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  1. #1
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Thrilled with my new-to-me Western Flyer! Some comparisons to Aeronaut 30

    After falling in love with my husband's Western Flyer which I borrowed for a recent trip, I just acquired my own Steel/Iberian one from ebay, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I think this is going to be a fantastic bag for work trips, perhaps even better than my Aeronaut 30. What I'm loving about this bag:

    - Looks like a briefcase
    - Packs like a suitcase
    - Carries like a backpack
    - Stows like a personal item
    - Stands up on its own (didn't realize how useful this feature is)
    - More comfortable to carry fully loaded than my Aeronaut 30 (maybe because of lesser capacity?)
    - Dedicated space for my Surface Pro and electronics (front half pocket)
    - Outer pockets

    I noticed that when I had this bag on my back through the airports, it tends to ride higher than my Aeronaut 30, making it feel lighter. It also feels more manageable as I'm navigating down the plane aisle. It is very compact.

    The fact I could take it off and hold it by a handle in order to access something in the outer pockets (or even the divided pocket) was really nice-- the Aeronaut 30 doesn't have those quick-access pockets. It made my stuff very accessible. When I use the Aeronaut 30, I use a smaller cross-body bag like the Copilot for my computer and plane stuff. With the Western Flyer, I didn't need to do that. It was liberating to fill both those needs with just one bag.

    I don't understand how this could be, but it felt like I could fit more in the 26L Western Flyer than in the 30L Aeronaut. The large packing cube felt more accommodating than the shorter/taller Aeronaut 30 space, and as a bonus, there is dedicated space for a computer. I was surprised by this size paradox, and then tried to pack the same load in my Aeronaut 30. It fits of course, but I don't feel comfortable putting my computer flat in the Aeronaut along with all those clothes and other things, because I worry about the computer being compressed. The Western Flyer has a perfectly safe, uncompressed spot for my computer, built in. Nice!

    One downside of packing in the Western Flyer is that you really do have to make sure it all can fit flat. You have to space things out so that they use the outer edges of the bag, or else you risk bulging. The large packing cube is helpful for making sure your stuff occupies every available outer inch, and stays in place.

    I was pretty amazed at how much fits in that large packing cube, by the way. In addition to all my clothes for 6 days, plus workout gear and an extra pair of shoes, I was able to get my clear quarter packing cube of toiletries to fit in it, plus folders and some large flat books. Remarkable!!

    Side note: To get all my clothes to fit for a week-long trip, I have had to choose lightweight/compressible stuff. Some staples:
    - Black soft shell pants (look totally generic so you can wear them several times. Wash in sink as needed, dries overnight)
    - Black long-sleeved Icebreaker merino wool underlayer (doesn't need washing on a trip because it's odorless merino!)
    - Rothy's shoes (best travel shoes- made of woven recycled water bottles, look dressy, but great for walking in wet weather, and as comfortable as sneakers)

    Also, I didn't bring the Absolute Strap, since I figured I'd always be using the backpack straps, which I did. But I do like the trick of wrapping the Absolute strap (or in my case, the similar Op-Tech strap) around the outer perimeter of the bag, so that it's right there if you need it. Here's what that looks like:

    Thrilled with my new-to-me Western Flyer! Some comparisons to Aeronaut 30-wraparound-jpg

    What's cool is that this doesn't interfere with the zippers at all, and it also gives a bit of extra cushion on the bottom of the bag. Awesome!

    Can't wait to take this bag on some more trips. Thanks for letting me geek out this morning.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  2. #2
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Thatís a beautiful colorway! Love the contrasting pulls, too. Iíve not been tempted before by the WF, because flat packing is not my jam, but I love how you work it, especially the Absolute strap trick. Congrats!!

  3. #3
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    Agreed... awesome bag and sweet color combo.

    Thanks for the Absolute Strap idea (and the pics showing it): never thought of doing that with it!

  4. #4
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    Great review! I am anxiously waiting for a WF in blue or aubergine w/o wasabi.
    Luminary 12 with a MCB Freudian Slip, Daylight Backpack, EDC Side Effect or Side Effect, zippered Large and Small Shopbags, Co-Pilot, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer

  5. #5
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    SO much stuff we use is square, it's hard to beat the efficiency of a square for packing it all. I'm convinced that's why the WF is so efficient. I imagine a true soft pack of the A30 would be very efficient, but once you try and organize anything, it's over.

    The under-strapping of the shoulder strap is a great way to keep business and causal on the same trip. Makes for better under-seat placement on the plane, too. I also use it as a place to stash a sweater or jacket in a cinch while walking around in backpack mode, just wad it up inside the strap between the bag, and the elasticity of the strap will hold on to it.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imperator View Post
    I also use it as a place to stash a sweater or jacket in a cinch while walking around in backpack mode, just wad it up inside the strap between the bag, and the elasticity of the strap will hold on to it.
    Great idea!
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  7. #7
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    How do you use the curved front pocket? I have a Tristar with the same pocket, but unless Iím bringing a water bottle, Iím not sure what to put there.

  8. #8
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    LOVE the Western Flyer---with one exception: Hate that single top handle. I wish they would change that to 2 top handles (like the Tristar). Otherwise, awesome bag!!!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Zapato View Post
    How do you use the curved front pocket? I have a Tristar with the same pocket, but unless I’m bringing a water bottle, I’m not sure what to put there.
    Sometimes I put my liquids there (in a 3D Clear Organizer Cube) so they're handy to take out for security. There's no O-ring in the pocket, which is too bad, but sometimes I loop a key strap around the snap of the expander thingy in that pocket.

    At least once, I've put my socks in that pocket!

  10. #10
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    First time I've seen this strap placement. Do you find that it gets dirty or scuffed when you put the bag down? I like to be able to leave my bag on almost any semi-clean surface, but I feel like I'd be afraid of getting the neoprene damaged/dirty since it'd be going back on my shoulder eventually. So for the Aeronaut, it gets stashed between the (thankfully) dualcarry handles when not in use.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina View Post
    LOVE the Western Flyer---with one exception: Hate that single top handle. I wish they would change that to 2 top handles (like the Tristar). Otherwise, awesome bag!!!!
    I have heard various people say that, but I have never seen a Tri-Star so I canít compare. But the single handle wasnít an negative for me on my first trip with the western flyer. What is it about the single handle you dislike?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  12. #12
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by experimentjon View Post
    First time I've seen this strap placement. Do you find that it gets dirty or scuffed when you put the bag down? I like to be able to leave my bag on almost any semi-clean surface, but I feel like I'd be afraid of getting the neoprene damaged/dirty since it'd be going back on my shoulder eventually. So for the Aeronaut, it gets stashed between the (thankfully) dualcarry handles when not in use.
    I have only taken one trip with this bag so far, and did not have the absolute strap with me, so I donít know about potential damage or dirt. I would probably never set my bag down on a dirty floor though. I read about this strap idea from another post by another forum member who has done this to keep the strap out of the way when not in use.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  13. #13
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Zapato View Post
    How do you use the curved front pocket? I have a Tristar with the same pocket, but unless Iím bringing a water bottle, Iím not sure what to put there.
    I have only taken this bag on one trip, and I ended up using that pocket mostly for my phone and phone charger. I do wish it had an o ring in that pocket.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Zapato View Post
    How do you use the curved front pocket? I have a Tristar with the same pocket, but unless Iím bringing a water bottle, Iím not sure what to put there.
    When Iím travelling with my WF, the bottle pocket is where I drop my phone as I go through security. Use it for the boarding pass/ID checkpoint, put the ID back in the card slot on the back and then drop it in while waiting to go through the x-ray and detectors/scanners. Pull it back out on the other side.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Zapato View Post
    How do you use the curved front pocket? I have a Tristar with the same pocket, but unless I’m bringing a water bottle, I’m not sure what to put there.
    I use that pocket, on my TS, as a place to keep the Absolute Strap when I'm not using it.

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