The Tom Bihn Aeronaut takes
on the challenge of offering an innovative user and
task focused carry-on bag that takes cues from the
timeless cargo bags, but softens the typical 'boxy'outlines
with aerodynamic curves instead. As airlines strive
to penalize customers with fines for oversized and
overweight carry-on's the Aeronaut
is the best solution that combines maximum volume
and minimized weight with durability, styling and
user comfort. This is the Jenny Craig© of overhead
compartment bags. In true Tom Bihn style- form and
function are evenly matched. Ergonomic, flexible and
user accommodating- the Aeronaut is sure to make your
next journey a pleasure. Throughout our maiden run
with it the onomatopoeia that kept springing into
my head was 'sproing!'. This best
describes the feeling of carrying the Aeronaut with
the shoulder strap across one's chest. A pair of mated
hand straps and a tuck-away backpack system make it
flexible for changing situations. Since it's airline
compliant -two end handles make for quick and sure
retrieval during the disembark rush that inevitably
sees less endowed passengers struggling with thier
3 Lära Bars
|2, Toilet Kits
2, dress socks
2, Gift flashlights
1, Bottle of Pepto Bismol
4oz bottle of detergent
|1,Two-piece suit (Summerweight Wool)
1, Dress shirt
1, Silk short sleeve shirt
1, Pr Chinos
1, Long sleeve 'T'shirt
1, Dress Tie & Cufflinks + 1,Handkerchief
1, Pr Gym shorts
1, athletic supporter
3, Prs Ultralight under pants
4, Prs ultralight Under-'T' shirts
1, Pr Casual cargo shorts
5 small gift boxes in Large Tom Bihn Sack
1, Radio Shack Door-wedge alarm
1,Pr Dress shoes stuffed with...
3, Lära Bars
|Net weight fully loaded
as tested - 23Lbs ( Includes
Tom Bihn Absolute Shoulder Strap)
First Field Trial of the
- Drop dead gorgeous curvy silhouette.
- Orientation of hand straps & shoulder straps
make huge sense for carry and retrieval
- I hardly remembered the hidden backpack straps!
They tuck away very seamlessly thanks to the elegant
zipper closure. Backpack comfort is very good - the
padding on the spine-facing side of the Aeronaut gives
it a good feel . Sternum strap is a nice touch. It
could double as a day-pack with no problem!
- Space allocation is top notch. Thanks to Tom Bihn
and Eagle Creek organizers, my various categories
of garments all fit inside perfectly. Two toilet kits
fit in the side compartments , a pair of dress shoes
in the main and there was still plenty of room for
four small gift boxes.
- Seamed zippers open and close effortlessly .The
pull tabs have generous holes in them for locks.
- End mounted grab straps are curvilinear and easy
to grab, giving the Aeronaut three sides by which
it can be retrieved from overhead compartments.
- Fabrication quality is top notch and precise. There
are no wrinkles or bulging anywhere- and yet all structural
elements have self supporting form resulting from
the structural dynamics and inherit material stiffness.
An empty Aeronaut looks 'pumped up' - making the packing
process a breeze.
- Materials are top notch as well. Both the heavy
denier waterproof Nylon fabric and the huge YKK zippers
look like they can survive many years of frequent
travel- especially by Air, Train or Bus.
- Color- I like the red that was chosen very much.
Its Pantone equivalent is 186MC A very neutral
red. Let's name it Rojo Picanté in honor of
its maiden voyage. The black piping and straps really
give the Aeronaut a polished, Jet Set look.
-Carry comfort. Thanks to the narrow profile of the
Aeronaut when hand carried, the center of weight is
closer to the user than on comparable luggage. This
actually makes the Aeronaut more comfortable to carry
as the user's arm stays close to their body. In addition,
the High/Narrow profile keeps weight distributed in
the same axis as the user- vertical.
- Backpack straps. The access zipper so cleverly echoes
the design of the main zippered compartment, only
the fact that it runs as a short curved line- is a
clue to what's hiding inside. The straps deploy very
quickly and are simply connected to short 'Fastex-style'
snaps that are revealed by pulling them out of their
peek-a-boo nooks! I'm not sure if anyone else has
designed so elegant a concealed backpack strap arrangement.
It's the sort of thing that brings a smile on your
face when you first encounter it.
Once connected, the access port zipper remains open.
I felt an inner urge to close it- but why? The converted
Aeronaut then back mounts and feels good on the shoulders
and back. The included sternum strap is useful in
controlling lateral motion. No waist strap is included
and the Aeronaut doesn't need one.
- Where do I put my drink bottle?. I was about to
gripe about the lack of a bottle pouch- when it hit
me. One of the ends has a diagonally oriented zipper
pocket that would easily accommodate an 16oz bottle
or Three juice boxes! I tested it and indeed- a 16oz
cylindrical bottle or Three, 4oz juice boxes fit perfectly
if the host compartment beneath isn't over packed!
Some details that make the difference
- Metal hardware. That's right! Black anodized steel
strap snaps and attachment anchors as well as the
metal zipper pulls - give the Aeronaut 'Premium' travel
luggage status . No nastily 'snap-offs' during a hurried
retrieval or at the hands of abusive luggage handlers
or conveyors. The shoulder strap adjustment ladders
are polymer- minimizing weight and putting durability
where it really belongs- at points that will bear
the brunt of travel abuse.
- Harmony between the three carry options ( Hand,
Shoulder and Backpack). As I mentioned earlier, the
hand and shoulder straps are oriented on the long/narrow
side and the backpack straps on the broad side but
here's a special detail often missed is less intelligently
designed luggage. All compartments- main and secondary-
can be opened without in any manner interfering with
the carry strap , shoulder strap or backpack straps.
Lest you dismiss this point as trivial; consider that
during a security search the hand straps on some carry-on's
may have to be unsnapped to give the security officer
access to a compartment directly beneath it. Because
the Aeronaut's compartment openings are all around
and outside the strapping, there's never any fumbling
with straps to accomplish this task- The Aeronaut
handles searches with grace and aplomb!
- Contoured edges. In true Tom Bihn form, the Aeronaut
is designed with the same signature 'curvature of
edges that not only make it aesthetically pleasing
, but also ergonomically pleasant in terms of interactions
with the user as well as architectural and structural
edges. Simply put, it's visually and physically snag-resistant.
-Thoughtful mesh inner compartments. These can hold
obvious small items but consider this possibility.
I 'll print a copy of my Itinerary for the maiden
journey, as well as a photocopy of my Passport. These
can be neatly tucked into the main compartment's flap-
which has a zippered mesh pocket for a liner. That
way if you're luggage tag is ever severed off- airport
personnel can easily find your Itinerary at the top
of the main hatch!
Almost nothing- but I would have liked to see the
outside bottom panel covered with a floor & street
proof material, as I suspect that the showroom new
look of the Aeronaut will not last for long on that
side of the bag if its subjected to contact with dirty
pavements or other grimy surfaces.
-Primarily the Air, Bus or Train riding traveler.
The Aeronaut has a strong secondary market in Students,
Athletes,Journeymen and Professionals that are currently
using less curvaceous cargo bags or backpacks. The
Aeronaut is the ideal 'Weekender' bag as well.
& Build -
Sizes-Airline Carry-on specifications compliant
Geometry- Aerodynamic cargo.
Material- Made of 1050 Ballistic nylon; lined of 200
denier nylon with a Dyeema (like Spectra) ripstop.Braided
nylon-cord zipper pulls with polymer terminal tabs.
Aerodynamic and ergonomic contours give it a 'stuffed
pillow' feel that loves to be hugged, carried or hauled.
Superb strap orientations make it easy on shoulder
joints and eventually minimize carrier fatigue,
large main compartment houses the larger items. Two
end compartments and a third slip compartment accept
objects that are smaller or that must be more quickly
accessed. Substantial zipper pulls afford access to
the various spaces and their contents. Intelligently
designed carry handles allow for a 'suitcase' style
of carry with one hand. Metal 'D' rings are situated
to allow for the connection of optional accessory
shoulder straps. Backpack carry straps are seamlessly
concealed behind a dedicated zippered panel. Two peek-a-boo
snap connectors are tucked in for a neat yet accessible
conversion. inner mesh pockets securely accommodate
documents or small objects that need to be topmost
of the main compartment for quick access. Two end-panel
mounted 'grab straps' allow for strategic retrieval
of a perpendicularly oriented Aeronaut from overhead
& Usability -The Aeronaut conforms to
all heuristics guiding excellent user-centered design
in the industrial engineering of a carry-on piece
of luggage.In other words, the need for effective,
efficient and easy to learn functionality are fully
accommodated through sound consideration of the cognitive,
reflexive and contextual aspects of this product's
use. In addition, sound ergonomics contribute to a
pleasant and transparent user experience .Usability
has therefore been closely aligned to the operator
requiring a certain type of task and goal-centric
carry case.The task and context specific orientation
of compartments as well as access to them align with
the typical requirements and needs of the air,train
and bus traveler. Versatile carry options allow for
flexible use. As such, an Aeronaut not only accommodates
one preferred option- it also accommodates a variation
in carry styles within a single journey and in varying
contexts. As such, a person needing to carry it hands
free but with quickest removal may choose a shoulder
carry. Next would be an across the chest shoulder
carry. A one handed carry style allows for practical
maneuverability during boarding and disembarkation.
Backpack carry has the least impact on shoulders-
distributing weight more symmetrically for the heaviest
loads or for long transits that may require free hands.
Since the Aeronaut most efficiently resides in airline
overheads in the perpendicular to hatch position,
the two end mounted grab straps- make for effective,
speedy and logical retrieval .
even though many carry- on's have wheels of some sort-
they often add substantial weight while offering little
advantage to the fit and svelte traveler. Try rolling
a 23lb carry-on over cobble-stone streets and you'll
understand what we mean. Of all the parts of any luggage
that are most likely to suffer damage in transit-those
little wheels top the list. The lack of clumsy pull
handles or silly tethers are not missed as these are
probably the second most annoying accouterments.
Styling and Aesthetics
Within a number of contexts, the Aeronaut's exterior
appearance coordinates well with the user and their
task- in order to create a harmonious visual ensemble
that projects an image of aerodynamic-ness rather
than boxiness. Cargo bags abound but few are put together
in as sleek and curvaceous a package as the Aeronaut.
This is the perfect passenger in any muscular American
or Imported sports car. In Ferrari Red it makes a
statement that's decidedly 'Neo-American Chic'. Whether
used on a private jet or commercial airplane- the
Orient Express or the Marrakech Express- Queen Mary
or Greyhound Bus, the Aeronaut conforms it's minimalist
lines to whatever setting it may be tasked to adorn.
A wide selection of colors coordinate well with various
customer preferences and profiles.
Environmental Stress- We evaluated
the Aeronaut on a single five day get-away by air
and taxi. The toughness and yet sleekness of the fabric
was well suited to the typical experience of using
the Aeronaut on airplanes and in motor vehicles.To
test the protected zippers, we subjected Aeronaut
to a 10 minute shower- Not a drop of water was discovered
inside. Considering the replacement cost of potential
content belongings, this was deemed a success- instilling
great confidence in its ability to withstand a typical
downpour. The unobtrusive silhouette minimized the
snagging and crushing that often subject lesser quality
luggage to severed straps, handles and so on. It just
slips into place and slides right out again without
resistance. Long term testing has not been completed
at this time. We'll file another report after the
next journey or two.
- Made of 1050 Ballistic nylon; lined
of 200 denier nylon with a Dyeema (like Spectra)
- 10 YKK Uretek "splash-proof"
- Meets most non-commuter domestic
airlines' carry-on size standards (see FAQ)
- Overall dimensions: 22" x 14"
x 9" / 555 x 355 x 230mm
- Volume: 2700 cubic inches / 45 litres
- Empty Weight: 2.71 lbs / 1230 grams
- Made in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
- Adjustable from 20" to 52"
- Weight: 7.5 oz.
- Non-Slip Grip is soft and comfortable,
and ensures the strap won't slip off your shoulder.
- Manufactured by OP/TECH USA for
- Made in Montana, U.S.A.
Evaluation Results & Summaries
Ease of Use
The Aeronaut exudes ergonomic intelligence and logical
compartmentalization as well as smooth use. One never
senses that the Aeronaut
is fighting against its user, but rather that it supports
the user in a task and context sensitive manner.
Task performance optimization
The Aeronaut is ideal for carrying a load of 23 Lbs
or more for distances short or long-
on mass transit carriers such as Airplanes, Boats,
Trains or Busses.With intelligent use of packing aids
such as Tom Bihn or third party luggage organizers;
an extraordinary volume of contents can be transported
for a check-in free travel experience for between
a weekend and one week.
Accommodation for emergency provisions
Excellent. Though this is rather extravagant
as an emergency Go-Bag, nonetheless, a fully provisioned
Aeronaut makes a handsome and accessible 72Hr Go Bag-
filled with emergency provisions, first aid and small
shelter (Go-Bag evaluation results are pending)
See> Emergency Preparedness Provisions 24/48/72
Fabrication Design and Construction
The fabrication quality
of Aeronaut is top notch and is
in keeping with the expectations of its intended customers.
More than this it may also be relied on by users beyond
this base and can work well within a number of professional
Items of Note:
Excellent Customer Relationship Management
|Superb design and construction quality|Excellent
protection from shock and impact |
Logically arranged compartments and sub-compartments
| Form fitting flexibility | Premium materials and
hardware | Ideal for mass transit travelers &
active lifestyles |Exceptionally comfortable carry
options optional shoulder strap | Waterproof