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Travel next week: bag + organization advice needed!

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    Travel next week: bag + organization advice needed!

    First, up front, I am not a "pro packer" - although at the end of this trip I might be closer.

    I'm traveling with my wife and two small children via plane to Colorado (kids are 2 and 4 - so can't carry much themselves). Currently I'm rockin' an Empire Builder for my laptop (17" MBP) and also have the Super Ego that I use sometimes for variety. Ristretto for iPad (might let my oldest use that for fun).

    I'm thinking for various kid clothes, activity items, travel necessities, and backup adult clothes (if room) that an Aeronaut might be a great carry-on item. Been drooling over one of those for a while now. this seems to be a bit different scenario than most people use it for, so interested in thoughts there. This would go overhead (which might make the easy-access for kid activity stuff more difficult) but should definitely have more than enough room for what I need this trip. After that, a great bag for me to travel with when I do (not a heavy traveler right now).

    The more complicated addition is that I'd like to take my Canon 7D camera kit on the trip. It currently has its own bag built specifically for the camera, but not necessarily for plane travel (Crumpler 6-million-dollar bag or something like that). It's okay but not great. The Camera I/O interests me - looks like great storage/travel and decent portability while shooting.

    So the questions I'd have:

    * If I get the Camera I/O, I've read that I can put it in the Aeronaut and still have room for other items. Since I'm not using the Aeronaut as my primary clothing bag (we'll be checking suitcases) this might work quite well. Initial thoughts? In this instance I'd take my SE or Empire Builder with me for my laptop.

    * My other thought was to purchase a Brain Bag, which fits the I/O and use that for my laptop as well. Complication is that I don't want to purchase another Brain Cell (my current laptop will be replaced in about 2-3 weeks to a 15" MBP) so I'd need to put my horizontal Brain Cell in the BB sideways - I don't think it'll kill it for one trip. That means that I'd carry the Aeronaut for a variety of items, and the Brain Bag for my laptop and Camera - and no Empire Builder or SE. Also means the purchase of three bags instead of two (Brain Bag, Aeronaut, and I/O), so that's pretty heavy. Of course also give me a great bag for my camera stuff longer-term instead of of that Crumpler that I don't really like anyway.

    Interested in some new thoughts here - as I might have tunnel vision from thinking about it too long and might be missing something. Need to order by tomorrow morning so I can have it here before departure on Thursday morning next week...

    Thanks TB Community - great folks around here. One thing I'd like to mention is that I didn't even hesitate coming to TB to find bags for this trip - haven't even looked at any other bag manufacturers. Are there any?

    Phew! That sounds like quite the trip you have planned!

    1. Putting the Camera I/O into the main compartment of the Aeronaut will work. However, it will not clip in securely into the Aeronaut like it would into the Brain Bag and is likely to move around, depending on how you've packed.

    2. While I don't recommend turning your Brain Cell as described, if you're careful I'm sure one trip will be fine! It sounds like you'll get more use out of this option in the long run .
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      I am by far NOT an expert in air travel as I don't fly well (motion sick) so I rarely fly. However, I have plenty of camera gear and I do travel and it is always a conundrum of bags. I would recommend looking into protective pouches for your camera gear instead of a specific insert and use with your Super Ego. I have a few Zing pouches on order from Adorama so I can pack my camera gear into my Synapse. I haven't gotten them yet but if I feel they aren't quite enough, a strategically placed hand towel should be sufficient. In your case if you are packing clothes in the carry on that could be a dual purpose (though may cause a few wrinkles on the clothing). Just depends on how much camera gear you are taking and how comfortable you feel with that type of protection. Something to consider.

      I can also recommend the Brain Bag as I have one. As far as I know, there is no rule stating you can't put a horizontal brain cell vertically into any bag May not clip in but it will still protect. Combine that and you have a great way to carry your laptop and camera gear (especially if you get the I/O). But careful, it will get heavy in a hurry as it holds a bunch. Since you are checking bags, I'd say make that your main carry on and get/use a smaller bag for your personal item. In fact, if full I'm not sure you could get by with the Brain Bag as a personal item and the Aeronaut as a carry-on - they are both similar capacities and I thought the personal item had to be smaller. (Perhaps a Co-Pilot or LCB instead?)

      Good luck and let us know what you decided!


        Well welcome here and it sounds like you have jumped right in!

        I have to throw in a plug for the Synapse myself.
        Here is an example:

        It sounds like you may want to carry more than it would hold but it is the single most versatile bag I think I own?

        I also think you could use your S.E. as you want to here as it is also the most versatile bag I own????

        Anyway just how much camera gear is in your kit,this makes all the difference obviously in trying to suggest a good bag for that.
        I feel the Crumpler has too much padding and it eats the space.
        I can get y 7D and a bunch of glass and flash and tripod in the Synapse and it still looks small somehow it is truly amazing and does not look outwardly like a camera bag.

        I think the Aeronaut will technically work as a carry on but I get the sense that it is too big to really use on a plane?
        I also find the Brain Bag in that same category.

        Anyway a little more specific info about the load to be carried and I am sure you will receive some good and varied replies.

        Last edited by AVService; 07-02-2012, 03:38 PM.


          I use my Aeronaut as my main bag on planes and it's great. I guess it depends on the plane size but for big planes in the US it is never too big. Put it this way, any plane that allows the roller carry on bags will gladly welcome the Aeronaut. I'm always a bit smug when I slide my bag overhead and how it just fits so easily in a tiny gap between other bags.

          But personally I wouldn't put my camera in it. Or if I did, I'm not sure how I'd get enough clothes in there for my trip. I abuse my Aeronaut a bit and that isn't good when you have a camera. For that reason I leave all my electronics out of my "main" bag.

          I own the BrainBag and I've flown with it as well. Another good bag which will fit under the seat in front of you. I used it for work with my laptop and never had an issue (depends on plane of course). The straps help keep the size down when not full. Only issue I have with the BB is that it's so very huge. I prefer that my carry on isn't as big as the BB.

          One thing to consider is how you prefer to carry the bag. My Aeronaut is my "big" bag so I prefer it to be on my back. When I take a backpack like the Synapse that means it goes in my hand. I find this annoying but I suffer through it. I think a briefcase style bag might be more natural. I do like the comfort strap but I don't like having weight on my shoulder. Just something to think about when considering
          Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


            Thanks for the responses, everyone. All helpful, for sure.

            My wife and I decided for now to go with the Aeronaut and the Camera I/O insert for this trip, giving us a bit of room in the Aeronaut on top of the camera insert and all of the side pockets. I think the I/O is the way to go with the camera longer-term anyway, and it'll fit into my existing EB or SE when needed.

            The Brain Bag, from some other posts I've read, although very versatile and capable of large loads, is too big when you don't have a full load, so it's use as a daily-carry might be a bit limited. For now I'm going to carry my existing EB or SE with my laptop for this trip, then take care of my laptop needs longer-term after this. Or if I feel uncomfortable with my camera stuff in the overhead, put the laptop in the Aeronaut and the camera in my ES/EB and under my seat.

            I don't have a good sense of the size of the 15 MBP Retina yet, so I might even downsize my EB one size down (Zephyr) or smaller backpack (Synapse) that fits the laptop better for a daily-carry. If I find the need to regulary carry my laptop and Camera I/O at the same time, I'll be able to better gauge the space I need once I have the MBP Retina in my eager hands and can decide on a BB or if something smaller might do in a pinch (i.e. my existing SE or EB with the Retina in a Cache).

            Decisions, decisions... all of which end up with me having more TB stuff...


              I bow to AVService regarding the Synapse


                I would get a co-pilot and dump all your kids' stuff in there. Snacks, play items, diapers (?) extra sweaters...That way it's right by your side at all times. You don't want to be fishing kids stuff out of an aeronaut above you, or on your back. You can also keep all your plane tickets and stuff in it.

                I would then purchase two aeronauts (or one tristar and one aeronaut) for all clothing and camera stuff. You can separate your stuff using packing cubes. Packing cubes kick butt.

                Basically, I would advise going completely carry-on. SOOOOO much easier, and you don't have to wait around at the baggage carousel with your kids.

                Obviously, you don't HAVE to buy all TB.

                Pack light! You'll love it!
                My little set of TB stuff:
                Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
                Small Pouch (cork)
                Large Shop Bag (solar)
                packing cubes


                  thisisme - interesting suggestion. We won't have all the kids stuff in the aeronaut - just some of it. We have an Imago we use as a diaper bag that my wife will have under her feet, and the kids will have their backpacks (Katy let me know when TB decides to start making backpacks with Thomas and Scooby and I'll pick up a couple). However, your thoughts about two aeronauts is quite interesting... worth thinking about...