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  1. #1
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    Putting more effort into TB bag choice than my last car purchase. Help!

    This is really a challenging decision. I'm just trying to get a good solid sturdy bag and not have to worry about buying another one again later. I will be spending the next few years traveling very frequently on Spirit and Frontier so I'm looking for a bag which I can place underseat but get the maximum carrying capacity. There are a ton of options which are guaranteed to fit in the sizer and ultimately under the seat, but there are a good selection of bags which MAYBE will work. They don't fit the dimensions, but there exist pictures of the bags both underseats and fitting into the sizers.

    The Aeronaut 30 seems great, and large but I do occasionally travel for work and while I just typically take a tech backpack and a rollaboard on those trip, since it's reimbursed and I fly major carriers, it might be nice to go single bag on those as well so the Aeronaut 30 is not ideal for the tech I have to carry. Technically it's too big, but because of the shape, it seems like it would be easy to scrunch into the sizer.

    The Western Flyer is a great option. The dimensions are just under the allowable (18 x 14 x 8) with the bag being 17.9 x 12 x 7.1. No laptop space, but could easily fit one into the two existing sections with a sling. I don't like the water pouch though, it doesn't make sense to me in such a prime piece of real estate on the bag. I guess I can use it for other stuff, but for this price, I want it to be more multi-functional. Maybe I should just start to carry a water bottle more though, could be a sign.

    The Tristar is a great looking bag. It's only slightly larger than the WF but it looks much bigger and while I've seen pictures of it under seats and even in sizers, I just don't trust it. It has the same water bottle pouch as the WF, but it also has a third deeper pocket which can fit my ipad in a sleeve and a dedicated laptop section. I would assume I could probably fit a thin laptop case maybe with a simple strap so that I could take the laptop and a pen and pad to meetings.

    Some other considerations. I love the burnt orange color and that's only available now in the Tristar. I would have to move down to maybe my third or fourth favorite colorway if I went with the A30 and the WF has my second favorite. My first trip comes up before the burnt orange will be available on the A30 but honestly it's just a color.

    They are, not that it matters, but: 1. Burnt Orange, 2. Navy/Wasabi, 3 (tie). Verde, 4 (tie). Steel/Wasabi (I like Wasabi inside)

    I think I prefer the look of the A30 and I could see myself getting that and maybe adding a brain bag or S18/25 down the line.

    Should I be considering the S25 here? it misses the 18 x 14 x 8 in two dimensions, coming in at 20 x 13.4 x 9.1 but it also seems the most scrunchable of the options.

    Anyway, sorry for this somewhat long winded stream of consciousness post but I have a feeling I am not the only one that has struggled with the options.

  2. #2
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Sounds like the western flier would be your best bet, however, speaking from experience, getting you favourite color is important. Settling for one that is only so-so will bug you. Try to at least get your top three color combos. If you didn't need to carry electronics I would definitely suggest the aeronaut 30. Have you considered an A30 with a daylight briefcase tucked inside?

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  3. #3
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    I agree the Western Flyer is a terrific choice for what you’re describing. It does very well with a mix of clothes and either work papers or a laptop. It fits under seats, and it is a pleasure to carry either on an Absolute Strap or in backpack mode. I have one small and one large packing squares. I like packing clothes or papers into them for “three quarters” of the bag and having a “quarter” of the bag with shoes or loose stuff I stuff sacks.

    I would tell you not to worry about the water bottle holder. I’ve never used it for water. It works as space to carry whatever you want. The “bottle holding” piece just gives you extra space — for a bottle, for snacks, for whatever you want.

  4. #4
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    As a frequent A30 user, here's my opinion.

    It isn't a personal item, it's a carry-on. You'll have to under-pack it to smash it in the sizer bins, but it's perhaps more rigid than you're imagining (especially if you keep the foam padding on the bottom). It'll be obvious to any gate agent that you're pushing a big bag in a small bin. Technically since a personal item is supposed to go under the seat in front of you, that's against the rules, since it will expand back out and (possibly) cause someone exiting the aircraft in an emergency to trip -- or so I've been told.

    So I'd flatly say the A30 is out if you definitely want it to always be a personal item.

    Otherwise, in terms of tech stuff, it's not great for carrying a laptop since it isn't compatible with the cache system Tom Bihn has. You can, however, just throw the laptop between two packing cubes in the center compartment and it's probably about as protected as anywhere else, especially if you put it in a protective sleeve. So it is possible, certainly. My opinion, however, is that the A30 is a clothes bag. It works really well for your clothes, toiletries, a pair of shoes, and that's about it.

    If you want a one-bag travel option that fits a laptop well, the Tristar seems appealing, though I'd be kind of concerned about making everything fit exactly right into 3 separate compartments. An S25 is probably closer to being a personal item, and it is fine for carrying a laptop, but you'll be packing awfully light and you probably are over an inch or two top-to-bottom.

    Depending on how minimal you travel, a stowaway might be a good option, assuming if fits your laptop. Or, since you're getting reimbursed for this travel, pay for overhead bin space. (Sigh, what has air travel come to?)

  5. #5
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    I think I am going with the WF. Thanks for the frank input.

  6. #6
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    Now I'm at the part where I debate with myself why I'm spending close to $400 for a bag and a few accessories. Smilie

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4powells View Post
    Now I'm at the part where I debate with myself why I'm spending close to $400 for a bag and a few accessories. Smilie
    Every time I see my NFTD in the top of my closet, I just smile. If a new bag makes you happy, and doesn't cause you to default on your student loans, why not indulge? Heart Eyes

    Theresa

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tress29 View Post
    Every time I see my NFTD in the top of my closet, I just smile. If a new bag makes you happy, and doesn't cause you to default on your student loans, why not indulge? Heart Eyes

    Theresa
    Same! My NFTD sits in my closet as my emergency bag, in case I have to take one of the kids to the emergency room at night (this has happened twice). The NFTD holds a change of clothes for me and each child, toothbrushes/toiletries, toys from party bags, and most importantly, a phone charger. I feel happy every time I see the bag, knowing it is there if I need it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Same! My NFTD sits in my closet as my emergency bag, in case I have to take one of the kids to the emergency room at night (this has happened twice). The NFTD holds a change of clothes for me and each child, toothbrushes/toiletries, toys from party bags, and most importantly, a phone charger. I feel happy every time I see the bag, knowing it is there if I need it.
    That is such a brilliant idea!
    A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

    TB Newbie Rainbow First factory visit - 9/21/2018

    Heart’s desire: a S19 or S25 in original NORDIC.

  10. #10
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    Think a side effect will fit into the water bottle space on the WF? Is there a d-ring inside that pouch?

  11. #11
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    The SE will fit but, even empty, it’s a tight fit. No o-ring in that pocket.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderlust77 View Post
    The SE will fit but, even empty, it’s a tight fit. No o-ring in that pocket.
    I believe you. The site doesn't list an o-ring in the water bottle compartment, but Ellie's video she says there is one....

    https://youtu.be/wcFxhGZfW5k?t=507

  13. #13
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    Done. Ordered. Smilie

    WF Navy/Wasabi
    Absolute Strap
    Packing Cube Backpack for TS/WF Island Halcyon
    2 Small Wasabi Packing Cubes
    Wasabi 3-D Clear 3-1-1 Organizer

  14. #14
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4powells View Post
    Now I'm at the part where I debate with myself why I'm spending close to $400 for a bag and a few accessories. Smilie
    My very first TB order was just under $300... at the time, that was an insane amount of money for me. My BFF's destination wedding was approaching, and I realized that I had accidentally put more into my savings account than I actually needed for my quarterly estimated taxes. At that point, it was "extra money" meaning I'd budgeted around not having it for bills, savings, and expenses, but I STILL spent a couple of days convincing myself that I should spend it on a new bag. I'm so glad I talked myself into it

    You'll be happy to know that that steel Aeronaut (45, but back then there was only one size) is still going strong and still makes me smile when I look in my closet after 9.5 years.

    TL;DR: Just do it!! Big Grin
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

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