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  1. #1
    Forum Member nessagr's Avatar
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    Which fabric should I get for my Western Flyer?

    Every day I change my mind. I've decided I want to get a WF for a few reasons, and can't figure out which fabric would be best for the various uses. I would love to hear your experience with your own WF and chosen fabric. I'm torn between the Steel Ballistic and the Black/ Original Halcyon fabrics.

    Use #1: I'm a professor, and I think the WF would make a great EDC for all the books, folders and laptop I need to carry around campus all day. I do worry it might be too big- I'm a 5' 4" female and wonder if it will look ridiculously large and too much like a suitcase for this purpose. I'm thinking the Halcyon will look a) less formal (that's a good thing) and b) less like luggage than the ballistic. Do you agree with my assessment?

    Use #2: As a personal item with a carry on wheelie bag for the 6 weeks we usually spend in Europe during the summer. I'd like to use the WF as my backpack style bag that I can use as a carry on for shorter trips we may take, leaving my wheelie bag at our home base.

    Use #3: As a main carry on bag for trips up to 10 days or so together with a small shop bag as my personal item.

    I try to never check bags if I can help it. But as a travel bag, I wonder if the ballistic will wear better than the halcyon. But the halcyon is a lighter weight... If I go with halcyon, I'm leaning more towards the Black over the Original, because I'm thinking the white parts of the Original will show dirt more. Would love to hear other people's experiences with these fabrics for uses similar to those listed above. Right now, I'm thinking black halcyon is my top choice, because it's lighter and less formal, but I know a lot of people prefer ballistic for travel bags. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. #2
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    Having owned both materials, here's my feedback.

    Quote Originally Posted by nessagr View Post
    Use #1: I'm a professor, and I think the WF would make a great EDC for all the books, folders and laptop I need to carry around campus all day. I do worry it might be too big- I'm a 5' 4" female and wonder if it will look ridiculously large and too much like a suitcase for this purpose. I'm thinking the Halcyon will look a) less formal (that's a good thing) and b) less like luggage than the ballistic. Do you agree with my assessment?
    The WF is really more luggage than EDC but it can definitely play that role part time. OOTB it doesn't provide much organization (no pen slots, no dedicated laptop area, etc) so you would need some addons for smaller items. As for size, I'm a 5'10" / 200lbs male and its probably on the larger size for a briefcase though not excessively so. I'm guessing it would look big for you. I started with the original halycon and move to the ballistic for two reasons. First, ballistic holds it shape better while the halcyon flops around too much. Second, I think the ballistic looks more professional though at the time black halcyon was not an option. My bag is primarily for one bag work travel so the professional look was important.


    Use #2: As a personal item with a carry on wheelie bag for the 6 weeks we usually spend in Europe during the summer. I'd like to use the WF as my backpack style bag that I can use as a carry on for shorter trips we may take, leaving my wheelie bag at our home base.
    I think the main advantage of the bag is its convertability. If your primary use case is as a backpack, there are probably better options around but others will probably disagree; just my 0.02. Its flat packing style works better for my business travel, its less optimal for general purpose travel though YMMV.


    Use #3: As a main carry on bag for trips up to 10 days or so together with a small shop bag as my personal item.
    I couldn't pack for that long with it but good luck.

    I try to never check bags if I can help it. But as a travel bag, I wonder if the ballistic will wear better than the halcyon. But the halcyon is a lighter weight... If I go with halcyon, I'm leaning more towards the Black over the Original, because I'm thinking the white parts of the Original will show dirt more. Would love to hear other people's experiences with these fabrics for uses similar to those listed above. Right now, I'm thinking black halcyon is my top choice, because it's lighter and less formal, but I know a lot of people prefer ballistic for travel bags.
    I wouldn't think dirt would be an issue with the original halcyon though I believe the black halcyon is a good middle ground between the more professional looks of the ballistic and more casual look of the original. I don't think the weight difference is significant.

  3. #3
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    I've owned the western flyer in both halcyon and ballistic. My use case is as a carry on for European air travel, mainly on budget airlines, and for this the WF is the perfect bag as far as I'm concerned.
    I bought halcyon first and swapped to ballistic for two reasons:
    1) I bought dark grid Nordic halcyon and it was too bright and shiny a colour for me.
    2) the WF has super chunky zips and I found it hard to zip up the halcyon bag, it was as if the zips were too heavy for the fabric or something. I think that is just me, though, as lots of folk have this bag in halcyon and love it.
    I sold the Nordic one on eBay and bought Aubergine ballistic which looks and feels great to me.

    I like both dark grid and white grid black halcyon.

    The white grid in particular seems indestructible and never shows any dirt. It is quite an in your face pattern for a large bag, so you have to be happy to stand out from the crowd I have a side effect in white grid black halcyon with UV lining and it is a fab combination !

    In my experience the dark grid seems to pick up more dirt than the white grid, although I don't know whether that's some sort of optical illusion. It wipes off easy enough and never seems to scuff or stain, much like the ballistic.

    I am 5ft 6 and plus size and my Aubergine WF definitely looks like a suitcase. On my husband, who is very tall, the same size bag looks like a regular briefcase. I think if you are bothered by the size of the bag, choose dark grid black halcyon or black ballistic, so the bag will look smaller, .

    Both fabrics are great, so I would advise you to go for whichever colours really make your heart sing.

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Forum Member readmore's Avatar
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    The WF in ballistic is currently my main travel bag, and I'm a 5'3" female.

    The luggage look. Yup. It looks like luggage on small frames. No getting around it.

    Ballistic over Halcyon. The WF needs that extra bit of stiffness, esp. for your use #1, unless everything you have has its own vertical structure.

    Use #1. The proportions of the WF are not great for papers (lots of wasted space, they will just fall to the bottom of the bag if placed horizontally or tilt sideways if you try to fill it vertically. Not a problem if the bag is stuffed just right all the time, but if there isn't a lot of material to hold the papers in place, they will fall either down or sideways. So... if you always use internal organizers for your papers, I'd say great! But if you're expecting to use it like a regular briefcase, I'd think about it. My MBP15 is dwarfed in the WF

    Use #2. Great! Lately I've only used it backpack style, saving myself the weight of the additional strap.

    Use #3. Absolutely! My only comment on this one is that a zipped shop bag is infinitely more useful for travel than an unzipped one when used as a personal item.

    Dirt on white threads of Original Halcyon - it's never been a problem, I would not consider this a factor in your decision.

    My favorite bag for travel, but I would not use it for an EDC. Just my take. (When I was a grad student, I used my Smart Alec, which had great depth for laptop, papers, books, chargers, lunch, and side pockets for water bottle and keys/phone)

  5. #5
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    My main travel bag is an A30 in Nordic halcyon. There's no problem with durability, it's great. I even checked it once and it came back smudged and beaten, but was like new after I wiped it down with a damp cloth.

    If the other replies have you questioning your choice of a WF, I'll tell you I'm a college professor, and I use an S19 as my ECD for laptop, books, papers (main compartment), dry erase markers, tech accessories, coffee, keys, glasses (outside pockets).... I really love the organization of the Synapse. It's exactly perfect for what I have to haul from my office to class and back, often a half mile walk each way. I rarely need more space, but if I do I just add a tote bag -- usually my Pop Tote, but a ZTSB if I don't have the PT with me.

    The S19 would also work as a personal item with a roller bag, or as part of a two-bag pair for short trips.

    The S22 is more expensive, but even better designed to do double duty as EDC and travel bag... if your laptop fits in the sleeve, you might consider it.

  6. #6
    Forum Member sujo's Avatar
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    I'm 4'11" and worked my way down to a Western Flyer. It is my favorite one-bag option lately. I have done multi-week work trips with it as my only travel bag, which includes one compartment for clothing and one to hold work stuff (Daylight Briefcase, 3-1-1, etc.). The bag is original Black halcyon / ultra violet. I fits under the seat of most planes and can stand vertically in the overhead of many planes.

    Use #1: I don't find the bag too big. I carry it as a backpack and by shoulder strap equally on trips. I had a Brain Bag before and it is very similar in size but easier to carry. I agree that the halcyon does make it look less luggage like. I also have never used it as an EDC, but have considered it. I think it will work, especially if you have a lot of large items. Sometimes, horizontal works better than vertical. I seem to prefer briefcase to backpack in most situations.

    Use #2: I've never used it as personal item with a larger bag, only as a single carry-on or as main luggage with a smaller backpack. However, I think if it was lightly packed it would fit well under a seat without question. Again the halcyon would be great for this.

    Use #3: As mentioned, I have lived out of this bag for weeks. It's all about how you pack. I pack enough to create outfits for 6 days, while doing laundry for socks and underwear in the room. I do a full load of laundry every week. If you are using a personal item with it, you can pack 10 days worth of clothing without issue.

    Now, I will say that I prefer ballistic nylon. I received my WF in a trade. If I had bought it on the TB site, I would have purchased ballistic. It has held up well, even being checked occasionally (finding great wine deals on the road is worth checking a Tom Bihn). Still, I always feel like I'm going to ruin it. I am very careful with it and wonder if the 20+ pound load will rip the shoulder straps. So far, it looks like new and this has been over the course half a dozen trips throughout the year. I just feel more comfortable and confident in ballistic.
    Last edited by sujo; 08-11-2019 at 10:35 AM.

  7. #7
    Forum Member nessagr's Avatar
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    Thank you to everyone for your help. Keeping everyone's thoughts/experience in mind, I ordered the black halcyon the other day. I'm still on the fence about using it as an EDC, I was basically looking for an excuse to use it before I travel to Spain in October. I do look forward to using it for a 10 day trip then, together with a small zippered shop bag or a pop tote I have coming.

  8. #8
    Forum Member NYCWriter's Avatar
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    I just got a Western Flyer this summer and I love it!

    Echoing some of the sentiments above, I'd never consider using it as an EDC -- even given all the books and papers you need to carry.

    The WF is a piece of luggage. Period. As a briefcase it'll always look like you're carrying around a deflated suitcase.

    My suggestion for EDC: Empire Builder. The main compartment is an absolute cavern. It'll hold everything you need without looking like a suitcase:


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