I just got my first TB bag, an Aeronaut in black/wasabi for a 2-night trip from the UK to Budapest. I really wanted my wife and I to travel light and not have to check in any luggage, mainly because we were flying with Ryanair and I hate giving them money :-)
I had seen the Tom Bihn range in the past and really liked the look of them but had no need for one at the time, well this time I decided to bite the bullet and get the Aeronaut. Because of the postage to the UK I decided to make quite a large order with a collection of packing cubes, organiser cubes, wallets, etc so I had a whole system. The hardest part was choosing the colours :-)
I usually "pack" by throwing stuff into the main compartment of my case/bag, so I was interested to see how I would get on with the more organised system of packing cubes, etc. My wife was taking a rolling case (still small enough for cabin luggage though) so it would also be interesting to compare our experiences on this trip.
When my Aeronaut arrived I was really impressed with the quality of it all and couldn't wait to use it. Also, in the black it looks very smart, I would have no problems also using this on a business trip.
One requirement I had was that I wanted to be able to put my camera bag into the Aeronaut, I use the Crumpler Jackpack 7500 and it fits perfectly into the Aeronaut, leaving about half the main compartment free for clothes, etc.
I used 2 x small Aeronaut packing cubes for day/night wear, 2 x travel stuff sacks for clean/used underwear, 2 x 3D organiser cubes for toiletries/shaver, a 3D mesh cube for cables/chargers/adapters, travel tray for loose bits and pieces, and a packing cube shoulder bag for iPad/Kindle/headphones.
I also ordered a passport pouch, which was much easier than having to remember which jacket/trouser pocket I put the passports into, and a clear organiser wallet to keep foreign currency together.
For anyone else using Ryanair, the Aeronaut fits perfectly into their cabin baggage measuring devices as long as you don't overstuff it. I would say that from the 55x40x20cm limits, it would be the 20cm limit that you can easily breach if you overstuff the bag.
Using the 3D organiser cubes for toiletries was really handy when going through airport security, normally we checkin a suitcase and have my washbag in there, so the whole idea of putting your liquids, etc into see-through plastic bags for the security checks was new to us. I just emptied my 3D organiser cube into a plastic bag and sailed through security, however my wife ended up needing 5 (yes 5) plastic bags for all her lotions and potions and they confiscated all but one of them (you are only allowed one 20x20cm plastic bag full of cosmetics, with no individual containers more than 100ml). Fortunately she was able to collect them all again when we returned to the airport a few days later.
The packing cube shoulder bag came in very handy. I nearly didn't order it, it was a last second decision before I hit the order button on the website. When I first packed I found my bag was over the 10Kg limit by at least 1Kg, then I discovered that Ryanair allow you to take a small carry-on bag in addition to your main cabin baggage. I forget the exact size limits now but the packing cube shoulder bag fits within them, so I used it to hold my iPad, Kindle and headphones, which not only solved my weight problem with the Aeronaut but also gave me very easy access to my entertainment during the flight.
I felt that the use of the packing cubes and travel tray made life in the hotel room so much more organised. I always knew where everything was and packing again at the end of our trip was so much easier and faster than on previous trips. I loved the travel tray, in the Solar colour it almost glows and it was very useful to keep all the loose bits that tend to spread around your hotel room in one container.
After all that I have to say that I was extremely happy with my first Tom Bihn purchase. With all the extras I ordered and the postage to the UK it was pretty expensive but I can see myself enjoying using this gear for many years.
The only issue now is that after watching all the Tom Bihn videos I really, really want a matching Tristar, even though I don't do any journeys that suit that size of bag, it just looks so damn nice!
Happy travels folks,