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  1. #1
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    Help deciding on a bag?

    I am on the market for a new bag, specifically for traveling. I like the smaller TB items that I have (like the cache) and am looking for the right bag for me. I thought the A45 was it until I started reading around on these forums and now I am unsure. I am worried that it may be too big. I am not the most minimalist packer either. I am somewhere between minimalist and "better safe than sorry" when it comes to how much I pack. I am a 5'9 female with a small frame. I plan on traveling a lot very soon, so the sooner I can nail down a bag to order the better. I am flying back home to Wyoming this coming summer for about two weeks. Then later in the summer I am going on a Europe trip (Spain, France, Austria, Greece, Romania, etc). That will probably be about a month, but I fully plan on doing laundry so I don't need to pack for that long. I also don't need to it fulfill a "backpacking" purpose, I have a lovely Topo backpack for that, which I might use as my personal bag on flights too. If not, it folds up quite small.

    With that being said, what would you recommend based on your experience?

    I have also researched packing methods and looked around on these forums for suggestions as well. I think I am going to go with 4 small packing cubes (that is, if I go with the A45). But if you have a tried and true method worth sharing, by all means please do. Any other small TB items that are worth it, let me know as well. I also love a good picture if you have some. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    From my limited experiences these past two months, I will volunteer that there's no substitute for handling and test packing them. I got a Tri-Star and an A45 to try out and have found them to be both wonderful but have fairly different feels. The TS is just what I want for a business trip or other shorter trip on which I can pack mostly flat (button down or polo shirts and khakis providing most of the volume), and the A45 would be better for a longer and or more casual trip with more stuff of different dimensions to cram in there. (And if you think the A45 might be too much, the A30 might be worthwhile too - I'm bigger (5'11" man with regular/big frame) so if I could fit in the A30 I'd just use the TS.

    The "downside" of my suggestion is that what happened to me might happen to you ---- I may switch colors but I'm buying them both Smilie

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    +1 for handling and test packing being immensely helpful. everyone packs differently and has different opinions about what might be too much / too big or heavy to carry for a given period of time.

    I'm of a similar build as you, just a couple inches shorter, and seems like we have a similar packing style, too. My A45 has long been my workhorse because it has always managed to fit everything I needed and is comfortable stuffed to the gills, underpacked (packing cubes really do help keep things from getting too jumbled in that situation), and most points in between. I have an A30 too, but I honestly don't notice a huge difference in comfort compared to the A45 despite the obvious difference in size.

    as for accessories, the travel trays are really great for emptying pockets before airport security and shuttling between different lodging every few nights. I particularly like using the larger one for easy corralling of my nighttime bedside bits and bobs (meds / phone and watch chargers / lip balm / earplugs for when my other half snores like a dang monster truck, those sorts of things). I highly recommend giving one of those a shot.

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Your trip to Europe sounds as it will be AMAZING. But it also sounds like a lot of traveling around. Not sure if you are considering other bags like the Tri Star or Western Flyer, since I have non of these two I will only talk A45 vs A30:

    I am quite a bit taller than you so initially I bought the A45 and used it quite a bit. It is a relayable workhors and will deffinatly handle all that you describe. But after a while I started to see the merriets of taking as little as posslible by still staying compftable of cause. Less luggage to fuss over more fun on travel I feel.
    So I bought the A30 and I have to say it does very well. And as you are smaller and also are prepeared to do laundry I am pritty sure you can get away with the A30.
    On the other hand: I personaly feel, that the A45 undperpacks very well. Meaning it does not look weird or "hungry" if you not fill it all up. So you could go for the bigger bag and leave yourself that bit of extra space "just in case".

    Ilkyway
    “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  5. #5
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    Hello,

    my two cents on the Tri-Star: it's like cazique said - it's predominantly a business travel bag where you have to pack flat. I love mine - I use it every week for work travel and I've never been happier with a three-days-two-nights-1-bag-only-workbag. (And I have tried A LOT of bags). BUT for non business travel I dont want to have to be super organized, and then it's not the best. It's not made to be flexible and does not have a ton of places to put "odd shapes". Although if you are not bringing a larger laptop and can put another large packing cube in the middle compartment I think you could fit more than enough clothes for what you describe. But most importanlty - since you are bringing another carry on I assume you will have to check whatever other bag you bring? Especially on European airlines, and the TriStar is not a checkin bag. Other bigger bags will be mean to it. I dont have an A45/30 so can´t recommend based on personal experience, but I'd definilty go for that style of bag vs. the TS for this purpose. (By that I mean a bag with a bigger compartment for flexibility).

    Hope this helped some, and have a fantastic summer in Europe! Smilie

    Cheers,
    Nam

  6. #6
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    I have the A30 and WF, and the D36 (Medium Road Duffle on the Dogs page).

    My favorite is the D36. It's just that bit bigger than the A30, and it's lighter because it doesn't have the backstraps.

    I don't think I could carry an A45. A fully packed A30, WF, or D36 is the limit of the weight and size I can carry as a 5'5" tall medium build woman.

    I've carried all 3 at different times for week long trips where I wore everything I brought twice. I actually had room to spare in the D36 for gifts, but the A30 and WF were packed with just my stuff.

  7. #7
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    I took an A45 on a trip around Europe and it was perfect. I am 5'7". You don't have to pack it full - mine wasn't stuffed when I left - but it was by the end as I bought a few souvenirs. It absorbed them easily.

    I also took a medium cafe bag, which was just right for day use as I prefer a messenger bag to a backpack.

    I also had a shopping bag which was perfect for buying food, carrying extras occasionally, etc.

  8. #8
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    I just got a Western Flyer original halcyon with a large packing cube for a two week trip to Peru. It holds all the clothes i plan on bringing in the single large compartment and everything else will fit easily on the other side. The packing cube was necessary because it seemed like everything loose would jump out when you unzipped the clamshell side. I have a tendency to fill bags whether or not i need the stuff which would make anything bigger too heavy. But i do travel really light. I tried an Aeronaut 30 as well in ballistic, but it was so stiff, and i didn't think was going to work as well as the WF.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apresski View Post
    Hello,

    my two cents on the Tri-Star: it's like cazique said - it's predominantly a business travel bag where you have to pack flat. I love mine - I use it every week for work travel and I've never been happier with a three-days-two-nights-1-bag-only-workbag. (And I have tried A LOT of bags). BUT for non business travel I dont want to have to be super organized, and then it's not the best. It's not made to be flexible and does not have a ton of places to put "odd shapes". Although if you are not bringing a larger laptop and can put another large packing cube in the middle compartment I think you could fit more than enough clothes for what you describe. But most importanlty - since you are bringing another carry on I assume you will have to check whatever other bag you bring? Especially on European airlines, and the TriStar is not a checkin bag. Other bigger bags will be mean to it. I dont have an A45/30 so can´t recommend based on personal experience, but I'd definilty go for that style of bag vs. the TS for this purpose. (By that I mean a bag with a bigger compartment for flexibility).

    Hope this helped some, and have a fantastic summer in Europe! Smilie

    Cheers,
    Nam
    I looked into the Tri-Star, but since I will be gone for a month or so it was not in my realm of thought. You say you just use it for business? How long have you been gone for using the Tri-star?

    As for checking bags and such in Europe. I will be flying Delta and its affiliates like Air France, etc. I can have a carry on and one personal bag (much like US flights).

    Thanks for your input!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    I have the A30 and WF, and the D36 (Medium Road Duffle on the Dogs page).

    My favorite is the D36. It's just that bit bigger than the A30, and it's lighter because it doesn't have the backstraps.

    I don't think I could carry an A45. A fully packed A30, WF, or D36 is the limit of the weight and size I can carry as a 5'5" tall medium build woman.

    I've carried all 3 at different times for week long trips where I wore everything I brought twice. I actually had room to spare in the D36 for gifts, but the A30 and WF were packed with just my stuff.
    I am not at all familiar with the D36 since I have just been looking to the A30 and A45. So now you have given me something to think about! However, I am not too concerned with weight. I am a graduate student. I have been carrying a heavy backpack load all throughout undergrad and now grad. So I think I could definitely do it through airports, train stations, to hotels, etc. Even if it is just a little heavier than what I am used to. I won't be taking anything too heavy, I will leave my MBPr at home!

    Not to be too nosey, but do you have pictures of your A30 and what you can pack inside it? I'm pretty visual.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    Your trip to Europe sounds as it will be AMAZING. But it also sounds like a lot of traveling around. Not sure if you are considering other bags like the Tri Star or Western Flyer, since I have non of these two I will only talk A45 vs A30:

    I am quite a bit taller than you so initially I bought the A45 and used it quite a bit. It is a relayable workhors and will deffinatly handle all that you describe. But after a while I started to see the merriets of taking as little as posslible by still staying compftable of cause. Less luggage to fuss over more fun on travel I feel.
    So I bought the A30 and I have to say it does very well. And as you are smaller and also are prepeared to do laundry I am pritty sure you can get away with the A30.
    On the other hand: I personaly feel, that the A45 undperpacks very well. Meaning it does not look weird or "hungry" if you not fill it all up. So you could go for the bigger bag and leave yourself that bit of extra space "just in case".

    Ilkyway
    I thought about taking something even much smaller than the A30, but I am just not sure that is feasible on my EU trip. I am pretty sure I am flying into Dublin, going to London and then taking the train into Paris and then exploring more of the EU. So I will definitely be on trains a lot. The most it would be on my back is moving through airports and train stations, then I will be seated. No extreme backpacking. But how much can I actually fit into a A30? I am looking to take more than 2 pairs of pants and a few shirts.

  12. #12
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    A belated welcome!

    Given the type of travel you will be doing, I think it is very wise to use a bag that has backpack straps, at least as an option. IMO, for Europe—especially southern Europe—in summer, the A30 would be a good-size-for-most, though of course it depends on your precise packing list. The small cube packing strategy tends to work very well: you can flat-pack your pants at the bottom of the bag and then nestle the cubes on top. If you are moving around a lot though, like from day to day, I would advise perhaps using fewer cubes, but slightly larger ones, since they won't need to be re-packed quite as precisely as the small cubes would.

    To answer your question of "How much can I actually fit into an A30?", you can fit in more if the items are small and light (e.g., linen pants instead of Carhartt work pants) and if you pack minimal shoes and electronics. However, more should probably not always be the objective. If you have the ability to do laundry say, once per week, I actually think 2 pairs of pants and a few shirts are plenty. If your shirts and underwear are made from merino wool or a high-quality synthetic (such as Patagonia Capilene), you can sink wash and they'll dry overnight. Merino socks can also go a couple of days without a wash even in summer if they're allowed to air out and dry. Even if you're packing regular cotton clothes, choosing lightweight pants and focusing on having changes of shirts and underwear will help you manage weight and bulk.

    Another bag option to consider is the Brain Bag: it's 36L and I can fit nearly as much into it as I can into the Aeronaut 45. The two large compartments can be really handy. (It's also supremely functional as a school bag, fwiw.) Accessories: I second the Travel Tray; I also like the Q-kit for coins, and the 3D Organizer Cube is a very useful size—I use one for toiletries and occasionally a second for office supplies, chargers, etc.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMM14 View Post

    Not to be too nosey, but do you have pictures of your A30 and what you can pack inside it? I'm pretty visual.
    I did a photo comparison of the A30 vs. the D36 here:

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

    Just keep scrolling down to see what gets packed in it.

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