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  1. #1
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    Questions and hoping help about the Tri-Star

    Hi there !

    First, please excuse my english !
    I have been looking for a bag since several days, to replace mine.
    I was first hesitant on different brands and models (backpacks and "hybrid" bags), and then I just fell on the Tri-star, that caught my eye instantly.

    But I'm afraid it's too small, and to find myself again in the situation for which I precisely want to change my bag!: I currently have a 40L wheeled-pilot-case that I hate, and in which I have a lot of trouble getting my stuff in. Everything is always too tight (it does not open entirely like a suitcase).
    Obviously I would not like to find myself in the same situation with a new bag (originally I was looking for a bag between 30 and 40L), that's why I rather first looked for bags with large compartments or "buckets" (although I like organized things way more !).
    I have trouble figuring out what can fit in the Tri-Star (I have never used cubes until now). I guess my search is for a one week-type bag.
    I noticed that the packing cubes are 6cm thick, and 9cm for the packing cube backpack, and that each of the outer compartments of the tri-Star could contain 1 big or 1 medium + 1 small .. But I did not find any packing list to see how many clothes the bag or the cubes could hold. (if the bag is too small, I would be very sad but I would still like to buy it !!)

    And my other question is to know if the "backpack" mode of the Tri-Star is a sort of "just in case" and occasional option, or a real comfortable and usable feature ?
    Thank you very much !

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Hi Pna, and welcome to the forums! To me the Tristar was designed with the business traveller in mind while e.g. the A30 or the A45 are a bit more universal. Thus, I use the Tirstar mainly for business trips as it allows to pack things wide and flat which is great for business shirts or a jacket. When I travel with rather informal clothes I like the Aeronauts more because I find them easier to pack. There are some reviews of the Tristar here in this forum and if you use the search engine of this forum or simply Google you will find a lot of discussions about these topics e.g. a discussion of A30 vs. Tristar.

    Enjoy the forum I am sure you'll find useful information on bags here!

    PS: Ah, I forgot about the backpack mode: Although I wouldn't consider the Tristar to be a backpack in the first place, the backpack mode is serious and it allows you to carry the bag for quite a while very comfortably.
    Last edited by bartleby; 07-11-2019 at 01:59 PM.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    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

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Hi @Pna, welcome! I agree with what @bartleby wrote, I'll just add one clarification: A30 and A45 are nicknames for the Aeronaut 30 and Aeronaut 45, which have more of the "bucket" organization than the Tri-Star's long flat sections. I'm a big fan of my Aeronaut 45, and I think its backpack straps are quite good (though of course not as good as on a hiking backpack). I use the backpack straps as my primary way of carrying the bag, and I've also bought the optional waist straps and internal frame to make it easier to carry heavy loads in it. The Tri-Star's backpack straps are the same as the Aeronaut's.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome,

    I don't have it but the Tri-star is Huge (too huge for me, if I want Tri-star like bag I would prefer the Western flyer )
    I saw many videos and posts where people casually fit days of clothes + laptop and work stuff (using packing cubes is reaaally recommended)

    BTW 33L in TB is really mean a full 33L capacity (according to ASTM Standard Measure) ; lot of companies set a capacity a little above the ASTM's (because they don't measure the same way)

    But as said, it depends on what you need x)
    just a Bihnion here

  5. #5
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    Hi @bartleby (nice pseudo!!), @aedifica and @Rei ;

    Thank you for the welcome and for your words! Yes i will read the threads, i had already started.
    Yes I understand for A30 and A45, which are beautiful bags, but I need a real computer compartment, and as I said, I really like the organisation-mode of the Tri-Star.
    I'm just a little afraid he could be a little bit small.
    In fact I should have to look at what the packing cubes might contain, maybe the solution of the mystery is here (or at least a good clue!)!
    I do not know yet if the Tri-Star is the immediate luggage solution to my regular work travels (I hope), but whatever it is I like it and i want to have one )

    @Rei, that was one of my interrogation: you mean for example, that any other random bag that I saw, which seems very large (and therefore sufficient) and which is for example 35 liters, well you mean that the Tri-Star (minus those two liters of course) is equivalent in term of place? (and so that the Tri-Star actually contains more than the A30)?
    Because I wondered if the fact that there is quite a lot of fabric (for compartments) (more than in the big bucket bags), and then if the structure of the bag itself, could lower the size and volume announced, precisely.
    Anyway, thank you again !

  6. #6
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    @Pna,
    I actually have nothing to compare with, I only own a Synapse 25 (Guide edition)
    But as far as I could notice (with my own bags), read and see (through the internet) TB bags can contain a lot
    my 25L TB contains far more than my 22L (another brand) bag (not "only" 3L more)

    When TB (crew) tell liter capacity they really mean it:
    they used to determine the liter capacity through the ASTM standard (as said on any SPEC of TB site bags)
    it looks like they created their own version of ASTM standard => https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...tml#post154051
    (I don't know if there is any update since then, @Moriond?)

    many estimate the capacity through the size of the bag or calculate through the size of each compartment, because :
    1. the estimation/calculation is good enough to know the bag capacity (with margin) and if it is big or small
    2. many people don't care about the (exact) capacity, the size of the bag tells it (or so we used to think)
    that is why I think a TB bag may be bigger than another (random) brand bag with the same labelled liter capacity.


    To sum up, if your another brand uses ASTM or another standard measure to determine the liter capacity, its bags capacity will be likely almost the same as TB, if not TB bag will likely contain more (they don't "cheat" )
    Last edited by Rei; 07-12-2019 at 04:52 AM.
    just a Bihnion here

  7. #7
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    Very, very interesting. Thank you @Rei.
    My concern is that I can not see these bags for real in France.

    It's funny because i've watched the commercial film for the Tri-Star on Youtube, and the guy packed almost nothing into the bag, and i watched different persons packing their Aeronaut 30 with *so many stuff* !! That's surprising !

    I wonder if the absence of hip belt is annoying to carry such a bag (8-9 kg?), I have no experience in travel backpacks
    (The hip belt was one of the requirement on my list

  8. #8
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    If you can, try to test out different sizes and shapes of bags in a store near you, and take note of the length (the part that lies against your spine) of the ones that fit you well . REI has a good guide on how to choose a pack. One thing is that your torso length matters more than height.

    I personally find that up to a certain weight, I prefer to carry my load up high. It makes my back hurt if I wear loads low and on my hip. So for me the hip belt is more about bringing the weight close to my center, but I don't like it to be load-bearing. (Or to put it another way - I don't necessarily need a hip belt, depending on the weight of the load.)

    Another thing that could help is if you take pictures of the actual items you plan to carry in the Tri-Star. People here on the TB forums are often very helpful about doing a test-pack for other people (and posting pics), once they know what your load is like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pna View Post
    I wonder if the absence of hip belt is annoying to carry such a bag (8-9 kg?), I have no experience in travel backpacks
    (The hip belt was one of the requirement on my list
    Last edited by haraya; 07-12-2019 at 05:50 PM.

  9. #9
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    I'll second what @haraya said. Please post photos of what you will be packing. If you can't post photos, then give us a list of everything that you plan to pack. It will help us to show you what will fit and possibly how to pack it, too. elisa

  10. #10
    Forum Member BigBadD's Avatar
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    Fully agree with previous posts. Tom Bihn bag design for quoted litre capacity seems to be fully useable and able to actually carry that bit more compared to other brands quoting the same volume. I have a variety of Tom Bihn bags, but not a Tri-Star, and have never been disappointed by bag volume or useability.

    The backpack carrying of the Aeronauts (very similar to Tri-Star) is practical and comfortable. For the Aeronauts I don’t use a hip belt (but I do recommend the internal frame). But I think this really does vary between individuals and type of usage. I do mainly carry using the backpack straps, but great there are shoulder strap and handle options. But, as @aedifica well points out, any multi usage bag is never going to replace a dedicated backpack for serious hiking.

    I don’t think you will be disappointed in whatever Tom Bihn bag you decide on. The choice seems to be on what volume and level of compartment organisation you are looking for.

    I see you are in France, so if you do happen sometime to be in Toulouse area and would be interested to see some selection of Tom Bihn bags that I have, then let me know and I am sure we can arrange to meet up.
    Last edited by BigBadD; 07-13-2019 at 03:47 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thank you for all your excellent advice and recommendations.
    I carefully read the threads (thanks @bartleby) about different trips with the bag.
    It seems like people put a lot of stuff inside the Tri-Star, sometimes even for eight or ten days.
    I was really pleasantly surprised. (I had sometimes seen online "Three or four days bag ..")

    I am 177cm tall (5.09?).
    About the hip belt, and therefore the weight of the bag, I recently weighed my current bag, it was 11 kilos (24.2 lbs?)
    (But the empty bag weighs already 3 kilos / 6.6).
    It was too heavy and uncomfortable to wear because it is a bag made to be pulled on its wheels, but I wear it almost always crossbody (I hate to roll my bag ..!).
    I guess I usually carry about 8 or 9 kilos of clothes and stuff.

    Thank you for the proposition, @BigBadD! I did not plan to go to Toulouse, unfortunately.
    (As a French resident, do you have an idea of ​​the fees, taxes and delivery time? Thank you!)
    Indeed, I know I will not be disappointed because the bag is anyway beautiful.

    Moreover it's simple: before this bag, I looked at dozens of different bags. I was sometimes seduced by the multiplicity of pockets, and the organization of these bags, but I think a tighter organization may be better (for example, to have my own pouches and put them into the bag)
    I liked some of these, but none impress me as this one.

    I understood why: it has style ! Style, and its character of its own. Not only aesthetically of course, but in the details, the way it is designed, etc.
    It is obvious when you look at the pictures, and I liked that.

    I have thought of a sketchy packing list indeed, according to the various trips:
    -Underwear, socks x6
    -2 shirts
    -4 t-shirts
    -1 (sometimes 2) pants.
    -2 wool sweaters (not too thick!)
    -mackook pro 13
    -sometimes iPad mini
    -Toiletry bag
    -2 or 3 little or medium sized muji pouches with small equipment

    NO extra pair of shoes! (btw in no case my current bag could contain an extra pair of shoes!)

    i will read some additional thread about the packing !

  12. #12
    Forum Member BigBadD's Avatar
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    I use the UPS shipping to France which is $45 fixed rate - so my flawed logic is always to buy more for better value! On top, French import duties are always applied but seem to vary each time, but typically around 20% as it is combination of fixed fee and % of value. UPS delivery has always been good, typically 4-5 working days to home or point relais collecting point.

    As you are finding out, Tom Bihn ownership is not cheap, and it certainly limits my speculative buying. This is where these forums are really helpful to get other users advice. But I have ended up buying a number of different bags and accessories and use them all regularly; and with the quality materials and construction I consider it an investment that will last me many years.
    Last edited by BigBadD; 07-13-2019 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Clarified variation in import duties

  13. #13
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    I have had a TS since they first came out and used it all the time before getting an A45 and now it just depends on the trip which one or combination of them I may take.
    The TS is great by itself as I can easily pack for everything in the same bag.
    It is amazing how much can be crammed into this bag really and all with the computers safely tucked away in the center section where they are also easy to access as needed.

    I can also do about the same thing in the A45 though by using a thin case of some kind for the computers in between Eagle Creek Folders with clothes in them and I doubt it takes up as much space as the extra walls in the TS take for the center compartment in the end?

    I use both as a BackPack as much as possible and even when running through an Airport both are a lot more comfortable to carry a distance than by shoulder carry especially as they get heavier.

    For me my big Clown shoes are always an issue and if I need to take extra shoes the A45 usually gets the job as my shoes fit nicely in the end pockets there where there is no great spot in the TS for them and they just require too much premium space.

    I almost always bring a briefcase of some kind though too so my need of a bag that will also hold the Tech is not what yours may be either?

    I am not about to get rid of either any way I look at it though in the end.

  14. #14
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    Greetings,
    When you pack, do you use any packing cubes? I use them to keep everything organized and neat. elisa

  15. #15
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pna View Post
    [...]

    I wonder if the absence of hip belt is annoying to carry such a bag (8-9 kg?), I have no experience in travel backpacks
    (The hip belt was one of the requirement on my list

    [...]
    as Haraya said, you can try backpacks and see if you like or not with hipbelt (and get some advices) in stores like "au vieux campeur"
    Or ask some friends to borrow their backpack (hiking backpack for hipbelt), fill it with your stuff, and walk for an hour or more once without the hipbelt, then with the hipbelt cliped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pna View Post
    [...]

    (As a French resident, do you have an idea of ​​the fees, taxes and delivery time? Thank you!)

    [...]
    here some of my thoughts/calculation about it:
    https://forums.tombihn.com/questions...ighlight=paris
    https://forums.tombihn.com/just-for-...tml#post169021 (in spoiler)
    Last edited by Rei; 07-15-2019 at 01:32 AM.
    just a Bihnion here

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