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  1. #1
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    Trying to decide if the Western Flyer is the right bag...

    I have been a long time lurker here. Finally decided to join and post since I'm having issues finding any information or even just videos on the Western Flyer. I really thought I had decided on an A30 but went through all the travel bags again just to be sure and wanting to either switch to choosing the WF or eliminating it for sure.

    Some details, I'm a minimalist that has been working for years to get my travel bag down to the smallest size possible. Our goal over the next five years is to get as many international trips in as possible with the idea that we are going to move to Central Europe in 5 years and travel from there. I love the look of the S25, but i don't take enough little bits with me to justify all the pockets and I would rather have at least two ways of carrying it. I love the A30, but the cost is giving me some sticker shock, though I'll pay it if it means getting the perfect bag. I just want to be certain it is the perfect bag for what I want.

    Aside from my 1000 cu inches of clothing (sometimes less), I usually carry a small toiletries kit about .5 a liter size, a liquids bag no more than 1l, one pair of TOMS or similar flats, a Kindle 7th gen, iPod shuffle and earbuds, my LG V20 cell phone and the charging cords with a wall plug and international adaptor, my travel documents and a wallet.

    I might be adding a 12-14 inch laptop and charging cord soon, but I don't plan on taking it every trip.

    I am not insistent on one bag only and might consider something like a Travel Cubelet or carrying my Patagonia Mini messenger as my personal item on trips if needed. I'm even open to reconsidering a different bag from TB if you have a suggestion. I'm just really wanting to keep it to 30L or less. I really love the idea of using backpack straps but also being able to throw it over my shoulder and have access to my passport and wallet which has been a source of repeated frustration with my current backpack only bag. I guess this is more of a general asking for advice than a specific question, but I am at the end of what my own research will get me and still can't decide!! Is the Western Flyer the best of both or is the A30 worth the extra cash?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TravelGearJunkie View Post
    I have been a long time lurker here. Finally decided to join and post since I'm having issues finding any information or even just videos on the Western Flyer. I really thought I had decided on an A30 but went through all the travel bags again just to be sure and wanting to either switch to choosing the WF or eliminating it for sure.

    Some details, I'm a minimalist that has been working for years to get my travel bag down to the smallest size possible. Our goal over the next five years is to get as many international trips in as possible with the idea that we are going to move to Central Europe in 5 years and travel from there. I love the look of the S25, but i don't take enough little bits with me to justify all the pockets and I would rather have at least two ways of carrying it. I love the A30, but the cost is giving me some sticker shock, though I'll pay it if it means getting the perfect bag. I just want to be certain it is the perfect bag for what I want.

    Aside from my 1000 cu inches of clothing (sometimes less), I usually carry a small toiletries kit about .5 a liter size, a liquids bag no more than 1l, one pair of TOMS or similar flats, a Kindle 7th gen, iPod shuffle and earbuds, my LG V20 cell phone and the charging cords with a wall plug and international adaptor, my travel documents and a wallet.

    I might be adding a 12-14 inch laptop and charging cord soon, but I don't plan on taking it every trip.

    I am not insistent on one bag only and might consider something like a Travel Cubelet or carrying my Patagonia Mini messenger as my personal item on trips if needed. I'm even open to reconsidering a different bag from TB if you have a suggestion. I'm just really wanting to keep it to 30L or less. I really love the idea of using backpack straps but also being able to throw it over my shoulder and have access to my passport and wallet which has been a source of repeated frustration with my current backpack only bag. I guess this is more of a general asking for advice than a specific question, but I am at the end of what my own research will get me and still can't decide!! Is the Western Flyer the best of both or is the A30 worth the extra cash?
    I have used both but not extensively, and there are many on here who can give much better advice than me, but I think that a lot will depend on how you like to pack as the A30 really is more "duffel" with big useful exterior pockets at each end, whereas the WF is more "suitcase" and I found that the front zipped pockets could be a bit tight to access if the bag itself was fully packed. Both have pros and cons so you probably need to see/try them both if possible to be sure! Even then it can be a hard decision!!!
    The Brain Bag, although a backpack, has a very comfortable top carry handle as well as really good backpack straps, plus it can cinch down to reduce the overall size. It has fewer exterior pockets than the S25 but they are, for me, easier to use. I would also add that if you are considering carrying the bag on your back for long periods of time during the trips then the BB would be my preferred option over the A30 or WF.
    With regard to the A30 the recently introduced options of internal frame and padded hip belts do certainly help with heavy load carrying.
    I hope that you find a happy conclusion to your hunt and that you enjoy your upcoming trips with whatever bag you decide upon.
    Last edited by KAB; 07-18-2018 at 03:25 AM.

  3. #3
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    I've owned both bags. They have very different packing styles but hold about the same amount of stuff. I ended up getting rid of both and buying an A45, which might be more bag than you want.

    I really like the main sections of the WF, but I didn't like the flat front pockets or the water bottle pocket. I had a hard time putting anything in them that wasn't perfectly flat. And I still can't figure out how to use the water bottle pocket, since I don't carry a water bottle. I'm still considering if I want to rebuy a WF. I really do like the bag.

    I like the idea of the A30, but I found the 2-D acreage too small for my flat packing style. Plus, the end pockets on the A45 hold my stuff better. The A30 end pockets were a little tight for me. If I put the exact same things in an A45, I can pack it easier and it feels better on my back.

    If you're a flat packer, go with the WF. If you roll your clothing, then you might like the A30 better. If you are bringing a laptop, you might like the WF better. Both bags will easily hold a TC as your purse, so you don't have to wear it separately.

    Having owned both bags, I highly recommend buying both and test packing them, and returning the one you don't like. I really had to use mine before I learned what I liked and didn't like about each bag.

    P.S. The Eagle Creek Specter Medium packing folder fits perfectly in the back compartment of the WF.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 07-18-2018 at 05:05 AM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member sujo's Avatar
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    I agree with BWeaves.

    I had an A30 but traded it when I realized I could not pack it the same as my A45. However, I recently acquired a Western Flyer and LOVE IT!!! I usually pack in a large Western Flyer packing cube: 2 pair pants, a cardigan, 2 long sleeve tops, 3 short sleeve tops, shorts, t-shirt, 2 socks, 2 undies, a bra and a pair of Luna sandals. That goes in the front compartment. In the back compartment, I fit my toiletries in a 3D Clear Organizer Cube, a No. 2 Travel Stuff Sack loosely packed with odds and ends, and a Daylight Briefcase with my laptop and work stuff. I'm 4'11" and my sandals are women's size 7.5. They usually fit in the front zippered pocket. So your mileage may vary. If you are a flat packer (a sleeve of clothing and a sleeve of other stuff), then the WF probably will be all you need. If you like to pack deep, the A30 will be better.

    And on a side note, I had a Brain Bag and did like how it packed. I just didn't like how it fit me when full and I also like to have carry options.

    As most say here, order both, pack them and carry them around the house. Send back the one that doesn't feel right.

  5. #5
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    What drew me to the WF was not just the one-bag travel, but the one-bag concept overall. It has been my daily work carry brief, business travel bag, and vacation travel bag for trips of almost any length (just got back from 8 days, cross-country flight with the kids; everything fit under our seats). Businessy-enough over the shoulder, in backpack mode it is nerdy enough to fit in at a hostel. If sticker shock is an issue, I would imagine the A30 would be better; I invested ~$550 in the bag and accessories to get the kind of functionality out of the WF that I really like. But that said, it has spent the better part of 5 years subjected to daily use and abuse that a similarly-priced Tumi would not have handled, and I have suppressed the temptation to get another TB bag to complement it.

    It does pack more like a suitcase, so it is less forgiving of disorganization or thoughtlessness in packing than a duffel of any kind. And it isn't particularly well suited to being lived out-of; most of my travels have been to hotels or with family where I can hang things, put them in shelves, or drawers after I arrive. Though I did change clothes in an airport restroom once without anything touching the floor, so it's certainly possible!

    Shoe size is a limiting factor for some with both models. I can get size 12 trainers in the WF front pocket, but oxford soles will stretch the bag sideways so it can't be packed as tightly to bulge out the back. A45 will be better if you want to be able to haul hiking boots around.

    On a side note, I use the water bottle pocket all the time. I keep a Vapur .5L collapsible bottle in there and usually fill it when I get through TSA or before a long drive somewhere. Unless the bag is positively bulging, I can zip it into the pocket entirely when full.

  6. #6
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    I would tend to pick the WF over the A30 for travel with a laptop. Reason being that the main centre compartment on the A30 measures about 12 x 12 inches (check the packing cube dimensions and you'll see what I mean) so to get a laptop in which is larger, you'll need to have the laptop at the bottom of that centre compartment, and you'll need to unzip one of the side partitions to get it in. Whereas with the WF, both main compartments are 18 x 12 inches and can accept a 15 inch laptop with ease, so you'll never have to faff about with zips or think about where you're putting things.

    I agree with all previous comments re packing style, shoes and try before you buy.

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Thank everyone for your thoughts. It gives me a few good ideas about what I really want out of a bag and I think I'm really leaning towards the WF even more. I am a size 8 women's shoe and because I mostly wear dresses, I do flat pack rather than roll. I also only need a few flat pockets since I don't carry much more than a Kindle and cell phone in my easy access pockets. Hearing that the Eagle Creek folder I already own will fit well in it also pushes me towards the WF as well since I won't have to re-buy all my packing cubes.

  8. #8
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    With the EC Specter Medium packing folder, I found it easy to "live out of" the WF. I'd slip it out, take what I wanted or refold what I was done with, slip it back in the WF. I confess, I love that the WF sits up straight for packing. I love that you can open it completely up, but you don't have to.

    (Must not talk self into rebuying a WF. There are zip top shop bags to buy.)
    Last edited by BWeaves; 07-19-2018 at 06:42 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    (Must not talk self into rebuying a WF. There are zip top shop bags to buy.)
    pssst...but think how well the new zip top tote will fold up and fit into a WF along with the EC folder...and look at all the lovely colours the WF comes in....




    not that we enable or anything here in the Forums....

  10. #10
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Just a comment on the Western Flyer front pockets to add to the conversation.

    You do need to ensure you pack flat in the two horizontal zipped ones. But they are perfect for phones, passports, keys and even kindle/iPads. All the stuff I want quick access to which you can do whilst carrying over the shoulder (you donít even need to remove it from your shoulder). I just couldnít do this as easily with the A30.

    The water bottle pocket is occasionally used for a water bottle which it does do well. It bulges outwards so bear that in mind but does provide more space as it doesnít eat into the internal space. More typically though I use it for dropping bits into going through security. I find it a very useful pocket for occasional and supplemental use.

    Iím biased as I love the Western Flyer and Tristar layout/design but I think for lightweight travel, the WF is a functional, practical (slightly geek chic) = incredible.
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

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