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  1. #1
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    Am I crazy for wanting a Road Buddy instead of an Aeronaut?

    Iíve come close to buying a Tri-Star, A30, and A45 on several occasions but could never pull the trigger. I tried a cheaper Eagle Creek bag and discovered I didnít much like the clamshell type opening and prefer a more duffel type bag which brought me to the Aeronauts. I could never decide between the A30 and A45 and while I like a lot of the features I didnít love the overall look of them.

    I was taking another look at them the other day and stumbled across the RB36 which I had never seen before and love the look of it. Maybe itís the more squared design vs the slightly bulbous look of the Aeronauts that I like. For being so similar they look very different to me.

    With as much universal love as the A30 and A45s get Iím wondering if Iíd be crazy to do the RB36 instead and would end up regretting the decision?

    The RB is $120 cheaper which certainly doesnít hurt. It hits that sweet spot in size between the A30 and A45. I prefer the end pocket design more. I like the grab handle on the top so it can be carried while unzipped. I like that the shoulder strap can be connected to the top or sides. I like the idea of backpack straps but hardly use them on my EC so they would probably be a waste of space and weight for me. I like that there are webbing loops to lash a jacket or longer item to the outside. I like the 4 extra pockets on the sides of the main compartment. Only thing I would change is I do wish there was removable compression straps in the main compartment like the Aeronauts as I donít normally use packing cubes.

    One other concern I have is how well the bag can hold itís shape. My EC doesnít hold itís shape at all no matter how full or empty it is and it drives me crazy. The Aeronauts seem to hold their shape really well; Iím hoping itís due to the 1050d fabric and that the RB would do just as well.

    There doesnít seem to be a lot of info or reviews out for the bag so hoping to get some feedback from anyone who maybe has experience with both. Iím also open to other recommendations as well. Iíve looked at Red Oxx as well and while they definitely make good stuff theyíve got a more rugged appearance which I actually like but think the TB could be used a little more discretely. I donít do a ton of traveling and when I do itís mostly by car; but I would like whatever I get to be carry on compliant for most domestic US flights.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    There are some definite fans of the Road Buddy's here (and their previous versions, the Road Duffels), so hopefully they'll chime in soon. You sound like an ideal candidate for one, based on your list.

    The straps in the main compartments of the Aeronauts don't compress a lot - they really mostly just hold things in place. As a huge fan of packing cubes - I can only suggest you use this opportunity to try them again
    If your bag is completely packed full, you wouldn't need straps or cubes.... but if it's not fully packed, things will shift without straps or cubes, so it depends on how much that would bother you.

    As for the shape, since it doesn't have an actual frame, it's shape will be affected by the load and the 1050 fabric...how acceptable that is will depend again on your preference...
    The Aeronauts benefit from the thick foam in the back, for shape retention, plus there's an option to add a removable frame.

    If possible, the best thing to do is to buy one and test pack it (see the FAQ https://www.tombihn.com/pages/contact-us/#faq38 )
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  3. #3
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    Not a comprehensive review but the Road Buddy 36 seems to work for this guy: https://youtu.be/7n7ETFIOxdc

    I do not have hands-on with the RB36 (I own an A30) but, judging from the photos, it looks exactly like an Aeronaut without the harness. The problem I have with that is the amount of organization one is paying for in what could be a far more simple and conventional duffle such as, say, the REI Big Haul 40. And the handles seem to be always on the outside. However, the Aeronaut is a freakishly great bag. If the RB is actually based on the Aeronaut’s thoroughly successful design, you will have a great bag of your own.

  4. #4
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    If you don't need the backpack straps the Aeronauts offer, then the Road Buddy is a great option! For me the lack of backpack straps is a dealbreaker, which is a pity because the Road Buddies (and Road Duffels, the earlier version that @G42 mentioned) have those nifty pockets on the side walls inside the main compartment, as you noted.

    In my limited experience with the Road Duffel 36, it holds its shape better than an undivided duffel bag because the internal division gives it a little bit of structure, but not quite as well as an Aeronaut because (again as @G42 pointed out) it doesn't have the padded foam back. You guessed right that the 1050d Ballistic fabric does help it hold its shape.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  5. #5
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    I am one of the RB36 enthusiasts! We also have the previous version, the Medium Road Duffel.
    If you don't want/need the backpack straps the RBs are a really great bag......strong and hold their shape well even if the end pockets are not used to their capacity. The inside end pockets are really useful, as is the mesh pocket under the closing flap.
    The lack of the backpack straps makes the bag lighter and a bit more flexible and squashable for easing into tight luggage storage spaces etc and the wide/narrow carry options for the shoulder strap are a real bonus, especially when carrying through crowds or on public transport etc
    I also have an A30 but usually the RB is my go-to option - and I am ever hopeful that a slightly smaller version might appear one day especially since the NFTD retired.

  6. #6
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    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far!

    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    The straps in the main compartments of the Aeronauts don't compress a lot - they really mostly just hold things in place. As a huge fan of packing cubes - I can only suggest you use this opportunity to try them again
    If your bag is completely packed full, you wouldn't need straps or cubes.... but if it's not fully packed, things will shift without straps or cubes, so it depends on how much that would bother you.
    I guess support straps would have been a better term to use; I didn't expect it to compress things so much as just hold them as you mentioned. Do you have any useful tips or tricks to getting the most out of packing cubes? I do use a long thin EC cube for underwear and socks but have found them to be more of hassle for pants, shirts, etc...

    Also, is the consensus to use the TB cubes or are their other brands people like? As nice as it would be to have all matching stuff it's tough to stomach the price of TB cubes when I'm not 100% sold on using them and I'd already be spending $2-300 on the bag itself. I do want one of those snake charmers though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogiesan View Post
    Not a comprehensive review but the Road Buddy 36 seems to work for this guy: https://youtu.be/7n7ETFIOxdc

    I do not have hands-on with the RB36 (I own an A30) but, judging from the photos, it looks exactly like an Aeronaut without the harness. The problem I have with that is the amount of organization one is paying for in what could be a far more simple and conventional duffle such as, say, the REI Big Haul 40. And the handles seem to be always on the outside. However, the Aeronaut is a freakishly great bag. If the RB is actually based on the Aeronaut’s thoroughly successful design, you will have a great bag of your own.
    I've actually looked at the Big Haul 40 and like a lot of things about it, especially the price. I hate that the backpack straps tuck in up top in just an open flap pocket though. And it doesn't have the end pockets like the A30/45 or RB36. My last purchase I went with a somewhat similar and cheaper option and here I am again... I don't want to throw money away but I want to make sure I get what I want this time.

    What do you mean about the handles always on the outside? From pictures it looks like design wise the RB36 is very close to the A30; what do you see that is a major difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by aedifica View Post
    In my limited experience with the Road Duffel 36, it holds its shape better than an undivided duffel bag because the internal division gives it a little bit of structure, but not quite as well as an Aeronaut because (again as @G42 pointed out) it doesn't have the padded foam back. You guessed right that the 1050d Ballistic fabric does help it hold its shape.
    Thanks. I didn't realize the Aeronauts had a padded backing but I guess it makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by KAB View Post
    I am one of the RB36 enthusiasts! We also have the previous version, the Medium Road Duffel.
    If you don't want/need the backpack straps the RBs are a really great bag......strong and hold their shape well even if the end pockets are not used to their capacity. The inside end pockets are really useful, as is the mesh pocket under the closing flap.
    The lack of the backpack straps makes the bag lighter and a bit more flexible and squashable for easing into tight luggage storage spaces etc and the wide/narrow carry options for the shoulder strap are a real bonus, especially when carrying through crowds or on public transport etc
    I also have an A30 but usually the RB is my go-to option - and I am ever hopeful that a slightly smaller version might appear one day especially since the NFTD retired.
    Awesome. Thanks for the comparison! What specifically about the RB makes it your go-to option over the A30? They look very similar other than RB being a little larger? When would you go with the A30 over the RB?

    Are both the main and end compartments on the RB bigger than the A30?

  7. #7
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    I LOVE my Road Buddy 36. I have the previous version when it was called the Road Duffle, so the straps are coyote instead of black, but that's the only difference. I did a photo comparison a while ago. I kept the RB36, I sold the A30.

    https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...-duffle-2.html


    What I like about the RB36 is the shape of the pockets. They fit my Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes. The A30's pockets were always too small for the way I fold my clothes, and for my shoes (and I don't have big feet). I couldn't get my hands into the end pockets of the A30. The end pockets on the RB36 are gusseted, and the zippers go the long way, so the pockets are easier to access and a better shape. The RB36 can be carried flat or on its side, which is nice, because the shoulder strap attachments are in a couple different places. For a bag this small, I don't use it backpack way, either.

    Now, for a month long trip with lots of flights, I did buy an A45, and that was useful in backpack mode. But for most of my week long or shorter travel, the RB36 is great and also works fine on planes. It's much lighter, too, and folds up fairly small for storage.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 06-28-2019 at 06:43 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    I LOVE my Road Buddy 36. I have the previous version when it was called the Road Duffle, so the straps are coyote instead of black, but that's the only difference. I did a photo comparison a while ago. I kept the RB36, I sold the A30.

    https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...-duffle-2.html


    What I like about the RB36 is the shape of the pockets. They fit my Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes. The A30's pockets were always too small for the way I fold my clothes, and for my shoes (and I don't have big feet). I couldn't get my hands into the end pockets of the A30. The end pockets on the RB36 are gusseted, and the zippers go the long way, so the pockets are easier to access and a better shape. The RB36 can be carried flat or on its side, which is nice, because the shoulder strap attachments are in a couple different places. For a bag this small, I don't use it backpack way, either.

    Now, for a month long trip with lots of flights, I did buy an A45, and that was useful in backpack mode. But for most of my week long or shorter travel, the RB36 is great and also works fine on planes. It's much lighter, too, and folds up fairly small for storage.
    Wow, thanks for the info! Your pictures were fantastic to visualize it as well. I'm surprised that the RB could fit everything you had in an A30 in the main compartment plus the PCSB; plus you still had two end pockets that looked to be close to twice the size of the A30 end pockets.

    Having used the bag for a while now which packing cubes would you recommend for the RB? I don't normally use them but with the lack of securing straps it would probably work better to keep things neat if I don't have it completely full.

    The RB does appear to be much less rigid than the A30 due to the lack of back padding. In normal use how well is it able to keep it's shape? My current EC bag is awful; no matter how full or empty it is if you carry it by the shoulder strap it sags in the middle to form a V-shape. If you hold it by the grab handle it sags on the ends. It also bulges really easily depending how you pack it making it awkward and uncomfortable to carry with straps or as a backpack. I think the ballistic nylon and design of the RB should help with this.

    Also, just out of curiosity how much more are you able to fit in a A45 than the RB36?

  9. #9
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    I have a RB36 and an A45 (comparison pics here) and I am a dedicated fan of both! The RB36 does hold its shape very well it doesn't sag in the middle which might be due to the fact that the straps are not fixed at the outer edges of the bag but on the edges of the main compartment. What I sometimes miss on the RB36 is a grab handle on the side for an extra hold when I wear it over my shoulder (not cross body). With regard to packing cubes: The A45 packing cubes are the perfect match.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
    I have a RB36 and an A45 (comparison pics here) and I am a dedicated fan of both! The RB36 does hold its shape very well it doesn't sag in the middle which might be due to the fact that the straps are not fixed at the outer edges of the bag but on the edges of the main compartment. What I sometimes miss on the RB36 is a grab handle on the side for an extra hold when I wear it over my shoulder (not cross body). With regard to packing cubes: The A45 packing cubes are the perfect match.
    Awesome. Thanks for sharing; seeing all of these pics really helps. Yeah, I could see another handle being useful on the RB but definitely not a deal breaker. Do you have to leave a little space in the sides of the A45 packing cubes for them to fit? Just curious as I contacted customer service and they recommended the A30 cubes which is what @BWeaves was using.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtus View Post
    Do you have to leave a little space in the sides of the A45 packing cubes for them to fit?
    No, I pack them as I would pack for the A45. They really fit snugly. I have the suggestion from this post by Darcy. But if you want more space around the packing cubes for other items the A30 PCs are certainly a great choice too.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  12. #12
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    I went with the RB36 over the A45 and am happy with my decision. Both have their place.

  13. #13
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    So I guess biggest question left is black or steel?

  14. #14
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    The Aeronaut is better suited for air travel with slightly different proportions that follow the budget European and regional airline carry on bag limits.

    The backpack straps allow carrying long distances and in areas with narrow sidewalks , fifth floor walk ups and 300 year old doorways.

    If you want a bag for car travel, the Road Buddy would be fine, living up to itís name.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtus View Post
    Wow, thanks for the info! Your pictures were fantastic to visualize it as well. I'm surprised that the RB could fit everything you had in an A30 in the main compartment plus the PCSB; plus you still had two end pockets that looked to be close to twice the size of the A30 end pockets.

    Having used the bag for a while now which packing cubes would you recommend for the RB? I don't normally use them but with the lack of securing straps it would probably work better to keep things neat if I don't have it completely full.

    The RB does appear to be much less rigid than the A30 due to the lack of back padding. In normal use how well is it able to keep it's shape? My current EC bag is awful; no matter how full or empty it is if you carry it by the shoulder strap it sags in the middle to form a V-shape. If you hold it by the grab handle it sags on the ends. It also bulges really easily depending how you pack it making it awkward and uncomfortable to carry with straps or as a backpack. I think the ballistic nylon and design of the RB should help with this.

    Also, just out of curiosity how much more are you able to fit in a A45 than the RB36?
    I like the Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes, especially the Clean/Dirty cube and the compression cubes. A couple of the "full size" cubes fit the main compartment of the RB36 with room to spare. And the half cubes and tube cubes fit, too. I do not have the Specter Tech cubes, which are sized S, M, L. I think the Specter Tech "M" is similar in size to the Specter "full size" but I have not tried the Tech version.

    The RB36 keeps its shape very well, and if I'm carrying it sideways over my shoulder, the top handle hits right where my hand falls. It's not as convenient as having the handle on the side, but it works. I like the that RB is very rectangular, and the pockets are just much easier to access than the A45.

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