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  1. #1
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    I became an Aeronaut 30 convert.

    Without having had one, I always felt the A30 would be too small and the A45 too big, if only because I had plenty of 30L Travel bags.

    Queue this Christmas, where I wanted to buy my dad a serious travel bag for business: I actually sent him links to the Western Flyer and Tristar. On his own, he requested an A30.
    My girlfriend and I went to the factory to pick it up and she instantly honed-in to an aubergine A30 they had in the showroom. Well that became HER Christmas present then. She got me a Brain Bag in the same color too (see the other thread for my BB review if you're curious about this VERY impressive bags. I mean the word 'impressive' very much here).

    I had to take an impromptu 2.5 weeks trip to Europe, in the heart of winter. I really wanted to take only the BB, but it proved impossible. I'm either not good enough a 1-bagging yet, or it's much tougher to do in winter (I suspect both). My infinitely-better half kept insisting I took her A30 instead. I finally gave in (with a Topo Design Commuter briefcase for my laptop + flight accessories).

    I am LOVING it.

    First it's important to specify this is NOT a tech bag. It is NOT meant to fit pretty much anything at all that is not clothing. You can try. You may even somehow succeed. But it's not what it's meant for. It's also not a replacement daypack. If you travel with the A30 and it only, it's likely you may find yourself missing another bag to just carry around. For me this is a business trip, so I'm fine with it + briefcase.
    As for it is: it IS a duffel, not a backpack (more on this later) in the way it is designed and the way it packs.

    In this role the A30 is fantastic. It fit everything I gave it with some small headroom left, it carries comfortably with the shoulder strap (I had it for 5 hours in Schipol; it's obviously not a hiking pack or lightly-filled S25, but it carries as if the shoulder straps were definitely designed as more than a mere afterthought).
    As always the #10 zippers feel fantastic; the bag is very-well built and feels just solid. It's a little stiff for now, but it will loosen a little over time (the curved zippers in particular are a little hard to open at first).

    For me personally the only two issues I have are:
    * While I can open-up the side compartments to increase capacity on the middle-compartment, in practice it's not all that useful as the expansion is limited
    * I do not need, understand, nor am able to use the thin end-pockets. The zippers and extra fabric add weight which I can't find a single use-case for

    And I guess that's it. For reference here was my packing list:
    * 1 jean
    * 1 Kuhl travel pants
    * 2 shirts
    * 7 t-shirts
    * 2 wool t-shirts
    * 7 pairs of socks
    * 7 boxers
    * Rainjacket (Arc'teryx Interstate)
    + Electric toothbrush in its case (which is also its charger), travel toothpaste, floss etc... I travel without toilettries: I can easily find this in airports at my destination if I need, and in this case I am at a hotel anyway..
    I'd say the bag was 90% full. with more careful packing I could have fit perhaps a couple more clothing items. No shoes, extra jackets or similar though. On me I had my Patagonia Down Sweater, hat, scarf and gloves which ended-up in the briefcase for the flight.

    So it turned-out I never needed an A36, because there's a big difference between what a 30L backpack can take and what a 30L duffel can take. I regret not being able to travel solely with my BB, but I also recognize it may have been more of a hassle, especially in airplanes where it wouldn't have fit under the seat and I would have had to take many small items out.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pott View Post
    Without having had one, I always felt the A30 would be too small and the A45 too big, if only because I had plenty of 30L Travel bags.

    Queue this Christmas, where I wanted to buy my dad a serious travel bag for business: I actually sent him links to the Western Flyer and Tristar. On his own, he requested an A30.
    My girlfriend and I went to the factory to pick it up and she instantly honed-in to an aubergine A30 they had in the showroom. Well that became HER Christmas present then. She got me a Brain Bag in the same color too (see the other thread for my BB review if you're curious about this VERY impressive bags. I mean the word 'impressive' very much here).

    I had to take an impromptu 2.5 weeks trip to Europe, in the heart of winter. I really wanted to take only the BB, but it proved impossible. I'm either not good enough a 1-bagging yet, or it's much tougher to do in winter (I suspect both). My infinitely-better half kept insisting I took her A30 instead. I finally gave in (with a Topo Design Commuter briefcase for my laptop + flight accessories).

    I am LOVING it.

    First it's important to specify this is NOT a tech bag. It is NOT meant to fit pretty much anything at all that is not clothing. You can try. You may even somehow succeed. But it's not what it's meant for. It's also not a replacement daypack. If you travel with the A30 and it only, it's likely you may find yourself missing another bag to just carry around. For me this is a business trip, so I'm fine with it + briefcase.
    As for it is: it IS a duffel, not a backpack (more on this later) in the way it is designed and the way it packs.

    In this role the A30 is fantastic. It fit everything I gave it with some small headroom left, it carries comfortably with the shoulder strap (I had it for 5 hours in Schipol; it's obviously not a hiking pack or lightly-filled S25, but it carries as if the shoulder straps were definitely designed as more than a mere afterthought).
    As always the #10 zippers feel fantastic; the bag is very-well built and feels just solid. It's a little stiff for now, but it will loosen a little over time (the curved zippers in particular are a little hard to open at first).

    For me personally the only two issues I have are:
    * While I can open-up the side compartments to increase capacity on the middle-compartment, in practice it's not all that useful as the expansion is limited
    * I do not need, understand, nor am able to use the thin end-pockets. The zippers and extra fabric add weight which I can't find a single use-case for

    And I guess that's it. For reference here was my packing list:
    * 1 jean
    * 1 Kuhl travel pants
    * 2 shirts
    * 7 t-shirts
    * 2 wool t-shirts
    * 7 pairs of socks
    * 7 boxers
    * Rainjacket (Arc'teryx Interstate)
    + Electric toothbrush in its case (which is also its charger), travel toothpaste, floss etc... I travel without toilettries: I can easily find this in airports at my destination if I need, and in this case I am at a hotel anyway..
    I'd say the bag was 90% full. with more careful packing I could have fit perhaps a couple more clothing items. No shoes, extra jackets or similar though. On me I had my Patagonia Down Sweater, hat, scarf and gloves which ended-up in the briefcase for the flight.

    So it turned-out I never needed an A36, because there's a big difference between what a 30L backpack can take and what a 30L duffel can take. I regret not being able to travel solely with my BB, but I also recognize it may have been more of a hassle, especially in airplanes where it wouldn't have fit under the seat and I would have had to take many small items out.
    If you do not need/want the A30 backpack option then maybe consider a Road Buddy 36 which has not got backpack straps but variable shoulder strap attachments and the end pockets are much easier to use. For me the RB is better than the A30 (although I am lucky enough to have both).

  3. #3
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    Yep, I saw the RB36 at the factory and commented on exactly the same: it's essentially an A36 without the straps.
    It's a little thicker overall though, which puts it at more of a risk of no-longer classifying as a carry-on.

    ... I also really, reaaaaaally love the looks of the RB36, especially in Navy and black. That is one nice Duffel...

  4. #4
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    The Road Buddy is the perfect carry on for me. If an A45 works as a carry on, then a 36L bag does easily. I never could fit anything in the end pockets of the A30, either. I don't have that problem with the A45. But the RB is 36L and that's the perfect size. Plus, without the backpack stuff, it's also much lighter.

  5. #5
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    I use the end pockets for my passport, boarding pass, and hand wipes. Because it turns out I can usually fit everything including my day bag, and use the A30 as my only bag en route.

  6. #6
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    My A30 is halcyon so the end pockets may be a bit easier to get into and use than on a ballistic A30. I also put my boarding pass in there. Other items that go in there are my keys on a keystrap attached to the o-ring, travel insurance policy and copy of my passport, and my professional association's monthly magazine folded in half lengthwise.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  7. #7
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    I think the end pockets on the A30 only really work if its not packed absolutely full... I tend to carry mine in backpack mode and use the 'top' one for my keys, a phone charger, etc. Once the bag is on end, since I don't jam pack it, gravity frees up the minimal space I need to put in some keys & electronics.
    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...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denises View Post
    My A30 is halcyon so the end pockets may be a bit easier to get into and use than on a ballistic A30.
    Good point -- mine's halcyon, too, and I can imagine ballistic would make those pockets harder to access.

  9. #9
    Forum Member TRD's Avatar
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    I use the end pockets for bleach wipes (1) and receipts, tickets, and paperwork.

  10. #10
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    I prefer the Tristar because at 33l it carries as much as the Aeronaut 30, but can also be used as a large briefcase for business trips.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    I think the A30 is ample space for anyone just doing some regular traveling. You should be able to carry ~7 days of clothes in it, which is plenty of time between laundry days.

    To me the only possbiel downside is the lack of storage for work gear (laptop, etc), if you need to be active on the road. I also don't think the backpack straps are necessary; I'd prefer a version without those and with a laptop carry option. Or something like a Tristar, where the middle pocket is just a laptop sleeve and nothing else.

  12. #12
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    I never ever use those outside pockets either. The zippers hurt your hands when you reach down in. Maybe something on a strap? Here's another thing: where do YOU keep the shoulder strap when it's not attached? I usually travel with a shoulder strap in case I need to wear something else as a backpack (life of a parent-- you may end up carrying EVERYONE's bags...). But where to stow it baffles me. I think usually I just stuff it into the backpack strap pocket.

    Having said that I use my A30 with tech all the time. I have a small, light MacBook Air that I tend to pack at the top of the main compartment or occasionally put in the backpack strap area. The end pockets take the chargers. One thing I've been meaning to do is to change the zip pulls so that I can tell one end pocket from another.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pott View Post
    Yep, I saw the RB36 at the factory and commented on exactly the same: it's essentially an A36 without the straps.
    It's a little thicker overall though, which puts it at more of a risk of no-longer classifying as a carry-on.

    ... I also really, reaaaaaally love the looks of the RB36, especially in Navy and black. That is one nice Duffel...
    I use my 36L Road Buddy as a carry on.

  14. #14
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    I never ever use those outside pockets either. The zippers hurt your hands when you reach down in.
    Yeah, I sort of wished they kept the exterior handpocket zipper-free. It's great for a boarding pass. Or if you're packing light and not over-packed, the 3-1-1 bag!

    Having said that I use my A30 with tech all the time.
    Me too. Sometimes I throw the laptop in with the backpack straps.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    Yeah, I sort of wished they kept the exterior handpocket zipper-free. It's great for a boarding pass. Or if you're packing light and not over-packed, the 3-1-1 bag!
    So now this is my personal challenge. On my very flat pockets outside my Kånken backpack I usually keep a pencil case in one and a cutlery/napkin/straw roll in the other. I put the 3-1-1 in the lid mesh pocket. But maybe could convert it into a roll when not taking the plane (I try to travel by train when possible). What else could you have in there?

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