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  1. #1
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    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum

    Here is a thread to document my experiences and impressions with my new Aeronaut 45 and related accessories. Lots of posts on this forum were very helpful while I was shopping (and no doubt I'll find more things to buy here), so I hope this helps others who are in the "read ALL the info" phase.

    First off, I mentioned in the "Anticipation Syndrome" thread that my first impression of the A45 was that it was small. Yes, really. I'm not trying to be a one-bagger so much as cut down on what I carry -- and my previous go-to travel bag was a honkin' big 85L Dakine Split Roller (one of these things). Last winter I found an Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 65L on sale that I thought would be a nice downsize option, and it is, but it's not small enough to be a carry-on, and I wanted that for certain situations.

    I do bike stuff for a living and often need to carry a lot of gear. Thus the honkin' huge bag. But the Split Roller is SO big that things find their way into it that I don't really need. Plus, for certain trips I had planned, I would need to fly with my bike, which meant that any other checked baggage would get charged extra, and wrestling a bike bag plus a big roller bag to/from the airport is a hassle.

    So! first pack, for a work trip to an event a couple weeks ago:
    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-a45_first_pack-jpg
    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-a45_first_unpack-jpg

    (Sorry for the bad lighting and smeary lens.)

    Jack the dog has tried to stow himself away in my larger bag...not this time. But he illustrates the benefits of the 525 ballistic: it's tough but does not pick up much dog hair at all.

    Not too much clothing here, as I didn't need much other than bike clothes. But it's often helpful to bring extras, because laundry facilities are often not available where I go for such events (there would be none for this trip) and I'd be out in the weather all day, each day. Also, I ended up having to pack some heavy metal, because I forgot that when I bought the ticket (way back in early February) it was Basic Economy through United, which does not allow full-size carry-on bags, only a personal item. D'oh! Also each checked bag could not be over 50lbs. or it costs quite a bit extra. Thus I had to redistribute the load by packing the pedals and rotors off my bike, plus the contents of my riding pack, in the Aeronaut. So the load included:
    - 3 pairs of baggy bike riding shorts (pretty much like regular shorts, but a bit tougher material)
    - 1 riding jersey (another to be provided at the event)
    - 1 regular cotton T-shirt
    - Rain jacket
    - Rain shorts
    - Small dress
    - Bike shoes
    - 5 pair socks and underwear
    - Bathing suit
    - Sleep clothes (shorts and t-shirt)
    - Toiletries
    - A bandana and a couple masks
    - Rotors and pedals off bike
    - Riding pack contents (see below)
    - Plastic soccer cones for marking off practice areas (the orange things in the first pic)

    I wore the only long pants I'd bring as my airport outfit with a T-shirt and hoodie.

    My socks, underwear, bathing suit, and sleep clothes all fit in an A45 Small Packing Cube:
    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-packing_cube-jpg

    This was my first time using a packing cube and I like it! I'd been thinking of getting one or two cubes, no matter the bag, to keep socks and underwear from migrating around. I carry extra of socks especially, again because of being out in the weather with limited/no laundry. This packing cube, of course, fit perfectly. I will probably get a Small Laundry packing cube when they are available -- the design looks like it will work great. As it is, I used a random drawstring bag for dirty laundry. I had considered getting a Laundry Stuff Sack for socks & underwear, but decided I wanted to be able to easily see what I had left clean, and the "drawer" design of the A45 Cubes works perfectly.

    (I did bring a small jar of laundry soap but knew that space to hang clothes to dry would be limited. The weather was rainy in the evenings, meaning it was tough to get even my event jersey to dry after washing each night, let alone socks, shorts, etc.)

    To be continued...

  2. #2
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    I also got a 3D Organizer Cube Clear for toiletries, again thinking of when I'd be using this bag as a carry-on. All my liquids fit -- barely.

    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-3doc-jpg

    This is a significant downsize as well, for me. Here's a pic of my toiletry bag evolution, from another honkin' big choice at bottom, to the middle one I've been using the last few years, to the 3DOC:

    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-3_toiletry_bags-jpg

    The 3DOC is cute. The plastic sides are kind of "sticky," as others have said, but I prefer that to PVC chemical weirdness. It also seems like it will be easy to clean.

    More about having to redistribute my load from my bike bag: I usually try to ship my bike ahead, but that requires extra days before and after a trip, which I don't always have. My bike bag has a lot of space under the main frame triangle in which I can usually fit my shoes, full pack (minus water), helmet, and a few other things. Since I was trying to cut weight in my bike bag, I only put my helmet in it this time. The pack itself isn't that large (blue, on the right) but it would have taken up a lot of the space in the A45:

    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-bag_and_pack-jpg

    I realized I could use the pack as my personal item, and put all the stuff from it into a random cotton sack, which fit in one of the side pockets of the A45. Here's what that consisted of:

    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-pack_contents-jpg

    - First aid kit
    - Bleed kit (quick-access gloves, gauze pads, gauze roller bandage, tape)
    - SAM splint
    - wipes
    - repair kit with spare parts
    - spare tube
    - folding hex key tool
    - multi-tool with knife
    - tire pump
    - shock pump
    - chain lube and rag
    - other small spare parts

    With all that heavy stuff, the full A45 ended up weighing 23.5lbs. I tried it on as a backpack this way, and it's about as much weight as I'd want to carry in a backpack. (Note: I am not a backpacker, haha.) But it would have been doable, and with the hip belt and internal frame, I would even say that it was almost comfortable, and any discomfort was not the bag's fault. Since I'd have to check the bag anyway, I stowed the backpack straps, but left the hip belt attached and the internal frame installed, just in case I'd have to hoof it any far distance. It was nice how easy it was to undo the backpack straps, even with hip belt attached, and stuff them in the pocket -- though I learned to be somewhat careful to lay them flat so as not to create a lump.

    But! It was a nice surprise how easy the very heavy and full A45 was to carry like a briefcase by the short double handle. Since it's got a fairly slim profile for such a big bag, and since it holds its shape pretty well, it didn't bump into my leg. Guiding the bike bag along on its wheels with one hand and carrying the A45 with the other felt pretty natural and about as easy as could be expected. I was darn glad not to have to deal with jockeying two large wheeled bags en route, especially on the way home when we were late getting to the airport. One colleague's bike bag had gotten damaged on an earlier trip and kept falling over.

    By the way, here is that honkin' big bike bag, for the curious:

    Aeronaut 45 review for this forum-bike_bag-jpg

    I will post about a more reasonable packing use case tomorrow. ;)

  3. #3
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    @KBr00ks thanks for sharing that packout! It was great to see your evolution in downsizing and the complexities of traveling with a bike.

    Just a note, if you want more room for 'wet' things & you're willing to split your toiletries into two bags, your clear 3DOC/311 bag only has to have liquids... your tooth powder, nail clippers, razor, etc. could go into another pouch and never leave your luggage in transit, if you want. Some folks don't want two things to keep track of, but if you don't mind that, it gives you more space in the 'wet' bag.

    Also, (waves hello) I think Jack the Dog needs to upload some photos to the TB Forum Pets thread so we can greet him properly :)

    https://forums.tombihn.com/not-about...m-pets-30.html
    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...

  4. #4
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    i did not know there was a Pets thread, thanks!

    Yeah, that toiletries photo was not the best setup. It still needed sunscreen, for example. I ended up putting the dry things just loose in the zippered lid compartment of the A45, which sort of worked (only remembering to bring things to the bathroom was tough), but I have been looking at others' solutions here for combining wet and dry toiletries into one package. This recent thread is an interesting example: 3DOC inside small Snake Charmer

    I'm also considering that for car trips and checking in luggage, I could get a Spiff Kit. ;) This site is dangerous!

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
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    Great review @KBr00ks ! BTW: I am fan of Brooks saddles too, riding several models ;-)
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!) Smilie Rainbow Cheers
    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

  6. #6
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    Nicely done. A great contribution to the resources here. I understand your reluctance to move seriously toward onebagging. That sort of happens by itself as you return home and discover another thing or two you did not need or use, smaller bottles will hold everything you need for a week trip, and there are even more things you can do without. But that's a different journey.

    I rode Cycle Oregon and Ride Idaho for 12 years and my 7-day touring load continued to grow from year to year as I rationalized luxury and comfort by the fact that a truck was hauling my gear. Towards the end, I had reduced my package from 30 kilos down to 15-18 k.

    However, my man-years of ultralight backpacking prepared me for onebagging and I was in Scotland last spring (soooo long ago!) and was dry, warm, and had all the comforts of home in a 40 liter carry on bag supplemented with a backpack as a personal item.

  7. #7
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    Good job downsizing, @KBr00ks !

    One bagging or simply downsizing one’s travel bag takes practice over time. It also takes a bit of shift in one’s outlook.

    I know someone who travels with 1 or 2 huge check-in bags because she would not be caught wearing same outfit more than once :).

    Me? If I find clothes that fit me well, I would buy more than one in same color - so :).

    Welcome to the forum!

  8. #8
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    I too read many threads before deciding on my A45, and ooh golly, I love it. The one thing I couldn't seem to find was any information about shoes in a side pocket. I found videos on men's shoes, but not women's.
    So, in case anyone else in wondering, I can fit 3 pairs of women's shoes (size 8) in a side pocket - easily. A pair of sandals, flip flops, and running shoes. Maybe someday I'll graduate to the A30 in my goal of downsizing, but for now this bag is perfect. I wish the world was different right now, so I could take it more places!

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