Tom Bihn Aeronaut

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Travel with the Aeronaut isn’t like travel with wheeled luggage: you won’t ever hesitate to make your way through the crowd, down a cobblestone alley, across the grass, or up the trail. With the load on your back, you can navigate through not just airports, train stations, and bus depots, but through airplanestrains, and buses. Hard to categorize, the Aeronaut is at once soft luggage, a duffel bag, and a backpack. It takes the best of all those bags and combines them into what many people have found to be their most versatile travel bag yet.

Designed to qualify as a maximum-size airline carry-on bag, the Aeronaut can be carried as a backpack (with its zip-away backpack straps), or with its padded handle can be carried on-edge as one would a traditional suitcase. Of course you can add our Absolute Shoulder Strap so you can carry it on your shoulder as well (almost any other shoulder strap will work too).





The downside to most duffel bags is their lack of compartmentalization: we think we’ve answered that quite successfully with the Aeronaut. The main body of the bag is divided into three significant compartments: a large center compartment is flanked on both ends by substantial end pockets. These end pockets can easily accommodate size 12 running shoes (now maybe you can finally take all the shoes you need with you). The end pockets also are great for segregating the clean from the unclean, or perhaps socks and underwear, from everything else.

The main compartment is accessed through a curved zipper opening and swallows a substantial stack of folded shirts/blouses/trousers/dresses; as you pack the Aeronaut, the end pockets act like bookends, keeping everything in the center compartment relatively flat and folded. The inside of the opening “hatch” features a convenient zippered mesh pocket for small items.

We make a variety of Packing Cubes sized specifically to most efficiently utilize space inside the Aeronaut. Inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut, you can fit two Large Aeronaut Packing Cubes, one Large and two Small, or four Small. In either end compartment of the Aeronaut, you can fit an End Pocket Packing Cube in either Fabric/Mesh or All Fabric. Also available are the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and the Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut): use them as packing cubes inside the Aeronaut and once you reach your destination, unpack them for use as lightweight shoulder bags or backpacks as you explore your destination.

If Packing Cubes are not your style, you can avail yourself of a pair of tie-down straps inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut. Theses straps can be handy for securing pants/slacks or a carefully folded sports coat. If you find they are in your way you can save a bit of weight by removing them.

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The Aeronaut converts easily to and carries comfortably as a backpack: the shoulder straps are contoured and the upper part is padded, and they feature a removable/adjustable sternum strap; the back panel is padded with closed-cell foam as well. An optional 1″ / 25 mm waist strap attaches to the bottom of the lower (unpadded) part of the shoulder straps. The waist strap is meant not so much as a weight-bearing “hip belt” but rather a simple way to further secure the Aeronaut on your body. With both the backpack straps and waist strap tucked away inside, the Aeronaut becomes a sophisticated soft-luggage piece, free of extraneous straps and geegaws and entirely presentable. Because it is carry-on size, you usually won’t be checking the Aeronaut as luggage, but tucking away the shoulder straps (and waist strap) also greatly reduces the possibility of the bag being caught in a conveyor belt if you must check it.

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The grab handles at either end of the Aeronaut were designed to be in the right place at the right time. Specifically, they provide an inviting and obvious place to grab the Aeronaut and give it a yank to extract it from an overhead compartment of a plane or other tight spot. They’re reinforced, so if you need to pull hard, go ahead, and because they’re padded, the whole process will be as comfortable for your hands as possible.

On one end of the Aeronaut, an exterior zippered pocket has a key snap and is large enough for the Guide Michelin and a boarding pass. The other end of the Aeronaut features an open-top pocket for quick access: think brochures, city guides, etc.

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The exterior of the Aeronaut is made of our 1050 denier, high tenacity ballistic nylon fabric (made in U.S.A.), and it’s lined with our ultralight Japanese 200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric. We use #10 YKK Coil Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers so you needn’t worry so much about bad weather impacting your gear. We include a package of our Cord Zipper Pulls so you can add them to the zippers for an easier grab, though many folks like how uncluttered the Aeronaut looks as-is. Of course the Aeronaut is built, like all TOM BIHN bags, to withstand years of worry-free abuse.

The Aeronaut in 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop:

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The Aeronaut is also available in ultralight 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. This stellar fabric is made for us in Japan. Though one-third the weight of our U.S. made, high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon, it has comparable tear strength and very good abrasion resistance. With 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop you’ll save about 20% on the over-all weight of the Aeronaut. Note that 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop won’t stand up to the all-out abuse that 1050 denier ballistic nylon can handle – you’ll need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat your ultralight Aeronaut. It’s a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it’s a compromise to consider.

U.S. high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon — or — ultralight 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop
200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric lining
Tough Duraflex® and Nexus buckles
#10 YKK Aquaguard® coil zippers on main compartment


Made in USA 
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″ / 555 x 355 x 230 mm
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 3 lb 1 oz / 1395 grams
400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop: 2 lb 7 oz / 1095 grams
Volume: 2700 cubic in / 45 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Optional, removable 1″ / 25 mm waist strap


About nomadewalker

Inquisitive Mind, Compulsive Reader, Obsessive Marsupial Traveler, Breakfast Lover, Quotidian Observer!
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