bag, watched half a dozen video reviews, poured over pictures, etc....and this just looks incredible. I love the design and aesthetics, the organization of it, etc...

              2. I'd REALLY like to have a bag I can use where once I get where I'm going, I can empty my clothes out and then use it as a computer/business case and not look like I'm hauling around luggage.

              3. The challenge of it. I figured the Aeronaut would allow me to be less disciplined in my packing. Plus I'd have to find some other bag to stash inside it that I could use as a business case upon arriving at my destination. I flat out want to see if I can fit my stuff for a 4 night trip into the Tri-Star.

              I have every intention of making this my go-to travel bag for many years to come. But once I get the bag, I'll leave all the tags on and then do a complete test pack. I'll get out all the clothes and tech stuff, toiletries and misc items I'm going to take, everything that will go on that trip, and then I'm going to see how it all fits. If it all fits without a burp, fantastic! If it doesn't, then I either have to figure out if I can downsize to make it work, or do I want to carry an additional bag, or do I want to return the Tri-Star and get the Aeronaut.

              I did the test pack with my Brain Bag and using packing cubes I did get all my stuff to fit into that bag, although it was pretty packed to the gills. I'm VERY curious to see how the same load translates to the Tri-Star. The TS has less capacity than the BB, but will its organizational functionality 'magically' create comparable space? I'm about to find out.

              Also, I too debated between Navy/Solar and Steel/Solar. Definitely wanted the Solar interior for visibility. It's one of my few complaints about the Brain Bag, wish there was a bright interior option. To me, grays and blacks for interior fabric just make no sense. Decided on the Steel version. I really like the black trim on this bag and thought it would 'pop' more on the steel than on the navy. Plus I have the steel brain bag and I like the color a lot more than I thought I might.
              Last edited by conejo23; 03-31-2012, 05:17 AM.


                conejo23, congrats! I love my Tristar for travel. The 3-part organization works so well. You will love that steel and solar. I think you'll be truly amazed at what it can pack for you.

                To be honest, I keep plotting a way to put mine on wheels. That might shock and dismay many folks here, but I'm a woman with a neck issue and weak shoulders. But I find I can't go back to a regular roller case (even a small one), because the Tristar has spoiled me. Nothing else comes close.


                  Cool! I love reading about your methods and thoughts on the bags, so I look forward to this one.


                    Thanks TavaPeak!

                    I appreciate the encouragement, and of course, I can't resist the comment about your neck issues and weak shoulders. I mentioned on another thread I'm the clinic director of The Egoscue Clinic of Austin. I'd be happy to point you in the right direction on your neck and shoulder issues if you'd like some help. A great place to start is Pete Egoscue's book "Pain Free". And if you have any questions about it, please feel free to email me at the address in my profile, happy to help in any way I can. Would be a shame to have you stop being able to carry a bag because of things that can be addressed.

                    Can't wait to get the Tri-Star! And wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the future I end up with an Aeronaut, as well. I can see how different trips could make better use of one or the other.


                      Congrats Conejo! I think you will love it and I am glad you are planning on packing it up as a test case! umm...no pun intended.

                      You are less likely to do this than I did since you have been Brain Bagging it (TB verbing...hmm, new word game) but my first thought on receipt of the Tristar was panic because it looks so small. It can hold much more than your first visual cues will tell you.


                        Hi Jeff!

                        I saw that response from several reviews, including yours. My plan is to take EXACTLY what I had packed into packing cubes and put into my Brain Bag, and then take that same bunch of stuff and put it into Tri Star packing cubes and put it into that bag. I didn't use up ALL the space of the Brain Bag, but I'm guessing with that bag, the total available capacity is more theoretical than practical due to the vertical nature of the bag. Once it gets to a certain amount filled, trying to get more stuff in or out becomes extremely difficult. I'm guessing that because of the compartmentalized design of the TS, it's easier to pack each compartment to it's reasonably full (but not overstuffed) capacity. Either way, I'll be finding out soon and will report back on how it works.

                        One question I have on the TS: do I really need a horizontal brain cell for it? I don't plan on using the tabs to suspend it as I've read that centers the laptop and renders the space on each side somewhat unusable, but that simply sliding the brain cell into the compartment and pushing it to one end leaves more room for other stuff. I already have a vertical brain cell for my BB, so I'm hoping I can just use that in the TS and save the expense of a second brain cell.


                          @conejo23, I am VERY interested in your impressions & comparison. I am flipflopping between the Aeronaut & the Tristar. The amount of time I spend looking at their photos is ridiculous


                            Walker......i can SO relate to that. This is gonna sound crazy, but one reason I pulled the trigger on the Tri Star now? Researching this, reading reviews, looking at the photos, thinking about it, was just killing my productivity. It was just taking up too much time and mindspace. It's a bag, an exquisite one to be sure, but a bag. Decided this was getting ridiculous and to pull the trigger.

                            One reason this is tough is it's not like we can go to the local high end luggage store and check them out in person. It's tough to get a feel for a bag like this online. So, I'm gonna get it and pack the dang thing up and see what I think. I'll be sure to write a detailed post about the experience.


                              @conejo...I opted not go with the Brain Cell for that reason. I looked at the Cache, and had a no-name mini brief before settling on a WaterField Travel Express Case (my review linked) to tuck my MacBook in when I want to truly one bag it.

                              I can then pull it out and use it as a mini brief and leave the TS in the hotel. It gives it a little bit more protection and will hold the bare minimum I need to take out. I also put the WF mini brief in my Zephyr when I carry a computer in it.

                              I am pretty sure the vertical Brain cell wont clip in the TS, unless it is a really small one, since that dimension is 13 inches. If all you are going to do is insert it horizontally without the clips though you are doing exactly the same thing as I am...so that should work fine.
                              If I was forced to check my TS (perish the thought) I would want to pull the computer or make sure it was in a Brain Cell...

                              @walker...call Katy, order both and tell her you will return one when you see them in person. They are happy to do that and seeing and touching can make all the difference.

                              To me it really comes down to structure. I am a disorganized mess and all my pouches and slots are a desperate pretension to keep me on the straight and narrow. I NEED the discipline of the TriStar to keep me on track, but if I do One Bag it I think it makes it easier to get through airport security.

                              While I don't own one, the Aeronaut is primarily a big unstructured compartment. You can always add structure with cubes but you can't take the structure out of the TS. Frank may want to chime in on this as he is our resident one-bag expert and has traveled with both...

                              The Aeronaut will also hold more, and will hold bulkier items. If I NEVER traveled with a laptop I think I might prefer the Aeronaut and it does look like it does keep its shape better when stuffed. My TS looks a little portly at max capacity!
                              Last edited by jeffmac; 03-31-2012, 01:22 PM. Reason: grammar idiocy


                                Jeff.....yes, I have the brain cell that will hold a 15" macbook pro, so it will have to go into the TriStar horizontally, which I'm assuming should be fine. Unclipped in a vertical or horizontal cell should be equivalent, I'd think. Only real difference I can see is it'll be somewhat of a pain to take it out for security. Other than that.....
                                Last edited by conejo23; 03-31-2012, 02:18 PM.